Plane & Pilot
Saturday, January 1, 2005

The Ultimate V-Tail

This Bonanza has the most famous silhouette in the sky

Oxman's Bonanza is definitely one of the best of the type that we've seen. That's saying something, considering that Bonanza owners are among the most fanatical of aircraft enthusiasts.

The interior in Oxman's K-model is all Perrone leather over Oregon Aero foam, fashioned by the legendary Don Stretch of AirTex in Factoryville, Pa. The paint is an immaculate, eye-catching, red scheme that attracts attention everywhere Oxman flies. N12711 has won awards virtually everywhere: Best of Type at Sun 'n Fun 2001 and Grand Champion the following year; at the AirVenture air show starting in 2002, Oxman's model 35 won the Bronze Lindy Award for Contemporary Custom, repeated that honor in 2003 and was the Silver Reserve Grand Champion last year.

Oxman owns a computer software company, OXKO Inc., in Lanham, Md., and the Bonanza is a working business tool. He uses the airplane several times a week, servicing clients throughout the eastern U.S.

"My typical leg is 400 to 600 nm," says Oxman, "and with the Bonanza, I can cover that distance in 2.5 to 3.5 hours. Many of the places that I fly have no airline service or sporadic schedules at best, so it would be impractical to even consider doing business on a face-to-face basis without the airplane. As it is, I can often fly out early in the morning, spend several hours with a client and still be home in time for dinner."

Oxman's K35 Bonanza is a relatively lightweight design (originally 2,950 pounds gross) blessed with the power of the later, heavier (3,400 pounds) V35B, although the owner has upgraded the gross weight to 3,150 pounds with the 15 gallons per side, Beryl d'Shannon tip tanks. This boosts the total fuel to an even 100 gallons. At an average 15 gph, Oxman can spend five hours aloft with plenty of IFR reserve. "I fly quite a bit of IFR in the Bonanza," says the computer executive, "and with the addition of the yaw damper, it makes an effective instrument platform."

As you might imagine, high power and low weight translate directly to better performance. Oxman's Bonanza enjoys notably enthusiastic climb and impressive cruise speed. Even at full gross, the airplane scores a remarkable 1,200 fpm pointed uphill, and at 7,500 feet density, the owner often sees 172 knots at 75% in a straight line.

What, perhaps, endears Bonanzas most to pilots is not the speed, climb or any other numerical measure of performance, but simply the way they do what they do. The airplane possesses a certain indefinable feel that's not available in any other general-aviation airplane. Control harmony is exceptional. Roll rate is quick without being twitchy, and pitch response is excellent, some say almost too good. Only ruddervator response leaves something to be desired, but that's most often not a problem, as ailerons and ruddervators are interconnected to automatically coordinate most maneuvers.

Labels: Piston Singles


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