Bat Hawk is a well-established, conventional microlight-style light aircraft powered by a Rotax 912 that helps it provide “sensational” performance, according to company officials.
“We now have two planes in the country,” said importer and representative Gary Saitowitz, “and we just received our FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate at the end of 2021.”
At this time, Bat Hawk is not a Special LSA. As they get started with the new-to-Americans model, both are registered Experimental Exhibition. After Bat Hawk Aircraft USA can gauge market interest, it may pursue another level of FAA approval, according to company officials.
LSA with a Purpose
“Like a bat outta…” in this case, South Africa, not that hotter place.
Kidding aside, Bat Hawk is positioning itself as a very capable workhorse. The company’s website shows a great many activities for which this aircraft is being used, perhaps most notably as a workhorse for rhino anti-poaching actions.
Such working duties should not surprise anyone since the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) has (apparently) successfully convinced the FAA that these light aircraft are more than capable of certain types of for-hire activities LAMA officials called “aerial work.”
LAMA didn’t call it “commercial use” as that could imply passenger hauling or air freight and those were not included in the request to modify the LSA rules.
Instead Bat Hawk in South Africa refers to work such as anti-poaching and follow-up patrols, water-point monitoring, patrolling rivers and gathering valuable data on crocodiles, vegetation mapping and erosion monitoring, and monitoring and mapping burning programs, to select only a few. Most of these are surveillance of one kind or another and any of us who enjoy aerial sightseeing can comprehend that use easily.
I’m pleased our fun flying aircraft might be pressed into some useful duties. These aircraft are capable and offering manufacturers another potential customer base to help keep them healthy so they keep developing and building recreational aircraft for the majority who simply fly for fun.
What is Bat Hawk?
As the South Africans describe it, “Bat Hawk is a high-wing monoplane with crew of two seated side by side in an under-slung tubular framed structure surrounded by a glass fiber composite fairing.”
Occupants are protected from the elements by “a very large wrap-around windshield,” company officials add.
Bat Hawk’s engine and prop are mounted in a tractor position at wing level. Its tailplane is conventional in location and layout. Tricycle gear has a steerable nosewheel. Bat Hawk’s wing is strut- and lift-wire braced. Once common, wire bracing has largely disappeared from fixed wing, but it remains a very strong configuration.
Bat Hawk’s wing is built around two larger aluminum tubes forming the spars, one at the leading edge and one at the rear edge of the wing as is very common of aircraft with this construction. Sewn Dacron sailcloth covers all wing and tail surfaces plus the aft cockpit fairing.
Bat Hawk uses full-span flaperons attached to the rear spar. The flaperons work independently as ailerons and together as flaps. There is no flap position indicator, but approximate settings can be determined from the flap selector angle. Maximum flap movement is restricted by a limit stop mounted on the flap lever quadrant.
Side by side seating offers full dual control based on a center stick that no doubt makes entry a bit easier. Bat Hawk’s rudder is actuated by cables running from the pedals. Ailerons are controlled by cables from a torque tube connected to the central control stick, which has a built-in control stop. The elevator is actuated by a push/pull cable attached directly to the control stick with built-in stops.
Officials with manufacturer Micro Aviation said a wide track undercarriage has the main wheels supported by an inverted “V” shaped glass fiber that provides suspension. Bat Hawk’s nosewheel is supported by two hydraulic shock absorbers that “allows Bat Hawk to operate on rough terrain,” company officials explained. Black Max disc brakes are actuated using a hand lever on the control stick. Differential braking is not available.
Instrumentation is provided by a MGL Avionics (sold and serviced in America by Michigan Avionics). The MGL digital instrument is standard equipment and “enables the pilot to monitor dual CHTs and four EGTs plus voltage, oil pressure, oil temperature, and RPM simultaneously,” company officials said.
What will this multi-purpose aircraft set you back? In Experimental Exhibition category for now, the first aircraft is listed for sale at $79,500 plus shipping.
Bat Hawk Aircraft USA is investigating Experimental Amateur Built or Light-Sport Aircraft for the future. More about that as I learn about it.
Bat Hawk Specifications
- Overall length: Nose to rudder trailing edge 18.2 feet
- Length: Propeller to rudder 17 feet
- Wingspan: 31.2 feet
- Height: 10.5 feet
- Undercarriage wheel track: 5.4 feet
- Main wheel size: 8 x 6 inches
- Nosewheel size: 4 x 4 inches
- Powerplant: Rotax 912 100-horsepower 4-cylinder, 4-stroke
- Maximum weight all-up weight (gross weight): 1,204 pounds
- Typical empty weight with standard equipment: 573 pounds
- Maximum fuel: 20.5 gallons/123 pounds
- Payload with full fuel: 508 pounds
- Cruise speed: 77 knots
- Stall speed: 36 knots
- Vne: 92 knots
- Takeoff run: 100-165 feet
- Landing roll: 165-200 feet
All specifications provided by the factory.
For more information: Bat Hawk in America is finishing its new website, so email importer, Gary Saitowitz, or call 404-408-0305. You can also check the South African website for Bat Hawk producer Micro Aviation SA at BatHawk.co.za.
I’ll be looking for Gary and his two Bat Hawks at SUN ‘n FUN 2022. I’ll report more then. Hope to see many of you at the show!