The Deb’s paint job debut!

Went up to Newburgh, New York’s Stewart International Airport yesterday to pick up the Debonair from the paint shop. And the new paint looks great! Sure looks better than the original paint job, which is at the head of this page!

Don Reese of KD Aviation was on hand to show off the new airplane, and here it is in the paint booth, ready for the light of day:

At KD Aviation's paint shop, ready to go.

At KD Aviation’s paint shop, ready to go.

After months of wearing decals, the paint job is quite a change. It has a clean look, and is somewhat reminiscent of the 2004 “Win-A-Twin” (Comanche) sweepstakes airplane’s paint scheme. And for good reason. The predominant color–the light blue–is called “Bahama Blue,” and it’s the very same paint color used in the Win-A-Twin. I liked it then, I like it now. What do you think?

I flew the new-look Debonair direct from Stewart to AOPA’s home base at Frederick, Maryland in one-hour, 27 minutes. Groundspeeds were in the neighborhood of 155-158 knots. In what seemed like no time, the airplane was on AOPA’s ramp. Word soon got out, and then employees in the AOPA building (in the background of the photo below) came out to give the airplane the once-over.

On AOPA's ramp, front and center

On AOPA’s ramp, front and center

Right now, the objective is to get some air-air photography and video of the Deb. This week’s weather isn’t looking all that good for the Mid-Atlantic, but I’m hoping we can get the shots in between clouds and showers. The plan is to put the Debonair on the cover of AOPA Pilot’s July issue.

The new paint scheme makes its public debut soon. Visitors to the upcoming AOPA regional fly-in at the Indianapolis Regional Airport (KMQJ) on May 31 will be the first to see the new paint job. I’ll be there, so stop on by–after you have your pancakes.

By the way, a show of hands: Who liked the decals better than the final paint job?




  • Terry

    Very nice! I won’t change a thing.

  • Andre

    Can you put the decals back on again?

    • Mike

      DITTO! :-)

  • Jon

    Looks awesome! Very clean and smooth. Very nice airplane!

  • Barry A Blake

    Love it, I’ll start shopping for a hanger.

  • t h

    Love my plane

  • t hunt

    my plane, I’m on the way to get you

  • Jeff

    This airplane will change my life!

  • Lutz

    Needs a chrome spinner but I can take care of that when she comes to Pappa!!

  • Clyde

    Beautiful paint job! Leave the stickers at home!

    Someone’s getting a VERY nice ride!

  • Peter L

    That color is reminiscent of my mother’s1959 Ford Station wagon. I think Ford called it Robin’s egg blue. You guys have done a great job of turning a great old bird into a great new one. I might take my Baron to that paint shop for a similar make over– just a different color

  • David

    Fantastic! The paint scheme compliments the 1963 era and still looks fresh. Well done.

  • Greg P

    Looks beautiful. The decals were cool and all, but the paint is the winner!

  • Cary Alburn

    Nice! But a chrome spinner would make it nicer (and it would undoubtedly go faster! :))


  • Janet Davidson

    Great to see our design transition from the drawing board to “real life”, so to speak. And absolutely delighted to read all the positive comments. A great job by KD Aviation too!

  • Pat K

    I can picture Major Nelson and Jeannie climbing out of that bird in Cocoa Beach!

  • PaulB

    The paint scheme retains a classic appearance with just a touch of modern flair which is overall complimentary to the airframe. Nicely done.

    Is the spinner metal? If so, there is still time: strip and polish it.

  • Don

    You guys have done a great job with my plane! I look forward to receiving it soon!

  • Nate D’Anna

    The scheme looks very dated to me—1940’s style.

    I can live with it if I win it though.

  • Ryan

    Ill build an airport just for that plane! Runway and all! That paint job is beautiful, i love blue and Im glad you painted my new plane blue!

  • R Kemp

    Since I was the first to expose the new paint scheme, I think the plane should go to ME. Just saying.

  • PapaMilano

    Ugh. A true 60s theme would have retained the same era panel and engine technology as well. When I win it, the first thing I’ll do is repaint it with a modern scheme to match the now high-tech panel and engine! 😉

  • Dave

    Gorgeous!!! Please get rid of that White spinner though, this is a Bonanza after all.

    • thorne

      Actually, this is a Debonair. It looks like a Bonanza, but it isn’t. As for the spinner, when you win it you can continue the search for a polished aluminum one that’s approved for installation….

      • Dave

        Uh, just like a Mercury Sable isn’t a Ford Taurus:). When the marketing folks at Beech decided that a Deb was a Bonanza, it was so.

  • Ray

    Hmm, not sure what era that paint scheme is supposed to represent. Yep, let’s have the decals back. And how about polishing that spinner!

    • thorne

      Actually, one decal does remain on the airplane. It’s the one under the pilot’s side window. It says: “Winner Sits Here”

    • thorne

      Back then there were no polished spinners for the Debonair–at least from the factory. And a search turned up no providers of polished aluminum retrofits. Sorry!

      • Dave

        Really? A quick look at TAP shows 23 Debonairs for sale and 4 of them have painted spinners?? Keep looking AOPA-

        • thorne

          Are these planes with 3-blade Hartzells? If so, yes, you can get polished spinners. But with the 2-blade McCauley I don’t think so.


  • Matt

    Honestly, which one of you guys stuck those stickers on your car to drive home with?

    • thorne

      I have some on my office walls, and there is another decal on the plane I failed to mention…”AOA probe” is under the right wing


  • Matt

    BTW: I’m now searching for the perfect 1963 Classic Car to occupy the hangar when I take ‘Deb’ out flying.

    • Gerald

      ’63 Corvette Split-Window Coupe or any ’63 Ferrari would fit well.

    • thorne

      63 Vette!! Ferrari 250 GT !!! Monster Cadillac convertible !!!


  • Ron

    Love it. It’s amazing what money can buy!

  • Claude

    The paint job is for others to look at, I will look at her from the inside 😉

  • Andy Gomez

    I can’t exactly recall, but was this paint scheme one of the six or seven choices members
    voted on?

    • thorne

      Yes! It came in second or third after the “bumblebee” black-and-yellow scheme. But we feel it’s truer to the airplane’s time


  • Mickey

    This was the first plane I ever flew in back in 1962. Can’t wait to take this one for a ride ! Looks mighty fine.

  • Mr Mike

    Nice. After seeing this, I have to get the windows tinted on my K-35 (and yeh, she’s already got the polished spinner, but I think the guys are giving you too much grief about that). Toughest part of every flight is going to be deciding which one of these two to fly.

    • thorne

      Yes, and you can’t see the spinner when you’re flying it


  • D. Howell

    It just looks right !

  • DW Brown

    I like the paint scheme and colors.

  • Layne Meyers

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love what you guys have done to this Deb. Beechcraft truly made a stand out flying machine and AOPA did an amazing job preserving this classic.

  • Doug St Pierre

    Ill have at least 500 hrs on my New airplane the 1st year for sure it will be based KCON. At Least I am hoping !

  • Barry Wood

    Over the years I have enjoyed watching the A.O.P.A sweepstakes airplanes take shape and marveled at the workmanship, All of you, have gone the extra mile to make this plane as beautiful as it could ever possibly be, Job Well done, I applaud all of you for your efforts and selection of facilities to make necessary changes and improvements.