Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Flying Into The Future
Behind the Bonanza’s anniversary makeover
|Baby boomers can appreciate the urge to have a little work done as a milestone birthday approaches: tone up the body, smooth out a few wrinkles, all to reflect the youthful zest we still feel in our hearts. So when Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC, formerly Raytheon Aircraft) prepared for the Bonanza’s 60th birthday, celebrated last year, the company decided a makeover was in order.|
|The new Bonanza G36 features a Garmin G1000 avionics glass panel that’s integrated with the Garmin GFC 700 autopilot/flight-control system.|
“I thought that I might be wasting my time,” Beck said of the FlightSafety course, considering his experience with earlier Garmin boxes. “I needed the whole thing. If you’re going to fly IMC, it’s a disaster waiting to happen without full training,” he said.
And almost as important, buyers become members of one of the most fraternal groups in aviation—Bonanza owners. The American Bonanza Society (www.bonanza.org) is a model for owners groups, sponsoring formation training, type-specific refresher courses and maintenance clinics around the country. With its dedicated owners and the G36 blazing the way into the future, Bonanzas will likely be around for several more milestone anniversaries.
“When I look at the 60th anniversary airplane,” said Byington, “I see the blood, sweat and tears we’ve poured into keeping it going and upgrading it and keeping that heritage alive. The first 60 years was only the beginning.”
SPECS: Hawker Beechcraft G36 Bonanza