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 to say that just lately I have been using the plane far less than I would have liked.
After aiming for a hundred hours at the start of the year I managed a miserly 55. Just over half way I suppose but less than I would have liked by a good margin. Part of my plan this year was to use the plane for our honeymoon but time and cost constraints
meant that we went by Easyjet
. This lopped a good 12 hours off my times but the rest I am afraid is down to work and family commitments
. Thankfully the plane is used by a couple of other people and that helps contribute to its upkeep but between four of us we managed in total only about 100 hours.
Try again next year I suppose!
Today was another one of those excuses to use the Bonanza A36.
I decided that as my development team had worked very hard and just finished an important project i would take them on a lunch in the Bonanza and we chose an airfield and restaurant near Stranraer
. The airfield is called Castle
Kennedy and is owned by the very friendly Lord Stair.
I have tried to go to this previously disused airfield on several occasions
since it reopened that the Lord Stairs efforts but for various reasons including weather and other things happening at the airfield I have never made it but today was different.
Castle Kennedy requires that you book in first which we did with Stair Estates very helpful office and then we made the trip on a day when traffic all over the UK was grounded due to fog. The Northwest had reasonable visibility and South West Scotland's was excellent. The main runway (26) is about 1500 metres long at least but is mostly poorly surfaced but Lord Stair has been gradually creating a newly tarmaced
area which now stretches to a little over 600 metres. He intends to make this even longer but frankly this was fine in the Bonanza even at nearly max weight with five adults on board because of the huge run off areas at both ends and the sides which are usable
for most light planes I would guess. If you get it slightly wrong on approach you will probably
over run onto some rough tarmac but I have landed on rougher grass.
Lord Stair kindly met us at the intersection of the cross runway which is still disused and after some pleasantries he ran us down to the pub/restaurant which is across a road from the very end of 26.
We enjoyed a very nice lunch at the pub owned by a couple from Lancashire
then crossed the road back into the airfield and walked back down 26 to where we left the plane. I was surprised just how long the runway was when you are walking it!
I have to say that although there isn't
much going on at Castle Kennedy yet this should be on anyones
list if you are looking for a trip out. The restaurant was nice and reasonably priced and beats airport food and Castle Kennedy is an easy airfield to fly into despite its reported 600 metres and Lord Stair is spending the landing fees (£10) on repairing more of the runway for future generations. I will definitely
go back again soon.
The return flight was a chance to get above the clouds and my passengers were amazed when we popped back through at Blackpool and it was nearly dark. All in all a lovely day out.