Beechcraft Bonanza


Remember being a kid and drawing airplanes? I think the Beech Bonanzas all look exactly like the drawings we did as kids. It’s airplane perfection in many ways. Beautiful fliers and iconic design that still today is an airplane that makes you smile every time you see it. Pilots look at bonanzas in the same way they look at their favorite Uncle, with love, respect and a let’s go flying attitude.

Beechcraft was founded in Wichita Kansas by Walter and Olive Ann Beech in 1932. During WW2 more than 7,400 planes were made for US and allied forces. The 35 Bonanza was similar to the fighter planes used during the war, easy to manage, a horizontally opposed 6 cylinder engine, streamlined design, retractable wheels and a low wing configuration. The Model 35 had a V-Tail design also known as a ruddervator. While some of us might love the look of the 35 the most of the three Bonanza’s, the V-Tail also attracted inexperienced pilots that were not equipped to handle the high performance airplane and thus had a history of accidents.

Following the Model 35 , was the Model 33 Debonair, which was similar to the 35, with a straight tail. The Model 36 followed the Debonair and is still a favored plane among many pilots. This is likely the airplane you didn’t know you were drawing as a kid. It’s classic, friendly and confident. They love to fly and they show that enthusiasm, sitting on the ramp, awaiting the next adventure.Aside from their beauty and pure adventurous soul, the Bonanza looks and feels like a true family bird. It loves to take you and your friends and family into the wild blue yonder.

One of my favorite things about the Beechcraft story goes all the way back to the beginning with Walter and Olive Ann Beech (side note:  In the 1920s, Walter Beech, Lloyd Stearman and Clyde Cessna launched Travel Air– which became the major aircraft manufacturer of its day. Then came the Great Depression. In 1932 Walter and his bride Olive Ann together forged a new dream: Beech Aircraft Corp, now Hawker Beechcraft).

Back to the story… Walter Beech ended up becoming ill and then dying early on, leaving Olive Ann at the helm of a major US Aircraft Company. She not only took the reigns, but did so with grace and determination and became known as the first lady of aviation.

So the next time you are at the airport, look around. The 35’s are always a treat to spot, with their V-Tails wagging and waiting for a flight. The Debonairs are in fewer numbers today, though still possess the beauty of post war design. The 36 models will be  smiling back at you and proudly demonstrating excellence in aviation design and an example of innovation, perseverance, teamwork, passion, and a commitment to excellence. — angela Learn more about the history of the Beechcraft Bonanza’s here and here.

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