AOPA Pilot Magazine
April 2001 Volume 44 / Number 4
AOPA's 2001 Bonanza Sweepstakes: Firewall Forward to the Future
Think of what happened to Clark Kent when he entered a phone booth
To appreciate the change that came over the AOPA Bonanza Sweepstakes airplane in late February, think of what happened to Clark Kent when he entered a phone booth. Complete firewall-forward upgrades have transformed our perfectly competent 1966 Beech V35 Bonanza into a super sky screamer — an airplane that can readily leap halfway across the country in the time it takes an AOPA member to get through his monthly dose of AOPA Pilot magazine. The sweepstakes Bonanza is now easily capable of true airspeeds in excess of 200 knots.
Superior Air Parts
Superior Air Parts, of Dallas, Texas, supplied one of its Certified Millennium preowned engines for the sweepstakes Bonanza.
To achieve the remarkable cruise speeds, we married the new, upgraded Superior engine to a turbonormalizing system and intercooler from Tornado Alley Turbo, in Ada, Oklahoma. We'll report in detail on the turbo system in an upcoming issue.
In 1991, Superior introduced its drawing-board-new Millennium cylinders. The cylinder heads are an advanced aluminum alloy that is cast using investment rather than sand-casting techniques. No other aircraft cylinder manufacturer uses this process, even though it results in a superior casting with tighter grain structure. Cylinder barrels are machined out of a high-quality 4140 steel forging that meets AMS 6382 standards.
Superior chose to through-harden its Millennium cylinder barrels instead of the more common practice of nitriding. Nitriding, a nitrogen infusion process, produces a surface-hardened layer approximately .025 inches thick. Superior's departure from established manufacturing techniques hasn't affected the success of the Millennium cylinders, as the majority of reports from overhaul shops and users have been positive. These cylinders, with their new approach to design and method, have proven to be very popular, with more than 75,000 Millennium cylinders currently in use worldwide.
In 1999, at AOPA Expo in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Superior announced its Certified Millennium preowned engine program. The idea was to compete with Continental and Lycoming in the engine-rebuilding market by building engines to very high standards using Superior's Millennium cylinders and parts. Superior's motive, according to President and CEO Bernie Coleman, "was a competitive move" and was planned so that "the customer will have the best possible engine that's available with today's technology."
Western Skyways — starting point for the world
To test its Certified Millennium pre-owned engine concept Superior contracted with five existing engine-overhaul facilities in the United States and one in Canada to build engines to its standards. Each facility is an FAA-approved repair station. Western Skyways, of Montrose, Colorado, built up the IO-550 engine that is installed in the Sweepstakes Bonanza. This company, which has a thriving engine-overhaul business and outstanding reputation in its own right, was the first facility picked by Superior to implement its Certified preowned engine concept. Three members of the four-person leadership team — David Leis, Perry Nicholson, and John Robinson — have been building aircraft engines together for more than 30 years. Al Head joined the team in 1993.
According to initial reports during flight testing after the installation of the turbonormalizer system, the IO-550 engine that the Western Skyways team built for the Bonanza is a very smooth, strong engine. For more information on Western Skyways, visit the Web site (www.westernskyways.com).
After testing the Millennium concept in the United States and Canada, Superior is currently expanding its Millennium engine-building capabilities by designating new manufacturing facilities in Europe, Africa, and Australia.
The 'Certified' treatment
The Millennium cylinders and Certified preowned engine program fit into the AOPA goal of installing twenty-first century technology in the sweepstakes Bonanza. Hand in hand with the new technology is an outstanding engine warranty. Every Millennium engine comes with a five-year security assurance plan that covers parts and labor for five years or to TBO, whichever comes first. Each engine is built using a "one engine-one man" philosophy. In other words, the buck stops at the toolbox of the airframe and powerplant mechanic who assembles the engine. Engine cases are rigorously inspected — any that don't meet new standards for critical measurements such as deck height, main bearing journal alignment, and parting surface tolerances are rejected.
