No sooner did the February Editor’s Briefing hit the ink that we found “The One.” I am thrilled to announce my husband Jared and I are the PROUD co-owners of a beautiful 1970 F33A Bonanza!
It has yet to sink in fully, but we could not be more excited to start this journey – and with the type of aircraft we truly wanted and needed for our mission (primarily 500 to 1,000-mile cross country’s). Not only was the Bonanza highly recommended to us by many, but the F33 also holds sentimental value to me personally. It is the same model aircraft I grew up in as a child, with countless memories of flying to gatherings and vacations as a family.
Certainly, 121RW is already special to us for a number of reasons, and the story of how it all happened (in what felt like a blink of an eye!) is a true example of the stars aligning.
Jared Jacobs: It was late, and I was about to turn in for the night. But something compelled me to pull up “BeechTalk” for my periodic check of the Peddler Talk Forum. There were mostly familiar posts, but then I noticed one that was only a couple of hours old describing a 1970 F33A Bonanza. I followed the link to Controller and my pulse quickened…it had a nice exterior and interior, upgraded avionics, a mid-time engine, no damage history, full logs, and within the budget. I immediately shared and discussed the listing with Rebecca then tried to go to sleep – emphasis on “tried.”
The next morning, I was up early to re-examine the ad and reach out to the seller. I typed up a quick email asking about access to maintenance logs, mentioned I was a Beechcraft Demonstration Pilot and sent it. I tried to go about my morning, but the F33A consumed my thoughts. Fortunately, the owner replied within a couple of hours with scanned copies of the logs and ended his email with a strange question: “Are you in Wichita today?” Shortly after, a Texas phone number popped up on my phone and I was greeted by the name I had seen on the Controller ad. Excitedly, I listened as my new friend, Justin, described to me his beloved Bonanza.
With only a handful of owners in its lifetime, the owner before Justin had the airplane for 37 years. They kept immaculate logs and completed maintenance above and beyond the minimum required. Justin kept this trend throughout his three years with the aircraft, even recently investing in new spark plugs, magnetos, control rod end bearings, brake disks and pads, LED lights all around, a G5 backup flight display, and D’Shannon 20 Gallon Tip Tanks. He had not planned to sell the airplane but was loading it up for the long haul. The only reason he decided to put the airplane on the market was the realization he required a FIKI-equipped airplane. It was all of the types of things you want to hear from someone selling an airplane. This Bonanza had clearly been loved.
Adding to the excitement and too-good-to-be-true feeling, Justin was literally on his way to the airport to fly the airplane from Texas to Wichita to attend a recurrent training at FlightSafety. In a few short hours, he would be landing at an airport 15 minutes from our house. I was in disbelief but quickly made plans to meet him later that afternoon.
Once we hung up, I made a flurry of other calls. First, to our partner, Peter. He had grown accustomed to receiving calls about aircraft, but I think he could tell by the tone in my voice and how things were lining up, this was a serious opportunity. To end the phone call, he referenced a well-known phrase about a bodily function and a pot…I think you know the one. Next, I called a few friends who had been moonlighting as my used aircraft advisors. The consensus was that this one deserved a serious look.
A couple of hours later, Rebecca and I made our way to KAAO (Jabara Airport) along with our good friend and Bonanza enthusiast, Ryan. We looked out across the ramp as N121RW touched down and taxied in. The blue and gold paint was striking against the late afternoon sky, and I remember the distinct feeling that I just laid eyes on the airplane that would bring our search to a close. Justin and his friend hopped out of the airplane and immediately offered to let us climb all over it.
Ryan dove into some technical conversations while I acquainted myself with the interior and avionics. 1RW had great bones – leather seats and nice carpet, Aspen 1000 Pro PFD linked to a G530 and MX200 MFD, and backed up by a G5 standby display, eliminating the need for a vacuum system. The new paint on the tip tanks blended in beautifully with the 30-year-old paint – a testament to the pristine care the airplane had received. The big-ticket items were easy to see, but it was the subtle cues about the aircraft that were really calling to me (to be more detailed in a future article).
I tried not to let it on, but I was sold. We grabbed a table inside the FBO to have a conversation. It was quickly obvious Justin was going to be a great guy to work with. We were able to have a very upfront, honest conversation in which I made an offer that Peter and I had agreed upon. Justin countered with a number only slightly higher. I told him I would have to clear it with Peter, but I had a feeling we could make a deal. Again, Justin being the ideal seller, suggested we take advantage of the fact that the airplane was in Wichita. If I could find a shop that I trusted to go ahead and do a pre-buy inspection, he would be willing to let that happen. I immediately had a place in mind – Clemens Aviation at 1K1 (Stearman Field) came highly recommended by both the American Bonanza Society as well as my father-in-law and longtime Bonanza owner. The stars continued to align, and they could squeeze us in for a pre-buy the very next day.
Things continued to move fast as I worked full speed, sending emails and making phone calls to ensure all of the paperwork was in place with the partnership, insurance, maintenance, etc. Then came the time to have a little fun. The airplane needed to move from AAO to 1K1 for the pre-buy, so a test flight was in order. Rebecca and I rode along to get a feel for the airplane, and we were both very impressed. It was fast, nimble, stable, and as Rebecca said, “It felt like home.”
The next afternoon, Justin and I met at Clemens Aviation to go over the pre-buy report. The inspection had been a thorough following of the ABS pre-purchase inspection checklist, and the findings were minor adjustments. The report was so clean that Justin joked, “If you don’t buy it, I think the mechanic might!” We made the final agreement that night to accept the aircraft and proceed with closing the next week. Justin generously offered to leave 1RW in Wichita and rent a car to drive home to Texas. Adding to the convenience (and coincidence), our partner Peter had put his name on a list for a hangar at another local airport a few months prior. Amazingly, a hangar opened up for us the same week of the sale. Today, our airplane is comfortably situated just 10 minutes from our home.
Needless to say, the current state of the fast-paced market rings true by our timeline. From the moment I first saw the listing to the time we had a conditional offer on the airplane was about 18 hours. Add in the time for the pre-buy and flight, we accepted the aircraft in less than three days. If the stars had not so perfectly aligned, I honestly think this aircraft would have been another on our “could have been” list. And while the speed of such a large investment was indeed intimidating for us first-timers, it was thanks to the support of so many friends and family – as well as a top notch seller – that we continued to come back to the same conclusion: This was just too good to pass up!
Stay tuned for regular updates about our journey into aircraft ownership in future issues.