Used Aircraft Guide

January 2009 Issue

Used Aircraft Guide: Beech 33 Debonair/Bonanza

Originally conceived as an economy version of the V-tail Bonanza, it outlasted its sibling instead.

Beechcraft’s Model 33 Bonanza was one of the few piston singles to survive the great general aviation slump of the 1980s. The quintessential doctor/lawyer single, it even outlived the previous archetype, the Model 35 V-tail Bonanza, by 12 years, only succumbing even as the landmark product-liability-reforming General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 became law. Ultimately, the six-seat Model 36 proved more popular than the four/five seat 33s. Since both reportedly cost about the same to manufacture, it’s a wonder the 33 held on as long as it did. But the four-seat, straight-tail Bo remains popular today. Owners love its flying qualities, performance, cabin comfort and sturdy construction. While many pilots, however, have words on the high cost of parts and maintenance supposedly typical of Beech aircraft, owners generally report a well-cared-for example needs very little. There are a few things to be careful of when operating a Bonanza, whether a 33 or V-tailed 35.

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