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Why do Beech Bonanzas have such a strong following?

It is something I have noticed very obviously in the USA. I just wonder what special features those aircraft have.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Before the Cirrus came along, what was the alternative for a moderately, solid, IFR four to six seater cruising 165knots?

Obviously, in the golden age of GA, there were a few, but none quite to match or with a somewhat solid company in the background.

They’re strong (I guess American’s like that), reasonably fast, have good visibility and a nice control feel.

Some say the 250/260 Comanches were better, but the overall market had a different view.

Over time, it has become a trademark of its own, so I guess at some point in time, the fact that it was a “Bonanza” was almost enough by itself to make it the aircraft of choice.

Have you ever flown one?

Last Edited by boscomantico at 07 Jun 09:05
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

The V-tail is most iconic, that must help too, for certain people.
Yes, I know there are Bonanza’s with “classical” empennages, too. Wonder if they have the same loyalty from their owners/pilots.

Last Edited by at 07 Jun 09:00
EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

V-tail pilots say it looks better. While Intend to agree, it’s obviously a matter of taste. They also say they cruise noticeably faster, but in reality I think that the difference is minimal, at best (2 knots?). It’s also minimally lighter, obviously.

Straight tail pilots say they’re more stable in yaw, which is most probably true.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 07 Jun 09:13
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

What makes you think the following of the Bonanzas is stronger than for other brands? If you read Beechtalk, then you have a lot of Bonanza fans but if you subscribe to Cessna Pilots Association, you get the impression there is nothing other than Cessna. If you subscribe to EuroGA, it’s the TB20…

Last Edited by achimha at 07 Jun 11:15

That’s very funny but clearly not true for EuroGA.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Mooneyspace

I think the Bonanza has a long heritage of being one of the first true SEP travel machines which had real performance, payload and range. It has a fairly roomy cabin (higher than most and wider than some), is pretty stable to fly and has a good ramp presence, comfortable seats and looks spaceous from the inside.

Beech has always been a manufacturer often seen as producing a very high quality of building, luxurious interior and very sturdy planes. The Bonanza at the time was the airplane to fly for people who were shopping for a fast and reliable family airplane. For many, the Piper offerings looked (and were) too flimsy, Mooney to small (in the days of the short body models) and Cessnas of the time too pedestrian.

The Bonanza certainly is one of the most significant success stories in GA.

Whereas EuroGA is concerned: I think we have a pretty unique crowd here who can offer expertise on a variety of types to an extent which not many other forums have.

We have Peter who knows more than most about the TB20, Philipp who knows Cirrus inside out, Achim with his Cessna and I can offer some things about Mooney, e.t.c.

So if anyone has questions about any of these types, we do have resident in depth knowledge. That is what makes this place so unique.

Best regards
Urs

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 07 Jun 12:36
LSZH, Switzerland

As a Bonanza owner of 35 years, I have simple advice to my non Bonanza owner friends, if you don’t want to buy a Bonanza, don’t fly one. I have time in over 40 types of other aircraft and have yet to find one that has the range of performance – high speed to slow speed and short field performance; balance and feel of the controls, easier to land (makes the pilot look better than they are), and that can look like it came from the show room floor after 60 years if it has been maintained properly. This last point is not true for many older Cessna an Pipers or the newer plastic airplanes that show their age no matter what you do. I have flown the Cirrus SR22TN with the Perspective system, it is a great system design, but IMHO not a fun plane to fly. Bonanza’s have probably one of the largest list of after market STC’s and upgrades with engines, props, tip tanks, windows, airframe modifications, gross weight updates, etc. The only other plane that approaches the handling qualities of the Bonanza is a Mooney. Every thing else is like driving an 18 wheeler.

The Bonanza has a strong following and a great type club. Other types will haul more, go faster, have more room, better systems, but none of them can match the Bonanza handling qualities.

KUZA

“Other types will haul more, go faster, have more room, better systems, but none of them can match the Bonanza handling qualities.”

But one can better on these qualities……PA24-260C.

Flying the Beech Bonanza is a great primer for the type – a lot of useful performance/principles of flight applied information.

It would be helpful to get some real life information on maintenance. All these older complex aircraft require sensible preventive maintenance budgets, plus the avionics spend to keep up with European regs – 8.33, BRNAV, Mode S (presumably we will be asked to switch to DME/DME in due course).

Some of the older BE-35 versions have magnesium flying controls, and despite the carrier landing build quality, the wings are attached with wing bolts with recurring ADs.

The 33/35 series do have CofG limitations as fuel burns off, which arguably make them three seaters on some missions.

The 36TC is a beautiful evolution of the type, a serious airways SEP which can also operate from grass airfields.

On handling the Vike and SIAI Marchetti may have the edge?

In terms of economic resilience I think the 182/Six/206 may attract more continuous operating investment and % residual value to original value. A lot of beautiful V-tails, Comanches, 210s are not getting the investment they need to be around ten years from now.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)
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