Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
01/12/07 04:49 AM
Bonanza or Columbia

I'm trying to decide between purchasing a Bonanza or a Columbia. I've been studying the pros and cons for a few months and can't decide which to go with.
I'm asking for your opinions.

I owned a Bonanza F33A from 1992 until 2001 when I sold it. Loved the Bo' but now I'm wondering if I should buy the Columbia.
I'm shopping for new or nearly new. I'm familiar with the price differences.

The Columbia appears to have a performance edge over the Bonanza, but feels more cramped (I have flown the Columbia on 2 demo flights).
I'm not sure what to make of the "composite" airframe. If it gets dinged, is it a lot worse repair that a metal airframe? Does the composite airplane weather OK when left on the ramp in the hot sun?
and what's the deal with lightning strikes? Is the composite more dangerous?

I love the G1000 (opinions here, too please) and can get it in a new Columbia for $460,000 but would pay at last $650,00 for a Bonanza with G1000.

Joel


Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
01/12/07 06:44 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel:

I don't quite know what you are comparing. Are you looking at an new A-36 v. the Columbia 300 (350)?

I owned an A-36 that was turbonormalized for 5 1/2 years and loved it.

If this is the case, the birds are quite a bit different as you have surmised. The A-36 had six seats, even if you don't use all of 'em. Most of the time, I left one or two in back out to carry 'stuff' (very important to be able to carry stuff ya know.) The Beech is retractable v. fixed gear in the Columbia. I also felt cramped in the Columbia when I few it. Not much flexibility with the bucket seats.

There are a lot of folks questioning the life and durability of the composite planes. It will take a different kind of expertise to properly repair them if damaged.

The Beechcraft is made very well. Has a great history. Still, Columbia seems to be well made but is selling fewer planes that some competitors.

This would be a difficult decision for me if I only needed what the Columbia would hold. In my case, I needed to fill four seats and to carry stuff; on occasion, needed more than four seats. The A-36 provided that flexibility. Have you compared useful load and payload?

Columbia hold more fuel; the A-36 is 74 useable.

Perhaps some others will chime in and trigger more thoughts.

Best,

Dave


Stephanie Belser
(Top Gun APC)
01/12/07 07:03 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

My only thought is this:

When you have a problem with the aircraft and the only FBO on the field is the "Acme Flying School and Freight Service", what are the odds of finding a mechanic who is familiar with Bonanzas and what are the odds of finding one who is familiar with Columbia, much less finding that the shop has a set of maintenance manuals for the airplane?

The one thing you do not want to hear from a mechanic is a low whistle, followed by: "Hey, Harv, you ever see one of these things before?"

With the Columbia, you may want to get the CDs with the maintenance manuals on them and keep them with the airplane. For the Bonanza, maybe not.

Then again, for a difference of $200K...

Stephanie


Rick Durden
(Top Gun)
01/12/07 08:22 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel,

For me both the Bonanza and the Columbia are cramped <g>. Nevertheless, I would have a hard time with the decision unless I knew I would rarely carry more than two aboard. The Columbia 400 is almost beyond compare. I've made some long trips in one and whether going against the wind down low or with it up high, it's a very amazing and overall comfortable airplane.

The Columbia is the stronger airplane by far, it is certified in the Utility Category, and the certification standards on composites are so incredibly, almost rediculously, conservative that I will be utterly amazed if a Columbia ever comes apart. (The Bonanza inflight breakup rate, with V tails removed, is the same as the Cessna 210 and Piper Saratoga.) The Columbia structure is overbuilt to a level that is hard to belive. It's a little like the approach Beech took to the Twin Bonanza because they wanted to sell it to the military and so certified it Utillity with a maneuvering speed above cruise speed.

Composite structure is just plain strong. (There is no evidence to the contrary - other than OWTs that may have been started by the aluminum airplane makers.) It doesn't get hot enough on a ramp anywhere on this planet to degrade it. Hail that dents aluminum bounces off of composite, so the risk of hangar rash is less. Small dings are fixed with what amounts to an epoxy mix and a hair dryer. It's being taught in A & P school now and Cirrus has been educating mechanics on composite repair pretty heavily, which benefits Columbia buyers. A major screw up from a loss of control may mean replacing a wing as opposed to repairing it.

The accident rate for Columbia is almost as low as the Diamond series, and no one is sure why.

