Hangar Find: 1951 Beechcraft Bonanza

While we’re accustomed to finding a long forgotten car or truck in a barn or outbuilding, it’s not often we see a plane that’s in the same sort of neglected condition. This 1951 Beechcraft Bonanza is described as a parts plane that has been parked in this hangar since 1969. It’s not surprising this one has been harvested for parts, as the Bonanza enjoys the notoriety of being in continuous production longer than any other plane model. Find it here on eBay with bidding over $4K and no reserve.

Aircraft enthusiasts are in the same boat as automotive enthusiasts, which is that having a spare parts vehicle is enormously valuable if you have the space. When I think about how many trips I make to the junkyard to raid parts off of the same car over and over again, having a carcass in my garage would save me a ton of time. If you’re into aviation, you likely know that vintage aircrafts are incredibly hungry maintenance-wise, so a spare parts plane would likely save you money over the long-term.

I’ve always been fascinated by small regional airports like this one, where the plane has clearly been hidden away for decades. Small, lonely airstrips accented by several plain steel buildings without windows are perfect places to hide your vehicular excess, and if you can afford hangar space for the running plane, you can likely snag an adjacent unit for the parts plane. This example hasn’t been a parts rig forever, however, as the listing notes it last ran in 2017.

The seller notes the log books and hangar padlock key will be sent to the winner of the aircraft after the auction. Upon opening the hangar doors, you’ll find this Beechcraft is missing several components, including the prop, tip tanks, some landing gear parts, seats, ailerons and the flaps, which have all been sold. You’ll have to pick up the storage fees on the hangar, too, should you choose to leave the plane there for a spell. Is there any chance this Bonanza returns to the skies?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Cool find, even though I know nothing of planes, it seems the “Beechcraft Bonanza” was a very popular plane. It’s the one thing I regret in my life, is I never learned to fly. Certainly out of the question now, I can’t even afford to repair a dual sport motorcycle. Oh well, it’s the way the cookie crumbled, looks like a great find for someone.

    Like 9
    • Richard Kirschenbaum

      Concur Howard
      The military would have been the place to become a pilot. No need to be a top gun. Transports and tankers would have been just fine for me.
      Richard K.

      Like 3
  2. unclemymy Member

    Very unfortunate that the seller went this route, as a whole Bonanza of any vintage is almost ALWAYS worth the refurbishment. Of course, there may be some unseen reason it was deemed unflyable, but the parts thing goes both ways – they’re always available. I’ve personally restored and upgraded one Bonanza, and impeccably maintained several others. I’m too old at this point, but if one had the opportunity before the bits had been sold, this would have provided someone with an airplane that would be useful for the remainder of their life. Even now, what’s left is worth far more than the current bid price.

    Like 11
    • fcs

      I think you basing your thoughts on out of date information.

      I own and fly a Bonanza older than this (’49 A35). Right now I could sell the ruddervators and whats in the panel for more than I bought my plane 20 years ago. If I had the beech prop with a good pitch change bearing I would probably come out ahead.

      Parts are NOT always available. Please try to find new magnesium ruddervator skins. Not a part than can be salvaged and Textron (current owner of Beechcraft) hasn’t made them for this model for at least 15 years.

      I wouldn’t quibble if this was a newer plane, say, a P35 or S35. But one of this vintage is only useful to people like me who are silly about keeping the plane they own still flying.

      Like 9
  3. Joe Haska

    When ,JoI was flying decades ago, The Bonanza, was the plane everyone wanted to fly, the closest I got was the Musketer, which would be a perfect transition airplane, to fly the Bonanza.

    Like 2
    • unclemymy Member

      I had a ’63 Musketeer also, with a 160HP Lycoming – great aircraft, but difficult for Piper pilots to land because the ground clearance was so different. Everything from Beechcraft is built well.

      Like 4
  4. Mark Farnham

    Just looking up the tail number will provide it’s history which also will include any incidents in it’s past that led to it’s grounding many years ago.

    Like 5
  5. JW454

    The only thing I know about a Beechcraft Bonanza is that Buddy Holly took his last ride in a 1947 version of one.
    I’ll have to leave the aircraft tinkering to those that know something about it.

