Beech supports the Deb!

The Debonair is currently at KD Aviation at Newburgh, New York’s Stewart International Airport, awaiting its much-needed paint job. But before we can paint, we need parts! You can’t expect to find a 50-year-old airplane–no matter how nice–and not find some cosmetic problems. Period.

One vexing issue was the leading edge of the left cowling access door. Decades of opening and closing the door, plus all the airloads, have caused erosion of the leading edge. The aluminum has worn away, and over the years the wear has left the leading edge with a serrated look that conforms exactly to the crimping that Beech put in the nose bowl. So we needed a new cowling door–left side, please.

Here, take a look at the problem area:


Years of friction and air loads have cut these "teeth" into the leading edge of the cowl door

Years of friction and air loads have cut these “teeth” into the leading edge of the cowl door



Well, yours truly looked and looked, but no cigar. I was about to give up and accept a patch on the leading edge when Beechcraft came through with a like-new door. Thanks to Beechcraft’s Jeff Ellis, Director of Part Sales and Support Programs, and Denise Burkholder, Technical Sales Representative¬†for the cowling door. It looks great, and spares us the risk of an ugly patch right where all would see it.

And now, the new door that Beechcraft found in their excess inventory warehouse at Global Parts Inc. in Augusta, Kansas:

35-910160-618 (3) (2)

Much better, no? Thanks Beechcraft. This proves that yes, parts are still available for 50-year-old airplanes. Beechcraft has been in the news a lot lately–most of it bad–but this certainly is an encouraging sign that the company still has the spirit when it comes to older Debonairs and Bonanzas.

  • tony

    Get my plane ready.

  • tony

    My nice plane. Great

  • Dick

    No, Tony, its my plane.

  • Gary

    Sorry Dick. You are incorrect.
    Deb’s mine!

  • Chris

    You guys need to publish more pictures of the refurbishing process/progression, as in past Sweepstakes. Maybe you’re under-estimating how much we all love to look, wish, and drool over these give-away airplanes!

    • thorne

      There will be more photos of the paint process in the near future. Right now the paint application hasn’t begun.And wait until you see the July issue od AOPA Pilot. Lots of avionics coverage

  • Fritz Cooper

    I suggest that at each provider of parts and / or services, that time lapse photography be used to record the different activities. Put together at the end of the project, it will serve the new owner with an opportunity to review the techniques used to restore and upgrade each area and functional component of the Debonair. Technical manuals are great;combined with photographic images of the activities and techniques, such a record will prove nearly invaluable.

  • Timothy Dewayne Partee

    I sure would love to win this plane!!!!

  • Lee

    Do I get to pick my own N number for it? :)

    • thorne

      Lee– after you win it, you can certainly change the N-number. But then you’ll have to re-paint the airplane!


      • Terry

        N75YR for 75 years is a genius N number, I would just leave it.

        • Rob

          I can hear my radio call now:

          “75 Yankee Romeo on short final to runway one-niner, Flying W.”

  • Lance

    Man the Sweepstakes updates/photos/info is as disappointing as it has ever been. How I love the Debonair and come away so unfulfilled from the website and magazine these days. Can we not put an intern in charge of some eye candy? Is AOPA sequestering this section of the organization.? Hate to snivel but this is really poor!

    • thorne

      Lance, go check the website. Just posted another update. This is a two-year project, remember.