Sunday, January 22, 2012

Single Arm Yoke

One big advantage of the pre-1984 Baron's and Bonanza's is that they have sort of a funky dual arm yoke bar that sticks out of the center console and provides yokes to the pilot and co-pilot side.  Here is my cockpit vs the post 1984 cockpit which has dual yokes built in.

Mine (Pre-1984)


Notice the big black bar connecting the yokes in the top image.  The reason I think this is an advantage is that it allows you to replace that big double arm bar with a single bar yoke, freeing up a bunch of room for the passenger on the copilot side.   Here is what an awesome B55 cockpit looks like with a single arm yoke.

Notice how much easier it is to access the avionics on the right side and also gives more space.  The disadvantage of course is that only the pilot can operate the elevator and ailerons, but in my 2+ years of owning this plane now I've never really needed that, including during instruction.  Looking forward to more room, my only reservation is eventually teaching my sons, but I can always keep the dual control for later since my oldest is only 4. Or teach em proper in a citabria, see honey I DO need more than one airplane!

With this in mind I started looking for a single arm yoke to retrofit onto my plane.  I found a few used ones, one for $600 and one for $300, but it was hard for me to assess their condition and I want one that looks new or almost new, so I ended up buying one for $1400 from Randy at Airmech ( This one is fully refurbed, powder coated with no scratches so it looks new, with a new chain all greased and ready to go.

In case anyone is wondering, Randy will take a dual on exchange and send you $1000 for the difference. I've decided to keep my dual yoke for now.  Now I just need to install this sucker.

Monday, January 9, 2012


This year I didn't get to do the flying portion at BPPP because my plane was down getting the engines done, so I've been trying to meet up with instructor Jim Gruneisen to do a seudo make up of the flying portion.  For numerous reasons our schedules didn't jive until this last Saturday, so I had scheduled the day for the training.  We've had great weather, and it was severe clear that morning, but for whatever reason it was freakin windy.  I got to the airport at 9am ish and the wind was already blowing 15 kts.  I went over to PAO to meet Jim and was surprised that my ground speed was over 210 kts at 3,000 ft and I was throttled back!  38 kts on the tail and pretty bumpy.

I picked up Jim at PAO and after a small detour to fix my door handle, we were off.  We got beat up by turbulence flying over to Tracy for the first approach, and heard pilots reporting moderate but it probably wasn't that bad.  We did the first approach, broke off to the hold, then went above 5,000 and shut down each engine in turn and practiced feathering a then the recovery.  This was the first time I'd done an in-flight shutdown since the new engines were installed and I was happy to test out the prop accumulators and found they worked great.  We then did a single engine approach to TCY and I heard someone call out on the radio "nice greaser Adam".  I said, "who is that?".   Turned out to be my friend and fellow Baron pilot Larry Mattlock and he said he was about to scrub a trip to Harris because of the wind and turbulence.  I egged him on and said "awe it's smooth above 4,000" and told him I'd meet him there and he agreed to brave the winds.  I filled up with cheap gas, Jim and I spent some time reprogramming the JPI to set my default fuel quantity, and we were off to Harris.

It was interesting landing at Harris which is 2800 ft runway in 20 kt wind gusting to 30, but it was mostly aligned with the runway so it was actually an easy landing with all that headwind.  Here is a shot of the palm trees blowing in the breeze...

Tri-tip was good and then we blasted off for Hollister and I did a single engine approach with a circle to land partial panel, which was basically Jim pulling the breaker on the air data computer.  After that I made one last approach to PAO,  tired from the workout but it was great practice.  I'm instrument current anyway but nevertheless another IPC is done and in the books!