Debonair Sweepstakes

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A good "before" picture.

Assembling the racks for the Garmin GTN 750 and GTN 650.

New Avionics

The new, 70-amp alternator from National AirParts (right) replaces the old Alcor 55-amp unit (left)

The offending alternator bracket. Note the two breaks.

The new panel, almost finished

PFD, MFD, autopilot, and standby attitude switch panel

Reconditioned yoke assembly, complete with new Davtron clock

New wing bolt, installed in its fitting

New wing bolts from Beechcraft to the rescue!

One of the Debonair’s ugly old corroded wing bolts

The Debonair’s new front office. Can you believe this is a 1963 airplane?

The Debonair, on display duty at Sun N’ Fun 2013

The new door that Beechcraft found in their excess inventory warehouse at Global Parts Inc. in Augusta, Kansas

Years of friction and air loads have cut these “teeth” into the leading edge of the cowl door

So long, old paint. Note that the new engine access door is being tried on for size in this photo, and that the control surfaces are currently removed.

And voila–the final products–repaired, reskinned flaps on their way out the door. Looks better, no?

Repaired nose ribs got doublers to strengthen the trouble spots (left). The right nose rib shows the cracked and missing aluminum of the original flaps

Wear and cracking at the actuator attach point at the flap leading edge

A close-up of the LH nose gear door damage

Wings and empennage get the first coat of Matterhorn white at KD Aviation

Even the cowling access doors have been painted–on the inside! New baffling will be installed at a later date.

How white can white be? KD Aviation replaced that tired old mustard-colored paint scheme with this billiant Matterhorn white treatment

This in-progress shot shows the engine compartment, minus the new cowl access door from Select Airparts.

Front view, complete with passer-by. To the right is a structure that provides shade for visitors

A good view of the decal work and logo. The new N-number–N75YR–is also a new addition to the exterior

The old headliner–here secured with duct tape–will soon go. The fresh air scoop is opened and closed using a headliner-mounted control and it will be lubricated for smoother operation.

Dirt, old springs, washers, and much more fell to the belly of the 50-year-old Debonair

The belly of the beast. Here you get a good look at the asphalt, plus the static line for the pitot-static system. The tube ends should have been secured with hose clamps. Soon, they will be.

The interior was an aftermarket replacement for the original. Features include no lumbar support and now-rotting carpet and sidewalls. Take a good look, because it’s history–already.

AOPA’s Sweepstakes Debonair, on Air Mod’s ramp

Wham-o! First off, look at how clean the internal skins are, now that Air Mod has cleaned them. But the cleaning revealed a crack in a support bracket’s right side.

New full-flow Airwolf oil filter and engine adapter installed and waiting for fire sleeve hoses to arrive

Inspected, reconditioned, and painted seat frame, new reinforced seat sling, new foam, and new rollers.

Reconditioned, ergonomically correct seat, waiting for back and headrest covers to be installed.

New, aluminum-reinforced floorboards (foreground) replace the beat-up old plywood ones behind them.

Cutting the patterns for the seats. Air Mod has used Garrett Leather for past AOPA sweepstakes airplanes.

Belly, finally cleaned up and finished with a coat of zinc chromate.

Inner sides of fuselage show the end product of a thorough cleaning

One clean, corrosion-free belly.

Belly getting cleaner. Can you imagine 80 hours of this?

De-gunking the belly, with lacquer thinner, Scotchbrite pads, and a respirator.

Air Mod made a storage box in the forward spar cover. This takes advantage of previously-unused space.

Final fit and check of the new side panels, armrests, and seats. Also, a look at the pilot’s new seat, showing off the Garrett leather covering.

Air Mod’s Dennis Wolter, cutting the “waterfall Bubinga” hardwood veneer for the interior side panels.

Debonair Sweepstakes is closed

The Debonair Sweepstakes is now closed. Check back for winner information and for the next AOPA Sweepstakes coming soon!

AOPA’s Debonair Sweepstakes is closed!

Stay tuned for news about the winner of the completely restored 1963 Beechcraft Debonair B33 with an all-new ergonomic interior, the latest avionics, and up-to-date airframe mods. It’s a one-of-a-kind “Baby Bonanza” and it’s the grand prize in AOPA’s Debonair Sweepstakes!

Sweepstakes Logbook

Stand By for the Feature

Just a quick post to mention that the Debonair will appear on the cover of the July issue of AOPA Pilot, along with a wrap-up article. For those of you who haven’t received your copy yet, here’s a photo from the article: Read More

June 19, 2014

The Deb’s paint job debut!

Went up to Newburgh, New York’s Stewart International Airport yesterday to pick up the Debonair from the paint shop. And the new paint looks great! Sure looks better than the original paint job, which is at the head of this page! Don Reese of KD Aviation was on hand to show off the new airplane, […] Read More

May 13, 2014

The Final Painting

Time for another Friday post to kick off the weekend, and this time the subject is the Debonair’s paint scheme. As most of you already knew, the Debonair sported a decal-festooned exterior treatment for the past 10 months. The decals, some informative, some humorous, some with historical factoids from 1963 (the Debonair Sweepstakes’ production year) […] Read More

May 9, 2014