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Piloting, Owning and Operating a Beech Bonanza A36 - www.gotoair.com

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.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


CAA Update - Bonanza A36 can go on register, Maybe

I have had a phone call from the Maintenance shop to say that the CAA surveyor has said it should be OK to put the Bonanza on the register in my circumstances. The circumstances are that the engine has done 600 hours from new. There is another plane in the hangar that is also trying to go on the CAA register but apparently a little dickie bird tells me that their engine is not is such good shape and the CAA might not approve it. I hope I have not got it the wrong way around!

Apparently the Chief Engineer has to certify that in his opinion the engine is fit to continue in service. Even then if it does get approved it only has two more years or 1080 hours to be used on a public certificate so I better get renting it out to save up for a new engine. I didnt really want to get into plane hire too much but perhaps I need to for the next two years otherwise I will have a rather large bill. I why didnt I buy a share in a plane?

I have not yet seen confirmation of the CAA decision yet and I believe it is not officially made yet so there is plenty of time for this to go to rat sh*t I expect in the world of aviation. It a damn good job cars aren't this regulated else the country would grind to a halt.


CAA Update on engine position

I am afraid it is true as I have had the documentation through from the CAA now. If you put a plane on the G Reg it must have its engine replaced (or overhauled) after a specified time or hours so the Bonanza really needs a new engine. The specified time in my case and most engines was 12 years but after that time it seems it can be used on a private use basis but on condition of a 100 hours engine inspection.

You can have a 20% time or hours extension and continue to use it for public use but only if it was previously on the G Reg for the last 200 hours before it expired. You can also appeal to the CAA against this and that is what I am currently doing. Hopefully the fact that my engine is only 600 hours old and had a top end overhaul 0 hours ago will see sense prevail.

It looks like there will be many planes making it back across the Atlantic before their time expires here.

Ironically I purchased this plane from Germany just before the engine was 12 years old. The owner was selling it because he didnt want to go to the expense of putting a new engine in as Germany have had the 12 year rule for some time I believe.

My maintainer has sent a letter to the CAA surveyor today. I hope they approve it because I have already spent over £1500 in CAA applications fees.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Goodness me the news just gets worse

I have been told today that my engine will need to be replaced because it is twelve years old although it has only done 600 hours so is nowhere near TBO.

This is apparently because the Bonanza is now an EASA aircraft and the new EASA rules specifiy that the engines must be replaced at 12 years or tbo whichever is sooner.

To say I am shocked and p**sed off is an understatement. How did my engine get less safe because it passed the 12 year old mark I will never know.

I have spent hours tonight on the EASA website trying to find details of this regualtion which my maintenance shop think is applicable. Can anyone here help point me to where I can read about this.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Oh no. Beech Bonanza A36 ownership just got a bit more expensive

Well next week I was hoping to buzz off in the Bonanza to the Malta Air Rally with some friends for a long weekend but unfortunately today I have had some news I wasnt expecting. My plane was in the process of being swapped onto the G reg when the engineer doing the annual inspection discovered that the compressions were low on 5 out of 6 cylinders. One cylinder would not be good enough to pass the certification I believe and the other 4 low ones were just and so good enough to pass but worringly low.

Now the plane has only done about 80 hours since its last annual and certification onto the N reg so either somebody has been not checking correctly before or the engine has gone downhill rapidly in a fairly short time.

Whatever the reason I am faced with a decision. There were three options but option one (an re-seating of the valves only and then see if it imrpoved) was dismissed immediately so we were down to two.

Option two was a top end overhaul at £2100 plus parts if required

Option three was a brand new set of Beech Bonanza Cylinders and Pistons at £6000.

I chose the overhaul option as the cylinders have only done 600 hours in their 11 years of life.

This was an expense I was not expecting and has also come on top of the re-certifcation costs which are not cheap.

I will keep you all informed of the costs as I go along. It helps to have someones shoulder to cry on.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Inverness by Cessna 206

Well this blog entry isn't strictly about flying my Beech Bonanza A36 and it isn't strictly about me flying either but I cant help but log it because it is about flying.

My Bonanza is due to be inspected by the FAA on Friday to be given an export CofA so when I needed to go to Inverness on Monday for three days the maintenance facility weren't overjoyed as they wanted to take it to bits ready for the inspection so they found me a willing pilot and plane who would take me there and then collect me on Wednesday for the price of a drink. Actually no price at all, I just paid the fuel and landings.

The beauty of this was that the pilot was the proud holder of a full IR and the weather wasn't looking good at all when we arrived at Blackpool on Monday morning. In fact after climbing out to 1500ft we went into the cloud and didn't see anything out of the windows again until we arrived at Inverness. I am mighty impressed with flying in the airways which helped us get above the bumpy weather and to our destination without any fuss other than battling a 40knot headwind. Surely though we would have a tailwind on the way home.

