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The Beechcraft Bonanza is an American single-engine light utility aircraft of all metal low wing construction. First flown in 1947, more than 17,000 of this six seater aircraft have been produced and the type is still in production, making it one of the longest production runs for any one aircraft type in history. The Bonanza remains popular with individuals and companies and has also served with a number of military forces.

The first production Bonanza variant featured a distinctive V-tail. From 1959, a second variant with a conventional tail was also introduced. Both variants remain in production.

The Bonanza and BigglesEdit

In Biggles Foreign Legionnaire, Leffers of the war-mongering syndicate was detailed to fly Biggles and Ginger from Alexandria to the Valley of the Tartars. After Leffers was killed by Cy Lindsay, Biggles flew the aircraft himself.

The straightline distance from Alexandria to Mosul is more than 800 miles. Considering that Biggles flew out over the Mediterranean, making landfall at the pipeline at Haifa or Tripoli and followed it to Kirkuk before turning north, the distance to the Valley of the Tartars must be more than 900 miles. As can be seen from the specifications below, this is just within the ferry range of the Bonanza. The book notes that to get to the Valley of the Tartars, Biggles had to break a cardinal rule of airmanship by going well beyond his "point of no return". He landed with very little fuel in his tanks, not even enough to reach the nearest town of Mosul.

The variant of Bonanza Biggles flew would have been the V-tail type since the events in Biggles Foreign Legionnaire take place around 1952.

SpecificationsEdit

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: five passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 6 in (10.21 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,517 lb (1,142 kg)
  • Gross weight: 3,650 lb (1,656 kg)
  • Engine: 1 × Continental IO-550-B , 300 hp (220 kW)
  • Cruise speed: 203 mph (326 km/h)
  • Range: 254 mi; (409 km) with full passenger load
  • Ferry range: 1,070 mi (1,720 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,500 ft (5,600 m)

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