Recognized by its easy-to-spot V tail, the Beechcraft Bonanza is an aircraft that debuted in 1947 with state-of-the-art workmanship. As World War II ended it was introduced as an all-metal light aircraft that will take the general aviation pilots by storm.
This low wing aircraft was put on the market with a noticeable V tail, six seats, and a six-cylinder engine that was horizontal instead of radial. Although it was designed as an all-metal aircraft it still carried a sufficient amount of speed as well as a record-breaking performance at its time of release.
The Bonanzas retractable landing gear added to the appeal and increased its performance value. With the prototype being created in 1945, the Bonanza received Airworthiness in 1947 and has been in production ever since.
With more than 17 000 Bonanzas having been built, it is often seen at common airstrips and can be spotted from a mile away with its signature V tail. Owners and fans have a well-known adoration for the aircraft and its thanks to the quality of the Bonanza that it is still in such high demand today.
2011/ Beechcraft Bonanza / Model Specs
The Bonanza is known for being a spacious general aviation aircraft with a high level of performance. Thanks to its impeccable design and luxury qualities it is still an aircraft that is sought out today.
The Bonanza contains six seats, one for the pilot and the remaining five for passengers. Passengers are given ample legroom to allow for a comfortable flight. Rear seats can also be used as extra baggage space when not carrying passengers, and many pilots have managed to fit in an array of luggage like bicycles, fishing rods, and skis into the back of the aircraft.
Although it contains the capacity for six people and a variety of camping gear, the Bonanza isn’t a particularly large aircraft. With a wingspan of 33 feet and 6 inches, and a height of almost 9 feet, this aircraft can fit in a conventional hangar and still have space to spare.
This Beechcraft aircraft has a useful load of up to 1073lbs, allowing for significant weight in luggage. Long family vacations with a lot of bags and full fuel isn’t an issue, making trips easy to plan and to pack for.
The engine in the Bonanza G26 is the Continental IO-550, a six-cylinder, fuel-injected engine that has an output of 300 horsepower. It carries a 3 bladed composite aluminum propeller that has a diameter of over 6 feet, making it a strong and sturdy performer.
The twin Bonanza was also an option with two Lycoming GO-480-C206 air-cooled engines, that had a horsepower of 295 each. Production ended in 1961 as this model evolved into the Beechcraft Baron.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Model Prices
There are three main models of the Bonanza that are being flown today, and the popular Model 36 has been in production since 1968. With both new and used Bonanzas available on the market, they come at a large range of prices.
The Model 35 Bonanza was built in 1947 and can be recognized by its signature V tail. Production ceased in 1982, but many V tail Bonanzas can be seen on the ramp today. Depending on the quality of the aircraft and how well it was maintained, the Model 35 can start at 80,000$USD and can be up to 250,000$USD.
The Model 33 Bonanza, also known as the Debonair, had been in production between 1960 and 1995 and carries a conventional tail. Even with its age, the quality of the Debonair fetches it at a high price. Well-maintained models can range from 200,000$ to 300,000$USD, and due to its strong reputation as a reliable aircraft, many owners are willing to pay the expensive price.
The Model 36 Bonanza began production in 1968 and is considered a slightly elongated version of the Debonair. With it still being produced today, you can purchase a brand new Bonanza G36 for up to 800,000$USD. Older models are less costly, and a few decades old Model 36 can be found in at a range of 250,000$ to 450,000$USD.
Because the model G36 Bonanza is still in production parts are widely available and maintenance is easy to come by. Many approved maintenance organizations have experience in working on the Bonanza and the labor is, therefore, less expensive.
Beechcraft Bonanza G36/ Performance and Handling
The Bonanza G36 is the latest and greatest manufactured for the public by Beechcraft Textron. Its performance is considered top tier for its category and is well received all across the world by general aviation and commercial pilots alike.
The G36 has a cruise speed of up to 176 knots, which is approximately 203 miles per hour. This is provided by a 300 horsepower engine and it is reliable when it comes to arriving at your destination on time.
The range of the Bonanza is 716 nautical miles. This is already impressive, but the fact that this distance can be accomplished with full passengers and fuel is what truly makes the Bonanza a popular aircraft. Without a full load, the G36 can fly up to 930 nautical miles.
The service ceiling of the Bonanza is 18,500 feet. At this altitude, less fuel is burned which increases range. Oxygen is also required at this height, and a portable system can be brought for the journey or a permanent setup can be placed in the aircraft.
The Bonanza can climb up to 1230 feet per minute, over 200 feet faster than average. By being able to climb so quickly the Bonanza can be taken into smaller airports with less runway length, or airports with obstacles like mountains or buildings at the end of the departure path.
The G36 is equipped with the Garmin 1000, an integrated flight system with both a primary and multi-function flight display. The glass panel provides useful information for every flight and allows the pilot to improve their instrument scan and skills.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Model Maintenance Schedule
Unless operated commercially, the Bonanza falls under the same annual maintenance requirements as every other general aviation aircraft. Once a year a certified mechanic will need to do a complete overview of the aircraft to make sure all of its components are still airworthy.
