October 11, 2012
By Benét J. Wilson
A 1963 B33 Beech Debonair will be the next AOPA sweepstakes plane. In addition to the Debonair, members will have the chance to win another 74 prizes along with new ways to win.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne will marshal the Debonair until it is awarded to a lucky winner at the 2014 AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif. “We chose the classic Beechcraft Debonair for its good performance and suave sophistication—so representative of general aviation in 1963,” said Horne. “Our goal is to upgrade it with the latest systems and capabilities while maintaining the classic feel expected from a Beechcraft.
“This Debonair is one of Beechcraft’s earlier versions, which has been a very popular choice over the years because of its clean lines, modest power—225-hp—yet 150-knot cruise speed. Many pilots fondly call it the ‘Baby Bonanza.’ Be sure to follow the restoration process through AOPA’s magazines, websites, email newsletters, and video channels,” said Horne.
The four-seat aircraft has just been fitted with 20-gallon tip tanks, and new windows and a windshield at D’Shannon Aviation in Buffalo, Minn. The Debonair will then go to Santa Fe Aero Services to have its wiring and avionics replaced with a brand-new Aspen Avionics three-screen suite, plus a center stack built around Garmin’s new GTN 750 GPS/Nav/Comm/transponder with ADS-B in capability. This will be supported by a JP Instruments engine analyzer and a PS Engineering audio system—plus much more.
After approximately two months, the Debonair will go back to D’Shannon Aviation to have a new nose bowl and three-blade Hartzell scimitar propeller installed. The aircraft will then go to Air Mod in Batavia, Ohio, for a new modern, leather interior. The last step of the restoration will be a new paint job.
Look for the airplane at major aviation shows as the project progresses from 50-year-old airplane to twenty-first century sophisticate, all the while maintaining that Debonair cool of the early 1960s.
There is no purchase necessary to enter or win the AOPA Debonair sweepstakes. Visit the Web page for more information and complete rules. The Debonair sweepstakes is scheduled to begin in December 2012.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
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