Beechcraft G36 Bonanza: The Best of 63 years of Evolution – plus a Garmin G1000 Panel By Dave Higdon
nce in a while an assignment comes along that makes you smile at the thought of going to work. Sometimes the smile comes from the job reuniting me with an old friend; sometimes the root is the prospect of returning to a favored locale; other times, it comes from the prospect of experiencing something new. Pilot Magazine Editor Jeff Berlin’s inquiry into my interest in reviewing Hawker Beechcraft Corp.’s G36 Bonanza hit on all three points. The assignment offered a chance to reconnect with the newest version of an old friend – the Bonanza itself. My acquaintanceship with the Bonanza family dates back years and includes a particularly memorable 10 hours of solo flying a friend’s 1948 B35 between Wichita and Oshkosh. Other pleasant Bonanza encounters include several trips, short and long, in V35Bs, a number of model
33 versions and both model 36 and A36 Bonanzas. Excellent. Sign me up on that basis alone. The work locale at the factory airstrip, Beech Field (BEC), holds so much historical significance that I made it a regular “destination” when working on both my private ticket and my instrument rating. The “something new” of the equation centers on this particular plane: Hawker Beechcraft’s 60th Anniversary G36 model Bonanza. As you likely knew, the Bonanza’s newest designation accompanied the latest major update to Garmin’s G1000 integrated avionics package. The G1000 and the changes accompanying its adoption stand as only the most-recent in a lengthy line of revisions and evolutionary improvements that began shortly after the first model Bonanza rolled out for delivery in 1947.