The Columbia 300 I flew had a very aft-tending C.G. (you couldn't carry anyone in the rear seat if any baggage were carried. It was an early one, but if you are looking at any in the series, do some sample weight and balance work. The 400 did not have the problem. In the 400 with two big adults, full fuel, Jepps, baggage for a week and survival gear, we were right at gross weight, yet it walked right up to FL250 in less than 25 minutes and then ran at 215 KTAS operating LOP.

In turbulence I hit my head on the roof of both the Columbia and Bonanza. Bonanza has better rear seat room. Emergency egress is probably a toss up, the Columbia comes with a big hammer to batter your way out if you wind up inverted. I like having two doors as opposed to one.

I like having fixed gear from an insurance and maintenance cost standpoint, unless I'm in ice. I like the side sticks far, far more than the yoke that is sitting there waiting to kill me should there be a serious impact and otherwise blocking the view of part of the panel all of the time, making some of the panel space unusable.

People come up to you on the ramp and ask about a Columbia, they don't in a Bonanza <g>.

However, if I were to regularly carry an adult in the back seat I'd get a Bonanza or Cirrus. Cirrus has the roomiest cabin of the group by far.

Warmest regards,
Rick


Mike McNamara - 19N (NJ)
(Public Guest)
01/12/07 11:00 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

How long are you going to keep it?

20 or 30 years from now, Beechcraft will still be around in some form & you will still be able to buy parts. Columbia is less certain.

If you are only going to keep it for 5 or 8 years, this is much less of a problem.

For example, I have a 1965 Beechcraft Debonair; bought it in 1995. I have been able to buy landing gear parts, fairings that cracked, engine baffling, seat belt shoulder harness retrofits, and numerous other odd ball stuff with very few problems. I really think that some of these new manufacturers (Columbia, Cirrus) are not building into their cost model the engineering and parts support required to still be able to offer parts 30-40 years later.

Just my opinion.


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
01/12/07 11:27 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Quote:

How long are you going to keep it?

20 or 30 years from now, Beechcraft will still be around in some form & you will still be able to buy parts. Columbia is less certain.

If you are only going to keep it for 5 or 8 years, this is much less of a problem.

For example, I have a 1965 Beechcraft Debonair; bought it in 1995. I have been able to buy landing gear parts, fairings that cracked, engine baffling, seat belt shoulder harness retrofits, and numerous other odd ball stuff with very few problems. I really think that some of these new manufacturers (Columbia, Cirrus) are not building into their cost model the engineering and parts support required to still be able to offer parts 30-40 years later.

Just my opinion.



Mike, thanks. I'll probably own it less than 10 years since I'll hit age 60 next month. I did indeed love my F33A and enjoyed the availability of parts (however expensive) and the ABS gatherings, etc. The Bonanza family is far and wide. The new composite aircraft seem to me to be an exciting new trend. and the A36 (G36) has now become so expensive it forces me to consider alternatives. On my demo rides in the Columbia (350 and 400) I'll have to say I was extremely impressed. I got so taken with the G1000 that I hardly paid any attention to he back seat and luggage compartment.
Joel


Stephanie Belser
(Top Gun APC)
01/12/07 11:32 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Quote:

20 or 30 years from now, Beechcraft will still be around in some form & you will still be able to buy parts. Columbia is less certain.




Well, what matters more is whether or not somebody is holding the Type Certificate and if that holder is committed to parts support.

Stephanie


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
01/12/07 11:50 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Rick,
What a great reply.
I like all your comments about the strength of composite aircarft, the fixed gear "advantage", etc.
For some reason I have ignored the Cirrus in my aircraft search. I'll do some looking there, too.
I have been definitely leaning towards the Columbia 350 (or 400) over the Bonanza. The advantages of the Bonanza in my mind are the extra space in back, known quality and the long history of the tried-and-true airframe. But the Columbia is faster, considerably less expensive, still quality-built, and presumably less expensive to maintain (fixed gear, and no rivets...) From your post it sounds like composites are really strong and resistant to aging or weathering.
I've asked the Columbia sales people about the baggage space and here are his replies:

Total useful load on the Columbia 350 and Bonanza A36 are comparable, provided you are comparing them with comparable aircraft equipment. However, the baggage compartment in the Columbia is rated for 120 lbs capacity whereas the Bonanza is rated for 70 lbs.
Space wise, if you are comparing the true baggage space of the Columbia 350 and Bonanza A36, they are very comparable in cubic feet of space.
consider the Bonanza is going to burn a little more fuel per hour, i.e. 1 to 1.5 GPH more. And the Columbia 350 has much greater range with full fuel as you can carry 98 useable vs 74 useable in the A36 and you are burning a little less GPH in the Columbia.