One thing that needs to be monitored is the aircraft gear. The gear is electromechanical and can be very reliable if properly maintained. Should the gear not come down when selected in flight there is an emergency hand crank that will release the gear and it is located behind the front seats.
Bonanza/ Modifications and Upgrades
Beechcraft has been fine-tuning the Bonanza for decades. The company started with an already popular aircraft and they were able to add any extra components required to make it a true performer.
The Model 33 debonair was equipped with 225 horsepower. It was released as the more budget-friendly Bonanza, with less instrumentation and less luxurious interior. Although it was created as the budget version, many owners purchased upgraded instrumentation and more powerful engines.
The Debonair can be fitted with an improved interior trim, instrument panel, and leading-edge for better performance. Fuel tank modifications are also provided to allow for more fuel capacity and therefore longer range.
The Model 35 had 165 horsepower and came with a V tail. Newer models were built with a higher takeoff weight and nosewheel steering. Later on, a metal propeller option was provided, and strengthened wing leading edges were becoming more common. Engine upgrades also became more widely available.
The Model 36 is equipped with 285 horsepower. After its initial production, the model came with an improved interior and a new fuel system that allowed for better performance and a higher takeoff weight.
Beechcraft changed engines for every model, creating a fleet of Bonanzas that have different levels of strength to their engines. Owners began to enjoy upgrading the engine themselves when it came time to overhaul, and many STCs became available for this service. Even turbocharged engines became an option for optimum performance.
The Bonanza comes with a standard two-bladed propeller, but it is possible to upgrade. Some owners choose to put a three-bladed prop on their aircraft for better performance, although the larger propeller does increase weight and can cause some limitations.
Even increasing the baggage compartment is possible for models before 1979. Eight cubic feet can be provided behind the passenger seats with a capacity of up to 70 lbs.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Where to Find Replacement Parts
Like most general aviation aircraft there aren’t many choices when it comes to purchasing parts, but luckily there are parts in abundance. Parts for the Bonanza can be found new or used and are widely available.
Purchasing new parts for the Bonanza is a luxury. Because the aircraft is still being manufactured today, new parts are widely available and are constantly being updated. New parts can be purchased online with retailers like Aircraft Spruce or Univair, or from Beechcraft Textron themselves.
While purchasing parts new is a privilege that very few general aviation aircraft share, it might be expensive to only purchase new parts for your Bonanza. If that is the case, then used parts are also widely available.
Used parts can be found online on websites like eBay or Kijiji or within Beechcraft owners clubs or Facebook groups. Used parts are easy to find by asking forums and local Beechcraft owners if they know of anyone having the parts that are needed.
Mechanics also keep their fair share of parts in stock and have access to a parts catalog. While you might not be sure which part to order or look for, a mechanic always has the best interest of the aircraft in mind and will be sure to find you the parts you need at a reasonable price.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Model Common Problems
While the Bonanza has a strong reputation among its pilots, many still look at the V tail in wonder. While it is a noticeable feature on the Bonanza, it has also caused a number of accidents.
There are two issues associated with the V tail and its accidents. One is where the V tail has a history of breaking up in the air, the other is an issue of ruddervator flutter.
After some testing due to a number of accidents associated with the deteriorating V tail in flight, Beechcraft found that it was not up to FAA standards.
When put through too much stress, the V tail can fail, and an AD was placed in order to force pilots to keep the aircraft below the speed at which the tail will lose its strength. In the meantime, Beechcraft created a bracing kit to be applied to the V tail.
The issues with flutter were most often found when pilots had too fast of an airspeed. The aircraft would begin to vibrate almost violently, as if in turbulence. Most pilots reduced airspeed and would land safely, but would immediately notice the damage after inspecting the tail.
Flutter damage resulted in bent stabilizers, paint looking cracked and crinkled, and visible tears. Invisible cracks would later be discovered upon further inspection as if the whole tail was about to be shaken off.
Many tests and repairs have been done by Beechcraft to resolve the issue of the V tail, but it is still side-eyed by many general aviation pilots. On the other hand, owners of the V tail insist that because many of the accidents and incidents were recorded as pilot errors, no blame should be directed towards the V tail design.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Insurance Options
Insurance can be costly and is greatly dependent on the pilot’s experience level. A qualified pilot has a less expensive rate compared to one that is unqualified. A pilot is considered qualified when they have a private pilot’s license, an instrument rating, and a minimum of 1000 hours.
Time on type is also an important qualifier when it comes to insurance. Having at least 25 hours on the make and model of the aircraft that will be insured will decrease the overall cost.
