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.
Today I had agreed to fly our CEO from Glasgow to a meeting in Gloucester and then back to Glasgow. This was great as it meant four flights for me and when I woke up this morning I realised that he couldnt have picked a better day to arrange th visit.
I had agreed to pick him up at Glasgow at 08.30 so it meant an early start and I got away from Blackpool at 7.15 and arrived at Glasgow at 08.05. Travel Bonanza style on a day like today is just great.
A quick turn around and then direct from Glasgow to Gloucester, mostly at FL060 and a lovely 30kt tailwind meant a 1 hr 15 minute flight to get us there. Absolutely awesome.
On the return from Gloucester we did have to pay the price for the generous tailwind on the way there but because the Bonanza has a generous turn of speed it didnt make that much difference to the journey time. We took a slightly different route on the way back so my passenger could see his boat moored in Inverkip harbour.
The return journey was uneventful other than the crumbs from the shortbread that I stole from the exec lounge at Glasgow. Mind you for over £200 in landing and handling fees in one day I think I deserved them.
If you would like to see the route of my flights plotted in Google Earth then visit then make sure you have download the free google eart software and then:
Network links allow you to see all your logs and plans in one file, with new and changed ones automatically downloaded each time you start Google Earth. Network links can contain many files so each one has to be quite small - so track logs downloaded this way won't include altitude colour coding or point markers.
1. Visit the Google Earth website. Check your computer meets the minimum requirements, then download and install the application as per Google's instructions.
2. Once you've started the application, you'll see a 3D image of the Earth. It takes a bit of practice, but you can zoom in to any point and view it from any angle.
3. Go to the menu bar, and choose Add > Network Link. A popup window will open.
4. Enter a name such as "Stuarts flights" or "track logs" in the Name field.
5. Copy and paste the following address into the Location field.
6. Click OK, leaving the other settings unchanged.
7. Under the red Places bar to the left of the screen, there should be a new folder with the name you just entered. Click on the arrow next to it to expand the folder. Within it there will be two more folders named Route Plans and Track Logs.
The My Places folder
8. To view a route plan or track log, tick the box next to it to display it on the map, then double click the name to zoom in to it.
9. When you add new route plans or track logs to your profile, right click the folder name and choose refresh from the menu.
* Sometimes when Google Earth starts it might not load your information. If refreshing doesn't help, try right clicking the folder, choosing Edit, and pressing OK.
* * If you share a track log, and have a route plan associated with it, remember to share the route plan as well so it will be visible alongside the track log.
For interest I upload my track logs taken from my GPSMap296 to a wonderful website called goflying.org. They can be then viewed in Google Earth. I will be uploading todays flights sometime later tonight.
I have done some fairly decent trips in the Bonanza now including my recent jaunt to Paris which was very exciting but this week has called for me to use the plane for a three day trip that took me first from Blackpool to London (Denham) for an overnight stop in the city.
Yesterday I flew direct from Denham, again using my IMC rating to complete the otherwise impossible trip. I flew IFR (VFR on top in most parts) all the way and took a routing up the east of the country to avoid low airpsace around Liverpool/Manchester. This was a revelation. I also got a radar service from Daventry all the way to my first ILS into Glasgow for some extortinate handling charges and another overnight park while I visited our office in the city.
Finally today I flew back in some very windy conditions which at times made me wonder if it would be suitable to fly late in the day when I need to.
The weather out of Glasgow was very turbulent at low level and a fairly low cloud base but Glasgow cleared my to climb into the cloud to the MSA and once in the cloud things smoothed out pretty quickly. The Bonanza autopilot was great and once we leveled off at 4500ft it was a case of monitoring my instruments until we reached Walney Island where a decent through broken cloud was possible. Landing at Blackpool was a little hairy with cross winds approaching the Bonanza A36 suggested limits.
A little more in the experience bank. In two weeks I have to go to Glasgow in the morning and pick up 2 pax to go back to Gloucester and then back to Glasgow in the evening and then a return trip to Blackpool. That will be fun (hopefully).
I have had to have a 50 hour check on the Bonanza this month. The cost was around £700 due to extra items needing replacing such as a tyre and another landing light bulb. The plane has had about 10 landing lights during my ownership and still it never works when you want it. Somehow Pool aviation manage to get the best part of £50 out of me every time the bulb blows!