Thanks again for your comments!
Joel


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
01/12/07 11:53 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

It's a tough decision. I know you're right about finding maintenance at smaller airfields.
Joel


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
01/12/07 12:04 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Dave, I'm looking at a 2006 or 2007 model 350 or 400
I love the A36's back seat area, but I think it would be used very seldom in my typical flying. Every once in a while I might like to take another couple along with me and my wife... for a weekend trip. I know it would be pleasant in the Bonanza, and I think the Columbia will accommodate us all with 120 pounds of luggage (30 pounds per person, that's pretty generous). But most of my flying would be just two people, so maybe I don't need to fret over the rear seat space and baggage area. My reply to Mike spelled out some of the details on useful load and payload.
Thanks for your comments,
Joel


Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
01/12/07 12:26 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Quote:

Dave, I'm looking at a 2006 or 2007 model 350 or 400
I love the A36's back seat area, but I think it would be used very seldom in my typical flying. Every once in a while I might like to take another couple along with me and my wife... for a weekend trip. I know it would be pleasant in the Bonanza, and I think the Columbia will accommodate us all with 120 pounds of luggage (30 pounds per person, that's pretty generous). But most of my flying would be just two people, so maybe I don't need to fret over the rear seat space and baggage area. My reply to Mike spelled out some of the details on useful load and payload.
Thanks for your comments,
Joel




You seem to be looking at the right stuff Joel!

Do you need a turboed aircraft? If so, the Bo would have to have after-market upgrades done. My '78 Bo was turbonormalized; the A36s you're referring to would be NA.
I guess I'd focus on the key features.

Cost means Columbia.

Extra seats (flexibility that comes with them also) go to Bo.

Both have new all glass panels available.

Which do you prefer as far as comfort? Control feel?

Have you talked to the folks that will do your maintenance?

Sounds like you can't really go wrong; nice choices to have <vbg>.

I wanted pressurized which eliminated the Columbia (when I went to the P-Baron). Also, as I said, needed the extra seats. If you can use the four seater; that's great. I liked the Columbia; just didn't do what I needed.

IMO, you're looking at the same birds I would from what you've stated.

[Rick/quote]People come up to you on the ramp and ask about a Columbia, they don't in a Bonanza <g>


.

Rick is a very smart guy, but I don't always agree with him <vbg>.

I had a lot of folks come up and ask me about my Bo when I had it; same now, with the P-Baron!! Many couldn't believe I flew the Bo in the Flight Levels from Dallas to either coast! The P-Baron comments are usually from another Bo or Baron owner that would really like to have a P-Baron.

Best,

Dave


Rick Durden
(Top Gun)
01/13/07 05:00 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel,

Over Christmas I flew a friend's A36 to visit family. We had a LOT of stuff and pretty well filled the airplane. With three people it meant one had to ride in back. Due to the corkscrewing in turbulence (and it was a high wind and turbulent trip) and the discomfort to the passenger in the rear, she chose to ride in one of the rear facing seats so as to be nearer the center of gravity. The Columbia does not corkscrew in turbulence as does a Bonanza.

From a passenger standpoint in turbulence a Columbia is more comfortable, for carrying stuff the A36 is pretty great, although the useful load is not all that whippy for a six place airplane (I'm used to a 210 where you can fill the seats and the tanks, which you certainly cannot do in an A36).

Warmest regards,
Rick


Andrew Niemyer -KDLH
(Top Gun)
01/13/07 06:12 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia - G1000 thoughts

Joel:
Just some thoughts on the Garmin 1000 system. There continue to be sporadic reports about system failures in the 1000 that denude you of a lot of capability. Since everything is controlled by and displayed only on the panel, if you lose the MFD, as I understand it, you lose your radios and GPS. The Avidyne Entegra system allows you to default to the individual box if, for example, you lose the MFD.

A story involving single-point failure of a G1000 system is found here:
http://www.alexisparkinn.com/nwpilot's_tranatlantic_flight.htm

The events start on page 2.

