Thursday, May 10, 2018

Flying The Debonair

Today's plan was to FLY to Wilmington and then get some fly time in the Debonair with the owner.  Unfortunately, the weather at Ocean city was 300' overcast and not clearing until 10am.
Plan B, saddle up, it's time to ground pound it. I pointed my SUV north and eventually pulled up to the west T-hangar gate in one hour and forty-five minutes. I was hauling butt.
Dave walked me through a detailed pre-flight.  Much like my Sundowner and other aircraft, we proceeded to check all control surfaces.  With great detail we reviewed the power plant, prop, exhaust, fluid levels, alternator, and baffles.

Next we reviewed the gear. Typical brake and tire inspections along with a new wrinkle, inspecting the retracts.  Dave pointed out the uplock springs, uplock cable and the roller bearings.  All these key components require attention during each preflight. 
  • Check uplock cable for fraying
  • Check uplock springs for corrosion
  • Check spring attach points for elongation or corrosion
  • Check roller bearings rotate freely
roller bearing
(L) uplock spring - (R) uplock cable.
The canvas is the protective boot
Before tugging 45Yankee out into the sun we took some time to talk about fuel and oil. Dave runs the Phillips product with CamGuard and Avblend added to each oil change, I will continue this procedure. As far as fuel Dave adds Alcor TCP fuel treatment to each tank to prevent lead build up on spark plugs and valves. I will also continue to follow this procedure. 45Yankee can also run on Mogas.

On to the flying...

I'm still getting used to climbing in the one door and I tried a different way this time around. I should have just backed in like the first time. With belts secure we went through the start up checks, it's a bit different than 08Romeo.

Mixture rich, throttle full, auxillary pump on until reaching 18 gallons on gauge, pump off, throttle out, then spin in four turns.

45Yankee spun the prop much different than 08Romeo. This was slower, deeper sounding, working to turn over the big bore Continental then suddenly coming alive. This engine sound was different, a more throaty sound with a bit of a lope, it sounded powerful.
We taxied out for departure on runway nine and after the cleared for take off call from the tower, we were on the roll. 45Yankee wanted to climb, and we did at eighty knots. The nose seemed higher than what I was used to. Dave advised positive rate of climb and selected gear up, confirmed with a gear light on the panel. We were quickly climbing towards pattern altitude and nosed over to continue the climb at one hundred knots, cruise climb.
We pointed toward south Jersey and the Cape May airport. Once cut loose by Wilmington Tower we discussed power settings and the use of the new to me prop control. It's obviously going to take some time for this procedure to set in my brain but it all seemed doable, well at least Dave made it look very easy. I asked about the storm scope I thought he had but it was removed when the information is now displayed on the Garmin 430W. The 430 provides a nice platform for traffic and storm scope displays.
We worked through the S-Tec 50 autopilot and its controls. I liked the heading mode and using the Directional Gyro for buggering up the heading you want. The S-Tec made very smooth bank turns at speeds that made you feel like slow flight. Looking at the indicated ground speed we were at 135 knots.
45Yankee was very snappy, much lighter than I thought it would be in my hand. The aircraft trimmed out very nice and flew along straight and level without the AP engaged.

The ride was very comfortable, this is a cruising machine. The seat height feels like your riding along in my SUV with your knees and hips at a right angles. This set up really helps my hip joint that was replaced versus sitting in my baby beech or pipers with a lower seat to floor height. This will be a comfort improvement for long hauls.
 We made our way back to Wilmington and Dave explained the power settings as we slowly descended. Things happen a bit faster in the pattern than with 08Romeo so there will be a learning curve. I use the GUMPS pneumonic all the time so that's a plus. Now, instead of making the comment for U as undercarriage down and welded, I will actually be lowering the gear. Gear speed is 120 knots and once those anchors are out your airspeed slows right down to the flap range. On the last GUMPS check I'll now set the prop for go around and continue in for the landing. The Debonair crosses the fence a bit faster but I'm not sure if Dave called out mph instead of knots.

The take away from todays flight is that the plane has plenty of power and it's comfortable. 45Yankee is stable and smooth and will be fun to fly as we learn each others ways. Dave remarked, more than once, fly the numbers. If you fly the numbers you will be fine. It's the same advice I give baby beech owners when they ask about landings, just fly the numbers.

Our buyers are coming into town this Sunday. Mary and I hope they fall in love with 08Romeo as we did back in October of 2009. Once the deal is complete and they are safely headed back to the west coast I'll close the deal with Dave on the Debonair.

My plan is to leave 45Yankee at Wilmington until my training is completed.  I need five hours dual and then five solo before carrying passengers.

We might board Ziva and have someone take care of the cats so we can get a hotel room close to the airport. Mary can drop me off for flight time and she can visit family. We shall see how that all works out. For now, more baby steps completed and more to come this weekend.


Steve said...

Nice to see you getting some fly time in the new plane. It all seems like a bit much for us simpletons at first, but even after my grandiose 10 hours in the left seat it's amazing how much of the complex stuff already feels normal. I think you'll discover the same thing.

There just is something special about that extra growl in the engine from the additional HP. Or the rate at which the runway markings accelerate past you on the takeoff roll.

Our 182 also has the S-Tec and it's a pretty capable little box. I haven't pored over the manual yet to learn every nuance but even at the basic level it sure is wonderful to hit that ALT button when you're getting tossed around, trying to prepare for something.

Gary said...


I have been reading everything I can find on the Bonanza society website and watching videos. Three take-aways from all I have absorbed to date...

RPMs never exceed MP
Blue knob (prop) first to climb. blue=sky
Black knob (throttle) first to descend black=ground

It works for me until it becomes muscle memory. ;)

Steve said...

Yep, useful things to live by. I've been trying to watch some supplemental stuff myself in addition to everything I learned with the CFI.

Though I will say, at least on the 182, you can totally exceed MP with the RPMs per the book. 75% cruise can be 2400 RPM at 22" MP at 6000 feet, for example.

Steve said...

Actually, as with most things engines, it's always worth seeing what Mike Busch has to say:

I just read that myself and learned a thing or two!

Also good reading:

Gary said...

Actually I wrote that in reverse....MP never exceeds RPMs

Unknown said...

Congratulations on Bonanza-dom! Welcome to the club, now get on to learn how to fly the thing.

BTW, check your Continental POH. For my Bo, the MP can exceed the RPM by up to 3" - so I can easily fly at 25/2200. I don't, but the engine can take it.

Gary said...


Thanks! Yes, I've been on BT for a few years and recently joined ABS and the North East region group. Plenty of good info out there as I learn this plane.