[HOW-TO] Best Practices to Fly Bonanza G36

When it comes to piston engine and you want to go fast and in style and carrying large loads, nothing in the market comes close to a Bonanza. It is, as they say, the Cadillac of the skies. I teach a lot on the Bonanza’s and of all the planes I’ve flown in my life, there is just a joy to fly the Bonanza’s.

The G36 in MSFS is a Normally Aspirated engine model. Meaning it will lose performance at higher altitudes compared to a Turbocharged or Turbo normalized Bonanza.

Let’s start with the Basics. Speeds you should know by memory for this plane

Vx – Best Angle of Climb 84kts
Vy – Best Rate of Climb 100kts
Va – Maneuvering Speed 140kts
Vfe – Max Flap Extended Speed Approach Flap – 145kts, Full – 124kts
Vle - Max Landing Gear Extended Speed 154kts
Vs – Stall Speed 68kts
Vso – Stall Speed in Landing Configuration 61kts
Glide Speed 110kts
Rotation Speed 73kts
Cruise Climb Speed 110kts
Approach to Land Speed 80kts

Lets go through the Power Settings and Mixture Settings for Each Phase of the Flight. The PAC (Power, Altitude, Configuration) chart below is a good way to fly the airplane. This allows you to know and have a set of numbers that will give you the performance you can expect from the airplane. It’s a very handy tool IRL flying.

I’ve modified the chart a bit to include all the items in one Table so its easier to consume and read hopefully.

Condition MP (Throttle) RPM (Prop) LEAN (Mixture) ATTITUDE KIAS GEAR FLAPS TRIM
Initial Climb (1000 ft) FULL Max RPM RICH +10 85 UP on positive rate UP +3 – Takeoff

Cruise Climb

Condition MP (Throttle) RPM (Prop) LEAN (Mixture) ATTITUDE GEAR FLAPS KIAS TRIM
> 1000ft 25” 2500 RICH +7 UP UP 110 As needed
1000ft -> 5000ft 25” 2500 20-22 gph +7 UP UP 110 As needed
5000ft -> 8000ft FULL 2500 18-20 gph +7 UP UP 110 As needed
Above 8000ft FULL 2500 16-18 gph +7 UP UP 110 As needed

Cruise

Condition MP (Throttle) RPM (Prop) LEAN (Mixture) ATTITUDE GEAR FLAPS KIAS TRIM
< 6000ft FULL 2500 15gph Level UP UP 155 0 or -2
8000ft FULL 2500 13gph Level UP UP 150 0 or -2
10,000ft FULL 2500 12gph Level UP UP 145 0 or -2
12,000ft FULL 2500 11gph Level UP UP 137 0 or -2

Descent, Approach and Land

Condition MP (Throttle) RPM (Prop) LEAN (Mixture) ATTITUDE GEAR FLAPS KIAS TRIM
Enroute Descent 15” – 18” As needed 2500 Enrich below 3000ft -2 UP UP Green Arc As Needed
Approach (Level flight) 17” 2500 As is 0 to +2 UP UP 105-110 +3 to +5
Precision Descent (ILS) 15” - 17” 2500 RICH 0 to +2 DOWN APPROACH 105-110 +3 to +5
Non Precision Descent 13” – 15” 2500 RICH 0 to +2 DOWN APPROACH 105-110 +3 to +5
Level MDA 20”-22” 2500 RICH 0 to +2 DOWN APPROACH 105-110 +3 to +5
Land 15” As Needed 2500 RICH 0 to +2 DOWN DOWN 80 +3 to +5
Missed Approach FULL 2500 RICH +7 UP UP 105-110 +3 to +5

Notes

Takeoff

Short Field / Soft Field Takeoff – You can use Approach flaps if needed.

High Altitude Airport – Just before Takeoff,

  • Full Throttle, Full RPM, Lean the mixture till you get the Max RPM.
  • Use that configuration and then Takeoff.
  • Cowl Flaps – Open
  • Flaps – Up. Almost all Bonanza’s you would take off with Flaps Up.

W&B – In the Real Bonanza you should always do a W&B for Departure and Landing. Depending on the Weight after a long flight the CG will be aft and you have to be careful not to get too aft as that will make the plane pretty unstable on landing. i.e. it will be very sensitive to pitch up motions. Based on what is modeled in MSFS, I think it looks relatively safe.

Instrument Approaches

Precision Approach – Descent is typically 500 – 600 fpm
Non Precision Approaches – Descent is typically 800 – 1000 fpm.

Typically reducing 1" of manifold gives you around 100fpm descent…

Pattern Work
So what we covered so far is all the key phases of the flight and power settings on average. How would we fly a standard pattern? This is a fast airplane. As soon as you pitch for level flight – watch that airspeed increase. So here’s what I do if you want to do some pattern work for say X-wind landing practice etc.