On Wednesday the weather wasn't much better and thankfully the IR stepped in to make sure we completed the journey again. As you can see the rain at Inverness was an indicator that we wouldn't be seeing much of the ground on the way home either. Unfortunately the wind seemed to think we had enjoyed the 40knot headwind so had turned round to offer us more of the same.

For all of you that have heard the football results, "Inverness Caledonian Thistle - one etc etc, here is a picture of their ground)

I have always found it amazing that once you get high up (only 8000ft) you often find yourself in glorious sunshine but it is ages since I have been on top in a light plane and I really enjoyed basking in the sun while everyone below on the ground was getting wet. I find that one of the best parts of flying.

The flight was completed and we arrived back at Blackpool in well under two hours and saved my usual 7 hour drive I have to do each year to Inverness so it not always true to say "time to spare, go by air" as this time it is one up for the plane ownership model I try so hard to justify (even if it wasn't my plane).

Interestingly the Cessna 206 Turbo Millennium model used 20 gallons per hour for 152 knots air speed at 8000ft. My Beech Bonanza A36 would manage 168 knots for 15.5 gallons so it shows it helps to be able to fold your wheels away :)

Back in the hangar I was not surprised to see that they had not even started my Bonanza after all so it had sat there unused for no reason whatsoever. Typical!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


By Bonanza A36 to the TT

Ok we made it in the Bonanza to the Isle of Man TT. Then again it wasn't much of a challenge being a whole 20 minutes away from Blackpool but we still had to cross all that cold water and evade the huge amounts of low cloud that was hanging around the Isle of Man threatening to spoil our day.

(All these pictures were taken on the way home when the cloud had cleared so no prizes for pointing this one out)

Fortunately we had a prior arrangement with a friend to leave us a car at the GA handling place otherwise we could have been stuck like the other visitors by small plane who were forced to walk the four (yes 4!) miles around the perimeter fence because they couldn't get a taxi apart from at the terminal and the airport wouldn't allow them to taxi their planes to the main terminal and park there.

Personally I only went to the TT because having lived across the water from it all my life and having seen literally thousands of motorbikes crossing from Heysham near where I live for years I wondered what I was missing but I soon found out it wasn't that much.

Now I am not dismissing the incredible bravery (READS: lunacy) of the competitors but I didn't get that much of a thrill from it. The bikes were going at simply staggering speeds past that made me feel uncomfortable having had a motorbike accident three years ago that resulted in two broken legs and two broken arms and quite a few other problems resulting in two operations but in addition I just didn't get the thing of them starting 10 seconds apart as it was hard to tell who was winning or losing.

None the less it was an experience that I would recommend because it requires a flight from wherever you are based and like most pilots I don't suppose many people need too many excuses to go flying. The TT is not really very practical by car but it is certainly very practical by air so get yourself there next year.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


TT Here we come

Wow today has been gorgeous weather in Lancashire and perfect for flying but unfortunately even though I got to my plane I had forgotten to ring and say I need it out and so it was behind several planes and including a plane in a serious state of strip down so I didnt dare ask them to get it out. Anyway the Bonanza A36 is ready to go and I have arranged for it to be left at the front of the hangar for the flight tomorrow.

I also called the Isle Of Man ATC on the off chance that there would be some restrictions due to the TT and there was. I have been there before and no PPR is required but during the TT week you need a slot and have to file a flight plan so the ATC helped me to do that.

The Bonanza is now booked in for 9.15hrs local to land at Douglas and the flight plan is filed. Its all very exciting. Now I have got to manage to arrive on time.

The weather is forecast to be just as nice tomorrow as today and I cant wait to get flying again. Its been three weeks since I last managed it due to work and children. The Bonanza has been crying out for a run out by me but I just couldnt get there.

Monday, June 06, 2005


TT Races

A friend came round yesterday and was discussing the TT Races which are currently happening in the Isle of Man just 60nm west of us. The town I live in (Lancaster) sees floods of motorcycles at this time of the year heading for the Heysham ferry port and I have always wondered what it would be like to watch and so I suggested that we dust down the Beech Bonanza and take a trip to the island. Work was due to commence to take it off the N reg today and put it back onto the G reg. Pool Aviation have been applying for the various bits of paperwork during the last few weeks but it is taking a while to complete apparently because the FAA have got quite a few requests for similar conversions at the moment.

Anyay I have booked the day off work and Wednesday will hopefully see us flying out to the Isle of Man in the Bonanaza A36 for a day trip to the TT races.

Its always nice to have a purpose to your flying. Funny thing is that I am more excited about going flying than seeing the TT. I cant wait to jump into the Bonanza again. Must be that flying bug again!


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