T-34 Young Female Aviator

Melisa flying the T-34 over south Georgia countryside.
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

Melisa flying the T-34 over south Georgia countryside.
Melisa flying the T-34 over south Georgia countryside.

There can’t be many in the aviation world who haven’t heard of Ed and Connie Bowlin, nor their prowess in a warbird cockpit, especially the P-51 Mustang. Well aviation runs deep in their family, and now Connie’s niece, Melisa Foures, is making her name in the business.

Recently Connie Bowlin commented, “When Melisa announced, at the age of 18, that she would like to be a pilot Ed & I were pleased to help her begin that journey. To see her determination and her love of Aviation grow with every new rating and experience makes me a proud Aunt. Who wouldn’t be proud to have a young person say they would like to follow in your footsteps!”

T-34_HeroFoures has accomplished a lot in a very short space of time and the big smile shows that she enjoys sharing. She’s been tearing through the hours building experience, and is already an instructor pilot at Candler Field Flying Club in Williamson, Georgia. She also flies the Beech T-34 Mentor on the warbird circuit.

Melisa Foures recently told WarbirdsNews, “I started flying when I was 19 (she is now 23). I love warbirds because of the history they have and the impact they’ve had on so many people.  It’s incredible when you have the opportunity to meet the veterans who share their individual stories and how these airplanes affected them. It’s an awesome privilege to be able to fly these incredible airplanes and have the opportunity to meet the heroes who flew them. My goal is to fly for the airlines.”

While the airlines may be her future, it’s clear that Melisa has a strong pedigree in the aviation world, having been surrounded by it most of her life. The T-34 she flies is available for rides as well in the Atlanta area. They are very reasonably priced too…

25 Minutes- $200
45 Minutes-$320
60 Minutes-$395

Please call  +1-678-321-1891 if you’re interested in making a flight in the Mentor in the Atlanta area.

The T-34 was a development of Beechcraft’s famous Bonanza civilian aircraft, and first flew all the way back in 1948. After extensive testing and improvements, it emerged as a serious contender in the global military primary trainer market, entering production in 1953. The T-34A was tailored for the USAF, and T-34B for the Navy. The two variants look almost identical externally, but do have some differences for operational reasons, though performance is essentially the same. Powered by a Continental  225hp engine the T-34 has a maximum speed of 280 mph/243 knots. Beech built four hundred and fifty T-34A’s for the USAF and four hundred and twenty three T-34Bs for the US Navy. The USAF phased out the T-34A in the early 1960′s and the Navy did the same for the T-34B in the middle 1970′s, but the turbo-prop powered T-34C Turbo-Mentor still flies with the US Navy, Marines and Coast Guard along with other military arms around the world. Canada, Japan, Chile, Turkey, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela and El Salvador also selected the T-34 as their primary trainer. The T-34 Mentor is very popular on the warbird circuit with over 200 in “civilian” hands. Fully aerobatic, with complete dual controls, the T-34 offers the opportunity to get “stick time” if you choose to go aviating in the “Mentor”. Interestingly, this Mentor now on the US Civil Registry as N34F started life as T-34A 52-8278 with the USAF, but then transition to the US Navy as Bu.138228 in 1961. This explains the mixture of US Navy and Air Force details in its markings.

T-34 Poster_print


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