By ZAC NOBLE
In 1944 Walter Beech was on a mission to build a better mouse trap, aka…airplane.
Beechcraft was already successful with its Model 17 Staggerwing and the twin engine Beechcraft Model 18. The 18 was being manufactured to meet the military’s transport and training needs.
Beech was convinced that when the war was over, aircraft companies would go back to building what they were making prior to the war effort.
It has often been said that war is the mother of invention. The airplane wasn’t new to World War II, but airplane manufacturers had learned much in the manufacturing processes and Beech was determined to make use of new technology and ideas.
It was taboo to talk about post-war airplane production, so Beech and a small group of his trusted team worked nights and weekends to turn his vision into the machine that Bonanza enthusiasts have loved for decades.
The Beech 35 first flew on Dec. 22, 1945, only months after victory over Japan had been declared, ending World War II. It was a huge success and exceeded the expectations of Mr. Beech.
Over the years there have been modifications made to the original design to strengthen airframe components where additional strength was needed and engine changes were made to give the Bonanza additional power and reliability to keep up with owner and operator expectations.
However the basic airplane is remarkably unchanged from its original design. It was so forward thinking in design that it was among the fastest and well built machines of its time. It still stands at the top of its class today regarding comfort, economy of flight, and speed in the single engine high performance category. The Bonanza V tail was produced from 1947 until 1982.
My airplane is a 1959 Beech Bonanza K35. It retains the original fuselage, but has been outfitted with modern pieces such as dual yokes, wing tip fairings, LED landing light, modern tail stinger fairing, and a flying V antenna.
It also has a very modern instrument panel with all of the bells and whistles: A custom flat panel, with a lightning strike finder, DAVTRON 655, HSI, JPI EDM-700, STEC 50 autopilot with GPS steering and altitude hold, Garmin 530w NAV/COM, KX-155 NAV/COM, Garmin GTX 330 transponder, Garmin Aera 796 moving map, iPod jack, Bose headset jacks, Sirius XM, Garmin GDL 88, ADS-B compliance, and LED instrument gauge back lighting.
When someone asks me what I like about my Beech Bonanza V Tail, my mind is immediately overcome with wonderful thoughts of flying and American spirit and ingenuity.
As my good friend and fellow aviator Dr. David Adams says, “ambition and dreams are free.” Walter Beech had an abundance of both.
The Bonanza was imagined and designed when America was at its greatest. If it could be dreamed, it could be built. The Bonanza’s cabin is large, the structure is rugged, the controls are beefy, and the engine is strong.
If the V tail Bonanza wore clothes, it would wear high heels and fishnet stockings because this rig is built for speed and comfort and it’s the sexiest airplane in the sky!
The next time a V tail taxis by on your ramp, you will watch it like the big kid that you are, and you will be thankful for people like Walter Beech who had vision and built the American dream for us today.
N5316E is owned by Zac Noble of Noble Aviation. It’s based at Orange County Airport ( KOMH) in Virginia. Zac has over 6,000 flight hours and holds ATP multiengine airplane and helicopter, CFII airplane and helicopter ratings and he is an A&P. He also is a proud member of the American Bonanza Society.