Phase of Pattern Throttle RPM Mixture Flaps Gear
Upwind (500ft AGL) Full Full Rich Up Up
Crosswind ( climb to 1000ft AGL) 25” 2500 Rich Up Up
Downwind (level 1000ft AGL) 20” 2500 Rich Approach (midfield) Down (midfield)
Base 15” 2500 Rich Approach Down
Final 15” – 18” 2500 Rich Down Down

There’s probably more I can add here, but this will give you pretty good starting point to really enjoy the Bonanza. If you see anything that is glaringly wrong or looking for other things to add, let me know…

195 Likes

Thanks for the information,

I have around 500 hrs in real life in a Bonanza you should aim for 65% power in cruise

eg 24/2200
or 23/2300
or 22/2400 which I prefer as its the most achievable at cruise levels
All are 65%

The mixture must be adjusted and a new peak found every time you change altitude by 500 ft.

TAS expect 165 - 170 kts dependant on load and altitude.
Best performance will be achieved between 8000 and 9000 ft

Fuel Flow If operated in accordance with these recommendations, at 65% power and properly leaned then a fuel flow should be 53 lt/hr if in doubt use 60 lt/hr

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Pardon, but what you mean by W&B is something related to Weight and Balance? What it is done?

load from the front to the back is best practice in rl in an A36 don’t exceed MTOW

Thanks @Darrlyn1971 - what kind of Bonanza? I’ve used 23/2300 in the past as well and I think that is a good setting to use, but I think my experience has been around 160kts I think if I remember…

Lately, I’ve found that its easier to just keep it at 2500 rpms and full throttle especially at cruise and then setting up for approach, so you are controlling the manifold only (one less thing to think about in IMC) . I think fuel burn is an extra 1.2 GPH to 1.5GPH – depending on who you are - worth it for an extra 10kts

I can add a section to the table with 23/2300 rpm as another option to fly as well. 53lts/hr = 14gph??

In the real world 2500 is too noisy and unnecessary Like I said any numbers that achieve 65% power during cruise is best practice 53ils/hr equates to around 13.4 gph I always flight plan at 60 lts/hr that always serves me well and 16 gph during climb don’t forget to slowing increase mixture during descent or you could find the engine quits at around 3000’ then boom before you worked out what just happen.

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You got some of these tables for other planes ?

No, I’ve not had the time to do it for others.

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Thank you for this chart. Do you have this same information on the 172 Skyhawks? Mainly trying to understand the mixture for that aircraft also throughout the different flight condition.

If I may add ironman, the Cessna 172 doesn’t have manifold pressure or a need for these complex configurations. The way to manage mixture without an EGT (Exhaust Gas Temp) gauge, is to start with full rich for takeoff and landings unless your elevation is above 3,000 feet at the airport. As you climb above 3000 feet, and every 500 feet higher, adjust the mixture (red) lever. You unscrew it or gently pull it out while watching the rpm gauge. RPMs will rise and then fall drastically. Push the red lever back in a little to regain that max rpm. That is the setting for that altitude.

But same with throttle, as with many planes, full (pushed in all the way) for takeoff and climbs but pull back to 65% to 75% power to save fuel. Just look at your rpms and GPH (gallons per hour). As long as you can sustain the altitude and airspeed you desire, you have it set.
-Howard

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Best thing to do for all airplanes is to web search for the plane model POH or Pilot’s Operating Handbook. They are all there for grabbing. All the important stuff is in section 5, Performance. This should be a habit for all airplanes you fly in MSFS or other sims.
-Howard

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Full rich for take-offs and landings is controversial (see video below). Full rich for taxi is definitely a bad thing.

This is one of the best reviews of leaning I have seen:

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No its definitely not controversial. For take-off a rich mixture is used to improve engine cooling. For landing mixture is set to full rich to prepare for go-around, should you decide to go-around with a leaned mixture the engine could cut as mixture becomes too lean to sustain combustion. Same reason you set mixture full rich before making any power changes.

For taxiing you are kind if right, although I would still prefer to keep mixture full rich. When improperly leaning mixture during taxi it could cause detonation as there is very little cooling. I would rather select some power and lean mixture before take-off for a minute or so to burn the spark plugs clean.

Just follow the POH and not what some guys says on Youtube :joy:. I can give you another example of a joker who claims to be A320 TRI, yet doesn’t understand how a crosswind landing works… This clown thinks that the aircraft is experiencing a crosswind component and the nose will “weather vane” into the wind when in-flight, making a direct crosswind not a direct crosswind anymore :clown_face:.

Just to illustrate that there are loads of “experts” out there, and some might be able to talk bs with great confidence :sweat_smile:.

