Aircraft of the Week

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Cessna O-2 Oscar Deuce, FAC Aircraft

By:      Norm Goyer

The 337 Super Skymaster was introduced in 1965. Cargo operators could attach an underbelly cargo pod.

The 337 Super Skymaster was introduced in 1965. Cargo operators could attach an underbelly cargo pod.

In 1961, Cessna decided to build the C-336 and fixed gear, twin-engine aircraft which didn’t have asymmetrical thrust, which many multi-engine pilots simply didn’t like to deal with. In 1965, they introduced the Super Skymaster 337 with a retractable gear. In other words there are some pilots who want two engines that act like one engine and not have an engine out condition that will send the plane skidding off to the side before falling off into a spin, that scares them a bit.  Cessna’s Skymaster series, with its twin engines in one pod, both of them working on the center line of the aircraft, corrects this condition. But there was a slight problem right out of the starting blocks, it seems that the Skymaster wouldn’t take off under some conditions, with only the front engine working. You see, you could see the prop spinning on the front engine but could not see the rear propeller, of course real pilots would look at the twin tachs and notice that only one was showing any rotation. but what hot-shot, twin-engine pilot looks at the gauges. This one sure does. So after a number of Skymasters ran out of runway and embarrassed Cessna and the pilot some new rules were suggested. It would be a good idea if the pilot started the rear engine first, warmed it up a bit, did a mag check and then start the front engine, theoretically the rear engine would then keep running. This seemed to work and most of the Skymasters then took off as planned. The FAA thought that asymmetrical thrust was so significant that it actually has a special rating for aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom and the Cessna Skymaster, their pilots don’t have a multi engine rating they have a center line thrust rating.

The C-337 Skymaster was modified for use as  a two place FAC (forward air controller) which replaced the Cessna L-19 in Vietnam, when it became available.

The C-337 Skymaster was modified for use as a two place FAC (forward air controller) which replaced the Cessna L-19 in Vietnam, when it became available.

I’m surely not knocking this type of rating because I put a few kids through college with the proceeds of converting Air Force F-4 pilot certificates to multi engine ratings. If the ex Phantom pilots wanted a job in corporate or airline aviation, they needed a multi-engine certificate with no restrictions. We kept two Piper Senecas working for many years retraining both German Luftwaffe and Air Force pilots stationed at the George AFB base in Victorville, California. I never really liked the 336 (fixed gear) or the 337 (retractable gear) Cessnas, don’t know why, but it might have been the human sandwich concept. But the aircraft does have its followers, many of the fanatical type, they love their Skymasters.

When the O-2s became surplus, they were heavily used as lead aircraft for firefighting firms.

When the O-2s became surplus, they were heavily used as lead aircraft for firefighting firms.

But what didn’t work in my opinion for Cessna in the civilian market sure worked great as Air Force O-2 Forward Air Control aircraft in Vietnam. The aircraft did have multi-engine safety, high wing visibility and a large four to six passenger civilian cabin turned into a two place very spacious two place aircraft with lots of room for avionics. Besides, the aircraft was already in service and inexpensive to buy. In all, Cessna produced 532 O-2s for Vietnam. A total of 178 were lost due to accidents and enemy action. Many surviving O-2s are prized by Warbird collectors. For many years fire fighting firms used Cessna 182s and 206s for lead aircraft during fire operations, but it was found that these planes did not have the top speed nor the safety factor of two engines and too many were involved in accidents. When the O-2s became surplus they were picked up by aerial fire suppression firms and worked for many years. They were replaced by OV-10 Broncos due to much higher speeds and rugged construction, the same reason the OV-10s replaced the O-2s in Vietnam. I guess that fire fighting is similar to fighting wars.

