The Beechcraft Bonanza 36

Ah, nostalgia! I  was really excited to find this vintage advertisement on eBay for Beechcraft’s newest aircraft design, the 1968 Model 36 Bonanza.  This ad appeared in the August 1969 issue of National Geographic.

My Bonanzas have taken my family many times to locales like the one below. Memories of trips to the Great Lakes, the desert, the Keys and the Caribbean were made possible by travelling in my aircraft, on my schedule.

The Bonanza Model 36 was first produced in 1968 as a stretched version of two of the most popular aircraft ever built, the Models 35 V-tail and Model 33 straight- tail Bonanzas. The Model 36 offered six seats, a conventional tail, and an aft set of barn doors for easy passenger ingress/egress, and cargo loading.

Model 36 Advertisement

in 1968, the base-price of this first Model 36 Bonanza was princely $40,650, rising to an average of $47,050, fully equipped. (This equates to about $260,000 in 2010 dollars).

Creating the larger cabin area was accomplished by adding 10 inches of length to the fuselage of the Model 33-35 Bonanza, a 4-seat aircraft. The length was added in such a way that the cabin moved forward, relative to the wing. Lengthening the 4-seat Bonanza fuselage into the new six-seat version increased the aircraft “Empty Weight” by only about 30 pounds.

The original Bonanza 36 was equipped with a six-cylinder Continental IO-520-B engine, producing 285 HP,  swinging a two-blade prop. It had some shortcomings compared to the later models: Club seating and a fold down writing desk in the aft cabin were not yet options, and the standard fuel capacity was pretty short-legged with only 44 gallons useable. A seventy-four gallon capacity was optional.

Club seating in my Bonanza A36

The Model 36 quickly evolved into the A36, and most recently, the Bonanza G36. Unfortunately for the aviation community, the base price of a new G36 is over $700,000, putting it out of the reach of all but the most affluent pilots. Today’s G36 version offers a 300 HP, IO-550 power plant with a three-blade propeller, and a glass-panel cockpit that any airline pilot would be jealous of.

Rounding the 5-ball

The reason I had to have this ad is because I am an avid, lifelong competitive waterskier. If I’m not flying, I’m out on the lake behind the Nautique, trying to clear 32′ off on the slalom course. Since both activities are a lot more fun on clear, warm days with calm winds, it is sometimes really tough deciding what to do.

What better way to show my love of both flying and waterskiing than hanging this ad in my office. Sometimes I think Beech came up with this ad campaign just to describe my life. It was just 42 years too early.

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