Wednesday, November 4, 2009
On 11 July 1951 the USAF selected Beechcraft to design and build a new high-performance twin-engine transport-trainer aircraft to replace the Beech C-45s then operated by the Air Training Command. The new aircraft was designated the T-36A and would have been powered by two 18-cylinder 2300-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines driving three-bladed propellers for a cruising speed over 300 mph. In the training role, the T-36A would have carried three students and an instructor or as a light transport, it would have carried 12 passengers and a crew of 2.
By November 1951 the Air Force Inspection Board reviewed the full-scale mockup at Beech's facilities in Wichita. By that summer Beech began construction of a new production facility at Beech Field for T-36A production. In January 1953 the final details were fixed and production planned to start for the first batch of 195 aircraft for the USAF with Canadair in Montreal as the main subcontractor.
On 10 June 1953 with the maiden flight of the prototype only an hours away the Department of Defense canceled the T-36A contract and ordered all development activities to cease. Two aircraft were complete, the prototype that was being readied for its maiden flight and a complete static test airframe. Both airframes were scrapped on site in major blow to Beechcraft.
Source: Beech Aircraft and their Predecessors by A.J. Pelletier. Putnam Aeronautical Books/Naval Institute Press, 1995, p111.