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.
A while ago a pilot borrowing my plane who was considerably more experienced than me was doing some refresher training in my plane with an instructor from Pool Aviation and he was shown how to use the flight director properly. He rang me that night raving about it and saying how he couldn't believe how he had flown without one all the years he had been flying.
Yesterday I too flew with that instructor and I asked him about the flight director fitted to my Beech Bonanza and within a few minutes he had shown me what I was missing. I cant believe that I have owned G-FOZZ for over a year and not used it. In fact I would go as far as to say that this bit of training was the best and most useful training I have received since doing my PPL. That's not to belittle any of the other training I have received but simply to get across how important that piece of equipment is especially for flying IFR.
I have always known how to use my auto-pilot and found that extremely useful but the flight director without the auto-pilot is an awesome piece of kit and reduces IFR workload immensely. The scan is so much easier when you are relying on one piece of equipment for almost all your info and using the others for backup rather than making a picture out of several instruments.
If you have not used a flight director and the plane you fly has one then I seriously recommend that you get some training on it.
For a long time I have been wanting to propose to my girlfriend Penny and show her that I am a little bit romantic (she knows I am quite bad at romance really). When doing my IMC training I thought that being on-top of the clouds is a seriously lovely place to be so I decided that once I has passed my IMC I would fly Penny to this lovely place and propose. I purchased the ring and kept it in my flying bag but my IMC test has frustratingly been delayed many times due to seriously IMC weather. Yesterday on the day I finally got my IMC rating it was ironically an almost cloudless day in Lancashire but I thought it was time so I flew Penny (and our four children) to Wales and at 6000 feet proposed. Penny accepted and seemed very impressed with my romantic gesture. The kids were more keen to land at EGCK for an ice cream! I suspect I will be allowed to keep the Bonanza for ever now it is enshrined as the place I proposed to her ;-)
I passed my IMC test today! At last I can get some use out of my Bonanza A36 that goes beyond the basic bouncing around at 1500 feet. Mind you I think I am going to ease myself into more adventurous use.
My IMC Test was cancelled for 3rd time today when 50kt winds blew threw Blackpool. Luckily I have been able to re-arrange it for Sunday so fingers crossed.
Well I have not found time to put an update on this site so but today due to the continaul poor weather I have had my final IMC lesson cancelled and tomorrow my test will be cancelled too. Very dissapointing as the first day we can get together for now is a week away. Mind you the weather looks crap for the next few days.
I flew the Bonanza on Monday to Walney from Blackpool. A whole 7 minutes! I had a 210kt ground speed with the strong winds earlier this week that preceeded the crap weather. That was fun but what I love about the Bonanza A36 is the way it handles the into wind legs. Because it has such a good range of speed you can add in just a little more power than the outbound leg and make up some of the speed lost to the headwind. I used to get very frustrated in a slower plane once you turned into wind but I was still getting a very respectable 140kt GS on the return leg. Thats still faster than my previous plane which was a 182 which are not slow anyway.
Anyway back to flying on MS Flight Sim for another week practising my NDB holds and hoping for the weather to improve.