Beech Bonanza F33 by Minicraft

1/48 scale
Kit No. 11670
Cost: $24.00
Decals: Two versions – both for a civilian airline training center
Comments: Engraved panel lines and recessed rivet detail; six-seat cabin with raised detail on instrument panel, separate control yoke; “flat six” engine with mount; choice of two- or three-bladed propellers; display stand included; decals by Cartograf

History

The Beech Bonanza F33 first premiered as the Model 33 Debonair in 1960, and can trace its lineage back to the first Beechcraft Bonanza which was introduced in 1947 by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. It has been in continuous production longer than any known aircraft in history, with over 17,000 Beech Bonanzas of all variants produced between 1947 and 2008.

The Beech Bonanza and the Cessna 195 were two of the leading civilian aircraft to appear on the market after World War II. The Cessna represented pre-war aviation technology, with its radial engine, fixed tailwheel, roll-down windows and shoulder-mounted wing. But the Bonanza was more like the fighters developed during the war, featuring an easier-to-manage horizontally-opposed six cylinder engine, a rakishly streamlined shape, retractable nosewheel undercarriage (although the nosewheel initially was not steerable, and a low-wing configuration.

Those who have flown it maintain that a number of features set the Bonanza apart. It features a traditional cluster of engine instruments in the center of its main panel, with avionics off to the right. The cabin is tall, with plenty of head and leg room. The large cabin windows contribute to the feeling of spaciousness and make for excellent in-flight visibility. The standard F33A interior is by no means Spartan. Cloth seats and carpeting throughout are included, but buyers who insist on leather can get it. Its baggage door is cargo size and fitted with large, robust latches. The baggage area is cavernous and can hold 270 pounds of cargo.

All Bonanzas share an unusual feature: The yoke and rudder pedals are interconnected by a system of bungee cords that assist in keeping the airplane in coordinated flight during turns. The bungee system allows the pilot to make coordinated turns using the yoke alone, or with minimal rudder input, during cruise flight. Increased right-rudder pressure is still required on takeoff to overcome engine torque and P-factor. In the landing phase, the bungee system must be overridden by the pilot when making crosswind landings, which require cross-controlled inputs to keep the nose of the airplane aligned with the runway centerline without drifting left or right. This feature started with the V-tail and persists on the current production model.

In January 2012 the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority issued an airworthiness directive (AD) grounding all Bonanzas, Twin Bonanzas and Debonairs equipped with a single pole style yoke and that have forward elevator control cables that were over 15 years old until they could be inspected. The AD was issued based on two aircraft found to have frayed cables, one of which suffered a cable failure just prior to takeoff, and resulting concerns about the age of the cables in fleet aircraft of this age. At the time of the grounding some Bonanzas had reached 64 years in service. Aircraft with frayed cables were grounded until the cables were replaced and those that passed inspection were required to have their cables replaced within 60 days regardless. The AD affected only Australian aircraft and was not adopted by the airworthiness authority responsible for the type certificate, the US Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA instead opted to issue a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) requesting that the elevator control cables be inspected during the annual inspection.

The Beech Bonanza remains a popular light aircraft and can still be found on the civilian market today.

The Kit

Minicraft’s Beechcraft Bonanza F33 is injection molded in white and consists of 60 parts, including 7 clear parts for the passenger cabin, which features nicely rendered simulated upholstery for the seats, a detailed instrument panel, separate control yoke, and a modicum of interior sidewall detail. The engine, a flat, six-cylinder type, features an engine mount separate exhaust maniifolds, and a removable cowling.

The instructions are clear and well-illustrated and feature a painting guide, but as this is a civilian aircraft the modeler will be free to take some artistic license. The landing gear are pretty well detailed, particularly the wheels, and as the kit includes a display stand, a decision will have to be made as to whether to depict the gear up or down; due to its sleek lines, the Bonanza is one of those aircraft that definitely looks more aesthetically appealing in flight. There is an option for either a two-bladed or three-bladed propeller, and markings for one of two aircraft based at what is only described as the Airline Training Center, somewhere in Arizona, circa 1998. The first, serial number N5599P, has an overall paint scheme of yellow or orange-yellow with dark blue trim and dark blue wingtips. The second, serial number N5585Y, appears in overal white with red trim, red wingtips, and a red upper half of its vertical tail.

Conclusion

This kit will be a great addition to your collection if you have a fancy for civilian light planes.

References

  • www.aopa.com ~ Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
  • wikipedia.com
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