Bearhawk Aircraft has unveiled the Bearhawk Bravo, a refinement of the four-place Bearhawk design that established the family of Bearhawk aircraft.
The Bearhawk Bravo, referred to internally as the model “B,” will be available as both a plans-built design and a Quick-Build kit. The original design and modifications are by aviator, mechanic and engineer Bob Barrows.
“For some time Bob has wanted to incorporate into the four-place Bearhawk certain design features of his more recent aircraft, namely the Bearhawk Patrol and Bearhawk LSA,” said Mark Goldberg, president of Bearhawk Aircraft and manufacturer of Bearhawk Quick-Build kits.
Most prominent among the design changes to the Bearhawk model “B” is the use of a Riblett 30-413.5 airfoil, as incorporated into the two-place Bearhawk Patrol. Following his study of the airfoil, Barrows felt the Riblett would offer some advantages over the Bearhawk’s original NACA 4412 airfoil.
Flight tests proved his thesis correct with the new wings producing gains in the range of 5 to 8 mph faster. This speed increase is coupled with similar if not better stall speeds, yet conclusively greater stability in induced stall, according to company officials.
Test pilot Wayne Massey explained, “Having flown the Bearhawk many hours prior, I was at first apprehensive when I heard that modifications were to be made. I liked the way the model ‘A’ airplane flew and I didn’t want the feel of the airplane changing. Now having flown the model ‘B’ for several hours I feel that the changes were worthwhile. The increase in cruise speeds makes it an even greater cross-country airplane.
“The original 4-place Bearhawk already had excellent stall characteristics and the model ‘B’ with its Riblett airfoil enhances the stall characteristics even more,” he continued. “Performing full aft stick wings level power off stalls in the model ‘A’ leads to a stable leaf stall. Continuing to hold full aft stick in the stall, the nose drops just enough to recover some airspeed then goes back into a leaf stall again remaining very stable. On the new model ‘B,’ performing full aft stick power off stalls leads to a wings level stable full stall and a sink rate of around 1,200 fpm. While holding full aft stick in the stall, the wings remain level and the nose does not drop, the aircraft does not leaf stall.
“In a moose stall the Bearhawk model ‘B’ now performs similarly to the Patrol. In a turn with some power on and speed diminishing, there’s a very slight buffet at around 35-40 IAS, yet the aircraft remains very stable with no noticeable tendency to drop a wing in the opposite direction. Gentle forward pressure on the stick leads to an instant, stable airspeed recovery.”
Additional changes incorporated into the Bearhawk Bravo are:
- Use of aluminum fuselage formers, window sills, and door sills in place of steel formers and sills offering weight savings and corrosion resistance.
- Use of airfoil shaped ribs on the horizontal and vertical stabilizers as opposed to flat ribs giving enhanced stability, more control authority, and a speed increase of three MPH due to the change from four to three degrees of down deflection of the horizontal stabilizers.
- Use of shock struts made from heavy wall round tubing in place of streamlined tubing providing more resistance to side load failure while on the runway. The round tube is faired with streamlined PVC to neutralize drag.
- Use of a round tail spring fabricated from 6150 heat treated alloy steel bar in place of the leaf-type spring set providing a small weight savings and better flex/spring effect in any direction. The round profile also has the potential to save the rear fuselage from damage at unpaved strips.
- Use of the Riblett airfoil wings with 1-foot longer wingspan and an additional 5 square feet of wing area.