AOPA's 2001 Bonanza Sweepstakes - Nov. 13 Pictures and Commentary

November 11, 2009

Pictures and Commentary

Nov. 13 - Sing to the tune of the Eagles song Take it Easy:

Sitting in a Hilton in Waco, Texas
It's such a wet place to be
Looking for a clear day
So I won't have to stay
In Texas eternally
Take it easy, take it easy
Don't let the fog and soggy weather
Drive you crazy

Hi, faithful Sweepstakes Bonanza fans. It's I, Associate Editor Steve Ells. I penned that little ditty as I sat in the fine, comfortable pilot's lounge at Texas Aero in Waco, Texas. It's Tuesday, November 13. I left Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in sunny Florida early Sunday morning after AOPA Expo fully intent on delivering the Bonanza back to Mineral Wells, Texas. And I almost made it.

According to my DUATS-generated flight plan it's 1,016.9 statute miles from Fort Lauderdale to Mineral Wells, home of Meggitt/S-Tec Avionics, where the Bonanza panel is undergoing FAA certification. But I meander so the total distance is probably more like the airways-following flight plan said-1,130 miles. According to the tach, BO carried me for 7.3 hours before weather forced us down in Waco. Before everyone gets out their E6-Bs and concludes that the BO is slow, let me reassure you that the true airspeed calculations revealed a steady 185 knots. But we were traveling west.

It's now 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and I'm waiting for the fog to lift so I can make the 95 miles flight to Mineral Wells. If everything goes my way, I'll be back home in California by 7 p.m. this evening, after enduring an airline flight out of Dallas. I've got my fingers crossed, and I'll be happier when the BO finally has IFR certification. Even though it has cutting edge equipment installed, the race is on to see if the Meggitt/S-Tec experts can get the avionics approved before the end of the year. Stay tuned for further updates.

Click on images for a larger view.
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Garmin GNS units track the Bonanza's progress as it flies west.
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The view out the left window from 10,500 feet and 80 miles east of Waco.
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Ramping it in the morning fog at Waco International.

Meggitt Avionics S-Tec