While Beechcraft was new to aviation in 1932, it was not founder Walter Beech’s first experience in the industry. He previously helped form Travel Air in 1924 and was the VP of sales under Curtiss-Wright’s airplane division. However, he greatly missed being so close to production and left to establish Beechcraft.
Walter Beech founded Beechcraft in 1932 in Wichita, Kansas. His wife Olive Ann Beech worked as a secretary, and Ted A. Wells served as vice president of engineering. Initially operating inside an old Cessna factory, Ted Wells developed the first aircraft under the Beechcraft name. The Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing was born and took its first flight in 1932. Afterward, 750 Staggerwings were built, launching Beechcraft into aviation history.
After the war, the Beechcraft Bonanza entered the picture and took its first flight in 1945. The Bonanza is the most popular Beechcraft aircraft with the longest production run of any other plane in the world. After her husband’s sudden death in 1950, Olive Ann Beech was named president and remained so until 1980.
In early 2014, Beechcraft was sold to Textron for $1.4 billion and is part of the “Big Three” in general aviation manufacturing, including Cessna and Piper Aircraft. However, Textron has agreed to keep the Beechcraft name separate from its own brand.
Beechcraft’s Involvement In World War II
Of the more than 700 Staggerwings built, 270 were made for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. In 1942, Beechcraft won its first Army-Navy “E” Award production award, becoming one of the elite 5% of war contracting firms in the nation to win 5 awards straight for production efficiency. Specifically, Beechcraft’s Model 18 remains in use worldwide. Furthermore, among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts, Beechcraft ranked 69th among other impactful businesses like General Motors and Ford.
Country of Origin: America
Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza 33 A-G
The following are statistics for the Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza 33.
Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza 33 A-G (1972) Statistics
Range Of Years Manufactured
Total Aircraft Build
Current Operational Aircraft
Average Sale Value
VREF Demand Rating A
- Textron Aviation Inc. (Domestic and International Service Centers)
- BWI Aviation Insurance
- Starr Gate
- Travers Aviation Insurance
- AOPA Insurance
- USAA Aircraft Insurance For Pilots
Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza 33 Details
Below includes descriptions for the 1972 Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza G33.
Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza
The first Beechcraft Debonair featured large windows for improved visibility. It also was known for its roomy 4-seater cabin with space for extra luggage, even when traveling with full fuel tanks. Additionally, it offered posture-contoured seats, carpeting with a deep texture, and could be customized. Its “Utility” style made it appear more rugged and clean-looking than other models. Unlike different versions, this aircraft had a conventional tail rather than a v-shaped one.
The Beechcraft Debonair is made of an all-metal structure with a clean look and a limousine-wide entry door. The Debonair also had a design with a tricycle landing gear with traditional foot brakes.
The Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza may or may not contain the following avionics:
Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza 33
- Digital Navigation & Communications
- 1-Axis Autopilot
- ADS-B In/Out
Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza 33
- Configuration: Single Engine, Piston, Retractable Gear
- Max Seats: 4
- Max Take-Off Weight (B): 3,000 lbs.
- Cruise: 158 kts
- Range: 470 nm
- Take Off Run: 940 ft.
- Wing Span: 32 ft. 10 in.
- Length: 25 ft. 6 in.
- Height: 8 ft. 3 in.
- Take Off (50 ft.): 1,288 ft.
- Landing (50 ft.): 1,298 ft.
Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza Models
The following is information on all Beechcraft Debonair models.
The 35 Debonair is the previous archetype to the 33 Debonair. Designed to challenge Piper Comanche sales, Beechcraft created a mid-priced version called the Debonair 33. This model made its debut in 1960 with a starting price of $19,965. The Debonair Bonanza offered a conventional fin and tailplane, basic trim and interior, and was powered by one 225 hp Continental IO-470-J. Setting it largely apart from the 35 was its traditional tail, which replaced Beechcraft’s signature v-tail style. A total of 233 of these Debonairs were built.
Beechcraft’s 1961 35-A33 is fitted with a better interior and powered by either an IO-470J or IO-470K engine. This version also comes with extra equipment, additional windows, a hat shelf, and a gross weight of 3,000 lbs.
In 1962, the B33 was introduced to the aviation community. It offers a more refined design with a new instrument panel, contoured fin leading edge, and fuel tank modifications, as per the N35 Bonanza. Powered by an IO-470K engine, a total of 426 B33s were built. This particular model remained in production until 1964.
The C33 Debonair made its way into the market from 1965 to 1967. It features a boosted gross weight of 3,050 lbs. and is designed with enlarged rear windows. A total of 305 were sold. This model is powered by a Continental IO-470-K engine.
Beechcraft’s 1966 model, the C33A Debonair, is fitted with V35 Bonanza’s Continental 285 hp IO-520 B/BA engine. What many people had figured out at this point is that the C33A Debonair is essentially a Bonanza built with a straight tail. A total of 179 were produced.
This particular model is an S35 modified and showcased as a military close-support prototype with conventional tail assembly and 6 underwing hardpoints.
The next Beechcraft Debonair model following the C33A is the E33, produced in 1968. Beechcraft continued to produce both the 225 hp version and the 285 hp E33A model. Besides dropping the “Debonair,” it also features a new windshield. A total of 116 E33s were built.
