It's been 24 years since the AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza was last painted — 35 years since it left the Beech factory. Over the past six months avionics, airframe, and engine specialists have installed a new powerplant and a turbonormalizer system; riveted on repairs; and installed antennas, anti-ice system components (see " In-Flight Ice Protection," p. 92), various modifications, and new windows. It was finally time to make the sweepstakes Bonanza look like what our year-long refurbishment had turned it into — a twenty-first century high-performance Bonanza.
Based on recommendations from the Bonanza experts at the American Bonanza Society, we handed the airplane, and the details of the new paint scheme, over to Steve Tolson at Murmer Aircraft Services in Arcola, Texas, for a complete strip and paint job.
Murmer Aircraft Services was started by Bill Murmer and has grown into a high-quality paint shop that has built up decades of Bonanza painting experience. Last winter Tolson finally convinced Murmer, now 80 years old, to hand over the reins. Tolson's crew made short work of the paint removal and initial airframe inspection. While they were cleaning up some surface corrosion (a Murmer paint job in-cludes five hours of surface corrosion removal and five hours of minor airframe preparation) a few Beryl D'Shannon modifications were being installed.
Beryl D'Shannon Aviation Specialties (BDS) has contributed mightily to the sweepstakes Bonanza with a gray-tinted Speed Sloped windshield installation, new gray-tinted side windows, aileron and flap gap seals, and a set of vortex generators.
The BDS list of STCed Bonanza, Baron, Debonair, and Travelair modifications is so comprehensive that almost every modification and upgrade that has been added to the sweepstakes Bonanza could have come off the pages of a BDS catalog.
The three-eighths-inch-thick Speed Sloped windshield installation added a smoother, more streamlined look that helped to modernize our Bonanza. Both of the three-eighths-inch-thick pilot and copilot side windows have inward-opening vents — and these vents are frameless, so visibility is better and the cabin feels more open, a marked improvement over the original pilot's vent window. Aileron and flap gap seals prevent air bleed-through around the control surfaces. This improves slow-speed handling, as well as reduces drag. Lower drag equals faster cruise, and better climb rates.
The vortex generators (VG) are bonded onto the top of each wing approximately halfway between the leading edge and the spar. Projecting up into the boundary layer air, the VGs energize this thin layer of air. Energizing the airflow helps it to stick to the airfoil surface, which delays airflow separation at higher angles of attack. Thus, the VGs make the airplane safer by reducing stall speeds — by as much as seven knots in straight-ahead power-off stalls — and improving low-speed stability and handling.
The AOPA Bonanza got new life in the altitude and go-fast end of the performance spectrum when we installed a 300-horsepower engine (BDS also has an STC for this upgrade) and a turbonormalizer. With the installation of the BDS gap seals and vortex generators, better handling and an increased margin of safety at the go-slow end of the spectrum is guaranteed. For more information on vortex generators and other BDS upgrades see the Web site ( www.beryldshannon.com).
If you'd like your BDS modifications installed at your home airport, Doug and Therese Kelly can be hired to come to your airplane.
The Kellys travel the country in their motor home installing BDS (and only BDS) modifications and upgrades. After Tolson's crew finished stripping the old paint and cleaning the airframe, Doug and Therese installed our BDS mods. They're experts. As they do all around the country, they showed up on time with a trailer full of parts and tools.
Before the modifications were permanently installed, a protective coat of epoxy primer was applied to keep corrosion at bay. Doug says they're working on a Web site, but for right now the only way to contact them is through their nationwide phone number (888/787-0689).
Corrosion is a chronic problem for aluminum airplanes. The most common aluminum alloy used in general aviation airplanes is 2024, which is 92 percent aluminum combined with copper (4.5 percent) and manganese (1.5 percent) to form a lightweight metal that is high in strength and easy to machine and work. Unfortunately, 2024 has poor corrosion resistance. Virtually all 2024 used in general aviation airplane construction has a thin layer of corrosion- resistant pure aluminum rolled into each side of the alloy. Aluminum alloy with this coating is called Alclad.
Since the pure aluminum layers are very thin, typically 10 percent of the overall metal thickness (5 percent on each side), even a small scratch can penetrate the corrosion-resistant cladding and let water and dirt come in contact with the corrosion-susceptible alloy. Paint is the most cost-effective long-term solution to structural aluminum's inherent tendency to corrode.
The most common form of unprotected metal corrosion is a general dulling and, with extended exposure, a slight roughening of bare aluminum. This is called surface corrosion. It's usually not very serious. Only airplanes that are situated in very dry (this includes very cold) climates escape this process. Much more critical are pitting and intergranular corrosion. The common denominator here is an electrolyte, since these corrosions are all electrochemical in nature. The most common electrolyte is H 2O — yep, that's right, plain old water. As with other chemical reactions, as the temperature rises, the actions are more vigorous. Salt water (or salt air) accelerates the corrosion process partly because the salt itself is corrosive and partly because the salt absorbs water, keeping the electrolyte in contact with the metal.
The sweepstakes Bonanza spent 15 years near the ocean on the California coast. Although many areas of Southern California go for months without measurable rain, in this case increased moisture from coastal marine-layer fog and the temperate climate resulted in a few areas that needed attention before paint application. The area that was most affected was under the wing walk coating on the right wing.
