Beechcraft Bonanza

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A Belgian registered F33A Bonanza taking off at Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire, England
RoleCivil utility aircraft
First flight22 December 1945
Introduction1947 [1]
StatusActive service
Number built>17,000
Unit cost
US$700,000 (2006)
VariantsBeechcraft Baron
Bay Super V Bonanza
Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
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A Belgian registered F33A Bonanza taking off at Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire, England
RoleCivil utility aircraft
First flight22 December 1945
Introduction1947 [1]
StatusActive service
Number built>17,000
Unit cost
US$700,000 (2006)
VariantsBeechcraft Baron
Bay Super V Bonanza
Beechcraft T-34 Mentor

The Beechcraft Bonanza is an American general aviation aircraft introduced in 1947 by Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. This 6 seater single engine aircraft is still being produced by Beechcraft, and has been in continuous production longer than any other airplane in history.[citation needed] More than 17,000 Bonanzas of all variants have been built.[2]

Design and development[edit]

At the end of World War II, two all-metal aircraft emerged, the Model 35 Bonanza and the Cessna 195, that represented very different approaches to the premium-end of the postwar civil aviation market. With its high wing, seven-cylinder radial engine, fixed tailwheel undercarriage and roll-down side windows, the Cessna 195 was little more than a continuation of prewar technology; the 35 Bonanza, however, was more like the fighters developed during the war, featuring an easier-to-manage horizontally-opposed six cylinder engine, a rakishly streamlined shape, retractable nosewheel undercarriage (although the nosewheel initially was not steerable, or castering)[3] and low-wing configuration.

1947 advertisement for the first Model 35 Bonanza

Designed by a team led by Ralph Harmon, the model 35 Bonanza was a relatively fast, low-wing monoplane at a time when most light aircraft were still made of wood and fabric. The Model 35 featured retractable landing gear, and its signature V-tail (equipped with a combination elevator-rudder called a ruddervator), which made it both efficient and the most distinctive private aircraft in the sky. The prototype 35 Bonanza made its first flight on 22 December 1945, with the first production aircraft debuting as 1947 models. The first 30–40 Bonanzas produced had fabric-covered flaps and ailerons, after which, those surfaces were covered with magnesium alloy sheet.[4] The V-tail design gained a reputation as the "forked-tail doctor killer",[5] due to crashes by overconfident amateur pilots with high-level skills outside aviation,[6] fatal accidents, and inflight breakups.[7] "Doctor killer" has sometimes been used to describe the conventional-tailed version as well.[8][9]

In 1982 the production of the V-tail Bonanza stopped but the conventional-tail Model 33 continued in production until 1995.[citation needed] Still built today is the Model 36 Bonanza, a longer-bodied, straight-tail variant of the original design, introduced in 1968[citation needed].

All Bonanzas share an unusual feature: The yoke and rudder pedals are interconnected by a system of bungee cords that assist in keeping the airplane in coordinated flight during turns. The bungee system allows the pilot to make coordinated turns using the yoke alone, or with minimal rudder input, during cruise flight. Increased right-rudder pressure is still required on takeoff to overcome engine torque and P-factor. In the landing phase, the bungee system must be overridden by the pilot when making crosswind landings, which require cross-controlled inputs to keep the nose of the airplane aligned with the runway centerline without drifting left or right. This feature started with the V-tail and persists on the current production model.[citation needed]

The twin-engined variant of the Bonanza is called the Baron, whereas the Twin Bonanza is a different design not based on the original single-engined Bonanza fuselage.