That being said, I've flown conventionally paneled, semi-glass and full glass. I love the PFD/MFD combinations, especially the PFD's. Like another Sigger, Curt Sanford, I own and fly a SR-22, with the Avidyne system. I think that glass does, if you know how to use them, significantly increase your situational awareness.

I have to agree, without first hand knowledge, that depending on your personal physical comfort levels, a run-out B-36 TAT'd with a new engine and with a "near total" glass cockpit would be a great long range bird, if that's how you normally fly. (From personal experience, you have to look at what you know you really fly versus "Yeah, I'm going to fly those kind of trips!")

I would try and fly the most recent Columbias, as I know they've made some major, positive changes in the ergonomics for both front and back seat. As others have said, look at the POH's and do your own W & B's. I would not rule out the Cirrus birds, either. Other than a center consol that's a shade too narrow at the knees for how I sprawl around inflight, they are the roomiest, with a marvelous view both front and back. IMHO their biggest drawback is their full fuel payloads, once you start adding things like GTS-level avionics, A/C, built-in O2 or a turbo package. OTOH, there isn't a spouse out there that doesn't like the 'chute. YMMV.

Hope that makes things even harder to decide. ;)

Very best regards,
Andy Niemyer


Nigel Thompson(1D2)
(AVSIG Member)
01/13/07 09:46 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel, a couple of other things to consider:

One might be ice. Higher capability aircraft, like the Colombia or a TN'd Bonanza are likely to increase your exposure to ice as you will be flying them higher, longer and occasionally in more challenging conditions. In a comparison where neither aircraft has anything other than pitot heat, I would always want to fly the Bonanza. The SR22/Colombia class aircraft get their fantastic performance from low parasitic drag (even with the wheels welded down), high power, and laminar flow wings which really don't like any contamination. Even heavy rain will significantly slow them down.

I started flying TN'd Bonanza's about 11 years ago and quite rapidly had more ice and heavy precip exposure than in the previous 15 years of flying lower capability machines. My feeling is a Bonanza will give you quite a bit more time to exercise your preplanned "out" than a laminar flow winged machine will, before things get really exciting.

Alternatively, only buy a modern airframe with some ice protection (you can get TKS on the Bo' too, but only as an aftermarket fit I believe).


I also wonder about depreciation. I imagine that will be far and away your highest cost for the first few years, but I don't have any feel which would be worse.

Personally I'd buy a late model B36TC with a run out motor, coonvert it to a TN 550 using TAT's STC, and add some avionics to suite. You won't be able to get the integration of the G1000 (not necessarily a bad thing), but you would have a magnificent airplane with longer legs and more payload than either the Colombia or Cirrus, and not much slower than the Colombia or a Turbo SR22 I suspect. Even my 36 year old V35B Bonanza, with only a TN'd 520 and tip tanks, will climb to 16000 in 30 minutes, cruise for 5 hours at close on 200kts, descend and land with an hours fuel on board.

I have to agree though, the Colombia is very nice. In weak moments I think about buying one, and then the rational side takes over and points out that I would really get litle or no incremental utility from a fairly significant incremental investment (plus I like my current Bonanza a lot).


Good luck in the decision process.

Nigel.


Bill Bridges - 9S1
(Top Gun)
01/13/07 10:13 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Dave,

Quote:

I also felt cramped in the Columbia when I few it. Not much flexibility with the bucket seats.




How was the side stick? Similar to the front seat in an AH-1G?

Bill


Rick Durden
(Top Gun)
01/13/07 12:09 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Nigel,

>>Personally I'd buy a late model B36TC with a run out motor, coonvert it to a TN 550 using TAT's STC, and add some avionics to suite. You won't be able to get the integration of the G1000 (not necessarily a bad thing), but you would have a magnificent airplane with longer legs and more payload than either the Colombia or Cirrus, and not much slower than the Colombia or a Turbo SR22 I suspect. <<

If I were in his position, and having flown that conversion, I'd probably do the same - or get a T210 and do the panel. I like the space and the legs you get with either. 200 knots, four people, lots of baggage and 1,000 miles range.

Warmest regards,
Rick


Dave Siciliano (ADS)
(Top Gun)
01/13/07 01:35 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Quote:

Dave,

Quote:

I also felt cramped in the Columbia when I few it. Not much flexibility with the bucket seats.




How was the side stick? Similar to the front seat in an AH-1G?

