Bearhawk Aircraft reports two first flights of Bearhawk Model B aircraft in Idaho and California.
The Bearhawk Model B is a four-place aircraft designed by engineer Bob Barrows.
The Idaho-based Bearhawk Model B was completed in under one year by Brent Huddleston, a short time considering he’s a first-time aircraft builder, Bearhawk officials noted.
Brent says his new Bearhawk has more performance than his previous O-470-powered Cessna 182Q.
He had never flown a taildragger, but this did not deter him from comparing the Bearhawk to others in his search for a kit. In the end, according to Brent, “The Bearhawk was the fastest, had the best specs, big doors, and, by comparison, the 182 was too small for even my dog.”
Brent installed an IO-540 engine, “ported and polished to 9.5:1 compression,” on his Bearhawk. With the big 300-hp engine, Brent and his instructor say it’s very responsive, not light, and yet not heavy on the controls.
Brent has his own landing strip and already appreciates the difference in climb attitude, noting that the 182 points up in climb, while the Bearhawk is still gaining speed at 1200 fpm and 3/4-throttle but “feels level.” He claims speeds of 155 mph TAS, and says he’s getting many compliments on workmanship, paint and finish.
A second Model B builder, Tim Newsome of California, flew his Bearhawk for the first time last month.
In other news, company officials report that the first four kits of the new Bearhawk Model 5, a six-place design, have shipped and construction is underway.
Virgil Irwin took delivery of one in Oklahoma, but the aircraft is ultimately destined for West Africa.
“The kit has been fantastic so far,” said Virgil.
He plans to have it flying by October, and meanwhile will be finishing up his A&P certificate.
The Bearhawk is Virgil’s first complete build, adding, “I will have a couple of guys helping off and on.”
The instrument panel will be IFR-capable and built around the Garmin G3X. Once in Africa, the aircraft will be based on a dirt runway. Virgil states there is no actual IFR in the country, however, “Niger weather in the Sahara desert requires special VFR due to dirt in the air.”
The West African destination is tied to the missionary work the aircraft will service. Virgil expects to obtain permission to operate off-airport. He noted that Niger has no general aviation and only six such aircraft are based in the country now. That means no avgas is available. While it can be special ordered, at an exorbitant $22 a gallon, the Bearhawk will need to run on auto gas. It will be powered by a Lycoming IO-540 engine with 8.7:1 compression and EFII (Electronic Fuel Injection and Ignition).
A second Model 5 kit was recently delivered to a customer in the Houston area. Ryan Barker of Livingston, Texas, is a commercial pilot. After flying the Bearhawk four-place and six-place models, Ryan determined the Model 5 is the best all-around plane for him and his family on their grass strip.
Ryan is another first-time builder and expects to work solo on the build, enlisting help when needed.
He noted he looked at other aircraft, including certified models, for his family of five.
“I wanted a family truckster,” he stated. “The demo flight really validated my choice. The engine will be an angle-valve IO-540.”
Two additional Bearhawk Model 5 builders have begun construction in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Jackson, New Hampshire.
Bearhawk aircraft are available in kit or plan form.