In January 2012 the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority issued an airworthiness directive grounding all Bonanzas, Twin Bonanzas and Debonairs equipped with a single pole style yoke and that have forward elevator control cables that are more than 15 years old until they could be inspected. The AD was issued based on two aircraft found to have frayed cables, one of which suffered a cable failure just prior to takeoff and resulting concerns about the age of the cables in fleet aircraft of this age. At the time of the grounding some Bonanzas had reached 64 years in service. Aircraft with frayed cables were grounded until the cables were replaced and those that passed inspection were required to have their cables replaced within 60 days regardless. The AD affected only Australian aircraft and was not adopted by the airworthiness authority responsible for the type certificate, the US Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA instead opted to issue a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) requesting that the elevator control cables be inspected during the annual inspection.[10][11][12]

QU-22 Pave Eagle[edit]

The QU-22 was a Beech 36/A36 Bonanza modified during the Vietnam War to be an electronic monitoring signal relay aircraft, developed under the project name "Pave Eagle" for the United States Air Force. An AiResearch turbocharged, reduction-geared Continental GTSIO-520-G engine was used to reduce its noise signature, much like the later Army-Lockheed YO-3A[citation needed]. These aircraft were intended to be used as unmanned drones to monitor seismic and acoustic sensors dropped along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and report troop and supply movements. When the project was put into operation in 1968, however, the drones were all flown by pilots of the 554th Reconnaissance Squadron Detachment 1, call sign "Vampire". A separate operation "Compass Flag" monitored the General Directorate of Rear Services along the Ho Chi Minh Trail linking to the 6908th security squadron.[13]

Six YQU-22A prototypes (modifications of the Beech 33 Debonair) were combat-tested in 1968, and two were lost during operations, with a civilian test pilot killed. Twenty-seven QU-22Bs were modified, 13 in 1969 and 14 in 1970, with six lost in combat. Two Air Force pilots were killed in action. All of the losses were due to engine failures or effects of turbulence.[14] A large cowl bump above the spinner was faired-in for an AC current generator, and higher weight set of Baron wings and spars were used to handle the 236 gallon fuel load.[15]


Model 33 Debonair/Bonanza[edit]

35-33 Debonair
(1959) An M35 Bonanza with conventional fin and tailplane, one 225hp Continental IO-470-J,[16] 233 built
35-A33 Debonair
(1961) Model 33 with rear side windows and improved interior trim, 154 built
35-B33 Debonair
(1962-1964) A33 with contoured fin leading edge, N35 fuel tank modifications and P35 instrument panel, 426 built
35-C33 Debonair
(1965-1967) B33 with teardrop rear side windows, enlarged fin fairing and improved seats, 305 built
35-C33A Debonair
(1966-1967) C33 with a 285hp Continental IO-520-B engine and optional fifth seat, 179 built
D33 Debonair
One S35 modified as a military close-support prototype
E33 Bonanza
(1968-1969) C33 with improved Bonanza trim, 116 built
E33A Bonanza
(1968) E33 with a 285hp Continental IO-520-B engine, 85 built
E33B Bonanza
E33 with strengthened airframe and certified for aerobatics
E33C Bonanza
(1968-1969) E33B with a 285hp Continental IO-520-B engine, 25 built
F33 Bonanza
(1970) E33 with deeper rear side windows and minor improvements, 20 built
F33A Bonanza
(1970-1994) F33 with a 285hp Continental IO-520-B engine, later aircraft have a longer S35/V35 cabin and extra seats, 821 built
Beechcraft F33C
F33C Bonanza
(1970) F33A certified for aerobatics, 118 built
G33 Bonanza
(1972-1973) F33 with a 260hp Continental IO-470-N engine and V35B trim, 50 built

Model 35 Bonanza[edit]


(1947–1948), main production with 165 hp (123 kW) Continental E-185-1 engine, 1500 built