Bill




Bill:

I'm of less than average stature. When I flew the 300, the seat wouldn't adjust enough for me. I'm sure that would be an easy enough fix.

The side stick is something I was concerned about. Turned out to be no problemo after awhile; although, I did have a couple sore muscles. I'm sure one would adapt after a bit. Excellent view out of the cockpit; better than the Bo.

Hard to compare it to the snake in that we had such excellent seats in that aircraft; could be adjusted forward and back as well as up and down IIEC (or there was no need for up and down). I really liked the Colmubia. If they had a six seater with the same payload or more than the Bo, I sure would have been tempted.

I understand the assembly of the Bo is not very efficient in light of today's assembly methods. One of the reasons they had difficulty selling that division.

Best,

Dave


George Braly
(Top Gun)
01/13/07 03:48 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia


Rick,

An A36 with the TN gets a gross wt increase to 4000 lbs.

Walter's has a 1500+ lb legitimate useful load.

Add a yaw damper and the rear seat fish tail goes away.

1200 NM range at 210KTAS at 17,000 feet.

Hard to match that.

Regards, George


Rick Durden
(Top Gun)
01/14/07 03:02 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

George,

>>An A36 with the TN gets a gross wt increase to 4000 lbs.

Walter's has a 1500+ lb legitimate useful load.

Add a yaw damper and the rear seat fish tail goes away.

1200 NM range at 210KTAS at 17,000 feet.

Hard to match that.<<

Can't think of any single-engine piston airplane that does.

Warmest regards,
Rick


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
01/14/07 06:23 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Quote:


Rick,

An A36 with the TN gets a gross wt increase to 4000 lbs.

Walter's has a 1500+ lb legitimate useful load.

Add a yaw damper and the rear seat fish tail goes away.

1200 NM range at 210KTAS at 17,000 feet.

Hard to match that.

Regards, George




I want Walter's airplane!!
or maybe one just like it
Joel


Andrew Niemyer -KDLH
(Top Gun)
01/14/07 06:40 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel:
<I want Walter's airplane!! or maybe one just like it>

You've just answered your question. Now all you have to do is find your bird! Good luck, take your time and remember, take the absolute total amount you want to spend and multiply by 3.14 and make that your budget! <VBG>

Best,
Andy


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
01/14/07 06:41 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Quote:

Joel, a couple of other things to consider:

One might be ice.
I started flying TN'd Bonanza's about 11 years ago

I also wonder about depreciation.

Personally I'd buy a late model B36TC with a run out motor, coonvert it to a TN 550 using TAT's STC, and add some avionics to suite. You won't be able to get the integration of the G1000 (not necessarily a bad thing), but you would have a magnificent airplane with longer legs and more payload than either the Colombia or Cirrus, and not much slower than the Colombia or a Turbo SR22 I suspect. Even my 36 year old V35B Bonanza, with only a TN'd 520 and tip tanks, will climb to 16000 in 30 minutes, cruise for 5 hours at close on 200kts, descend and land with an hours fuel on board.


Good luck in the decision process.

Nigel.




Nigel, great suggestions! Now I'm going back to the drawing board and will start researching TN'd Bonanzas. I got all enamored with new airplanes and the G1000, but now I'm having serious second thoughts about the necessity for that. Nice as it is, that G1000 could easily be too much of a distraction in a single-piloted GA airplane. I'm from the old school where I was taught to keep my head out of the cockpit. Heck, I had great situational awareness before all the fancy glass cockpits. A LORAN was enough for me.
I am anxious for speed and reliability. and reasonable space and payload. Not sure about flying in the FL's but maybe the high teens as George describes would be the solution for me.
I've been swayed by each aircraft salesman I talk to, and I always seem to want the airplane that was last pitched to me. I've got to get a clear head about this. Even though I could afford a $500K, why spend that if I can be just as happy spending quite a bit less.

Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate all those who have chimed in with their comments. This has helped me immensely.
Joel


Robert Mann [HPN-NY]
(AVSIG Member)
01/14/07 10:26 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel,

<<But most of my flying would be just two people, so maybe I don't need to fret over the rear seat space and baggage area>>

If that's the case, have you considered a Mooney Rocket? If you're not familiar with it, it's a Mooney 231/252 with a firewall forward conversion replacing the stock 210HP engine with a 305HP TSIO-520NB. The plane will do 235ktas at FL 240, or about 220+ ktas at FL180, or about 210ktas at FL200 at 65% power. It climbs 1,500+ fpm right up to FL230. At its service ceiling of FL240, it's still climbing over 1,000fpm.

