The Typical Bonanza Owner


How do you compare to the "typical" Bonanza aircraft owner. Take a look at the metrics compiled by the American Bonanza Society.

From September 2008 to August 2010, I was honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the American Bonanza Society. During my tenure in this position, I conducted a survey of the roughly 9,500 members of the Society in an effort to better understand the needs of the ABS membership so that ABS might taylor their services and programs to meet these needs. Although the results were never put to use, the 4-part, 100 question survey provided real insight into how the Bonanza is owned and flown and it bears sharing with Bonanza owners everywhere.

Over two-thirds of Bonanza owners fall between the ages of 50 and 70 years of age and 93% are active pilots. A little more than half of all Bonanza owners belong to the American Bonanza Society and, if I may, I would highly recommend that every Bonanza join as the tech support alone will save you thousands of dollars.

The Bonanza owner, on average, is extremely well qualified. Better than 80% of owners hold an instrument rating and more than half possess advanced commercial or ATP certificates. Seventy-eight percent of owners have accumulated over 1000 flight hours with 1 in 4 Bonanza owners having more than 5,000 hours flight experience. Perhaps these numbers may help explain why over 60% of owners train in their airplanes at least once a year.

For one in three owners, their Bonanza was the very first plane they purchased with the same number purchasing the Bonanza as an upgrade from their first plane. And once a pilot buys a Bonanza, they tend to keep them; over 60% of owners have the first Bonanza they ever bought.

Most Bonanza owners fly their airplanes often with about 3 of 4 owners flying between 50 and 200 hours a year. About half of all owners indicated they fly their airplanes about once a week between 100 and 250 miles with 60% flying under and IFR flight plan. Two-thirds of Bonanza owners use their airplane primarily for pleasure with some business flying, with the remaining third using their planes primarily for business. Over two-thirds of all owners own their airplanes personally with the remaining third being split between partnerships and business-owned airplanes. Despite a poor economy, over 75% of owners indicated they would fly their airplanes the same or more hours in the upcoming year suggesting the Bonanza owner is probably more affluent than the typical aircraft owner.

Although over 95% of Bonanza owners bought their airplanes used, they like to take very good care of them. First, data indicated that 93% of all Bonanzas reside in a secured hangar. Extrapolated data indicated that Bonanza owners would spend over 70 million dollars upgrading their airplanes in 2010 with about 65% of the upgrades being avionics retrofits. This fact is one of the main reason why the Bonanza as a model remains a highly sought after used aircraft. Furthermore, although 4 of every 5 Bonanzas are owned free and clear, over 90% of the airplanes are fully insured. Thus, it seems most owners have the financial resources to properly maintain, upgrade, and insure their airplanes.

In summarizing the data gained from the survey, it would be safe to say that the Bonanza, as a whole, is an airplane that has been regularly flown, maintained and upgraded by a highly qualified owner base. As a result, I believe this is the primary reason the airplane continues to maintain both its appeal and value in the used aircraft market.