Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

There's Something About A Bonanza

In continuous production for an amazing 66 years, the Bonanza continues to be most aviators’ dream machine

The newest version of the G36 solves that problem. Beech has replumbed the Bonanza to provide your choice of outside air or cooled, compressed air—or both. Beech calls the new rheostatic unit the Bonanza automatic climate control air-conditioning/heating system. The AC feeds through overhead vents that service the entire cockpit, not just the pilot seats, and the flow can be regulated differentially in front or back.

The pilot's control head appears to be identical to the one installed on the Cessna (formerly Columbia) Corvalis series, and the unit works seamlessly and invisibly, as efficient as the climate regulator in a BMW. It's very much a set-it-and-forget-it system. You select the temperature after start, and the unit cools or heats the cabin as necessary with no further brain drain for the pilot.

You can use the system full-time—no need to shut down during takeoff or landing. A hefty, high-flow ceiling console provides a wide 21-inch air delivery vent, generating plenty of air for the pilot stations.

If heat is what you need, the G36 offers a dual zone system that allows passengers to control the cabin heat setting independently. In other words, there's no longer any reason for the pilots up front to be sweating in order to provide adequate heat to the rear.

All G36 Bonanzas come standard with the Garmin G1000 glass panel with dual WAAS GPS. (That's where the "G" in the model designation came from, in case you hadn't guessed). The G1000 has become the standard of the industry in the short span of a decade and is installed on most new Beech, Cessna, Diamond, Cirrus, Mooney and Piper aircraft.

The Beech single also offers synthetic vision as standard, and you can't imagine how effective the system is at providing real-time three-dimensional spatial orientation until you use it.

Several years ago, I used a predecessor to synthetic vision to fly a totally blind approach into Vero Beach, Fla., using only the synvis screen. Conditions were perfect VFR, and I had a second pilot in the right seat, of course. I was wearing Foggles and using GPS for navigation, flying strictly by the synthetic readout. The owner helped out on the radio to lighten the workload, and I flew his Cessna T-210 from Fort Lauderdale right to the ground at Vero Beach, convinced that Sky King had nothing on me. Of course, I flared too high and dropped it in a few feet to a memorable but survivable landing. A lesson in humility.

The G36 also features Garmin's excellent integrated GFC700 autopilot with altitude/rate-of-climb preselect and built-in yaw damper. The G700 has many big airplane features, including an airspeed mode that allows you to lock in airspeed for climbs and descents if you wish. Like the G1000 system it was designed to complement, the GFC700 is fairly intuitive, but don't plan on learning all functions in one day.

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