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  through such a layer to reach clear conditions above or below. But there are limits. It will pick up some ice, which will impede performance, so it is imperative to know the level of the bases and tops – you don’t want to hang out in icing conditions for the whole trip. Skew-T/log P diagrams are very useful for this. Now, this may seem like a lot of hardware to carry around for a few minutes’ use on the occasional trip, but these are all trips I never would have made in the Bonanza. And for every trip where I use the Baron’s de-icing capabilities, there are several more where I thought we might need it and wouldn’t have attempted the trip without it. About half of our wintertime trips are ones I wouldn’t have tried in the Bonanza.
The Bonanza is a strong climber down low, especially when light, but the Baron does better. Below gross weight in the cold weather, I routinely see 1,500-plus FPM. In warmer weather and at higher weights, 600 FPM is typical later in the climb. In real terms, this means less time bumping around below fair- weather clouds in the summer and less exposure to potential icing in winter. Cruise speed is 185 KTAS lean of peak on about 28 GPH. This is a modest cruise speed increase over the Bonanza for twice the fuel burn, but this is the price of flying a much more flexible and capable airplane.
G1000 Avionics
As for the avionics, I wanted a pre-2005 model, so I could upgrade the panel the way I’d done in my old Bonanza. The Bendix King KCS-55A HSI had become unreliable, and in late 2012, I rode the upgrade-logic elevator to the top floor. I started with the honest intention of a Sandel HSI, and after many logical and modest steps, ended up installing a G500 with synthetic vision, an Alpha Systems AOA, and an EDM-830 engine monitor. I loved the way the G500 worked with the two GNS-530W NAV/ COM units. The EDM-830 allowed lean-of-peak operations with single- degree precision.
This upgrade path suited me well. When my family and I travel, we
will explore lightly trod areas for a restaurant the locals love rather than a chain. The few times I’ve bought a new car, I have done painstaking research and found or ordered exactly what I wanted. I am not fond of prepackaged, one-size-fits-all things.
As it turned out, the market got me into a G58. There were very few late- model, steam gauge Barons available. My favorite, a beautiful, low-time 2005 airframe, was shackled to an owner whose heart was set on an unrealistic selling price. When that deal finally fell through, I found a fantastic G58 (N888WX). The previous owner, nearing retirement, thought it would be his last plane. He doted on it. However, his business did
Alex Jones and daughter Sarah.
 The Baron offers a spacious nose baggage compartment.
well beyond his expectations, and he sold the Baron to upgrade to a Mustang. Win-win.
I really didn’t think anything could get better than my old Bonanza’s panel, but in reality, the G1000 works much better, especially the autopilot and the overall system integration.
The GFC 700 autopilot is smoother and more capable than the KFC 225. The Flight Level Change (FLC) mode allows me to select a target altitude and an airspeed to get there. This offers f light envelope protection in
all phases – stall protection in climb and overspeed protection in descent. I routinely set 130 KIAS for climb and watch the vertical speed decrease gradually as I climb. The Vertical Navigation mode took me a while to appreciate. Coming home to Chicago from the southeast, I am often cleared to cross 20 miles southeast of Joliet (JOT) VOR at 4,000 feet, a clearance which implies pilot’s discretion on the descent. I can create this waypoint (JOT -20) in the flight plan page, set the target vertical speed, and the autopilot will start the descent at
January 2021 / TWIN & TURBINE • 27

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