(1949) Model 35 with higher takeoff weight, and minor internal changes, 701 built
(1950) A35 with a 165hp Continental E-185-8 engine and other minor changes, 480 built
(1951-1952) B35 with a 185hp Continental E-185-11 engine, metal propeller, larger tail surfaces and higher takeoff weight, approved for the Lycoming GO-435-D1 engine,[17] 719 built
(1953) C35 with increased takeoff weight and minor changes, 298 built. Approved for the Lycoming GO-435-D1 engine.[17]
(1954) D35 with optional E-225-8 engine and minor changes, 301 built
(1955) E35 with extra rear window each side, 392 built
(1956) F35 with a Continental E-225-8 engine, 476 built
1957 Model H35 at Jackson Hole Airport.
(1957) G35 with a Continental O-470-G engine, strengthened structure and internal trim changes, 464 built
(1958) H35 with a fuel injected Continental IO-470-C engine, optional autopilot and improved instruments, 396 built
(1959) J35 with fuel load increase, optional fifth seat and increased takeoff weight, 436 built
(1960) K35 with cambered wingtips and minor changes, 400 built
1965 Model S35 at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.
1966 Model V35
(1961) M35 with a 260hp Continental IO-470-N engine, increased fuel capacity, increased takeoff weight and teardrop rear side windows, 280 built
(1961) Experimental version, an N35 fitted with laminar flow airfoil and redesigned landing gear; only one built
(1962-1963) N35 with new instrument panel and improved seating, 467 built
(1964-1965) P35 with a Continental IO-520-B engine, higher takeoff weight, longer cabin interior, optional fifth and sixth seat, and new rear window, 667 built
(1966-1967) S35 with higher takeoff weight, single-piece windshield, optional turbocharged TSIO-520-D engine (as V35-TC), 873 built
(1968-1969) V35 with a streamlined windshield and minor changes, optional turbocharged TSIO-520-D engine (as V35A-TC), 470 built
(1970-1982) V35A with minor improvements to systems and trim, optional turbocharged TSIO-520-D engine (as V35B-TC), 24 volt electrical system (1978 and on), 873 built

Model 36 Bonanza[edit]

A36 Bonanza
Beechcraft A36 Bonanza modified with the Tradewind Turbine's turboprop conversion
(1968-1969) E33A with a ten-inch fuselage stretch, four cabin windows each side, starboard rear double doors and seats for six, one 285hp Continental IO-520-B engine, 184 built
(1970-2005) Model 36 with improved deluxe interior, a new fuel system, higher takeoff weight, from 1984 fitted with a Continental IO-550-BB engine and redesigned instrument panel and controls, 2128 built
(1979-1981) Model 36 with a three-bladed propeller and a 300hp turbocharged Continental TSIO-520-UB engine, 280 built
(1979) A36 fitted with T-tail and a 325hp Continental TSIO-520 engine, one built
(1982-2002) A36TC with longer span wing, increased range, redesigned instrument panel and controls, higher takeoff weight, 116 built
(2006-present) – glass cockpit update of the A36 with the Garmin G1000 system.[2]


YQU-22A (Model P.1079)
USAF military designation for a prototype intelligence-gathering drone version of the Bonanza 36, six built
YAU-22A (Model PD.249)
Prototype low-cost close-support version using Bonanza A36 fuselage and Baron B55 wings, one built
Production drone model for the USAF operation Pave Eagle, 27 built. Modified with turbocharging, three-bladed propeller and tip-tanks.[18]


Propjet Bonanza (A36)
standard aircraft modified by Tradewind Turbines with an Allison 250-B17F/2 turboprop engine (Original STC by Soloy).[19]
Turbine Air Bonanza
B36TC modified by West Pacific Air, LLC and Rocket Engineering with a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-21 turboprop engine
Whirlwind System II Turbonormalized Bonanza (36, A36, G36)
standard aircraft modified by Tornado Alley Turbo with a Tornado Alley Turbonormalizing system and approved for a 4000 lb MTOW
Whirlwind TCP Bonanza (A36TC or B36TC)
standard aircraft modified by Tornado Alley Turbo with a TCM IO-550B engine and Tornado Alley Turbonormalizing system, this airframe is approved for a 4042 lb MTOW.
Bay Super V
A multiengine conversion of the C35 Bonanza

Model 40[edit]

The Beechcraft Model 40A was an experimental twin-engined aircraft based on the Bonanza. Only one prototype was built in 1948. It featured a unique over/under arrangement of two 180 hp Franklin engines mounted on top of each other and driving a single propeller. The plane had a different engine cowl from a standard Bonanza, and the nose gear could not fully retract, but otherwise it greatly resembled the production Bonanzas of the time. Certification rules demanded a firewall be fitted between the two engines, however, thus stopping development.[20] The status of the prototype is unknown.


