Since 1967, the American Bonanza Society (ABS) has been a leading forum for individuals interested in Bonanza, Baron, Debonair, and Travel Air aircraft. The society is managed by a board of directors and employs multiple people on a full-time basis to serve the needs of the organization’s members.
What does the American Bonanza Society do?
Aside from providing members with a way to gather and discuss the aircraft they like, the ABS offers a variety of benefits to members. The most notable of these are detailed below – although it’s important to keep in mind that most benefits are limited to members.
This magazine, released monthly, includes content like information on flying, technical and maintenance advice for Beechcraft aircraft, aviation news, classifieds, and a variety of events that pilots may be interested in.
As part of their Beech Bonanza, the ABS maintains an up-to-date index of Beechcraft planes on their website, covering the four main types of aircraft. While individual planes may differ slightly from the specifications, looking at each model is a good way to decide which sort of plane you’d like to buy.
Parts Sourcing and Technical Advice
All aircraft need maintenance on a regular basis, but sometimes, parts for a Bonanza airplane can be hard to find. This is where ABS’ parts sourcing program comes in – and for members who aren’t already familiar with building and maintaining planes, ABS also offers technical advisors who can walk owners through any maintenance their aircraft may need.
In addition to finding parts for members, the ABS also has a tool rental program, with a particular emphasis on providing ruddervators and aileron rigging kits.
Extensive Training Programs
The ABS offers four primary training programs for its members. Note that these are not basic flight instruction – rather, they’re a way for licensed pilots to get information specific to these types of planes. The four courses are:
- The Beechcraft Systems, Procedures, and Techniques Course: Considered the ‘main’ course, this 13-module program goes over Beechcrafts in extensive detail, from what systems they possess to how to operate them most efficiently.
- The Beechcraft Pilot Skills Enhancement Course: This course is an expansion of the previous ones, and focuses more on special aviation rules and what to do in various kinds of emergencies. It’s not considered quite as necessary as the main course, but pilots are advised to take this program anyway.
- The ABS Flight Instructor Academy: This program is specifically for pilots looking to teach others how to fly Beech planes. In that regard, it’s widely considered an optional course, though some pilots may take it anyway just to review their knowledge from another angle.
- The ABS Maintenance Academy: The last of the four major training programs, this mixes hands-on experience with classroom time to teach members about common maintenance needs.
Aircraft Inspection Program
This program is a complete visual inspection of Beechcraft planes, performed by ABS’ Service Clinic Inspectors. Many pilots prefer to do their own maintenance, but if you want an expert to double-check things, this is a way to get that help.
How Do I Become a Member?
You can join the ABS by signing up on their website. There are three main types of memberships with the ABS:
- Normal Memberships are available in 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, and lifetime packages.
- International Memberships are for people outside the United States and do not include a subscription to ABS Magazine. (It’s worth noting that all issues of the magazine are available online, so these members will still have access to them.)
- Finally, there is a free 1-Month Trial Membership that includes one issue of ABS Magazine. This does not provide access to member-only services.
Is It Worth Becoming A Member?
While the ABS offers many helpful and valuable services, only you can decide if it’s worth becoming a member. If you’re still uncertain about whether or not the society is right for you, here are some things to consider:
What’s your relation to the Beechcraft Bonanza?
If you’re a pilot or an instructor working with Beechcraft planes, you’re almost certainly going to be able to make use of ABS’ extensive library of information and instructions. On the other hand, if you’re only a casual fan of these planes, you’d be paying for many services that you’re not likely to use.
Are you trying to buy or sell a Beechcraft?
Like many aviation groups, the American Bonanza Society has an advertisement section to help buy and sell planes. If you’re buying, it’s probably worth getting at least a 1-year membership – this will give you access to their Aircraft Inspection Program, parts sourcing, and maintenance guides so you can learn how to maintain your new aircraft.
If you’re only trying to sell a plane, you don’t need a membership. The ABS does charge more for non-members to place ads, but this is pocket change compared to the selling price of most aircraft.
Finally, it’s worth noting that ABS doesn’t limit its ads to aircraft. It’s also possible to sell individual parts, real estate, or instruction time through this organization. Hiring an instructor for an hour or two is a good way of getting experience in a Beechcraft plane without going through the expense of buying one.
What’s this Air Safety Foundation I Keep Hearing About?
The Air Safety Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that supports the American Bonanza Society. Its primary mission is offering a variety of services, products, and programs that help to support the safe ownership, use, and maintenance of Beechcraft’s four model lines.
Also, the Air Safety Foundation advocates in a variety of different ways to help ensure the safe, continued operation of the Beechcraft fleet. Most notably, this includes working with government regulators to avoid unnecessary operating rules and ensuring that decisions are made based on accurate, valid, and current data.
Donations to the Air Safety Foundation are tax-deductible when made in the United States.