Specifications:

Specifications Cessna O-2

Crew: 2 – pilot and observer

Length: 29.75 ft

Wingspan: 38.17 ft

Height: 9.17 ft

Wing area: 202.5 ft²

Empty weight: 2,848 lb

Loaded weight: 5,400 lb

Engines: Continental IO-360C six-cylinder flat engines, 210 hp each

Performance

Maximum speed: 200 mph

Range: 1,325 mi 2,132 km combat

Service ceiling: 18,000 ft

Rate of climb: 1,180 ft/min

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Straight Tailed Bonanzas

By: Norm Goyer

The Model 35 started the Bonanza dynasty back in 1947. It has the longest production run of any aircraft in the history of aviation.

The Model 35 started the Bonanza dynasty back in 1947. It has the longest production run of any aircraft in the history of aviation.

The Beechcraft Model 35 V’tail Bonanza is probably the most easily recognized civilian aircraft ever developed. It is also the airplane that has been manufactured the longest of any other. In the years immediately following World War II, most airports were inhabited by aircraft that were of the “old” design, or pre-war type of looks and construction. Tail wheels, welded tube fuselages and fabric covering were the mainstay of these aircraft. Piper was still hawking their prewar Cubs, Coupes and Cruisers. Stinson offered a larger version of the pre-war Voyager called the 108. The 108 Station Wagon was very popular, but it was still tube and fabric and was a tail dragger. Bellanca tweaked their pre war four passenger radial engine low wing retract Cruiser by installing a Franklin 150 hp engine, which propelled the wood-winged-wonder at 150 mph. Bellanca’s advertising was heavy with 150 mph on only 150-hp. Mooney loved their plywood construction and their first four-passenger aircraft had wood wings and tail sections. Post war buyers were staying away from these out dated designs.

Early Debonairs can be identified with their smaller third window.

Early Debonairs can be identified with their smaller third window.

Attention had been switched to Beechcraft and Cessna’s new post war all-metal designs. The biggest change of all was the switch from the Beechcraft D-17 Staggerwing tube and fabric radial engine biplane to the new Beechcraft Model 35 V’tail Bonanza; and what a change it was. Ironically, in today’s market, the obsolete fabric biplane is worth many times the average selling price of a Model 35 Bonanza. Why? The Staggerwing is an all time classic aircraft, looks, performance, macho big time, while the Bonanza more or less used Continental Can Company technology. The V’tail had a look of the future, it was easy to get into, it had a tricycle landing gear for the new breed of wussie pilots. For Beechcraft it was a perfect airplane at the perfect time. The Model 35 did not need highly trained wood working craftsmen or welders and was much cheaper and easier to build. There were buyers out there, but not enough of them to support a plethora of offerings from all the manufacturers. The shake-out of manufacturers was enormous.

The panels of all Bonanzas are well laid out with room for expansion. This is a typical 70s panel.

The panels of all Bonanzas are well laid out with room for expansion. This is a typical 70s panel.

Beechcraft easily won the four passenger sweepstakes while Cessna won the two passenger trainer market with their all metal Cessna 120/140. But, Cessna chickened out at the last minute and made the plane a tail dragger. It wasn’t until the early 1950s that they switched to tricycle gear on the Cessna 120 and the best trainer of all times was born, the Cessna 150. Only the utility Cessna 180/ 185 remained tail draggers. When the postwar aviation dust had settled, it was the Bonanza that was the most in demand as a four-passenger design. The problem that faced Beechcraft was that many of the new pilots trained on GI Bill flying lessons didn’t have that much money and the Bonanza was more expensive, when compared to a Stinson 108 or other aircraft. Beechcraft needed to lower the cost of their Bonanza but they also knew this move would dilute the value of the Model 35′s luxury image. Thus in 1959, the straight tailed Model 35-33 Debonair was released to the public; it was Beech’s economy version of the Bonanza. The new plane had less expensive accessories, paint scheme and interior appointments. It was simply a plain Jane plane. At the very onset of the Debbie’s release, it became apparent that the straight tail design flew better, it was smoother on cross country flights and stayed its course while flying through turbulent air. Beechcraft was stuck with a problem, their inexpensive plain Jane Bonanza was selling quite well and the market seemed to demand more luxury and more power. So in 1968 the name Debonair was dropped in favor of Bonanza E-33. Accident reports and sales indicated that the straight tail Bonanza was the design of choice. The first Debonair had a 225-hp Continental engine and the last F33 had a 285-hp engine. Beechcraft also produced 50 versions of Model F-33 with a 260 hp engine. The Model 35 V’tail was dropped in 1982 in favor of the straight tail Model 33. The V’tail had progressed from a light weight, two-window 165 hp private aircraft to a turbo charged three window luxurious 300-hp corporate favorite. There are still over 6,000 V’tails still flying and the value is still holding. It is apparent that pilots loved their V’tail in spite of the problems associated with the design. In 1995, Beechcraft halted production of the Model 35-33. The only Bonanza still being produced is the A-36. See this week’s bird of the week for a history of this Big Bonanza.

