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.
I finished my Night Rating tonight after flying 5.5 hours over two evenings. I really enjoyed the change of view and loved flying solo in the Bonanza.
There are so many cockpit lighting combinations I wasn't sure which to have turned on etc but by the end of the course I realised that it was most pleasant with the map reading light that is in the bottom of the yoke turned on and all cockpit, panel and flood lights turned off. This gave a nice soft glow to the Bonanza cockpit and a good view outside.
Night flying is really a very different experience and much more different than I expected it to be. The first night was moonless and it was really hard to see any mountains etc but the second night was very different with much more moonlight.
Having a night rating will no doubt expand the envelope greatly that I can use the plane because being based at Blackpool they are usually open when I want to return in the dark. I suppose I just need to be away from airfields that close at darkness now
Well we have already taken care of about 3 hours but we need a plan to get the rest of the 100 hours.
So far I know that the following are planned:
In January I have to do my night rating which is 5 hours.
In April we have a trip to Paris and back Approx 4 hours in Bonanza A36 flight time.
In June we have a trip to the kids Great Granny's wedding which will be about 2 hours.
In June I have my annual trip to Inverness for a meeting come jolly. Lets say 4 hours in total. I have never made it yet all the way due to bad weather and engine problems in the Bonanza but hopefully this year the IMC will help. Last year I got there courtesy of John Lunt who took us in his Turbo 206.
In June we have a trip to Aero Expo for about 2.5 hours
In July we have a trip to Farnborough Airshow ****bugger that will have to be cancelled as its on our wedding day!!!!!*****
In July we have our honeymoon which is planned to be a 6 day trip around France in the Bonanza A36 going to places such as Biarritz and Nice and back so that should do in about 12 hours at a guess but maybe we can squeeze in a few more.
Thats only about 30 hours in total. So where am I going to find the rest. Ideas anyone?
I think I will be able to add a good 20 hours for meetings at the least during the year so that will get me to around 50 but there is going to have to be some serious pleasure flying going on in 2006 in the Beech Bonanza A-36, G-FOZZ!
Today we went to Sherburn in Elmet for the first time after many attempts as we have heard all about the wonderful cafe etc etc.
To get there posed its usual challenge of a huge bank of cloud over the Pennines stretching as high as the class A airpspace above but after some dodging clouds and hills in the Bonanza we managed to pick a way through the valleys to get ourselves there.
It was extremely busy at Sherburn with helicopters darting here there and everywhere and while it was a nice little airfield I really cant see what the fuss is. I would much prefer a trip to Kirkbride, Caernarfon or Sleap for my bacon butty as you can sit watching the planes come and go. At Sherburn the cafe is just a bit too far from the runway for my liking. Anyway little Fozz (the plane was named after the baby's nickname given to him by my mother) enjoyed his trip to Sherburn I think and spent his time pointing at overflying planes and shouting "dah" which I think means "plane". Actually he shouts "dah" at eveything. But he certainly loved the planes going overhead. I am glad he seems to be getting the bug.
Anyway thats another 1.5 hours in the book and now 3 hours for 2006. That puts me about 1 hour behind already for doing 100 hours in 2006 in the Bonanza A36
Our first trip of 2006 in the Bonanza A36 was a full load 2 adults and four children and the pushchair, nappies, baby wipes, snacks, toys, games and baby seats etc (you know the score if you have children) to Wales for a quick day out. The Bonanza A36 soaked all this up with room to spare.
Because I have not managed to do my night rating and because we are so slow at getting out of the house in the morning we were limited to a trip to Caernarfon but what a lovely day we had.
The journey started in not great grey skies at Blackpool and with a low winter sun dazzling me through the dirty Bonanza windscreen. I always forget to clean it!
As we passed Liverpool this trip became a full blown IMC trip with almost zero visibility followed by a spell on top of the cloud but I felt confident that my training for the IMC would stand me in good stead. In fact it made the day because G-FOZZ can almost find its way to EGCK in good weather on its own, it has been there so many times but this added another dimension. A little more of a challenge is good to help you improve your flying skills and get some practice in flying on the Flight Director which I still maintain is the best piece of learning I did in 2005. Flying a Bonanza in IMC with a Flight Director and the other equipment such as dual Garmin 430's is very reassuring. I think I have been spoilt now.
A lovely day was had by all in Wales because predictably when we got there it was dazzling sunshine and a bit of stone throwing on the beech and some icecream meant that it wasnt only me that enjoyed the day.
A return trip again in IMC capped off a perfect day and a lovely first flight of 2006 in the Bonanza A-36.
Thats 1.5 hours in my logbook in the Bonanza A36 in 2006. Only 98.5 to go to my target.