level, steer straight on the centerline and the G36 uses slightly more runway but otherwise feels like it’s flying into straight-on winds. One of my approaches involved simulating an emergency return with a descending 180-degree turn from abeam the numbers to final. Starting the approach clean at 120 knots on downwind, the Bonanza responded nicely to my desire to swiftly slow down and get down. We rolled out just in time to cross the numbers about 25 feet high and five knots fast – and still got stopped in less than 2,500 feet of runway. The G36 Bonanza responds as you want, when you want, and does so with confidence.
» Flexible, Fast & Frugal
At a fully-fleshed out cost of just $1.01 per mile to fly – $171.13 per hour in direct operating costs, according to HBC – the G36 Bonanza stands out as a reasonably priced ride, even as it’s the most-sophisticated – and heaviest – Bonanza ever. And let there be no question here – this is a big airplane with a Maximum Gross Take-Off Weight of 3,650 pounds and a Maximum Ramp Weight of 3,663 pounds. Its empty weight varies with options, Blackmer noted, but nominally comes in at about 2,770 pounds, a weight which includes the most-common options: air conditioning and traffic. That puts the typically equipped useful load at 979 pounds. With its 74 gallons of useable fuel, the full-tanks payload comes in at about 535 pounds or, as Blackmer described it, three people and luggage or two adults, three kids and some luggage. Whatever the pilot decides to carry, the G36 delivers considerable flexibility in how you use the cabin. That cabin features club seating with the second row, right behind the cockpit chairs, facing aft; the third row, with the fifth and sixth seats, faces forward. New-design cabin seats are pilot-removable, without tools, and even as installed the aft-row seats can be tilted up to make more legroom for second-row passengers.
Remove all the aft-cabin seats and you have a long, open space capable of handling 670 pounds, including the 70 pounds allowed in the 10-cubic-foot luggage space behind the third-row seats. HBC designers worked some other magic on the interior by creating recessed wells for the arm rests available for the outside arm at each seat, giving the cabin a modern look that serves the practical purpose of adding almost two inches of extra elbow room for each seat. HBC handles domestic sales of the Bonanza and its twin cousin, the G58 Baron. Blackmer suggested visiting www.hawkerbeechcraft.com and clicking on “Find a Sales Contact” to line up your own G36.
» The price for all this performance?
The basic airplane, very well-equipped already, comes in at $645,000. Air conditioning adds $18,900 to the price; the L-3 Skywatch Traffic system adds another $26,100; L-3’s WX-500 Stormscope fetches another $12,500. C
If you prefer Jeppesen’s ChartView products to the standard Garmin charting, add another $5,800 – a price that includes the first-year’s update subscription. CY
If you fly internationally where ADF and DME are still required, HBC offers them as options, as well. And this spring the company expects to start offering Garmin’s Synthetic Vision System, further enhancing the Bonanza’s capabilities. At the $680,000 I would pay for a G36 built to my specifications, there are very few other comparable airplanes on the market for the money. Of course, after more than 62 years in production, the market also has yet to deliver an airplane that people can say, “Flies better than a Bonanza.” And that alone should guarantee we’ll be talking about new Bonanzas well into the next decade. With a little luck, we’ll get to renew this acquaintance again when HBC christens the next evolution of the Bonanza. M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 0