When the V’tail first came out many adventurers jumped on board including Floyd Odom. In January 1949, the fourth Bonanza to come off the production line was piloted by Captain William Odom from Honolulu, Hawaii to the continental United States a distance of 2,900 statute miles, the first light airplane to do so. The airplane was called “Waikiki Beech”, and its 40-gallon fuel capacity was increased using fuselage and wing tanks to 268 gallons, which gave a still-air range of nearly 5,000 statute miles.
In March 1949 Captain Odom once again piloted Waikiki Beech a distance of 5,273 miles from Honolulu to Teterboro, New Jersey, setting a nonstop record. Flight time was 36:01 hours, at an average speed of 146.3 miles per hour, consuming 272.25 US gallons of fuel. After that flight the airplane was donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air Museum, as the National Air and Space Museum was then called.
I have owned several Bonanzas including an early Model 35 which still had a Beech Roble prop. I used the plane for personal transportation for several years until I sold it to a local pilot. I then came into possession of a 1976 F-33 which had to be one of my all time favorite aircraft. The plane was owned by Challenge Publications and was used as a camera plane for many years. At Sun ‘n Fun I would pilot the aircraft on photo shoots with a camera person shooting out of both the rear windows. I often wish that I owned an F-33 straight tail Bonanza.

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Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza

By:      Norm Goyer

This Bonanza A-36 is seen taking off from the Mojave Airport in the High Desert.

This Bonanza A-36 is seen taking off from the Mojave Airport in the High Desert.

Our thanks to Wikipedia for the technical facts regarding the many versions of Bonanzas, I sure hope I got them all correct, they can be confusing. NG

Beechcraft knew their Bonanza line, both V’tail and straight tail, were very popular with charter firms. Beechcraft dealers kept requesting Beechcraft build a larger Bonanza, in order to carry more people and more freight than was possible with the Model 35-33 series. When Beech first marketed their Model 35-36 it was not an instant success. Beech marketing researched the problem and decided to go the luxury route and upgrade the A-36. The first “new look” A-36 came out in 1970 as 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. The renamed Model 36 had an improved deluxe interior, a new fuel system, higher take-off weight. They also installed a Continental IO-550-BB engine and re-designed instrument panel and controls. Beech produced 2128 of the new Model 36.

The G-36 Bonanza is currently being manufactured. It is a glass cockpit version of the A-36.

The G-36 Bonanza is currently being manufactured. It is a glass cockpit version of the A-36.

The original Beech factory approach to marketing the Model 36 was to advertise it as an aerial moving van, an air taxi, a carry-all, an ideal charter air plane for the fixed base operator. Although the Model 36 was all of these, this marketing approach didn’t sell many airplanes. Most of the firms in the business of charter and air taxi were captive, that is, they were dealers for one of the major airplane manufacturers. Few Piper and Cessna dealers could be swayed into using a Model 36 in their business, and the Beech outlets would use it anyway without this marketing appeal.

The G model 36 Bonanza instrument panel has the latest in glass displays with multi-page functions.

The G model 36 Bonanza instrument panel has the latest in glass displays with multi-page functions.

