My plane and I
About the pilot
George commenced flying lessons in Kansas City in 1972 after being rejected by the Armed Forces due to Visa eligibility requirements at the time. He received his Private Pilot Certificate at San Jose, California the next year and has since accumulated a multitude of ratings and certificates including Airline Transport Pilot, CFII, MEI and Seaplane. He also holds an Advanced Ground Instructor rating and is qualified to teach prospective Flight Instructor students. He regularly instructs and flight checks other pilots in High performance aircraft including Bonanzas and PA-46s (Malibu/Mirages). Currently he is pursuing his Letter of Approval for flying high performance jets including the Czech built Aero L-39 and F-16Cs.
Major trips undertaken to date include:
Honduras and Guatemala, Central America
Numerous trips to Mexico
Russia via Alaska in a PA-46
From Baltimore to Guayaquil, Ecuador in a Mirage
Multiple trips from California to Europe and back
A trip around South America visiting almost every country in that continent and the Caribbean
He belongs to the "Long Rangers,” a group of aviators which has undertaken a journey in a small plane to a destination more than 5,000 miles from home base and many other organizations.
About the Plane
Beechcraft Bonanza N3704A is an A-36 model. The plane has always been hangared at San Jose International airport in California (KSJC) and has no damage history. Between the addition of the tip tanks and the BDS STC for the IO-550 its payload is 1,425 lbs. The plane has been to almost every state of the Union and has gone to Europe and back twice. Its Still-Air absolute range at Best L/D, maximum range power setting and with the engine leaned 25 degrees lean of peak is 1,950 Nautical Miles.
Major additions and modifications
TCM IO-550B engine of 300 Net Horsepower matched to a McCauley C-409 propeller. The plane originally had an IO-520 power plant which was replaced by a brand new “550 and C-409 prop”. When this engine reached the recommended overhaul time was rebuilt by LyCon in Visalia, California with GAMI injectors. In addition to the professional mandatory annual inspection, the plane at a mid-year interval receives an independent additional inspection by the American Bonanza Society at one of its service clinics. This “second set of eyes” provides redundant and additional oversight that usually encompasses Raytheon personnel and Teledyne Continental Motors inspectors. Additionally the engine is enrolled in TCM’s TopCare program and receives yet another independent audit by Continental representative’s once a year at LyCon’s facility in Visalia, California. The TopCare inspection includes a differential cylinder compression test and borescope examination. The philosophy for the three independent inspections is to maximize its reliability with the firm understanding that malignant developments should be caught before they become a problem. After all N3704A only has ONE engine! Although the plane is operated under FAR Part 91 rules, the aircraft maintenance is way beyond that required. Pre-emptive replacement of components before failure rather than “on-condition” is the norm. For example the battery is kept no more than 36 months, alternator is kept no longer than 500 hours, etc.
The plane has been upgraded over the years and currently includes the following equipment:
Full King Silver Crown avionics including KNS-80 RNAV.
Trimble 3000 GPS/Loran Navigator
S-Tec Model 30 Autopilot with altitude hold
Stand-by Pressure Instrument air pump system
Telex ProComm 4 Intercom system with David Clark headset.
Cockpit Voice Recorder
Integral (not covers) merino pilot and co-pilot seats
Osborne 20 gallon tip tanks
Provision for external HF antenna reel system
Locking gas caps
Extensive custom survival gear, except maritime
The following is available to carry, as a mission demands it:
Maritime survival (EAM raft, Life Jackets, PUR desalination unit, EPIRB)
Man-Portable Icom 725 High Frequency radio with Automatic Antenna tuner (this system has its own independent power pack and is also capable of continuous operation/recharging from the cigarette lighter)
Olin 30 mm flare gun with assortment of parachute munitions and 410 caliber ammo adapter.
Vacuum packed minus 30-degree sleeping bags and tent.
Extensive other survival equipment for Jungle, Desert, Maritime and Artic conditions.
In 2004 N3704A got all new windows, paint and upholstery. The window kit by Beryl D'Shannon and installation at my hangar by Otto Lueskow was outstanding.
The paint was done at Master Aircraft Services in Wickenburg, Arizona and is a Top Job.
Here are some pictures of this project.
Comments, questions, suggestions?
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