This is the story of owning and operating a 1993 Beech Bonanza A36 in the UK and some of its adventures and flights. I have owned this plane for nearly six years now.
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On Friday i took the Bonanza A36 to Tatenhill Aviation to have a shiny new Mode S Transponder fitted. You can see the result here.
Likes: I like the new push button interface of fiddling with knobs on the old one.
Dislikes: The three thousand pound plus price tag!
Thanks to the ash flying around in the atmosphere I managed to get a clearance to fly straight through the Manchester zone and across the approach end of the runway on Today. I dont suppose I will often get the chance to do that in my Bonanza so I thought I may as well take the opportunity. Photos to follow soon.
Today we managed a great journey using various modes of transport. Out of all of them the Bonanza wins hands down for me.
Part One: We jumped in our car first to go to Blackpool from Kendal, a distance of 49 miles which took 50 minutes. Cost: £24 (Return and fuel only)
Part Two: Next we took our Beech Bonanza to Welshpool which took 25 minutes for what would be a 122 mile journey by road. Obviously quite a bit shorter in a straight line. Cost: £145 (Return fuel plus two landings)
Part Three: We walked 2.5 miles from the aiport to the train station down a beautiful canal path into Welshpool town. 1 Hour. (Cost: Sweat)
Part Four: Finally we took the 2.15pm train on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway to Llanfair. Time 50 Mins. Cost £32 (Two adults and three kids)
We had half an hour in the cafe in Llanfair then got back on the train and reversed the whole journey.
On the way back into Blackpool I requested a radar vectored ILS despite it being severe clear, to test the autopilot as it had been reported as been not working by another pilot in the group. Unfortunately the radar at Blackpool is closed after 7pm so we were offered and accepted a procedural for the ILS. After a quick dusting off of the brain cells I managed to fly the approach and test the equipment which appeared to work fine today.
All in all a great day out in G-FOZZ. Final cost £201 excluding any fixed costs for cars or planes. Also we left the house at 10am and got back at 9pm including two picnic stops. Not bad really.
I have owned G-FOZZ now for five and a half years. During that time we have had some wonderful days out, a couple of weekends away and just one week long holiday that we used the plane for. I have used it nothing like as much as I expected or wanted to. There have been several trips cancelled for various reasons, not usually related to the skills of the Bonanza A36 but sometimes related to the skills or lack thereof of the PIC.
During my ownership time the plane has gone from 604 hours on the clock to 1150 hours currently. A seemingly respectably use level but in fact that doesn't tell the full story as I have opened up G-FOZZ to group use. I have 5 other members that use it on a fairly regular basis and between us we have managed to use those hours so in fact roughly 100 hours per year between six of us. I think most people have ambitions and dreams of flying more but very few people get the chance to do it.
For my part my excuse is work and kids. Work during the last five years has provided opportunities to fly but has also provided lots of times where I have been too busy to fly. The last five months being a case in point. Launching a new business has seem me working spectacularly long hours and left me too knackered to fly.
The kids (we have four of them) have a knack of attending one party each weekend between them which means that generally we cant go away so that scuppers my plans for trips.
Anyway this year I (as usual) intend to fly more. I am planning two seperate weeks away in the plane. One to the Isle of Wight and one to France. I also intend to do several weekends away.
Lets see what happens by the end of the year. This is however a practical reflection of the use that my plane gets. I think for the cost of ownership I would be better off chartering a jet, but then it wouldnt be as satisfying would it?
I guess if you are going to buy yourself a plane you should expect that it will not get used anywhere near as much as you expect but I have to say that I wouldnt change it for the world. Owning a Beech Bonanza A36 makes me feel warm inside.
Ridiculous as it sounds, I have just gone over five months without flying my own plane. Time and life conspired against me. Yesterday however despite the weather trying its best to mess up my plans I managed to renew both my Single engine piston rating and (jus as well I had one yesterday) my IMC rating. What a bloody stupid thing it will be if they remove that rating without giving grandfather rights to a suitable replacement. You could hardly ever complete a meaningful trip in the UK without it!
Anyway apart from the flight in the G36 Bonanza I last flew on the 8th August so it was great to be back in the air and flying with John Hunter who is a true gent!
What a load of nonsense it is to have your plane ground for what has been nearly six weeks for an annual service and MOT!
We are no waiting for an air filter so the plane can’t get back in the air. How daft, surely they air filter didn’t just expire on the last day of last year’s certificate of airworthiness or whatever it is called this week. Sometimes the nonsense bureaucracy just makes me feel like packing in flying. I wonder how many people have because they have lost patience or spent a ridiculous sum sorting a tiny thing out. I am all for safety but there should be some flexibility in these procedures.