Bonanza Boys
Come Fly with Me. Come Fly, let's fly away...

Welcome Aboard!
Exploration and Adventure Flights with Bonanza Boys,
Zack and Shawn!
Photograph: Philadelphia Skyline at approximately 2000' AGL over Camden, New Jersey on approach to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) April 2008 (Photographer: Zack von Menchhofen)
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This is "Big Boy"
"Big Boy" is a 1952 C-35 Beech Bonanza. When Zack and Shawn were looking to purchase their first airplane, they were looking for something that they could travel in over distances, that had retractable gear and was comfortable to travel in. Zack kept saying that that he was looking for a "big boy" airplane. So, when they finally bought N793D and Zack had gone to pick it up, he called Shawn to say that he had picked up "Big Boy". The name stuck.

Who are the Bonanza Boys?

Shawn and Zack met in 2012 when Zack was visiting Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Shawn showed Zack all around Vancouver and Zack invited him to visit Philadelphia and to be his "date" at his cousin's wedding. From those two trips grew a wonderful relationship and in 2013, Zack asked Shawn to marry him. Shawn said yes and they got married in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. This year (2018) will be their fifth wedding anniversary.

Next they packed up all of Shawn's things into a moving van and drove it across the US to Philadelphia where they had bought a house. After the dust settled, Zack turned to Shawn one evening and said that he missed flying airplanes (Zack had gotten his pilot's license in 2005). Zack said he thought they should buy an airplane - and, after some of Shawn's fancy financial know-how, for some reason, he agreed.

They started looking at different airplanes - Pipers and Grummans and Cessnas. Finally, a friend of Zack's, Brad, let Zack fly a Beech Bonanza as part of Zack's Biannual Flight Review (Pilots have to sit with an instructor every two years for a BFR). Zack was smitten with the Bonanza and said to Shawn that he liked it for its roominess, its comfort, its speed and its grown-up feel (it didn't feel like a trainer aircraft like the other airplanes felt). Bonanza have the constant speed propellers and the retractable gear and are faster than Piper Arrows (the other complex aircraft they were considering). So, Zack and Shawn started to look for a Bonanza (with Brad's help). They finally found 793D. Zack flew down to Texas to pick it up (Shawn wasn't able to go, he had to work that week). When Zack called Shawn to say that the deal had gone through, he said, "Shawn, I just bought my 'Big Boy' airplane!" ... The name stuck and they have called 793D, "Big Boy" ever since.


Zack earned his pilot's license in 2005. He is rated Airplane, Single Engine Land (ASEL) with high-performance and complex endorsements. He is presently working on his instrument rating and then hopes to continue and to earn his commercial and instructor licenses as well. He did most of his early training in a Socata Tampico TB9. He has flown Pipers (Warriors, Cherokees and Arrows), Grummans (Travellers and Tigers), Cessna 172s and a bunch of other airplanes. His home base is KLOM (Wings Field) near Philadelphia - some of the busiest airspace around. He has fallen in love with the Beech Bonanza, though (especially 793D). He thinks that its probably the best airplane ever!

Besides all that, Zack is a classical musician and holds a Colleague Certificate with the American Guild of Organists (CAGO) and he works at the University of Pennsylvania as a data scientist for a research grant.


Born and raised in Montreal, QC, Canada, Shawn spent the majority of his life in Montreal as well as in Vancouver, BC, though he and Zack currently reside in the Philadelphia area. Shawn has every bit as much of the travel bug as Zack, although he has little interest in learning to fly (or even drive a car for that matter!). Instead, Shawn is much happier in the role of planning and budgeting our trips, and researching all the different places to visit and explore. Shawn works remotely as a Technical Support rep, and enjoys spending his time cooking, shopping, playing video games and of course, taking trips with his husband Zack!

N793D "Big Boy"

N793D (Big Boy) is a 1952 C-35 Beech Bonanza with an Continental (E225-8) 6 cylinder horizontally opposed engine. The engine has a Petersen Auto Fuel STC. It has a Beech Electric Propeller with Airborne Electronics Automatic Pitch Control. Big Boy speeds through the skies on 9-11 gallons per hour (gph) doing a ground speed of between 135-140 mph! On the panel is: Apollo GX 65 GPS which also serves as COMM 1; Icom IC200 Digital as COMM2; Dual Glideslopes - King KN53 Digital Nav 1 and Narco NAV 122 Nav 2; King Digital DME coupled to Nav 2; and, JPI Digital Fuel Flow (FS450) coupled to the GPS.

Supporting Cast

Brad is a wonderful IA (a type of mechanic), a terrific Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and a truly great friend! Zack met Brad years ago on an aviation website. Brad owns and flies several different airplanes but it was Brad that let Zack fly a Bonanza for a Bi-annual Flight Review. So, Brad is really to blame for having Zack fall in love with Bonanzas. Actually, maybe Dee is really to blame for all of this! It was Dee that convinced Zack to go to flight school in 2005 in the first place. Although, we all know that Dee only convinced Zack to get his pilot's license so that he could be her personal pilot. Dee is also Zack's boss at the University of Pennsylvania. Some of us think that Dee is actually more exicted that Zack & Shawn have an airplane than they are.