This is the standard F33 (1970) variant of the Bonanza which has been reverse engineered by Defense Industries Organization of Iran and is being manufactured without a license.[21][22]



Astronaut Gordon Cooper, of Gemini V, poses on the wing of his personal Beechcraft Bonanza in 1963.

The Bonanza is popular with air charter companies, and is operated by private individuals and companies.

In 1949 Turner Airlines (later renamed Lake Central Airlines) commenced operations using three V-tail Bonanzas.[23]


State Flag of Iran (1964-1980).svg
 Ivory Coast
 Saudi Arabia
 United States

Notable flights[edit]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Specifications (2011 model G36)[edit]

Beechcraft Bonanza V35B.svg

Data from Hawker Beechcraft[32][33]

General characteristics



See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ "Beech Bonanza: Celebrating 60 years of continuous production, and still going strong." by Mike Potts. World Aircraft Sales Magazine / July 2007. Page 109.
  2. ^ a b "Beechcraft Bonanza G36. Product Analysis" (PDF). Wichita, Kansas: Hawker Beechcraft Corporation. pp. 3–4. Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  3. ^ Flying magazine, ibid.
  4. ^ FLYING Magazine, Vol. 134, No. 8, August 2007, p. 62 "60 Years of Continuous Bonanza Production
  5. ^ Emily Johns (2009-03-29). "Congressman gets bird's-eye view of flood". Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St.Paul). 
  6. ^ Alicia Caldwell (1988-09-13). "Pilot in crash had only student license". Tampa Bay Times. 
  7. ^ Bill Miller (2008-09-21). "Snapshot: Bad day for the Flying Dutchman". Mail Tribune. 
  8. ^ Hawes C. Spencer (22 June 2006). "NEWS- Qroe quandary: Cause of crash shrouded in fog". The Hook. 
  9. ^ Lisa Greene (20 July 2003). "Doctors find solace in high places". St. Petersburg Times. 
  10. ^ Niles, Russ (15 January 2012). "Australia Grounds Older Bonanzas". AVweb. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  11. ^ AAP (16 January 2012). "CASA issues directive on light planes". Herald Sun. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Niles, Russ (24 January 2012). "No FAA Bonanza Cable AD". AVweb. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Mike Collins (September 2014). "The Bonanza Goes to War Meet the QU-22B and the men that flew her". AOPA Pilot. 
  14. ^ USAF Qu-22 Pave Eagle
  15. ^ Mike Collins (September 2014). "The Bonanza Goes to War Meet the QU-22B and the men that flew her". AOPA Pilot. 
  16. ^ FAA (12 April 2013), Aircraft Specification 3A15, retrieved 3 January 2014
  17. ^ a b Federal Aviation Administration (26 March 2007). "Aircraft Specification A-777". Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  18. ^ Air Progress: 75. December 1971. 
  19. ^ Tradewind Turbines
  20. ^ Colby, Douglas. "The Ultimate V-Tail". Plane & Pilot Magazine. Werner Publishing Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2009. 
  21. ^ – Parastu
  22. ^ Payvand – Iranian Air Force Highly Equipped
  23. ^ Our History - Lake Central Airlines, US Airways website, retrieved 14 January 2014
  24. ^ Air & Space Vol. 22, No. 3, August 2007, "A Bonanza Anniversary", p. 14
  25. ^ Air & Space, V 22, N 3, p. 14
  26. ^ Ball 1971
  27. ^ Air & Space, V 22, N 3, p. 15
  28. ^ "Jailhouse Relic". 
  29. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report – File No. 2-0001". Civil Aeronautics Board, Page 3, "The Aircraft" section. September 15, 1959. 
  30. ^ NTSB preliminary report
  31. ^ NTSB preliminary report
  32. ^ Hawker Beeechcraft G36 Specifications
  33. ^ Hawker Beeechcraft G36 Performance

External links[edit]