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.

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AOPA’s Debonair Sweepstakes is under way!

AOPA will be giving away a 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

The Deb Revisits Sun N’ Fun

It’s been an eventful week for our/your sweepstakes Debonair. It’s been on display now for four days, and many, many AOPA members and other visitors have made the pilgrimage to AOPA’s new tentsite to see the airplane. The comments and observations have been uniformly positive, and the usual banter–”watch my plane for me,” “give me […] Read More

April 4, 2014

The first cross-country

It was with great anticipation that I fired up N75YR this morning. The mission: Fly the airplane to the Sun N’ Fun Fly-In, where it is now on display at the AOPA booth. But first things first. I desperately wanted to know how the Debonair would perform on its first cross-country flight. Today would be the first real-world flight […] Read More

March 31, 2014

Just in time for Sun N’ Fun …

…. the Debonair’s new engine is installed and ready for break-in. Yours truly was on hand for the final installation checks at Aero Engines of Winchester, located at the Winchester, Virginia Regional Airport last Friday. And the new engine’s first flight.   By the time I arrived the engine had had its first engine ground […] Read More

March 23, 2014

75 more winners this year

Seventh Prize
Streamlight Xenon/LED flashlight – 20 Winners!

Eighth Prize
Cabela’s Ripcord Duffle – 30 Winners!

PLUS SIX TOP PRIZES that YOU get to CHOOSE today!!!