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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.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Its annual inspection time for Beech Bonanza G-FOZZ

Its that time again, it comes around too soon where our wonderful regulatory authority make sure that aviation costs too much for most people. To be fair I think most authorities are much the same on time frames for annual inspections but it does cheese me off none the less that you must have a full detailed annual inspection for my A36 Bonanza (or indeed any other plane) every year despite activity and the bill is usually huge.

Now to be fair again, on one of the annuals they did discover low compressions which meant it was an even more expensive operation that year but I still cant help feeling that there could be a better way to decide when you need inspecting and to what extent. Take the example of a plane that spends most of a year sat in a warm hangar, no in fact all of the year, now I know there are things that can go wrong sitting still but does it really need a full strip down and inspection to the same degree as a commercial plane that has done 1000 hours in the year?

Surely there could be a more intelligent regime that means that we don't all have to spend ludicrous amounts for our planes to sit still. Surely it could be longer periods for low hours planes perhaps based on hours and with a sensible time frame if the hours are not reached.

Now to back up my argument, there are very few accidents that come about because of failure of the plane in any way including engines (please don't let me become a mechanical failure statistic to prove me wrong). In the cases that do, in most circumstances no amount of inspecting would predict the problem (my low compressions excluded). Now you could argue that the accident rate is so low for mechanical reasons precisely because of this regime but frankly I think that is not true. Pilots are the weakest link and therefore the argument should be to encourage more training and practice but its a catch 22 because pilots are spending all their cash maintaining their planes so cant afford to go flying!

As a last point on this, how do you feel flying your plane immediately after an annual inspection, I am always worried that the inspection has made rather than found a problem, perhaps a pair of pliers left somewhere or something.

Before anyone send me messages saying I am wrong I am not arguing for no inspections because actually it is quite nice that some checks that the cables that connect the rudder etc to the wiggly bits in the cockpit but I just reckon it could be made into a more cost efficient setup. Then again isn't that the same for all aviation.

Keeping my fingers crossed that my Beech Bonanza A36 is back in the air tomorrow and without requiring too much to pass it fit for another year!

I really enjoy your blog about private aircraft ownership. As a charter pilot and mechanic in the States it is great to read someone's viewpoint on aircraft that flies for the enjoyment of it and not a paycheck! However, I must argue with your viewpoint that annual inspections are too extensive. It is too often the aircraft that sits all year that needs the most work, in my experience, and is in most need of TLC. The cost of annual inspections can be very expensive, but the ongoing maintenance itemsperformed at such a time are critical, i.e. lubrication, engine items, corrosion inspection. It is great to see your aircraft is getting used regularly, though, and not a hangar queen!
Hi Jeff

I wasn't saying annuals are too extensive, merely the paperwork that surrounds them I think. I lost three weeks flying this year waiting for someone to sign a form!

Thanks for the comments however
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