With long range tanks (most of them out there have it) filled up, you'll still have enough payload to carry 2-3 adults (depending upon weight), or 2 with luggage. (No, you can't take four 200 lb men for a 1,000 nm trip) That would give you over 1,000nm range at a moderate power setting; longer at an economy setting. I've flown south Fla to NYC non-stop in just a little more time than Delta. On a 2-3 hour trip (400-600nm) you can fly four adults.

We're not talking about new here. You'd be looking at a converted 1986-1989 252. You could probably find one with 2,000 TTA for something in the $190-230k range. A small fraction of the money you save can be used to upgrade your panel if you wish. Pretty good bang for the buck if you ask me.


Walter Atkinson
(Top Gun)
01/14/07 01:53 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Gentlemen:

Things to consider:

The TSIO/TIO engines have problems with high TITs. Some are very difficult to get to run properly LOP. (read any factory turbo-charged model, whether Columbia, Mooney, Beech or Cessna).

The turbonormalized engines do not suffer this disadvantage (read TN Bo or TN Cirrus).

My Bo has 120 gallons of fuel, goes 200-210 knots, depending on altitude and with full fuel has 900 pounds of PAYLOAD (four adults AND luggage). With four hours of fuel it has a 1200 pound payload (that's SIX 200 pound adults or very large children!).

If I needed a 2-3 seat speedster, it would be the TN Cirrus. If I needed a four seat+ load hauling fast machine, I'd be looking for a TN Bonanza. If I needed a load hauler and didn't mind a problem, PITA engine installation, I'd look for a T-210, but beware, it's tough to get them to run right. When they do, they are nice. When they don't they are a real money pit trying to get them there with no guarantee that you will make it.

I like the NA Columbia. I am less favorably impressed with the TC'd Col-400.

My good friend Rick's comments notwithstanding, and the fact that I've been around plastic boats my whole life, I think it very fair to say that the jury is still out on the longevity of the composite airframes.


Tom Gresham (HDC)
(Top Gun)
01/15/07 11:33 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

First off . . . you can buy a NEW G36 Bonanza for under $600,000. You just have to negotiate hard. Several have done it.

I can't comment on the Columbia, but I have a couple of thousand hours in turbonormalized Bonanzas.

My TN A-36 has a useful load of 1627 with all six seats in. I removed seats 5 and 6 and never put them in, so I get more room and more useful load.

Long range is safety.

Today I flew from Kississimmee, Florida to home base in Natchitoches. Picked up nasty head winds. I knew that when I got to Louisiana, the weather would be bad, and it was. Low ceilings, rain, wind, and I was racing the ice storm.

When I touched down I had been in the air for 4:11. I still had more than two hours of fuel aboard, at wide-open cruise setting. I could have flown a missed approach and then flown to ATLANTA . . . 453 N. Miles.

Long range is speed. On today's trip, I would not have tried it nonstop with the standard tanks. The 80 gallons in the mains gives about 4:30 with comfort. Not nearly enough for today's conditions. Stopping for fuel would have been a problem, because for much of the trip -- along the Florida panhandle, ceilings were 100 feet and 1/4-mile viz. If I could have stopped, it would have added an hour to the trip.

Raw speed is not everything, by a bunch. A plane that goes 200 knots gets you there hardly sooneer than a 180-knot plane. The one that is comfortable is to be appreciated.

I love not having to watch what my baggage weighs. I just don't care. Today I had . . . about 12 bags in the plane. Lots of little ones, several big ones, and a sleepging bag, tarp, survival kit, etc. Doesn't matter. Weight and balance? Huh? With this plane, about the only way to get out of CG is to not have something in the back.

Being able to take anything you want, and to fly from Los Angeles to Kansas City, or Kansas City to New York, nonstop, makes it a real traveling machine.

It changes the way you think about your flying.

I don't know how this factors into the decision grid, but experience tells me that the claimed speed numbers are not the most important things to consider.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N630JL/history/20070109/1622Z/KIER/KISM


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
02/15/07 05:48 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

I finally came to a decision. I signed a contract for a Columbia 350 this evening.

