November 11, 2009
In 1848, President James K. Polk addressed the nation and confirmed that gold had indeed been found in California. The following year people rushed to the West in hopes of finding gold. The trek took months for these 49ers to get across the rocky mountains of the West in pursuit of prosperity. If these prospectors were lucky, they would find a bonanza, a rich pocket of ore or source of great wealth or prosperity. One lucky AOPA member will find himself or herself in a Bonanza, as AOPA gives away a completely refurbished 1966 V35 Beech Bonanza in 2001.
The Beech Aircraft Corporation introduced the Bonanza as the first post-war high performance design.ï¿½The Bonanza was type certificated on March 25, 1947. The original aircraft was introduced at a base price of $7,975. More features and greater power raised the base price to $25,300 by 1960. Production was handled at the Beech facility in Wichita, Kansas. The first model was bare aluminum; paint was not even an option until the introduction of the A35 in 1949. The Bonanza in its various forms has remained in constant production since it was introduced in 1947. The Bonanza was the forefather and spawned the production of the T-34s, the Tavelair and the Barons, the Debonair (dubbed Bonanza in 1968) and the stretched Debonair.
Good looks and good performance are two prominent features of the Bonanza. The classic V-tail design is the most prominent feature of this aircraft. Originally called a butterfly design at the time, Beech believed the V-tail would save weight and possibly create less drag. That design was later criticized and the focus of controversy that would ultimately result in an AD, but yet the Bonanza legacy lived on. The interior offered a spacious luxury design with plenty of headroom and great visibility from its broad windows. However, the earlier models offered less rear seat room then the later counterparts. Pilots have always commended the airplane's design for its comfort, responsive handling and performance.
With 285 horses under the cowling, the 6-shooter Continental IO-520 fuel injected engine offered plenty of power and good fuel economy. An optional factory turbocharger was available on some of the later models. Cruise speeds topped 170 knots and standard range offered over 700 nm. Popular tip tanks and speed modifications increased these numbers and can be found on many of the Bonanza's on the used market today.
Weighing in at 3400 lbs maximum take-off weight, this beefy airplane sits atop a rugged set of gear that is able to stand up to the stresses of many unpaved strips. This landing gear is so rugged, it is practically the same gear used on the Baron which weighs a ton more. The rugged gear, combined with the Bonanza's climb performance, made this airplane an excellent short-field aircraft.
Performance at a glance
Landing (50 ft)
Rate of climb
Specifications at a glance
Current Vref price
$96,000 base retail
285 @ 2,700 rpm
Max gross weight
Throughout the year we will chronicle the improvement we will be making to our V35. We will be modify this classic with state of the art avionics, engine work, speed modifications, interior, and cosmetics that will make this V-tail the envy of the airport. In the event you ever need to get somewhere in a rush, this classic will get you there in style.
For further information on Bonanzas and past articles, please check out the following links. [The symbol â€¡ indicates pages available only to AOPA members who have registered to use the Special Access members-only portion of this Web site.]
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