Beginning with 1970 production the Model 36 became the A= 36 and acquired a new look. All the plushness associated with the “V” tail Bonanzas, including an interior which had been optional on the first 36s, became standard to the A-36. Beech’s Advertising shifted its emphasis  shifted to the owner market which had proven so successful for Beechcraft over the years. The new A-36 featured a three-light landing gear position indicator, a new instrument panel with a lower profile and instruments for the engine and fuel taken from the Baron. The aircraft also used a new mechanic friendly quick opening cowling. The gauges also had more modern lighting which was brighter and more visible during night time operations. These improvement increased the empty weight slightly over the Model 36.

The interior of the G-36 is very luxurious and features club seating.

The interior of the G-36 is very luxurious and features club seating.

A few years ago I was researching articles in Florida and flew a turboprop conversion A-36 for several days, nice airplane. There are several firms specializing in turbo prop conversions, many believe that it is a cost effective way of upgrading to jet power. Beechcraft built many variations of the A-36, some as a B-36 with turbo charged engines. Currently the only Bonanza being built by  Beechcraft is a non turbo charged A-36, the great Beechcraft Bonanza lives on.

Many A-36 owners have had their aircraft converted to propjet power, similar to this Solar conversion.

Many A-36 owners have had their aircraft converted to propjet power, similar to this Solar conversion.

Specifications 2009 G-36 (glass cockpit A-36)

Data from Beechcraft

General characteristics

Crew: 1

Capacity: 5 passengers

Length: 27 ft 6 in

Wingspan: 33 ft 6 in

Height: 8 ft 7 in

Wing area: 181 ft²

Empty weight: 2,530 lb

Loaded weight: 2,700 lb

Max takeoff weight: 3,650 lb

Powerplant: 1× Continental IO-550-B, 300 hp

Fuel capacity: 80 gal,  74 gal  usable

Performance

Maximum speed: 203 mph

Stall speed: 70 mph 61 kn

Range: 1060 mi

Service ceiling: 18,500 ft

Rate of climb: 1,230 ft/min

Wing loading: 20.2 lb/ft²

Power/mass: 0.082 hp/lb

Max Payload: 909 lb

Takeoff distance: 1,250 ft

Minimum landing distance: 950 ft

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The Saga of Cessna 195 N3089B Part II

By Norm Goyer

This photo by Lynn McCready was taken for an article I had commissioned for Private Pilot some years ago. This is N3089B after Ron Karwacki had completely restored it to like new condition.

This photo by Lynn McCready was taken for an article I had commissioned for Private Pilot some years ago. This is N3089B after Ron Karwacki had completely restored it to like new condition.

Last week we wrote about the final flight of N3089B as a Cessna 190. The Businessliner threw its prop over the snow covered hills of Vermont, later found by hunters. The pilot, an airline Captain, on his way home, safely made an emergency landing on a snow covered street in a small Vermont town. The airplane was ground looped to slow it down; it then slid backwards into a snow fence, damaging the tail feathers. It was then tied down in a neighboring field. This is where we found it when we arrived with our trailer to haul it back to Northampton, Massachusetts.

Karwacki flew his beautiful 195 to many Sun 'n Fun and AirVenture meets. This one was taken at AirVenture, I believe.

Karwacki flew his beautiful 195 to many Sun 'n Fun and AirVenture meets. This one was taken at AirVenture, I believe.

My friend, the late Roger Atwood, had learned about it from a pilot friend in Vermont. He knew I was looking for an inexpensive 195 to rebuild, so he contacted me. I had a nine-passenger heavy-duty Land Rover at the time, Roger also had a long trailer he used for retrieving aircraft, together they were just what was needed to haul the carcass home. In 1969, I was producing TV ads and had a large studio for filming scenes. We unloaded the dismantled 195 and assessed the damage; we needed a new engine, new prop, elevators and rudder. The fuselage was okay. I had paid $3,000 for the crashed aircraft and that about broke me. Roger checked his sources and found an L-126 in crates at a dock in New Jersey, just returned from Korea. The spec sheet showed it had a 300-hp Jacobs with less than 200 total hours, the fuselage was bent in the middle but rest of the aircraft was okay. We loaded up the Land Rover again and hauled the L-126 back to my studio. It looked more like an aircraft hangar than a movie set but, they wouldn’t be there long, hopefully. The Jacobs fit perfectly on the swinging engine mount on the firewall. We had already removed the Continental 240-hp engine. We stripped the accessories and wiring from the engine and junked it. Forty years later I am still using bits of the high quality wiring in the harnesses for my electric RC fleet.

