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Pilot Reports

Ultimately, of all the things you can do to try and win a race, practicing your flying skills would pay the most dividends else, clean your prop, front and back.” How important is weight in this speed quest? Curt continues, “The general rule is 100 pounds equals about one knot of speed, so every little bit counts.” He goes on to speak about how the placement of weight is also important and talked about when his dad raced Mooneys, he would have someone sit in the back for extra speed. On this point alone I encounter many different opinions on what’s better, weight forward or back. All I know is my 36 goes faster when the CG is more aft, which I attribute to the horizontal stabilizer having to work a bit less hard with an aft CG and thereby create less drag.

So the Bonanza boys are doing it right after all. Now you’re probably thinking, all of this fuss over 10 knots? I asked Chester about this and he had a very good point, “When you’re looking at ways of going faster in your airplane, you’re getting involved with the mechanics and details of your ship, which ultimately makes you safer than the guy who hops in his plane once a month, does a cursory walk around and cruises over to lunch. Racing our Bonanzas isn’t just about speed, it’s about testing your pilot skills in navigation, flight planning, coordinated flight, and maximizing the performance of your airplane. For example, just one small screw up in navigation can erase

all of your speed advantage and much more. Ultimately, of all the things you can do to try and win a race, practicing your flying skills would pay the most dividends.” However Chester says with a smirk, “There is no better feeling in the world when racing, than seeing yourself reel in the guy ahead of you who is supposed to be faster.” So what about my airplane? So far I have removed 18 pounds of weight, three antennas, the step, waxed her up and added a “Boom Beam” light. This gained 7 mph. The next modifications are tuned exhaust, adjusting the wings, vortex generators…. the quest continues.

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PilotMag-May/June 2010  

Aviation magazine

PilotMag-May/June 2010  

Aviation magazine

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