Beechcraft Bonanza | Basic Aircraft Products

Beechcraft Bonanza

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Beechcraft Bonanza

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 non-steerable, or castering) and low-wing configuration.

Designed by a team led by Ralph Harmon, the model 35 Bonanza was the first truly modern high-performance personal aircraft. It was a very 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).

A series of fatal accidents caused many to suspect flaws in the V-tail structural design. A study by Beech concluded that the cause was primarily use of the Bonanza for long-distance travel in all types of weather, and that the inflight breakups were mainly the result of excursions into extreme turbulence (as might be found in thunderstorms), not any inherent flaw in the design. Other types, such as the Cessna 210, that were similarly employed did not have the same breakup rate as the Bonanza, and a more likely explanation was that the leading edges of the stabilizers were cantilevered too far ahead of the main spars. FAA issued two Airworthiness Directives covering the V-tail. The first (AD 2002-21-13) applied only to the earliest 35, A35, and B35 models built in 1947 to 1950, and mandated a detailed inspection and repair procedure. The second (AD 94-20-04 R2) required a one-time inspection of the empennage structure, reinforced the need for correct balancing of the control surfaces and tensioning of the cables, and included the installation of a cuff securing the leading edge of the stabilizers to the fuselage skins.

In 1982 the V-tail Bonanza was dropped from production, though more than 6,000 V-tail models are still flying today.[citation needed] In general aviation circles, the epithet "fork-tailed doctor killer" became a familiar denigration of the V-tail model.[citation needed] Many V-tailed Model 35 Bonanzas are still flying, and they command a premium price on the used aircraft market.

The conventional-tail Model 33 continued in production until 1995. Still built today is the Model 36 Bonanza, a longer-bodied, straight-tail variant of the original design, introduced in 1968.

All Bonanzas share an unusual feature: the yoke and rudder pedals are interconnected by a system of flexible bungees which 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. On takeoff increased right-rudder pressure is still required to overcome torque and P-factor. In the landing phase the bungee system must be over-ridden by the pilot when making crosswind landings and cross-controlled inputs are required 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.

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

General characteristics (Model D35)

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 25 ft 2 in (7.67 m)
  • Wingspan: 32 ft 10 in (10.01 m)
  • Height: 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m)
  • Wing area: 178 ft (16.5 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,675 lb (760 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,725 lb (1,236 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 Continental E-185-11, 205 hp (153 kW)
  • Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0192
  • Drag area: 3.48 ft (0.32 m)
  • Aspect ratio: 6.20


  • Maximum speed: 191 mph (166 kn, 306 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 63 mph (55 kn, 101 km/h)
  • Range: 779 mi (677 NM, 1,247 km)
  • Rate of climb: 1,100 ft/min (5.6 m/s)
  • Lift-to-drag ratio: 13.8

General characteristics (2009 model G36)

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 5 passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 6 in (10.21 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 7 in (2.62 m)
  • Wing area: 181 ft (16.8 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,530 lb (1,148 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 2,700 lb (1,225 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,650 lb (1,656 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 Continental IO-550-B, 300 hp (223.7 kW)
  • Fuel capacity: 80 gal (74 gal usable)


  • Maximum speed: 203 mph (192 kn, 326 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 70 mph (61 kn, 113 km/h)
  • Range: 1060 mi (921 NM, 1,706 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,500 ft (5,639 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,230 ft/min (6.25 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 20.2 lb/ft (98.5 kg/m)
  • Power/mass: .082 hp/lb (1348 W/kg)
  • Max Payload: 909 lb (412 kg)
  • Takeoff distance: 1,250 ft
  • Minimum landing distance: 950 ft

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