This is a generic view of the panel on Cessna 195s. All now flying have been modified with modern instruments and gauges. Some had a throw-over yoke.

This is a generic view of the panel on Cessna 195s. All now flying have been modified with modern instruments and gauges. Some had a throw-over yoke.

While I had the aircraft under cover, I painted the wings and tail feathers to match the cream and brown of the aircraft. We hauled all the parts to Roger’s airport in Hatfield, Massachusetts for assembly. The local FAA inspector came and looked at the aircraft and told us what we had to do to convert it from a Cessna 190 to a Cessna 195. There was a lot of little details which were not difficult to do, as we had all the parts we needed from the L-126. Most of the work was in replacing the tach drive and rpm gauge which needed swapping out. We also had to make a new data plate, replacing the old. The airplane was now essentially a 1969 Goyer/Cessna 195, the only one flying. The plate was made with a Dremel tool and then riveted to the door frame. An A & I and the FAA signed it off and it was ready to fly. Roger test flew the plane for me as required by the FAA and reported that it flew straight and level with zero problems noted. Other than a rather mismatched paint job my new/old 195 was a blast to fly. I loved the cross wind gear and learned how to use it, it really helped in a cross wind landing.

This is Cessna N3089B taken a short time ago by its new owner David Ramsey, obviously Dave has a nice taste in wheels and wings.

This is Cessna N3089B taken a short time ago by its new owner David Ramsey, obviously Dave has a nice taste in wheels and wings.

In 1972, I had purchased a small airport in Delanson, New York, with a 1200 foot East/West and a 1000 foot North/South runway. The 195 was perfect for the small field. During the spring, son Robert, now Editor in Chief at Flying magazine, and I stripped the paint and polished the aluminum to a semi-high luster. I also installed exhaust valve rotators, on advice of a local Jacobs mechanic, boy, was he right. That engine ran for many more years without one problem.

In 1973, we decided to move to SoCal for a better flying environment. We relocated our large family, its cars, its airplanes to Apple Valley, California, where I still reside. Here the saga of N3089B really takes off. The airplane was put on our Part 135 certificate at the FBO I had purchased and we managed to get contracts from the BLM and the Treasurers Department for surveillance work. We tracked counterfeiters, counted horses, burros, big horn sheep and cougars. The feds loved the 195 due to the super comfortable large back seat, where they could set up their tracking devices. They hung antennas under the wing and at a reduced power the old bird could lumber around the sky for a lot longer than the pilots could.

In between gigs with the feds, we flew the 195 to Canada, Mexico and many airports in the Southwest, it never failed us. What a great bird N3089B was. I finally parted with her when I purchased a new Cessna Turbo 206. Now N3089B  belonged to a local realtor. I bought it back few years later and sold it again to the late Ron Karwacki, a Riverside, California heavy duty excavator contractor. Ron learned to fly in the 195 and completely did a ground up restoration including white leather interior new windows, highly polished aluminum skin and a complete modern avionics package, it was gorgeous, and still is. If you have attended any recent Sun ‘n Fun or AirVenture meets you have seen N3089B in the winner’s circle, Ron won every prize offered with his recreation. Ron passed away a few years ago, and the plane was purchased by David Ramsey living in the South East. David has the time, experience and means to keep N3089B in a private hangar along with his Porsche. Who would ever believe that this mismatched 190 and 195 old field beater would end up as the “Queen of the Breed”. For one, I am so happy that she is still very well taken care of. .

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