November 11, 2009
Jan. 31 - Many AOPA members have been wondering what happened to the Sweepstakes Bonanza. The year-long chain of weekly updates were suspended during the Christmas holiday and there haven't been any follow-ups. Did the avionics ever get FAA approval? Did an airplane rustler grab it and set a heading for south of the border? Or is the Bonanza safe in a secret hangar where it's being readied for its new owner? The answers, in order, are no, no and yes.
Since yours truly, Associate Editor Steve Ells, flew the Sweeps Bonanza back from the AOPA Expo in mid-November, N2001B has been hangared at the Meggitt/S-Tec facility in Mineral Wells, Texas, undergoing the supplemental type certificate (STC) process for the electronic flight information system (EFIS). Yes, the process is slow; yes, the process was delayed because the FAA had to iron out a few questions about the approval process; and yes, STC approvals take a long time. Everyone (including Phil Boyer, who would love to fly it for a few hours before he has to award it to a lucky AOPA member) has been grinning and bearing it during this drawn out process.
By the time you read this, I will have returned home after spending 10 days in Mineral Wells, where he completed an annual inspection on the bird. There were a few minor discrepancies, as well as normal servicing that required a little action. But the engine compressions are strong, and the airplane has gone through its first 80 hours of operation with flying colors.
As to when the BO will be done, any predicted date would be a definite maybe. The wheels grind slowly but progress is being made.
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