AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 36

PILOT BRIEFING
BUDGET BUY

|

VREF VALUE

Vref, the AOPA partner offering aircraft
value estimates, suggests
a base price for nonturbocharged Bonanzas
with standard equipment
of $91,000 to $130,000
for 1970 models;
$140,000 to $200,000
for 1980 models;
$205,000 to $280,000
for 1990 models; and
$290,000 to $535,000
for 2000/2010 models.
(A 2014 model is listed at
$777,285.)
RECENT ADVERTISED
PRICES

Family hauler
Beechcraft Bonanza A36
B Y A LTO N K . M A R S H

THE BONANZA A36 is the heavy-hauling battlewagon for fighting headwinds. You still have plenty of
speed left over with headwinds, while tailwinds can mean 200-knot groundspeeds. (It still can't beat
a Nascar racer.) The 300-horsepower Continental IO-550 engine (some have the 285-horsepower 520
engine) can run cylinder-cracking hot in warm temperatures, but an aftermarket cooling kit seems to
cure the problem. Newer models are also the heavier models and tend to be truck-like in the air, but
the Bonanza A36 is considered the reliable Cadillac of single-engine Beechcraft (Textron) airplanes.
THE REAL WORLD

Bob Ripley, a walking encyclopedia on Bonanzas, estimates the operating cost for the A36 at $125
to $150 an hour, assuming a 15-gallon-per-hour fuel burn. The number includes most expenses. For
pilots with Bonanza time, insurance will cost from $2,500 to $3,000 a year. He notes that the few
places in the country that rent Bonanzas charge from $175 to $225 per hour, wet (including fuel).
If you purchase one made in 1984 or later you'll find the normal configuration of gear handle and
flap handle. Nonstandard configuration caused pilots of earlier models to confuse the two controls.
Also, you'll have a control column that comes out of the center of the panel, rather than controls that
must be thrown over from pilot to copilot.
Something you need to know, Ripley said, is that from 1964 to today, the Bonanza kept getting
heavier. That means you may be flying with half tanks to carry a larger payload. Also, installation
of the engine cooling kit from D'Shannon Aviation "is a must," he said. "If you put the kit on it, that
keeps your temperatures [under control]." Tip tanks, too? Ripley believes owners need to get out of
the airplane every few hours, not make six-hour nonstop flights.
WHO TO CONTACT
If you find a Bonanza with a Continental IO-520 engine proContact American Bonanza
ducing 285 horsepower, you may wonder if you should upgrade
Society, Post Office Box
to an IO-550 engine, producing 300 horsepower, for the bet12888, Wichita, Kansas
67277; phone 316-945-1700
ter climb rate. The IO-520 can be converted to a 550 for more
(www.bonanza.org). They
power, but you'll pay the price in fuel, Ripley said. Your speed
have books in their store,
gain between the 520 engine and the 550 engine is six or seven
experts on staff, and
knots, he added.
owners' manuals online.
EMAIL alton.marsh@aopa.org

36 | AOPA PILOT January 2015

Listed in Trade-APlane at the time this
was written were 57
A36s priced at $100,000
and up for 1970s models; $200,000 and up
for 1980s models; and
$230,000 to $349,000
for the 1990 models
advertised, topping at
$439,000 for a 2006
model. (There were an
additional 100 Bonanzas
listed that were V35 or
F33 models.)
HOW MANY IN THE FLEET?

AIRPAC PlaneBase shows
a registered fleet of 2,673
aircraft.
AIRWORTHINESS
DIRECTIVES

Earlier Bonanzas
had two important
airworthiness directives.
One is for the wing spar,
which must be inspected
in four different places,
and the other is for the
rudder. Repairs can reach
$5,000. The rudder AD
requires the installation
of two brackets for $475,
and once the installation is done no further
compliance with the AD
is required.
BIGGEST PLUS

Fast (160 knots true
airspeed) with six
seats and rear doors.
BIGGEST MINUS

Can't fill all six seats
with full fuel.

WHAT ELSE TO CONSIDER

Beechcraft Bonanza F33
or the Bonanza BE35, the
V-tail model.


http://www.bonanza.org

AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Contents
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover3
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