AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 16

WAYPOINTS

BY THOMAS B. HAINES
Editor in Chief

A blank,
but not ageless canvas
Endless possibilities for aircraft upgrades

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Tom Haines uses
N290S for personal
and business
flying. Many of the
air-to-air photos
in our magazines
are taken from it,
with its aft doors
removed.

TO THOSE OF YOU who bought new airplanes this year,
thank you! Each year for the past seven or eight years
I have presented a seminar at AOPA Expo-and then
Summit-on how to buy an airplane. I focus most of the
information on buying a used airplane, because that is
what most people buy. Before starting my seminar, I
always ask who is planning to buy a used airplane, and
nearly all the hands go up. When I ask who is planning
to buy a new airplane, typically only about two or three
hands go up among the usual audience of 120 people or
so. That makes people chuckle, but I feel bad for those
few people who plan to buy new, as if the room is making fun of them. I express my gratitude for new buyers
because we need people buying new, so that those of
who can't make the numbers work will have something
used to buy in the future. I am grateful to the person
who, back in 1972, bought a new Beech Bonanza A36,
serial number E-292. Because of their foresight, in 1999
there was a solid airplane that fit my mission and budget to a T, and it still does. As that old Bonanza and I fly
into our fifteenth year together, I'm still amazed and
enthused on every flight about how capable it is and
what it can do for me.
While I occasionally contemplate what my "next"
airplane might be, I quickly dismiss the thought, as I
have yet to find anything that fits my needs better and is
as affordable, especially now that I have two daughters
in college. And, also, I've barely scratched the surface
about what the old girl can do, even though we've flown
together for thousands of hours. For her fortieth birthday, I infused a boatload of new avionics into her panel.
As noted in the October issue when I wrote about the
increased situational awareness with the Garmin G500
system ("P&E: Salute to Situational Awareness," October
2013 AOPA Pilot), the new gear gives her much of the
same navigation capability as a new Bonanza G36. Yet
even with that upgrade, the 1972 Bonanza is practically a
blank canvas of possibilities. There is so much more that
can be done with a capable older airplane, especially
one as popular as the Bonanza. There's the truly amazing performance upgrade that comes with the swap of
the piston engine for a turboprop engine, or the more
pedestrian upgrade to a higher-horsepower engine-
as was done on my airplane by a previous owner, who
traded the stock 285-horsepower Continental IO-520

16  |  AOPA PILOT  December 2013

for the 300-horsepower IO-550. Before that, the stock
two-blade prop was traded for a three-blade.
But there are even more engine options available to
me, such as a turbonormalizing system that allows my
normally aspirated engine to make rated power up into
the flight levels. While I appreciate the potential sizzling performance boost, I counter that with the fact
that most of my flying is in the relative flatlands of the
East Coast, where I seldom climb above 10,000 feet.
There are tip tanks to install, which can increase
capacity by 30 to 40 gallons-especially important with
that turbine or turbonormalizing conversion. I've begun
flying lean of peak EGT, which has lowered my fuel
burn from nearly 18 gallons per hour to about 12-possible because of balanced fuel injectors and a six-probe
engine analyzer. The change gives me some 5.5 hours
of endurance, longer than I'd care to sit-even in the
seats custom built to my measurements. As a result, I've
skipped (so far) the tip-tank modification. In the back, a
baggage compartment extension can give my pre-1979
model the same extended baggage compartments as
new models, a mod I may eventually purchase.
An Air Mod interior upgrade a few years ago not
only swapped out the funky 1970s green and gold seats
for creamy smooth leather (and my custom pilot seat),
the change also brought reading lights throughout, new
shoulder harnesses to the front seats, and pockets and
trays. Sometimes I consider whether I should install
airbag seat belts, an aftermarket mod that seems especially important in older airplanes that don't have the
strengthened seats required on new models.
The opportunities to upgrade older models seem
endless. However, I'm not so foolish to think that this
spry old airplane flying into her fifth decade is getting
any younger. There is no turning back the calendar or
erasing the effect of 40 years of flight. Someday this
old girl will have to go to a retirement home. I may
be headed there myself at about that time, but I'm
comforted to know that if not, someone in 2013 was
thoughtful enough to buy a new airplane that someday
might be at home in my hangar.
AOPA
EMAIL thomas.haines@aopa.org

SOCIAL

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AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013

AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013
Contents
President’s Position
Visual Approach
Letters
Waypoints
Proficient Pilot
Foundation Focus
License to Learn
Pilot Counsel
Fly Well
What Happens in Vegas...
AOPA Sweepstakes
Aviation Jobs
Gift Guide
Pilot Products
Pilot Products
News
People
Yacht of the Air
Around the World in 25 Days
Aviation Legends Walter Extra
Safety Pilot Landmark Accident: Unpredicted, Unadvised, Unaware
Summit 2013: Meeting Mr. Baker
Technique
Proficiency
Wx Watch
Technology
Ownership
Frugal Flier
Never Again
State and Local Action
Member Products
AOPA Foundation
Member Services
Government Affairs
AOPA Insurance Agency
Fly by Wire
Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - President’s Position
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Visual Approach
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Letters
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Waypoints
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Proficient Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Foundation Focus
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - License to Learn
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Pilot Counsel
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Fly Well
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - What Happens in Vegas...
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - AOPA Sweepstakes
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Aviation Jobs
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Gift Guide
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Pilot Products
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Pilot Products
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - News
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - People
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 41
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Yacht of the Air
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 44
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Around the World in 25 Days
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 51
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 52
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 58
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Aviation Legends Walter Extra
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Safety Pilot Landmark Accident: Unpredicted, Unadvised, Unaware
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Summit 2013: Meeting Mr. Baker
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Technique
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Proficiency
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Wx Watch
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 80
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Technology
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 82
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Ownership
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 84
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 85
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Frugal Flier
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 87
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Never Again
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 89
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 90
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 91
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - State and Local Action
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 93
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Member Products
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 95
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - AOPA Foundation
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 97
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Member Services
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 99
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Government Affairs
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 101
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - AOPA Insurance Agency
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 103
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 104
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 105
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 106
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Fly by Wire
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 108
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 109
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 110
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2013 - Cover4
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