Murmer applies a chemical conversion coating during all paint jobs. This coating acts as a chemical Alclad that, when applied in combination with modern high-quality paints, provides very good protection against future corrosion for years.
In addition to the aluminum alloys used in the airframe, Beech chose magnesium for the skins of the left and right ruddervators. Magnesium has some very unique qualities — the most important of these for aviation is its high strength-to-weight ratio. Unfortunately, magnesium is even more chemically active than aluminum, and so is more likely to corrode. Since magnesium corrosion products occupy several times the volume of the original metal that is corroding, lifted paint films provide an easy-to-spot visual telltale indicating the presence of magnesium corrosion. Tolson spotted paint lifting on the bottom surface of the right ruddervator. After removing the paint only light surface corrosion was found. Although the cleaning and conversion coating products used on magnesium and aluminum differ slightly, the corrosion removal steps and the paint application processes are very similar.
Craig Barnett, the president of Scheme Designers, met with the AOPA staff to create a distinctive paint scheme for the sweepstakes Bonanza. Barnett had previously worked with AOPA on the Millennium Mooney paint scheme, and we were happy to have his help.
Throughout the creative process Barnett was able to weave the somewhat divergent opinions of the AOPA staff into a modern, distinctive paint design that looks good from every angle.
Every step of the way Barnett presented a menu of options — after six review-and-suggestion sessions, spanning a little more than two months, we all agreed on the final design. This process can be followed on the Scheme Designers Web site ( www.schemedesigners.com). As with every Scheme Designers layout, Barnett provided a 20-page book of detailed layout and specification drawings to Tolson.
Along with all the other new and upgraded parts for the sweepstakes Bonanza, AOPA thought the airplane formerly known as N14422 should henceforth be called N2001B. So we went through an N number search and found that N2001B was reserved. The owner graciously consented to donate the number to the AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza.
Cleanliness and preparation are the keys to any paint coating process. During chemical stripping, water is used to flush off the lifted paint. Etching, which uses a dilute acid solution to further clean, and the chemical coatings that prep the aluminum and magnesium metal surfaces for paint are also washed off with water. In order to guarantee a long-lasting, tight-gripping paint job, every suggestion of moisture must be eliminated before any paint can be applied.
Murmer applies two coats of chromate epoxy primer for maximum adhesion and corrosion protection. After primer application, the finish is again inspected for any possible defects before applying four coats of Jet Glo polyurethane over the entire airplane (six coats on all leading edges). Then the major accents and trim colors, in Acry Glo urethane, are applied. The result of Murmer's experience in properly preparing and applying a modern paint system to the sweepstakes Bonanza is a long-lasting, wet-looking finish that will protect the integrity of the airframe and boost ownership pride for decades.
E-mail the author at [email protected].
Ice is a fact of life when flying in the clouds. And the AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza, with its state-of-the-art avionics, rare-air engine and turbonormalizing system, and continent-jumping fuel capacity, is surely equipped for instrument flying.
Paraphrasing a quote from George Washington, "To be prepared for ice is one of the most effective means of preserving safe flight." Never wanting to ignore sound advice, especially in regard to in-flight icing, the AOPA Bonanza will be equipped with a TKS Ice Protection System.
The TKS system (see " Weeping Wings for Singles," February 1995 Pilot) distributes anti-icing fluid over the airframe, propeller, and windshield at the flick of a panel-mounted switch. This fluid, which weeps out of laser-drilled holes in bonded titanium leading edges, depresses the freezing point of airborne water vapor encountered in clouds. Since the water vapor can't freeze, it flows harmlessly off the airframe.
The fluid is electrically pumped from a seven-gallon bladder-type reservoir that is mounted in the right wing. This supply is sufficient for more than two hours of continuous application at the minimum flow rate.
Fluid is distributed to propeller leading edges via a propeller slinger ring, and to wing and stabilizer leading edges where it weeps out of laser-drilled holes in bonded titanium leading edges. There is also a small wind deflector and spray bar forward of the pilot's windshield. The windshield bar, with a dedicated pump that is separate from the rest of the system, is seldom used because the prop fluid flows aft, protecting antennas, cowlings, and the windshield.
During flight the only decision facing the pilot is whether to turn the metering pump to high flow, which will deice the airplane if ice has already formed, or low flow, which is sufficient to protect the airplane if turned on before ice forms. The control panel also has a switch for an ice-detection light that illuminates the left wing's leading edge.
The installation weighs in at approximately 37 pounds. The fluid weighs 9.2 pounds per gallon, resulting in a full reservoir weight of a little more than 100 pounds. Current draw for the 14-volt Bonanza is 2.8 amps. This system weighs less than comparable inflating boot-type systems, and requires less maintenance.
The TKS system adds a safety margin to the sweepstakes Bonanza that promises the lucky winner a comfortable feeling when navigating in the clouds. The striking new paint job, combined with the shiny, impact-resistant titanium leading edges, adds just the right look to the AOPA Sweepstakes Bonanza, further marking it as a unique, no-holds-barred general aviation traveling machine. — SWE
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 [email protected].
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 protected]; 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 [email protected].
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.