To create a smooth engine, the crankshaft and reciprocating parts are statically and dynamically balanced to exacting standards (less than 0.25 inch-ounces of imbalance). Another component of engine smoothness is equal power impulses out of all six cylinders. Superior's Certified engine specifications require that only hydraulic lifters with similar bleed-down rates be installed in the same engine.
Hydraulic lifters automatically adjust the valve clearance as engines expand and contract during operations. Hydraulic lifters are used in almost every modern airplane engine (one exception is the Lycoming O-235, most commonly used on the Cessna 152).
Hydraulic lifter assemblies are made up of the tappet body (the part that contacts the camshaft) and a hydraulic unit that fits inside the body. The bleed-down rate describes the rate at which oil (at a prescribed temperature or viscosity) in the tappet body escapes past the hydraulic unit when a prescribed force is applied to the unit. Matched lifter sets lessen the variations in intake and exhaust valve lift, and duration of valve opening. The result is more evenly matched power impulses from all six cylinders. A smooth-running engine lessens downtime because of reduced vibration-induced damage to expensive avionics and instruments, increases customer satisfaction, and makes flying safer by reducing pilot fatigue.
The critical initial start and cylinder break-in, along with a thrust load test, is carefully controlled during a test-cell run. Each engine has to pass a 67-checkpoint engine inspection before it's released for service. Even though each engine is built to the highest standards, there is an options list. GAMIjectors or turbo GAMIjectors, a choice of magnetos, and appearance packages are among the selections.
When a long list of new parts, a set of new Millennium cylinders, painstaking attention to detail, and an outstanding warranty are combined under the watchful eye of a top-notch engine shop, the result is a twenty-first century definition of the word engine — and a perfect fit for the AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza. For more information on Superior Air Parts and its Certified Millennium preowned engine pro-gram, visit the Web site (www.superiorairparts.com).
More power, bigger prop
The McCauley three-blade propeller that came with the Bonanza had been overhauled fewer than 15 flight hours before we bought it, so it was certainly serviceable, but it was only approved for the Bonanza's stock 285-hp installations. A new propeller was needed for our upgraded 300-hp installation.
The engine upgrade STC does allow for the installation of the 285-hp propeller on the 300-hp engine, and it would bolt right on. But the pilot would be required to fly the airplane at reduced power settings. A big placard saying, "Do not exceed 27.7 inches manifold pressure at sea level" would have to be installed on the instrument panel. We thought about that option for about three seconds.
Thanks to McCauley Propeller Systems, of Vandalia, Ohio, a brand-new, three-blade McCauley is installed on the sweepstakes Bonanza. Since 1989, with the introduction of its Blackmac line of STCed high-performance propellers, McCauley propellers for GA airplanes have included several new design features. A forged-aluminum, single-piece hub; new-generation airfoil and scimitar blade designs; a threadless-blade retention system; and a sealed, oil-filled hub lead the list.
The goal of this redesign was to improve the utility and performance of the props. For instance, the threadless-blade retainer replaces a threaded retainer design. Although the threaded-retainer system was strong and worked well, propeller overhaul costs were often high because of corrosion, which required either expensive rework or replacement of either the hub or the retainer nuts. The new retainer system is inside the hub, which is filled with lightweight oil and sealed. The oil eliminates the possibility of corrosion.
Every part of the Bonanza's firewall-forward transformation has been accomplished by the installation of the latest equipment. The McCauley propeller that was designed to deliver all 300 horsepower completes the process. The next step in our twenty-first century project is the installation of the Meggitt MAGIC display system, Garmin avionics, and S-Tec autopilot. The Bonanza was flown to JA Air Center near Chicago at press time for the next phase of the transformation.
E-mail the author at email@example.com.
AOPA would like to thank the following companies that are donating or discounting their products and services to refurbish AOPA's 2001 Bonanza Sweepstakes project or are otherwise assisting with the project.
Engine compartment paint
Ada Aircraft Painting LLC, 2800 Airport Rd, Hangar D, Ada, Oklahoma 74820; telephone 580/332-6086; fax 580/332-4547; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fuel cells (bladders)
Aero-Tech Services, Inc., 8354 Secura Way, Santa Fe Springs, California 90670; telephone 562/696-1128; fax 562/945-1328.
