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 was, like everyone I am sure, very saddened to hear of the death of two pilots at Blackpool on Saturday. I am not sure of the conditions and problems they were faced with but it does make you aware of the dangers of flying. It doesn't put me off but makes me keener to learn everything I can to make my flights as safe as possible.
I now know of 4 pilots (and six people) from Blackpool in the last five years that have died in crashes. Two of them that I have met and spoken to personally (not the two from Friday).
It really shows how careful you have to be and how much practice you need to become safer. It therefore really annoys me that governments are not working to make safety in aviation cheaper to attain. Clearly currency for pilots is vital but currency comes a t a huge cost because of the ridiculous red tape around light aviation. Sure the red tape saves lives but how many does it take by making it so expensive that people cant practice this hobby more.
Owning my own plane I have realised how ridiculously expensive it is and this is discouraging me from flying as often as I would like to. Surely all the over the top servicing requirements have to filter through to the pilot who rents a plane so the costs are too high for them to fly often and remain proficient. That frustrates me.
If my plane does not move from the last annual inspection to the next it costs me still the price of a full annual inspection. We are talking about £4000 here. That is ludicrous. It means that for every hour my A36 Bonanza flies there is about £40 just in annual inspection fees!
The new compulsory insurance for the Bonanza costs me over £5,000 per year. That's another £50 per hour.
The list goes on and on.
I went out on Friday to have a flight to get me back in practice and decided to do some slow speed handling in the Bonanza. Its not often I do this as I usually take off, turn on the auto pilot and press a few more buttons then land.
It was amazing just how differently the A36 handled when flying at about 100 knots with no flap down. In fact it was plain scary, how mushy the handling becomes. I guess it is like this so you have no excuse for recognising the signs of a stall.
Next chance I get I am going to go out again and get some height and try some stalls while on a simulated approach. I have always thought that is is funny that you practice stalls with the nose of the plane in the air but actually the most likely and dangerous time you will stall is when going slow in the circuit and perhaps when turning on finals or something. I guess its more important to practice in that configuration.