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 managed a family trip to Norwich this weekend and the striking difference between the trip this year and two years ago was that the previous was marred by delays and worries over the weather. Last time it looked extremely likely that the glorious British summer weather would mean we would get stuck over in Norfolk but in the end we managed to make the return trip. That trip was in our Cessna 182
This year in our more IFR suitably equipped Beech Bonanza A36 we managed to leave in IMC conditions (the weather improved once south of Liverpool) and arrive in time for the 90th birthday party we were due at and also we managed to return today again in some decidely iffy weather. I also didnt spend all weekend worrying about getting stuck because clearly so long as the weather was reasonable we could make the journey home.
I have to say that I am finding the IMC rating seriously valuable for touring. An IR would be much nicer though.
Well I have finally done it and used my plane for something useful. I took my girlfriend to Paris for the weekend.
We left Blackpool at around 10.30am in the Bonanza and were drinking coffee in central Paris at 1.30pm. I doubt a scheduled flight could compete with that. No check-in, no passports checks, no waiting for luggage. Absolutely wonderful.
Paris was lovely and sunny and the return flight on Sunday looked a little suspect as various CB's were forecast at many areas around the airfield and on the first part of the route home but the actuals told a different story. Apart from a bit of turbulence on the below 1500ft leg under the Paris TMA the flight was smoooth despite being in almost entirely IMC from the UK coast. Its strange how that happens. Why is it always cloudy in England?
Things learned from this trip that will serve me well for the future is when they say cash only for fuel they mean it! We spent an hour waiting for the refulling lady to return from lunch only to find we couldnt pay her as she wanted cash for nearly 300 euros which I didnt have. In the end I paid 200 euros in cash and they magically found a credit card machine for the rest plus a 10 euro charge for her trouble.
Lognes airfield (who were at pains to explain that they are not responsible for the fuel concession) could not have been more helpful and I strongly recommend anyone intending to fly to Paris or even Disney which it is about 4 miles from to give it a try. You wont be dissapointed.
Also we managed to confuse the taxi driver and he ended up driving us directly into Paris centre for 45 euros when a train ride on the ever so efficient RER from next to our hotel to Lognes was only 4 euros plus a 5 euros taxi ride from the station.
The Bonanza A36 performed faultlessly and completed the journey in around 2 hrs 25 minutes. Almost exactly to the scheduled time I had worked out.
Airspace around Paris is not nearly as complicated as it looks and all of the danger areas we had to cross were actually inactive on both Friday and Sunday. The most tricky one had an automated service to tell you it was closed.