3 Likes

This the guy you ae claiming does not know what he is talking about, I personally am happy to listen to him even if he is on YouTube:

Mike Busch is arguably the best-known A&P/IA in general aviation. In 2008, he was honored by the FAA as “National Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year.” Mike has been a prolific aviation writer for nearly five decades. His monthly “Savvy Maintenance” column appears in AOPA PILOT magazine, and his writing has appeared in numerous publications including EAA Sport Aviation, AOPA’s Opinion Leader’s Blog, AVweb, and magazines for the three largest GA type clubs (ABS, CPA, and COPA). He is renowned for his free monthly maintenance webinars and his standing-room-only forums at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Mike has been a pilot and aircraft owner for 50+ years with 8,000+ hours logged, and he is a CFIA/I/ME. He’s founder and CEO of Savvy Aviation, Inc., the world’s largest firm providing maintenance-management, consulting, analysis and breakdown assistance services for owner-flown aircraft.

I’m not saying he doesn’t know what he is talking about, I’m just saying be careful going of what some guy on Youtube says. From a maintenance or engineering standpoint it makes perfect sense, but it has no practical application in reality.

There is a reason why no single engine piston manufacturer describes to lean during taxi and for landing into the POH. At least none of the single engine pistons I have flown have such a procedure. Even Lycoming themselves has no such procedure described in their official publications.

I can tell you about all the times I thought to be smarter than the manufacturer, turned out that there actually were good reasons why things are the way they are :sweat_smile:.

I mean, its not even practical, how are you supposed to lean the mixture when flying a traffic pattern for example? Remember, every time you adjust power you need to reset the mixture, its more important to look outside and not hit that Cessna joining downwind than being worried about a bit of spark plug fouling or a bit higher fuel consumption. Just set and forget.

  • For taxiing you are constantly changing power, you could lean a bit maybe. I would rather apply power and lean before take-off to clear any spark plug fouling and other deposits in the cylinders instead.

  • For take-off, mixture needs to be full rich for improved cooling and prevent detonation. Unless taking of from high elevation.

  • Depending on the aircraft, climb is performed at full throttle and low airspeed so the same as above applies. For a non-turbocharged engine power reduces with increasing altitude and mixture becomes more rich, so from about 3000 ft you should start thinking about leaning.

  • In cruise you obviously lean the mixture and reset after every change in power setting and / or altitude.

  • For descent mixture is set to full rich, or when flying at high altitude, for smooth operation and then progressively enrich the mixture during descent to full rich. Keeping the mixture lean during descent could cut the engine as mixture becomes too lean while air density increases.

  • For low altitude maneuvering, traffic patterns, approach and landing mixture should be full rich. You are constantly changing power setting and altitude, mixture needs to be full rich for go-around, you already have a carburetor heat to select to cold during go-around on some aircraft, don’t want to add a mixture lever into the equation also. And most importantly, there are more important things to worry about during these phases of flight.

7 Likes

Hi, I have a question regarding the throttle values. You mention 25”, what does this actually mean? Is that like 25% open? Or how do I read this?

This means 25 inches of manifold pressure. Which is shown on the pfd/mfd screens. Basically the amount of throttle you add increases this number.

1 Like

@EdamllamaB - Thank you for posting this video, I really like Mike Busch and do trust his advice as he’s been part of ABS etc as well. I have been out for a while. I just reviewed the video.

Overall, looks like @anon50268670 covered a lot of it.

Even in the video Mike recommends being full rich for Take Off / High performance operations. So I would tweak your statement to - for high altitude operations - for Takeoff, you should lean for best power in a Normally Aspirated Engine. But in a Turbo Charged airplane, keep it full Rich.

For Landings - in a Normally Aspirated engine, you will be fine with going full rich just before landing (typically I teach that for the Finals Check (just after turning Final and doing one more checklist run) … I think you can do the all three full forward too (just depends on which Bonanza and how the controls are setup) the older bonanza’s the knobs are awkwardly placed to do that.

For the Turbo planes - If you enrich on final - you will hear the engine being extra rich and it’s better to keep it lean and then just go rich on go around. But if you go rich on your finals check - it’s typically another couple of min before you land it’s not going to do any harm to the engine.

As mentioned for pattern work, it is better to just keep it rich, on a Bonanza, these things will happen fast in terms of your crosswind, downwind to then get ready for a landing.

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I just did my first long distance cruise in the G36 and I was confused by what was happening. Most of my higher altitude, long distance flights have been in the C172, TMB, and DA40NG.

I was cruising at 8500 feet. I had RPM set at 2400. At full throttle my manifold pressure could only make about 21 in Hg.

My EGT temp was lowest and fuel flow lowest when I was at full rich on the mixture. Any time I leaned, temps shot up and fuel flow increased.