AOPA's 2001 Bonanza Sweepstakes - Feb. 28 Pictures and Commentary

November 11, 2009

Pictures and Commentary

Finally we fly - but fast!

Feb. 28 - Based on reports from the pilots who are flying the performance tests on the sweepstakes Bonanza, the engine/turbo installation is very strong, and the airplane is very fast. After the installation of the Superior Certified Millennium preowned 300-horsepower IO-550 engine, a new McCauley three blade propeller, and a Tornado Alley Turbos (TAT) turbonormalizer system, the test pilots at TAT in Ada, Oklahoma, began flying acceptance and adjustment tests on Saturday, February 24.

Except for some minor glitches that have been adjusted for, every expectation has been met and exceeded. The engine is reported to run very smoothly, and is, "very horsey," Oklahoma-speak for it's got a lot of power. In addition, the Whirlwind II intercooler allows the turbonormalizer/engine installation to run very cool, with climb cylinder head temperatures (CHT) remaining under 380 degrees F.

George Braly, chief engineer at TAT, and a long-time Bonanza owner, flew the tests and reported that the sweepstakes Bonanza airframe seems pretty tight, the door shuts nicely, and the wind noise for a 35-year-old Bonanza is minimal. This is good news, but what's even more exciting is the fact that the airplane is fast. Braly reported economy cruise speeds of over 200 KTAS while burning 14.7 gallons per hour.

During one of the flights at a high power setting at 17,500 feet, the true airspeed peaked at 215 knots. Fuel flow was 18.5 gph, with the engine running at 2,500 rpm and wide open throttle (WOT). As promised, the Superior engine/TAT turbonormalizer and intercooler helped keep the temperatures low, with the highest CHT reading 358 degrees. These numbers were achieved with the fuel mixture set at 90 to 100 degrees lean-of-peak (LOP).

The fuel information and engine monitoring is available because the sweepstakes Bonanza is equipped with a J.P Instruments EDM 800. This monitor supplies real time EGT/CHT/TIT, fuel flow, and horsepower readouts. In addition to displaying all this information to the pilot, the EDM 800 data logging system records up to 36 temperatures and four pressures every second�and saves the data for the last 100 flight hours. This data can be instantly downloaded with a credit card sized data card. This unassailable data stream is invaluable for trend monitoring, troubleshooting problems, and warranty backup. Download a copy of the EDM 700/800 Pilots Guide at

Included with each TAT turbonormalizer installation is a pilot training course. During this course, pilots are introduced to the TAT method of powerplant management, which involves controlling climb turbine inlet temperatures (TIT) by adjusting the mixture to obtain specific number values, and cruising with the mixture lean-of-peak. This week AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne is in Ada learning the TAT engine management procedures. If the weather cooperates, by the time you read this Horne will have flown the Bonanza to JA Air Center at Chicago/West Chicago Airport in Dupage, Illinois, to start the avionics phase of the upgrade. It is then that will find out just how much paperwork we have ahead of us in installing the Meggitt MAGIC EFIS panel, Garmin stack, and S-Tec autopilot, among other enhancements.

Next week - Horne will report on the first real cross-country flight in the sweepstakes Bonanza with its new firewall forward upgrades.

The following companies are among those helping us with the 2001 AOPA Bonanza Sweepstakes project:

Tornado Alley Turbos Inc., 300 Airport Rd., Ada, Oklahoma 74820; telephone 877/359-8284 or 580/332-3510; fax 580/332-4577;

Superior Air Parts Inc., 14280 Gillis Rd., Dallas, Texas 78244; telephone 972/233-4433; fax 972/233-8809;

McCauley Propeller Systems, 3535 McCauley Drive, Vandalia, Ohio 45377; telephone 800/621-PROP or 937/890-5246; fax 937-6001;

J. P. Instruments Inc., 3185-B Airway Ave., Costa Mesa, California 92626; telephone 800/345-4574 or 714/557-3805; fax 714/557-9840;

J A Air Center, DuPage Airport, 3N060 Powis Rd., West Chicago, Illinois 60185; telephone 800/323-3200 or 630/584-3200; fax 6730/584-7883;

Click on images for a larger view.
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Level at 17,500 feet and flying at 162 KIAS. If standard pressure altitude and temperature are assumed, this indicated airspeed converts to 208 knots true airspeed.
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The JPI EDM 800 displays the engine temperatures at 17,500 feet with the engine power at wide open throttle (WOT), 2,500 rpm, and the mixture leaned 80 degrees lean of peak (LOP). The display shows 1,526 degrees F turbine inlet temperature (TIT), with a fuel flow of 18.6 gallons per hour. The vertical segment stacks represent graphical temperature indications for each cylinder, with the CHT as the lower set of segments, and the EGT as the upper set of segments. The missing segment between the CHT and the EGT segments serves to separate the two indications. The uppermost segment in each cylinder stack indicates the relative EGTs. The turbine inlet temperature is shown graphically on the right bar.
Meggitt Avionics Garmin S-Tec