Inertia reels, seat belts, and shoulder harnesses
Aircraft Belts, Inc., 200 Anders Lane, Kemah, Texas 77565; telephone 281/334-3004; fax 281/538-2225; www.aircraftbelts.com.
Medeco door locks
Aircraft Security and Alert, 3863 Royal Lane, Dallas, Texas 75229; telephone 214/956-9563; fax 214/956-9960; www.aircraftsecurityalert.com.
Air Mod, 2025 Sporty's Drive, Clermont County Airport, Batavia, Ohio 45103; telephone 513/732-6688; www.airmod.com.
Alpha Coatings, Inc., 310 West 12th St., Washington, Missouri 63090; telephone 800 875-3903; fax 636 390-3906; www.alphacoatings.com.
Technical guidance and one-year free membership for winner
American Bonanza Society, P.O. Box 12888, Wichita, Kansas 67277; telephone 316/945-1700; fax 316/945-1710; www.bonanza.org.
AM/FM radio with CD player
Avionics Innovations, Inc., 2450 Montecito Rd., Ramona, California 92065; telephone 760/788 2602; fax 760/789 7098; www.avionicsinnovations.com.
Ayers, Inc., 2006 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad, California 92008; telephone 760/431-7600; fax 760/431-2848.
Standby alternator system
B&C Specialty Products, Inc., 123 East 4th, Newton, Kansas 67114; telephone 316/283-8000; www.bandcspecialty.com.
Sloped windshield, windows, vortex generators, aileron and flap gap seals
Beryl D'Shannon Aviation Specialties, Inc., P.O. Box 27966, Golden Valley, Minnesota 55427; telephone 800/328-4629 or 763/535-0505; fax 763/535-3759; www.beryldshannon.com.
Proficiency course for winner and spouse
Bonanza/Baron Pilot Proficiency Program, Inc., Mid-Continent Airport, P.O. Box 12888, Wichita, Kansas 67277; telephone 970/377-1877; fax 970/377-1512; e-mail email@example.com; www.bppp.org.
Prepurchase inspection assistance
Coastal Valley Aviation, Inc., 3119 Liberator St., Santa Maria, California 93455; telephone 805/928-7701; fax 805/928-4427; www.coastalvalleyaviation.com.
Concorde Battery Corporation, 2009 San Bernardino Road, West Covina, California 91792; telephone 626-813-1234; fax 626-813-1235; www.concordebattery.com.
Dual control yoke and control wheels
Cygnet Aerospace Corporation, , P.O. Box 6603, Los Osos, California 93412; telephone 805/528-2376; fax 805/528 2377; www.cygnet-aero.com.
Engine oil analysis kits
Engine Oil Analysis, 7820 South 70th East Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133; telephone/fax 918/492-5844; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants, 7400 Beaufont Springs Drive, Suite 410, Richmond, Virginia 23225; telephone 804-743-5762; fax: 804-743-5784; www.exxon.com/exxon_lubes/aviation_fr.html.
Avionics suite (including audio panel / marker beacon / intercom, transponder, and dual nav / com / GPS units)
Garmin International, 1200 East 151st St., Olathe, Kansas 66062; telephone 913/397-8200; fax 913/397-8282; www.garmin.com.
Precision matched fuel injection nozzles
General Aviation Modifications, Inc., 2800 Airport Rd., Hangar A, Ada, Oklahoma 74820; telephone 888-FLY-GAMI, 580/436-4833; fax 580/436-6622; www.gami.com.
Tires and tubes
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, 1144 E. Market Street, Akron, Ohio 44316; telephone 330/796-6323; fax 330/796-6535; www.goodyear.com.
Avionics and instrument panel installation
J. A. Air Center, DuPage Airport, 3N060 Powis Rd., West Chicago, Illinois 60185; telephone 800/323-5966 or 630/584-3200; fax 630/584-7883; www.jaair.com.
Wing tip fuel tank system
J. L. Osborne, Inc.,, 18173 Osborne Rd., Victorville, California 92392; telephone 800/963 8477, 760/245 8477; fax 760/245 5735; www.jlosborne.com.
