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.
I have been keen to get some real IMC practice to keep me fresh and remembering what to do for the time when I really need it and on Thursday I got chance to take a couple of hours and another pilot (vastly more experienced than me) to go and do a flight that would be typical for me.
We left Blackpool in the A36 Bonanza and climbed to flight level 50 and into cloud and headed towards Edinburgh to request an ILS letdown to break off for VFR to the west to Cumbernauld where I intended to land for a brew but due to ATC having to manouver us around various other traffic we were running a little later than I wanted to so we turned around at Cumbernauld and headed back to Blackpool.
On the way back we picked up some light icing which is only the second time I have experienced it. This limited our altitude to no more than flight level 45.
Over the sea between Walney and Blackpool we descended to 1500ft with a radar service from Warton to become VFR and completed an uneventful flight back into Blackpool. The total trip time was two hours.
It was a great experience and I added a little bit more to my knowledgebase and proved to myself that the training works. I was able to fly from Blackpool to Edinburgh without seeing the ground and then return again without being able to see out of the window.
I really like IMC flight and the Bonanza A-36 is a nice IMC platform with the quality autopilot and loads of other equipment such as the HSI, Stormscope and the Garmin 430's. Unfortunately my Bonanza is not fitted with an altitude pre-select box which I would really like but it does have approach mode which means it will do its own decent on an ILS. This is very impressive. I do hope to add the Alt pre-select soon though.
All in all a very enjoyable experience which I hope to repeat to a different location soon for some more practice.