From 1968 to 1969, the E33A was produced with a 285 hp Continental IO-520-B engine. A total of 85 were built.
The E33B was a near replica of the E33C. However, people preferred the engine of the E33C, so no E33Bs were ever built.
This Bonanza is a true standout among the rest as it’s not only powered by one 225 hp IO-470K engine, it’s also certified for aerobatics like snap rolls, a short inverted flight, and true slow rolls. At a maximum gross weight of 2,800 lbs., this model could operate in the Utility category at a gross weight of 3,300 pounds. Therefore, its airframes are reinforced for aerobatics, and during maneuvers, only the front seats can be occupied. This version also features a quick-release door, standard along with its G-meter, shoulder harnesses, and a special fuel boost pump for inverted flight. Other tricks it’s capable of performing include loops, aileron or barrel rolls, Immelman turns, Cuban eights, and split-S. The starting price for an E33C was $38,250. A total of 25 were built.
Lasting for a year in production in 1970, the F33 is the last of the 225 hp Bonanza 33s. This model offers larger windows and extra luggage space, and a total of 20 were built.
The F33A Bonanza was produced from 1970 to 1995. With a 285 hp Continental IO-520-B engine, this aircraft neared a total of 1,800 built when production stopped in 1995. Pricing for this model started at just under $50,000 in 1970. However, by the mid-90s, its cost would reach upwards of $325,000.
Beechcraft initially built 5 F33C aerobatic versions in 1970. This model and its A sibling offer a longer fuselage. However, none were produced for sale that year. In fact, the F33C wasn’t produced until 1986. A total of 23 F33Cs were built, including 21 for the Mexican Air Force.
Produced in 1972, the G33 Bonanza features a 260 hp Continental IO-470-N engine, brand new interior, and instrument panel installed across the entire brand of Beechcraft aircraft. This model had a starting price of $41,450 and ended production in 1973 with a total of 50 made.
Top Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza Questions
The following are the top questions related to the Beechcraft Debonair.
Why Is The Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza Called The Doctor Killer?
Beechcraft experienced trouble with its operational history due to its v-tail design. It gained the name of the “forked-tail doctor killer” because it refers to a line of several wealthy but inexperienced pilots who encountered fatal accidents and inflight breakups.
During the 80s, the United States Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration began looking into Beechcraft incidents involving the Debonair Bonanza. When tested under certain conditions, the v-tail design proved that it did not meet type certification standards under certain conditions. By 1982, all production of Beechcraft’s v-tail design had stopped.
However, the AOPA has since conducted research and studies covering these accidents, proving pilot error was the cause in 73% of v-tail crashes and 83% of conventional tail crashes. Even though it performed better than a few other aircraft within the study, results also found that the Debonair Bonanza had a high incident probability of gear-up landings and inadvertent landing gear retractions on the ground.
What Is The Difference Between A Debonair & A Bonanza?
The Debonair is extremely similar to the model 35 Bonanza, and it differs by offering a conventional tail in place of the older v-style tail. The Debonair was also produced as a 4-seat version with a 225-hp Continental six-cylinder engine. It was designed to be less elaborate and equipped than the 35 models, making it a more affordable option when compared to the Bonanza.
How Much Does A Beechcraft Debonair Bonanza Cost?
Depending on the model, year, condition, avionics, and much more, the average Debonair Bonanza has a base cost of $667,000 and an average equipped price of $691,390. According to the AOPA, it has a rating of 3.5 out of 5 for the category of operating costs.
However, if you’re looking for a more modern equivalent, a new G36 has a starting price of $777,000. It features a cabin with leather-upholstered seats in 3 color options: Black, Amherst Gray, and Oat Beige. Its seating can also be quickly reconfigured to provide club seating for 4 or make room for golf clubs, skis, or bicycles.
- Maximum Range: 920 nm
- Maximum Occupants: 6
- Maximum Cruise Speed: 176 ktas
- Useful Load: 1,073 lbs.
- Takeoff Ground Roll: 962 ft.
- Garmin G1000 NXi
- Standard ADS-B Out & In
- Standard Wireless Database & Flight Plan Loading
- Integrated VFR Sectional Charts
- IFR High & Low Charts With Night Mode
- Enhanced HSI Features
- Digital Audio Panel With Bluetooth
- Vertical Situation Display
- Selectable Visual Approaches
- Optional SurfaceWatch For Greater Situational Awareness
- Enhanced Graphics & Faster Processing
- Improved Joystick With Smoother Panning
- Simplified Maintenance
What Are All Of The Other Bonanza Models?
All other Bonanza models include the following:
- YQU-22A (Model P.1079)
- YAU-22A (Model PD.249)
Why Do Pilots Like Flying Debonair Bonanzas?
Pilots like flying the Debonair because it’s a sturdy and fast aircraft that still regularly sells on the pre-owned market. Pilots note that it’s a fairly simple plane to fly other than practicing descent with care and is good for training because of its lower hourly costs. Furthermore, the Debonair performs well during cross-country flights and feels like flying a sports car.
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