Like most general aviation aircraft, the Bonanza can be put in one of two categories of insurance. The first is a liability, which covers the pilot, and the second is hull coverage, which covers the aircraft. Every aircraft needs a minimum of liability insurance, while hull coverage is optional.
With 1,000,000$ USD in coverage, bwifly.com estimates up to 750$ a year for liability on a qualified pilot. A pilot with fewer qualifications can expect a price of up to 1050$ a year.
Hull coverage is more expensive because it includes aircraft. With the addition of 50,000$ for hull coverage, a qualified pilot can expect a cost of up to 1600$ a year. Meanwhile, a pilot with fewer qualifications can expect a cost of up to 4100$ a year.
Although it might seem expensive for an unqualified pilot, as they gain more experience on the aircraft there will be a decrease in cost in the following years.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Model Resale Value
As aviation is becoming more popular, more pilots are looking to buy and sell used aircraft. With Bonanza having a strong reputation and easily accessible parts, it is an aircraft that is in high demand and will often be sold for the same price that it was purchased.
This is of course if the maintenance and care of the aircraft are up to date and reflect its age. An older aircraft in poor condition will lose its value, while a newer one that is in good condition can sometimes sell for more than it was purchased.
A 2007 model G36 Bonanza can be purchased at 650,000$USD while a 1993 B36 Bonanza can be purchased for 400,000$USD. For such a large age gap, the reduction in price is almost negligible.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Owner Reviews
The Bonanza is considered a solid and reliable aircraft by many of its owners. Being decently sized, they are known to be a great option for pilots who want to fly their family and are comfortable for long flights.
There is mention of the possibility of the door popping open on takeoff when not closed properly. The warning is shared among pilots because the sound is loud and can be alarming, resulting in an accident on takeoff.
Baggage space can be an issue, depending on the model of Bonanza, but a kit can be purchased that will increase the rear baggage compartment to allow for plenty of space.
In all, the Bonanza is greatly loved for its exceptional performance. When it comes to choosing a six-seat aircraft many looks for a Bonanza due to its strong reputation.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Similar Aircraft
Beechcraft isn’t the only company that has created a six-seat, single-engine high-performance plane. While the Bonanza tends to be more well-known, there are other options available if it isn’t exactly what you are looking for.
The Piper Lance also falls into the six-seat, low wing category. This high-performing aircraft carries many similarities to the Bonanza and is considered a solid aircraft. Its performance is slightly less impressive than that of a Bonanza but is still excellent for taking the family on vacation.
The Cessna 206 Stationair is another six-seater aircraft. The 206 is loved by many Cessna owners and provides numerous features such as a clamshell door for easy loading and a 300 horsepower engine. Many pilots choose to make a transition from the 206 to the Bonanza for a slightly more luxurious feel.
Beechcraft Bonanza/ Clubs You can Join
Beechcraft is a popular company that has many pilots across the globe flying their aircraft. Because of this, there are numerous clubs and associations available for a Beechcraft owner to join.
The American Bonanza Society on bonanza.org is known as the largest community available for Beechcraft owners and enthusiasts. Memberships can be purchased and will give you access to community forums, safety seminars, and resources including local inspectors and maintenance engineers.
Beechcraft owners can also check out beechtalk.com, an online aircraft owners and pilot group forum that allows individuals to ask questions to the Beechcraft familiar community.
Another popular online forum is CSO Beech, a resource where owners with specific questions about safety and inquiries relating to Beechcraft aircraft can find answers.
Some clubs might be more local to your regions, such as the Southeastern Bonanza Society, a club whose membership will give you access to local events and information for local pilots and mechanics.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the fuel burn on the Beechcraft Bonanza?
Answer: Fuel burn greatly depends on the type of engine installed in the aircraft. Some engines are even turbocharged, which typically burns 17-18 gallons an hour. However, on a normal day, a typical piston engine installed in the Bonanza will burn approximately 12 gallons per hour at 2300 RPM.
Question: What is the average cruise speed?
Answer: Cruise speed is dependant on the horsepower of the engine, the altitude at which the aircraft is flying, and the weather that day. On average, the Beechcraft Bonanza gets 150-160 knots at 11,000 feet on a standard day.
Question: What is the seat placement in the Bonanza?
Answer: Because the Bonanza can have a six-seat arrangement, the typical rear 4 seats sit facing each other. If desired the pilot can switch the placement of the second-row seats to be placed forward. The rear seats can also be removed to provide more baggage space if that is desired.
Question: Does the Beechcraft Bonanza have anti-icing systems?
Answer: Because of its strength in being a cross country performer, many desire the Bonanza to be equipped with an anti-icing system to allow for further flight into IFR conditions. Luckily the Bonanza can be equipped with a TKS system that allows for an-icing in flight.
Question: Is it difficult to find insurance?
Answer: Thankfully aircraft insurance is not too difficult to come by in the United States. Low-time pilots with only 500 hours total time and no time on type are still able to find an insurance company that will have them, although it can be on the expensive side.