Monday, September 27, 2010

Worth the wait

Well, I am finally flying this amazing airplane. Really, the biggest challenge is to learn to be a manager instead of a steam-gauge pilot. The airplane is capable of so much - I just need to understand how all the systems interact. Here is a photo of the airplane on the ramp at Sandy River.

And some photos of the airplane at Bremerton, WA for formation training.

It is truly amazing that after three years, I still have the highest regard for the folks at Aviation Research Systems. Time after time, when presented with seemingly insurmountable problems, they were able to find a great solution, cost effective, and executed perfectly. I really believe that there is no factory aircraft that can compare with this Bonanza.

The next posting will have photos of the avionics and describe my experiences as I learn the glass panel. Already the airplane will fly perfect instrument approaches on either PFD, and cross-fill to the Garmin GMX200, GNS530 and GNS430. The Aspen display of the approach charts is truly perfect. A big hats off to Aspen Avionics!! The company has been fantastic to work with and have supported Aviation Research all the way. It just could not be any better!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Well, the work is complete and the airplane is performing flawlessly. Some of you Bonanza followers saw the airplane at the Formation Training Clinic in Bremerton in June - thank you all for your kind comments.

We flew the airplane to Oshkosh and parked it at the Aspen tent in the North 40. Even with the soft ground due to all the rain, the visit to Oshkosh was a great success. It was truly amazing to fly this miracle of modern technology and have everything work perfectly. Many thanks to Aspen Avionics and especially to Bill at Aviation Research Systems.

We had the good fortune to have two girls from the Warbird Pinup Girls booth come over and agree to be photographed with the airplane. Their photos are below. Really delightful young women!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Painting Continues

The paint has been moving forward. We now have the white and the black, with the red and gold to follow. Target delivery date remains the 14th of June.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paint and Interior

We are finally approaching completion. The interior is finished and will be installed after the painting is complete. Following the completion of the interior, the panels were removed to prevent any possible damage during the paint stripping process.

The instrument panel is complete and the new interior panels have been installed. Note the map pocket on the lower pilot's side, as well as the carpeted center console.

Custom painted door frame with the interior panel attached.

Rear side panels - pilot side.

Pilot and co-pilot seats. Note the new adjustable hardware. This really helps my partner in the airplane who is over 6' tall - this will be the first B35 he is able to comfortably fly!

And a nice pocket on the back of the front seats.

High-back seats for the rear passengers. All seats are fully supported with "Comfor-Foam".

Following the interior work, the aircraft went to SunQuest Air Specialties for the custom paint job. The aircraft was completely stripped, treated for corrosion protection and all minor imperfections were repaired. The photos below show the progress of this process.

During the stripping process, next to no corrosion was found and the skin is in excellent shape. Some minor defects from previous hail damage were repaired. The ruddervators were the original magnesium and we were delighted to find that they were essentially free of any corrosion. Unusual in a 60-year-old airplane!

All control surfaces were removed and will be separately treated to prevent corrosion, re-balanced and reinstalled.

Target completion date is June 14th!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Engine Start

At the end of January, we are finally ready to start the engine and complete the testing of the engine monitor and other equipment.

Only two tries and the engine fired right up. Ran beautifully and everything seemed to be working. Other than some adjustments required on the Xerion Engine Monitor, we are ready to continue the commissioning process. A bit surprising after a three-year rest, but a good outcome for sure!

And on March 18, 2010, the owner of Aviation Research delivered the airplane to me here in Eugene. I flew back with him to Sandy River and brought the airplane home. Unfortunately, the weather turned bad, and the airplane sat in the hangar for several days.

With Oshkosh again approaching rapidly, I made the decision to take the airplane to paint and interior right away. There were very few problems identified on the initial flight, and I felt that we needed to take advantage of the time. On Saturday, March 29, we flew the airplane to Everett and delivered it to Cannon aircraft Interiors. They started on the interior on Monday, March 29, and the paint is scheduled to start on the 18th of May. Target completion is June 1, which should allow time for minor bugs to be worked out before I head to Bremerton, WA for some formation flight training.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another week and I will be flying!

In spite of all the frustrations and delays, the day of final completion is approaching. After nearly two and a half years, the airplane was towed to the ramp and the re-installed engine started. Two trys, a bit of boost pump and the IO-470 was running beautifully. Smooth as silk, as they say.

Unfortunately, during the initial runup it was apparent that the engine instruments displayed on the AuRACLE were not properly displaying engine data. Although the EGT and CHT displayed correctly, manifold pressure, oil pressure, fuel pressure, fuel flow and RPM were all missing. So the monitor was removed and returned to Ultra Electronics for repairs.

Yesterday, February 13, I returned to aviation Research to assist in the calibration of the digital fuel gauges. We selected gauges from Aerospace Logic as the primary fuel display system. Each gauge displays fuel status of two tanks using two bar graphs and a digital readout of fuel quantity, selectable by tank. The fuel level senders in the main tanks are 0 - 30 ohm senders and the gauge for the main tank was calibrated using this information. The 3 unusable gallons were added to each main tank, and then one gallon at a time, we filled the tanks and calibrated the gauges. Following the mains, we calibrated the tip tanks, which use 0 - 90 ohm senders. During this process, we discovered that the Osborne tip tanks actually hold 22 usable gallons each!

And now, all that remains is to reinstall the engine monitor, complete the paperwork and start flying the airplane. Again, I feel compelled to praise the folks at Aviation Research Systems. Jerry and Felicia operate a truly first class facility. Considering Bill, the avionics wizard and Felix, the sheet metal guru and mechanic extraordinaire, the is the place to bring a Bonanza!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Will it REALLY ever be completed?

I spoke yesterday with Bill, the avionics technician who has been diligently working on the airplane since September 2009. It appears that all the changes required by Xerion, Aspen, S-TEC and others have now been completed. The airplane may actually be run up next week for the first time since November, 2007.

Here is Bill doing some final testing.

And a photo of the proud owner hoping this is nearly complete!

Part of the challenge has been the installation of the recently approved Aspen MFD. This unit is presently configured as a PFD, for primary flight information and full redundancy. The switch to the Multi Function Display (MFD) has required some wiring changes, and Aspen recently issued a dirrective that there shall be a disconnect switch for EACH PFD or MFD unit. The original installation provided a single disconnect for the two Aspen units. But that is now resolved, and next week should be a big event.

Nearly finished instrument panel - this time with all the wiring hooked up!

We also found a neat passenger light for the rear seat. This is a single LED light, fully adjustable, and supplied at a very reasonable cost by Cockpit Lights .

I will do another update next week after the final testing is complete.