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 over six years now.
This weekend a friend of mine borrowed my Beech Bonanza and took it to Leverkusan (just neat Cologne) and back again (thankfully). I am completely jealous. I would love to have to time to do some serious European flying but I dont.
I have always fancied Sherburn in Elmet as a destination for my £100 (and the rest) hamburger. What has usually stopped me getting there is either the weather which is often very rubbish between Lancashire and North Yorkshire because of the hills in between or simply that we wanted to go a little further as the Bonanza would gobble that journey up in about 20 minutes.
This weekend Mrs F. is away catching up with old friends and I am left holding the baby so to speak. In fact holding one seven month old baby, one 4 year old disabled child that is like a baby (thats Lily!), one four year old and one eight year old.
Luckily child 8 years old has decided to de-camp to her friends for Saturday night and all day today (sunday) so there is only the three youngest (only).
Now not wanting to fly too far with the young ones and no adult to shout at them while I pilot I decided today was the day for Sherburn so I got my AFE guide out and suddenly I noticed Breighton Real Air Museum. A quick look at their website and our destination was decided. Sherburn will have to wait for another day. Breighton is just about the same distance.
I loaded up the children, push chair and a picnic and off we went and what a glorious day to fly. This made up for my last experience to Biggin because I could climb up to 5000ft clear of cloud and the view was tremendous. Once I got towards Breighton routing directly through the helpful Leeds zone it was bedlam. Everybody and his dog had decided to go there before.
I was a little nervous because although it was 850 metres long I had never been into a grass strip in the Bonanza before and people had said to me that a Beech Bonanza A36 wasnt suitable for grass. Thankfully I didnt believe them and it was no trouble at all. The Bonanza has the same very hefty undercarriage that the Baron has so I didnt expect to break it and Breighton was pretty flat anyway. I was just a bit nervous of grass because my 182 was so happy on it and could get off quickly where as the Bonanza likes to stay on the ground a good deal longer. This combined with the hot weather made me wonder if the strip would be OK even though the POH said I wouldnt need half of it to get off.
For those of you who have not been to Breighton you should pick a nice day and go there. They pride themselves on running a Real Plane Museum which means lots of old but still flying planes. There are not many newer planes there because they dont class those as real but I suppose each to his own.
We managed to have a wonderful picnic watching the "real" planes coming and going and then when it came for our not so real plane to go we were able to leave the ground in about 500 meters easily. The flight back was uneventful but the weather was so nice and the kids just couldn't stay awake so I took advantage of the lack of "are we nearly there" shouts and flew around for an hour aimlessly. What a wonderful day. Life couldn't be better, or so I thought until I landed and listened to my piecemeal and heard that my shiny Acton Martin had set on fire. Luckily Mrs F. And the kid, 8 that she was collecting on the way home had left the car safely. Seeing the fire brigade damping the fire on my car was a slight dampener on an otherwise perfect day.
I dont know if you all feel like this but to be honest I have had such a nice day flying that I couldnt feel bad today. I will leave that for another day.
For a few weeks I have been promising to go to London to pick up two very precious antique french clocks for a friend. Yesterday I woke up to see glorious blue skies and knew that today was the day so to speak.
Off to Blackpool without checking the weather then when I got there my co-pilot (a friend who just likes to fly) was there to greet me with the news that the weather was passable. I didnt understand because it was glorious outside but a quick look at the tafs showed that it was much worse both en-route and down south.
Biggin Hill our destination had tafs for a fairly low cloud base and plenty of showers and some cb action.
All the way there were suffered some unpleasant turbulence that kept the Bonanza bouncing around. Now I am sure that most of you know that the Beech Bonanza A36 is a sturdy machine that weighs in at more than twice a 152 I think but this did nothing to stop us getting bounced against our seat belts all the way.
I unfortunately suffer from air sickness in extended turbulence but was OK still when I got there but the journey home was even worse. By the time I got back I was green. Not a very enjoyable flight. What made it worse was that my passenger loved every minute of it. I wish I could be like that.
Anyway the clocks made it back to Blackpool in the back of the Bonanza in one piece in time to watch one of the club student pilots going off for his GFT. I felt sorry for him in the turbulence but I hope he passed!