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New Debonair stalking the forums

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:29 pm
by slopilot
Hi guys,

I just wanted to give a quick intro of myself. I’ve been listening to the podcast for a long time, and lurking in the forums for almost as long. I’ve gotten a lot from the group involved, and thought that I could maybe provide a little more fodder for conversation if nothing else.

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After terrorizing the skies over the central coast of California for 5 years in a shiny Luscombe that I had borrowed from my Dad, the arrival of my first kid last summer limited the already limited capability of a vintage taildragger with no electric system. After defining my mission parameters- 4 seats (absolutely required), IFR training capable (required), capability to get from CA to KS in 1 day (nice to have), cool factor (nice to have), taildragger (nice to have) - I basically ended up with 3 groups of airplanes within my price range. The fixed gear 4 seaters like a C-172 or a PA-28 fulfilled my necessary requirements, but fell short in the desirable aspects. Bonanzas, Comanches, and Mooneys would get up back and forth across the country, but not have the tailwheel appeal. And, C-170s and Maules have the tailwheel but not the speed (or good instrument capability, if it’s an O-300 airplane).

For me, as far as general aviation airplanes, there has never been a better airplane than the Beech Bonanza. I will be the first to say that I’m biased (I grew up in Wichita, and had a dad and grandpa who both worked for Beech), but tooling around in a Beech Flying Club Bonanza definitely left a lasting impression for me. So… I really wanted a Bonanza.

After a fairly exhaustive search, I found my airplane! It’s a 1960 33 Debonair. It has the 260hp engine and tip tanks, so it’s a real cross country machine. It also has the modernized six pack panel with center stack radios, so it should be pretty good for instrument training. It was located at August Airport (3AU), just up the street from my dad’s Stearman Field (1K1) hangar. After flying the Luscombe up to Oshkosh and back, I took a week installing shoulder harnesses in the Deb and finishing up some prebuy squawk items. I was able to complete the Bonanza Pilot Proficiency Program training with Tom Turner, who happens to be the head honcho at the ABS and a really great instructor. The flight back out to Calfornia took me just under 9 hours in 1 day, which was almost exactly half the time the same route took in the Luscombe. I look forward to lots of fun flying, and maybe swapping a few Deb stories with Jeb.

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-Nick

Re: New Debonair stalking the forums

Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:01 am
by champguy
Sweet ride

Re: New Debonair stalking the forums

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:05 am
by Jeb
Outstanding, Nick! Congratulations!

The early 33s mated with a 260-hp IO-470 offer a lot of transportation value. With the tips, you've got all kinds of range and capability, too.

And Bonanza/Debonair/Baron training doesn't get any better than TT. Enjoy, and keep us posted, please!

Jeb

PS: Higdon based his Comanche at Augusta, and took my fave pic of my airplane there as I was landing one day many moons ago...