AOPA Pilot Magazine
November 2001 Volume 44 / Number 11
AOPA's 2001 Bonanza Sweepstakes: Panel Perfection
Of PFDs, NDs, ADAHRS, and Fifty-Five Xs
AOPA's Sweepstakes Bonanza, a totally refurbished and modernized 1966 Beech V35 V-tail Bonanza, is coming down the homestretch. That means I won't be flying it much longer except — sob, sob — to AOPA Expo in Fort Lauderdale in November, then to deliver it to some lucky winner's home airport early next year. I have to savor every moment now. Take pictures, that sort of thing. One picture, for sure, will be of N2001B's instrument panel. And what a picture it is. This panel is totally up to date in every way.
We've already mentioned the Garmin GNS 530 and 430 dual GPS nav/com installation in earlier stories about the sweepstakes Bonanza, and we have dedicated an extensive feature article to these marvelous combination VHF nav/com and GPS boxes (see "On Display: The Big Picture," July Pilot). Like most other pilots I find the 530 and 430 two of the most intuitive boxes on the market. The displays are huge (especially that of the 530), the readability great, the situational awareness wonderful. If you get lost or screw up an IFR approach using one of these boxes, then you ought to think about ripping up your pilot certificate.
Then there's the redundancy — and the Goodrich WX500 Stormscope capability. Each of the Garmin boxes incorporates a VHF com radio, a VOR/localizer/ILS nav receiver (both with modes that store a second frequency that can be flip-flopped from standby to active duty with the push of a button), and, but of course (use your best French accent here), a 12-channel GPS receiver with approval for all IFR operations. This means that you have not only two communications radios, but also four sources of navigation information. Add the Stormscope displays (shown on one of the nav pages, and invoked by turning a knob at the lower-right corner of the 530/430) and the TKS "weeping wing" ice protection and you've got everything — short of weather radar — you need to safely cope with storms or escape icing conditions. When it's stormy, my preference is to leave one of the Garmins on the Stormscope display and use the other for navigation information.
The Garmins share the panel with the Meggitt Avionics' new Generation Integrated Cockpit (MAGIC) two-tube active-matrix liquid crystal displays. The MAGIC units bring to light airplanes the kind of displays formerly found only in late-model business jets and airliners.
The MAGIC's primary flight display (PFD) and navigation display (ND) are situated right in front of the pilot. These two tubes take the place of the conventional six-instrument, pitot-static and vacuum-driven flight and navigation instruments. The PFD has vertical tapes at its edges. These show airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, and heading. Boxed readouts give enlarged numerical representations of the airplane's current airspeed, altitude, and heading. The center of the PFD is dominated by an attitude indicator, complete with autopilot command bars, a sky pointer, a pitch ladder, and course deviation and glideslope indicators. Call-outs in the black field behind the attitude indicator show the source of nav information and the altimeter setting, which is adjusted via a rotary knob at the PFD's lower-right corner.
The navigation display can be configured to show a wide range of information. To do this, you use a set of keys lined up along the right bezel. Hit the Menu key and a choice of display options is listed along the screen's right side. The up and down keys beneath the Menu key let you scroll through submenus of these options. Hitting the SEL (select) key invokes your selections, and voil� — you can set up your display to show pretty much whatever you want. You can show a horizontal situation indicator or arc-style compass display; course arrows and pointers that can be made to simultaneously show multiple sources of navigation inputs; and airport symbols. And, as you have every right to expect, N2001B's autopilot can take the navigation display's outputs and use them to follow a flight plan or shoot an instrument approach.
The PFD and navigation display use an air data attitude heading reference system (ADAHRS) for attitude, airspeed, pitch and roll rates and angles, yaw rates, and angle-of-attack information. The ADAHRS is basically a very compact air data computer with its own internal sensors. It's mounted in N2001B's tail cone, and it functions as a highly advanced alternative to the more traditional vacuum and electrically powered gyro sources used in most piston-powered airplanes' heading and attitude instruments.
OK, you cynics out there, I hear you. What happens, you say, if the Banana's alternator can't make enough electrons to power all that wizardry? And what if all that fancy-schmantzy gear goes belly up? Well, to handle the first case, we've fitted the airplane out with a backup alternator from B&C Specialty Products. To take care of the second situation, we've had a redundant set of pitot-static instruments installed in the central section of the instrument panel, including a vacuum-driven attitude indicator. Oh yes, and there's a conventional nav head that can show VHF- (including ILS) or GPS-derived nav signals over on the panel's left side.
The sweeps Bonanza's autopilot is another key component in its revamped panel. It's a recently introduced model from S-Tec — the System Fifty-Five X. This model is a follow-up to S-Tec's System Fifty-Five, and has several welcome new enhancements and features.
Perhaps the Fifty-Five X's biggest draw is its GPSS (GPS steering) capability. Simply put, GPSS is a feature that automatically steers the airplane through the various course changes involved in the legs of a flight-planned route or an instrument approach. With GPSS you no longer need to slew the navigation display's HSI course arrow to a new course after passing a fix. Sure, you should turn the course arrow to your new course to maintain your situational awareness (as you would when setting up an ILS approach), but GPSS will turn the airplane for you, without the need to manually intervene.
Operating the Fifty-Five X is a snap. You simply push the appropriate button on the system's control/annunciator panel. Once powered up, the annunciator gives a RDY annunciation to signal that it's ready for use. Push HDG for heading hold, NAV for nav tracking, APR for better tracking sensitivity during instrument approaches, and ALT for altitude hold. It's that simple.
A TRIM annunciation and two little arrows are there to tell you when the ship's pitch trim is in motion (on airplanes with auto trim or manual electric trim), or command nose-up or -down trim when the airplane is out of trim (on airplanes with manual tr�m only). Of course, the sweepstakes Bonanza has electrically powered trim, so the arrows are there to let you know when the pitch trim is running — whether it's being done by the autopilot's altitude-hold or pitch trim commands you're making from the yoke-mounted trim switch.
Pushing the HDG and NAV buttons simultaneously brings up a course-intercept function. Prior to capturing a desired track, the airplane flies on heading hold. When it begins to intercept as it would on an ILS or localizer, heading mode is automatically canceled and nav tracking begins.
Want to select a specific rate of climb or descent? Then push the VS button and rotate the knob on the right of the Fifty-Five X's control panel to dial it in. There's much more to this autopilot — like the software changes that reduce S-turning tendencies during course intercepts, and better compensation to hold altitude more precisely during autopilot-commanded turns — but you get the idea. The autopilot's easy to fly, yet extremely capable. And, should you want to hand-fly the autopilot's commands, you have the PFD's command bars to guide you along. Just keep the symbolic airplane tucked into the flat, inverted V-bars and you'll fly with robot-like precision.
Take that panel, put it in a luxurious interior with rich, Corinthian leather (time for Ricardo Montalban here), bolt on a new propeller, a 300-horsepower turbonormalized engine and 40 gallons' worth of tip tanks, snazz it up with a paint job and new windows, then replace every part that can or has worn out, and you've got one heck of a nice airplane. The best sweepstakes airplane AOPA has ever done, if you ask me!
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.