Page 68

Pilot Reports

» Bonanza Wasn’t Always A Six-Seat Single

Originally a four-place, all-metal low-wing retract, the Bonanza came along at a time when most planemakers still put their birds on fixed, conventional gear and tube-and-rag airframes dominated the private-aircraft market. Walter Beech conceived the model 35 to replace for the highly lauded Model 17 Staggerwing, according to Trevor Blackmer. While the Staggerwing helped the fledgling company establish itself when it came into existence in 1932, low sales volume and high production costs failed to help the company achieve the financial foundation it sought. Blackmer, Senior Manager, Beechcraft Product Marketing at HBC, observed that the goal was to keep the four-seat flying family sedan, with the excellent speed and efficiency of the model 17, Beech’s first product, but to build it for less than the cost of using the archaic materials and techniques employed in Staggerwings. Beech engineers first employed all-metal monocoque construction in the Model 18 Twin Beech, a pre-World War II design that won widespread adaptation during that war and spent more than 30 years in production thanks to its utilitarian appeal. When Beech engineers returned their focus to post-war projects in 1945 they designed a single-engine four-seater around one of the new generation of lightweight opposed six-cylinder engines and a distinctive, drag-cheating V-tail. The Bonanza became a quick hit, the flying man’s family sedan suitable for business with strong appeal for a new batch of owner pilots and business operators. Improvements started almost immediately after certification, making the Bonanza faster, more capable and more flexible. And it’s the Bonanza’s versatility that that helped keep them in demand through a stretch to six seats, the loss of the V-tail, and on into today’s G36, which came as the Bonanza entered its seventh decade. Where the dollar meets the runway, the G36 delivers great value.


M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 0

Photo courtesy of

» G1000: A Spacious Panel Solution

Of course, for most of the people reading this publication, the seats of greatest interest and use are the two front seats – where a Pilot-in-Command and Second-inCommand get to manage one of the world’s most-proven flying machines. And up front, it’s a thoroughly modern aviating machine. By now the majority of aviators likely know about the popular G1000, a system used in a dizzying array of aircraft ranging from fixedgear singles to sophisticated light jets. In the G36 Bonanza the G1000 system consists of two 10.4-inch high-resolution liquidcrystal displays, with the left-side screen serving as the Primary Flight Display (PFD) and the right side the Multifunction Display (MFD). In between the screens is a control stack used to manage this sophisticated package. To the right of the MFD a vertical stack holds the three stand-by instruments required: an airspeed indicator, attitude indicator and altimeter – all full-size. The G36 Garmin package includes dual WideArea Augmentation System-compatible GPS receivers, dual VHF Nav receivers and 16-watt Comm transceivers with 8.33 MHz frequency spacing. Also installed: A Garmin Mode S transponder with Flight ID and TIS; an audio panel – complete with six-place intercom and three-light marker-beacon receiver; engine in-

strumentation in both digital and analog forms; and Garmin’s sophisticated GFC700 digital three-axis flight-control system, with the third axis operating as a yaw damper. A Class B TAWS system is also integral to the package, as are XM Satellite Radio and WX Satellite Weather. It’s a lot to learn. So to help the G36 buyer make the G1000 transition HBC includes in the G36 purchase price a five-day training package at the Flight Safety International Beech Learning Center adjacent to the delivery center.

» Firewall Forward:

Familiar Hardware Abounds

Of course, none of this sophistication or capability helps much parked. It takes power to make the plane and HBC retained a familiar name for the powerplant, Teledyne Continental Motors. Up front HBC uses the Beechcraft-exclusive TCM Special Edition IO-550B making 300 horsepower. The attention to balancing components in the Special Edition engine shows up in its nearturbine smoothness, from idle right through to its 2,700 rpm redline. Balanced fuel injectors allow for lean-ofpeak (LOP) operation, which Blackmer both endorses and practices; LOP operations should help the engine more easily and economically make its 1,700-hour TBO.

Profile for Pilot Magazine, LLC.

PilotMag-May/June 2010  

Aviation magazine

PilotMag-May/June 2010  

Aviation magazine

Profile for pilotmag