J.P. Instruments Inc., 3185-B Airway Ave., Costa Mesa, California 92626; telephone 800/345-4574, 714/557-3805; fax 714/557-9840; www.jpinstruments.com.
Beryl D'Shannon upgrade and modification installations
Therese and Doug Kelly, Rt 2, Box R45, Military Highway, Mercedes, Texas; telephone 888/787-0689.
McCauley Propeller Systems, 3535 McCauley Drive, Vandalia, Ohio 45377; telephone 800/621-PROP or 937/890-5246; fax 937/890-6001; www.mccauley.textron.com.
MAGIC EFIS display system
Meggitt Avionics, Inc., 10 Ammon Drive, Manchester, New Hampshire 03103; telephone 603/669-0940; fax 603/669-0931; www.meggittavi.com.
Four-place oxygen system with Electronic Delivery System (EDS)
Mountain High E & S Company, 625 S.E. Salmon Avenue, Redmond, Oregon 97756-8696; telephone 800/468-8185, 541/923-4100; fax 541/923-4141; www.mhoxygen.com.
Murmer Aircraft Services, Houston SW Airport, 503 McKeever Rd. #1504, Arcola, Texas 77583; telephone 281/431 3030; fax 281/431 3031; www.murmerair.com.
Rebuilt seat back assist cylinders
G. Nichols & Co., 1923 Jackson Street, St. Clair, Michigan 48079; telephone 810/329-7083.
Audio landing gear and overspeed (Vne) warning system
P2, Inc., P.O. Box 26, Mound, Minnesota 55364-0026; telephone 888/921-8359, 952/472-2577; fax 952/472-7071; www.p2inc.com.
Landing gear retraction boot set
Performance Aero, East Kansas City Airport, Hangar L-1, Grain Valley, Missouri 64029; telephone 800/200-3141 or 816/847-5588; fax 816/847-5599; www.bonanza.org/performance/.
San Diego Aircraft Sales, Gillespie Field, 1987 N. Marshall Ave., Ste. 110, El Cajon, California 92020; telephone 619/562-0990; fax 619/562-0121; www.sandiegoac.com.
Scheme Designers, 277 Tom Hunter Road, Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024, 201-947-5889; www.schemedesigners.com.
SIRS Product Services, 25422 Trabuco Rd. #105, PMB 436, Lake Forest, California 92630 telephone 310/325-3422; fax 949/951-0778; www.sirsproducts.com.
Cabin sound suppression kit
Skandia Inc., 5002 North Highway 251, Davis Junction, Illinois 61020; telephone 815/393-4600; fax 815/393-4814; www.skandia-inc.com.
Camloc cowling fasteners
Skybolt Aerospace Fasteners, 9000 Airport Road, Leesburg Municipal Airport, Leesburg, Florida 34788; telephone 352/326-0001; fax 352/326-0011; www.skybolt.com.
Autopilot and EFIS certification
S-Tec Corporation, One S-Tec Way, Municipal Airport, Mineral Wells, Texas 76067; telephone 940/325-9406; fax 940/325-3904; www.s-tec.com.
Superior Air Parts, Inc., 14280 Gillis Rd, Dallas, Texas 75244; telephone 972/233-4433; fax 972/233-8809; www.superiorairparts.com.
Airframe anti-ice system
TKS Ice Protection Systems, 3213 Arnold Ave., Salina, Kansas 67401; telephone 888/865-5511 or 785/493-0946; fax 785/493-0959; www.weepingwings.com.
Turbonormalizer system and annual inspection
Tornado Alley Turbo, Inc., 300 Airport Rd, Ada, Oklahoma 74820; telephone 877/359-8284 or 580/332-3510; fax 580/332-4577; www.taturbo.com.
Engine buildup and test
Western Skyways, Inc., 1865 Launa Dr., Montrose, Colorado 81401; telephone 800/575-9929 or 970/249-0232; fax 970/249-4155; www.westernskyways.com.
Whelen Engineering Co., Route 145, Winthrop Road, Chester, Connecticut 06412-0684; telephone 860/526-9504; fax 860/526-4078; www.whelen.com.