The space inside the cockpit of the Beechcraft T-34A Mentor trainer belonging to the Cactus Air Force Wings and Wheels Museum is about the same as inside as a standard refrigerator shipping box. Maybe a foot or two shorter. And narrower.
There are 20 or so gauges and dials on the dashboard, some with familiar designations such as fuel and altitude. Others are not so easy to decipher. On the floor along the right side of the pilot’s seat, there’s a panel with two dozen tiny lights designating electrical fuses. On the left side are a bunch of controls for fuel supplies and mixtures.
Dead center on the floor in front of the pilot’s seat is the stick. About two feet tall, it controls most of what makes the plane go up and down and turn via the wings. Two foot pedals control the plane’s tail assembly. It’s unnerving how much there is to comprehend and pay attention to at a glance. Just in case, some of the most important controls are colored bright red to command attention.
For the complete story by Susan Skorupa of the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal, click here.