1957 Beech D-50A

Classic Wings Twin “Bo”nanza

classic wings twin bonanza in flight


1957 Beech D-50A – Twin Bonanza

At One time in its life ” Airforce One ” for the president of the United States

The Beechcraft Model 50 Twin Bonanza was a small twin-engine aircraft designed by Beechcraft as an executive transport for the business market. It was developed to fill a gap in Beechcraft’s product line between the single-engine Model 35 Bonanza and the larger Model 18.  The Twin Bonanza is about 50% larger than the Bonanza, has more powerful engines, and is significantly heavier, while in its earliest form having only half the passenger capacity of the Model 18.

The single-engine Bonanza is one of history’s most successful civil aircraft, in production since 1947. Like many light aircraft, a twin-engine derivative was developed in an effort to improve performance, but that airplane was the Model 95 Travel Air (and later the Model 95-55 Baron, its descendant still in production till this day as the Model G58).  The Twin Bonanza is not a true twin-engined derivative of the Bonanza since the cabin is wider and longer, however it did use some of the tooling jigs for the Bonanza as did the Travel Air (which was a closer derivative designed later).

Classic Wings Twin Bonanza

classic wings twin bonanza

classic wings twin bonanza panel

The Twin Bonanza first flew on 15 November 1949 after a rapid development, only begun in April of that year. The Model 50’s type certificate was awarded in 1952, and production began the same year. The United States Army adopted the Twin Bonanza as the L-23 Seminole utility transport, making it the largest fixed-wing aircraft in the inventory at that time. According to Ralph Harmon, the airplane’s designer, during an initial demonstration flight for the Army, Claude Palmer, a Beechcraft Demonstration Test Pilot, crashed while trying to land over a 50-foot (15 m) tree line while full of soldiers and sandbags.  Everyone on board walked away from the crash. The Army was impressed with the structural strength of the Twin Bonanza, eventually purchasing 216 of the 994 examples produced.  It was also the first twin-engine aircraft in its class to be offered to the business market, but the Korean War was raging in the early 1950s and the US Army took almost the entire production for 1952 and 1953.  The Beechcraft Model 65 Queen Air and Model 90 King Air are both direct descendents of the Model 50 Twin Bonanza. All three aircraft share the same basic wing design, as well as landing gear, flaps, instrument panels, fuel cells, and more. The Queen Air added a larger cabin to the design, while the later King Air added turbine power and pressurization. Twin Bonanza production ended in 1963 while the King Air was under development.

classic wings twin bonanza

General characteristics
Crew: 1-2 pilots
Capacity: 5 passengers
Length: 31 ft 6 in (9.61 m)
Wingspan: 45 ft 3 in (13.78 m)
Height: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
Wing area: 277 ft≤ (25.7 m≤)
Empty weight: 5,010 lb (2,270 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 7300 lbs (3311 kg)
Powerplant: 2 ◊ Lycoming GSO-480-B1B6, 340 hp (253 kW) each
Maximum speed: 229 mph (199 knots, 366 km/h)
Range: 1,000 mi (870 nm, 1,600 km)
Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9144 m)
Rate of climb: 1,614 ft/min (8.2 m/s)

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