I appreciate all the comments from you guys. You gave me the opportunity to consider lots of ideas, facts and opinions.

Joel


Andrew Niemyer -KDLH
(Top Gun)
02/16/07 03:21 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel:
Congratulations! Enjoy your new bird. Are getting one fresh off the delivery line or one that's already been finished?

Best regards,
Andy


Rick Durden
(Top Gun)
02/19/07 03:31 AM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel,

Enjoy the new airplane!

Warmest regards,
Rick


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
10/31/07 04:22 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Just a follow-up on this thread... I took delivery of my new 2007 Columbia 350 in April.
I'll have to say I'm pretty doggone pleased with it, so far. I don't like not being able to open the cowling on preflight, and servicing tire air pressure is a real pain. But those are small issues. The positives are numerous. It is very comfortable and fast. The G1000 is quite amazing. I have to keep reminding myself to get my head out of the cockpit.

In my old F33A Bonanza, it was a challenge to keep the CG forward enough... and I have the opposite case with the Columbia. With one or two pilots and regardless of fuel load, the CG is forward of limits. I have to carry something heavy in the aft baggage area to get the CG in the envelope. I'm using the Jeppesen Internet Flight Planner to compute weight and balance.

I guess this thread has finally become no longer related to Beechcraft... so pardon my thread-creep.

Joel


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
10/31/07 04:49 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel -- Congratulations. The Columbia is a beautiful machine, no doubt about
it. I like the visual lines, a lot.

How did you find the fit and finish of the delivered product? Any issues
there?

Best wishes for a long and happy period of ownership.


Rick Durden
(Top Gun)
10/31/07 05:10 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel,

>>I have the opposite case with the Columbia. With one or two pilots and regardless of fuel load, the CG is forward of limits. I have to carry something heavy in the aft baggage area to get the CG in the envelope.<<

I had that problem when I flew freight in the Cessna 404 - with just the pilot it was out of c.g. forward. The company kept two-5 gallon collapseable plastic water jugs in the back end. When I flew empty, I just filled them with water - never a problem getting it at an FBO. When I was loaded near gross, I dumped the water out and collapsed the jugs.

Carrying one might work for you.

Warmest regards,
Rick


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
10/31/07 08:05 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Hi Scott
Fit and Finish are top-notch on the Columbia. I have heard that's a nice advantage over the Cirrus, even though I've personally never been in a Cirrus.

Columbia aircraft will probably be called a Cessna something-or-other.. (You've probably read about Columbia being sold... most likely to Cessna, but it's not complete yet) I guess Cessna won't use the same 350 and 400 model numbers that Columbia used, that would be confusing with their existing model numbers.

I even had a tower controller call me "Cessna 1334X" the other day... took me a few moments before I realized he was talking to me.

Joel


Joel Aiken (RDU)
(Public Guest)
10/31/07 08:09 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Rick,
I like the collapsible water jug idea. I'll be doing that right away!

Thanks for a great suggestion
Joel


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
10/31/07 09:08 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Joel -- It's either going to be "Cessna 1334X" or "Cirrus 1334X". I'd guess
that you'd prefer the former to the latter.... (Sorry, Andy N.)


Kcid LlirreM
(Top Gun)
11/01/07 08:50 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Hope Cessna does not with Columbia what Piper did with Stinson.

Rick Durden
(Top Gun)
11/01/07 09:08 PM
Re: Bonanza or Columbia

Dick,

After a talk with Jack Pelton, the president of Cessna, a month ago I came away with the impression that they want a go fast airplane without having to pay the horrendous certification costs and the modified Cardinal that they flew at OSH two years ago isn't going to cut it (that part wasn't in the conversation, just extrapolation from observation and conversation with others). I think they want Columbia badly, plus, I think they'll immediately put a BRS on it and turn it into one heck of an airplane (Jack is determined to put the BRS in the entire piston line).

When the president of Cessna owns and flies a Cessna 195 and shows up for the entire weekend of the 195 fly-in, one comes away with the impression that he's pretty dedicated to the piston end of the line as well as the turbines.

Good grief, the guy even wore a hat with a long pony tail on the back. He's a breath of fresh air. He owns Dwane Wallace's 195 and a brand new 206 and his wife has a 162 on order. I think they are serious about wanting Columiba - maybe because they really want Cirrus and couldn't find a way to buy it.

Cheers,
Rick



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