Webfoot Bearhawk flies

A Bearhawk on floats has taken to the sky.

Al Robinson of Cold Lake, Alberta, is the first to fly a Bearhawk on floats, according to company officials.

“I bought a scratch-built Bearhawk from its original builder, Tom Yeoman in New Mexico, for the express purpose of putting it on floats,” Robinson said. “Tom had equipped the airplane with an O-360 Lycoming with low compression pistons that yielded 170 horsepower and allowed him to fly it on auto gas.

“For floats, I decided upon Claire Sceli’s Clamar floats,” he continued. “Clair, by the way, was very familiar with the Bearhawk. We settled on a set of his 2500 composite straights, which gave the required 180% floatation needed for the Bearhawk’s 2,700-pound gross. Then I took my airplane and floats to Charlie and Eddie Seville’s place in Marwayne, Alberta, who put the two together and rigged them.”

Among the first questions floatplane pilots ask about the Bearhawk’s potential as a floatplane are how much useful load does it have and how quickly does it get off the water? Robinson has those answers, Bearhawk officials said.

“With straights, I have 1,150 pounds useful load, so with all four seats filled and both mains topped off at 55 gallons, I still have room for plenty of baggage or extra fuel in the floats,” he said. “With full fuel and me it comes off the water in 10 seconds and climbs like crazy. I’m just learning to fly it, so I’m certain that will improve. On top of that, the floats only slowed me down 5 mph from what I had with the 8.50 tires on it. At 60% I’m still showing about 115-120 mph.”

Bearhawk kits being produced by AviPro Aircraft, Ltd. already have the required float mount bushings welded in place, company officials said.

The Bearhawk can be built in a variety of ways, from scratchbuilt to complete quick-build using kits produced by AviPro Aircraft. More than 105 quick build kits have been delivered, while approximately 33 Bearhawks are completed and flying.

For more information: 602-971-3768 or BearhawkAircraft.com.

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