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.
Yesterday I undertook a flight that really shows off the utility of a Beech Bonanza. I flew at 11am from Blackpool to arrive for a meeting in Stornoway Isle of Lewis in the most North Western tip of Scotland with one passenger. The arrival time was 1pm.
Here are the details of the flight:
Flight time was 1.59 minutes on the way out for 334 Nautical Miles
I intended to fly low at 1000ft all the way but was beaten by daft danger zones that made me have to pass too close to Lake District mountains that were shrouded in cloud. I quickly climbed to 4500ft to pass over the Lake District and ended up staying at that level all the way. We were in and out of clouds along the way.
The average ground speed was 166 knots.
Power settings were 2200rpm and 22 inches of manifold pressure.
The return journey today was in better weather but with a slight headwind.
We did 318 miles this way on a more direct route and flight time was 1 hour 58 minutes.
I flew at 8000ft to get on top of a broken layer of cloud until I had to descend to 5000ft to pass under an airway at Stranraer. I then remained at 4000ft until Walney Island.
The average ground speed this way was 161 knots.
Power settings were 2200rpm and 22 inches of manifold pressure. We were flying ROP. We could have saved fuel for a slight increase in flight time by flying LOP.
We burned a total of 61.5 US gallons of fuel on the trip or 233 litres at a rough cost of £447.00.
We couldnt get fuel on the Isle of Lewis as the refueller had gone home early. On our return to Blackpool we had 12.5 gallons of usable fuel in the tanks or roughly 45 minutes at the same speed.
The left tank was showing 1/8th of a tank of fuel and the right tank was showing nearly 3/4 of a tank. DONT EVER TRUST THE FUEL GAUGES ON THE BONANZA A36 AND ESPECIALLY NOT G-FOZZ! I always like to check the fuel burn on flights so I can calculate what I could have used out of the fuel available at the start.
For reference the guy I was meeting in Stornoway flew from Glasgow and his flight on FlyBE cost £375 for one person.