Why is the “Doctor Killer” Airplane So Dangerous?
During flight training, you will learn fly several different types of aircrafts. However, on your way to becoming a pilot, you must learn to respect the various types of aircrafts you are allowed the opportunity to fly.
The “Doctor Killer” got it’s reputation from being too much aircraft for an amateur pilot. The Beechcraft Bonanza is a radical design, low-wing, fixed landing gear aircraft with a signature V-tail introduced in 1947 by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. It is currently still in production by Hawker Beechcraft. It is one of the most influential aircrafts in history. More than 17,000 Bonanzas of all types have been produced.
The V-35 Beech Bonanza is the first truly modern high-performance personal aircraft. The signature V-tail is unconventional structuring of the tail. By replacing the horizontal design of the tail with a V-shaped configuration made up of two hinged pieces, the tail now combine the tasks of rudders and elevators – now affectionately called “ruddervators.”
Why the “Doctor Killer”
It earned the nickname “Doctor Killer” due to a series of fatal accidents. The V-35 Bonanza is expensive, high performance, and a very popular personal plane among high class professionals, such as doctors. However, it is extremely difficult to fly due to its high speed flutter, and inexperienced pilots with low hours are more susceptible to making an error resulting in a crash.
The tails have been known to shed so the early Bonanza’s have actually added cuffs to the base of the ruddervators to strengthen the structure. The aircraft is known for being faster than most personal planes due to the effort in decreasing the dampened area of the airframe to increase speed.
A lot of accidents occur due to error in judgment on the pilot’s part. Pilots have been known to take off into snowstorms, thunderstorms, or just any conditions in general that warrant danger.
On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly died in a V-35 Beech Bonanza crash shortly after takeoff. The plane took off at night in poor weather condition. This famous day has been named “The Day the Music Died.”