    Like 7
  6. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    Bring it home…fix it up just enough that it looks like whole plane…park it in the corner of your yard…your kids will be grateful to you for the inspiration.

    Like 2
  7. WillD

    Seemed to run pretty well, I wonder what the reason was to part it out?

    https://youtu.be/6jLD_xfEVZw

    Like 1
    • JoeBob396

      Thanks for the link. It sounded healthy in the video and looked clean. WiilD, I have to agree: I wonder what turned it into a parts plane?

      Like 1
  8. Mike

    Definitely NOT worth fixing. For aircraft it is way too far gone to restore. All airplanes are money pits, but you can buy a nice turn key one right now for less than half the restoration cost of this one.

    Parts only….

    Like 3
    • Mike

      Totally Agree…Beech Craft parts.. any year… are ridculously expensive… One thing you have to remember.. A Beech Bonanza.. now is close or may exceed a million dollars for a new one… even though this plane was built in the 40″s…you are still buying parts for a million dollar plane.. its a parts plane..for sure

      Like 2
  9. Kenneth Carney

    Ah yes, the dreaded doctor killer. The
    Bonanza was a hot ship for its size and
    quirky to fly too. That was told to me by
    a friend of mine whose father had one.
    Never got to try one on for size but I don’t regret it. Takes a while to master
    a plane like this one.

    Like 6
    • Jamie

      Forked Tail Doctor Killer?

      Like 5
    • RJ

      AKA “The Hot Rock”

      Like 1
  10. fcs

    Mostly true, but not completely.

    You can’t wrench on a certified aircraft unless you hold at least a Airframe & Powerplant (A&P). It would be good to hold a Inspection Authorization (IA) as well.

    However, you can wrench on them if you are working under the supervision of an A&P/IA. If they are willing to sign off on your work, all is good.

    Having said (and done this for a number of years), it may not be the best solution. My A&P/IA’s hangar is right next door, but he is always having me re-do things. He is fussier about my work than his own.

    Like 6
  11. fcs

    Myth.

    Yes the plane is slippery and quick and will get away from an in-experienced or over-confident pilot. There are ‘quirky’ pilots, but the plane is not the cause.

    Like 2
  12. Bob

    15 or 20 years ago I went to an open house at the airport in Dummerston, VT, which had a grass field. In the hangar, a friend had a Bonanza with a Daimler SP250 under each wing. Wonder where they all ended up? The hangar is now a barn, the “landing strip” is now planted with corn.

    Like 3
  13. Phil G

    Beautiful, iconic design, but as outlined above, could be a handful under certain conditions. I believe Beech later switched to a conventional tail set-up, while still calling it the Bonanza.

    Like 2
  14. dougie Member

    yes to an experienced pilot, This is a great airplane. I’ve flown several of them. The v-tail was a tricky bird. I know many owners that think it’s a bunch of bunk (not me). Many owners converted them to the conventional empennage.
    Actually, this is not the plane the spawned the term “Doctor Killer”. The Beechcraft Duchess, with twin 160hp Lycoming engines, and similar aircraft was.
    Doctor’s would buy this more expensive plane thinking it was much safer than a single engine. But, with these low powered engines if one went out, the Duchess could not maintain a positive rate of climb. Granted it would extend your glide. But if you lost an engine on takeoff, low experience pilots, such as most Doctors, were going down.
    Now back to cars. if the engine goes out, it’s a much less stressful event. lol.

    Like 3
  15. Chuck

    If the engine on my old car sputters and dies, I’ll coast to the side of the road and turn my four ways on. If that happens with a single engine airplane, well it’s been nice knowing you.

    Like 1
  16. Kenn

    Detroit Land Yacht has it right – it would make a great playhouse for the kids. Sell the engine for at least $5K and the plane is free. As far as “Doctor Killer” aircraft, many of the Drs that died had only flown their planes a few times a year so were in-experienced, often careless, and probably tired from the day’s work or convention activities. You’re correct on the Duchess – lose and engine and the remaining one takes you to the scene of the crash.

    Like 2
  17. Allin

    Aircraft mechanic her. AandP IA. I won the bid on this airplane Saturday morning. We will see what we got when I get out there this month to check it out…

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