” It was great to get to fly your Patrol and your LSA. It was a good morale boost to get to get some stick time in a Patrol, now maybe I’ll get mine done a little faster. I really can’t wait to get mine flying now. There were no surprises flying your Patrol, it flies very smoothly and coordinated flight is easily maintained. It did everything you advertise it to do, takes off short, lands easily and cruises fast. It was pretty awesome to go from mid 140s at 75% power and slow down to less than 30mph in slow flight. I saw either 26 or 28 mph airspeed on the EFIS for a bit with power in level flight. I don’t know many planes that will go both that fast and that slow. I chose not to run your plane flat out to see top speed but by my E6B I figure it should true out over 160mph at altitude, based on the 75% cruise numbers I saw at 2000-2500′.
I got comfortable quickly and I’m confident that once my Patrol is flying, with just a little practice I’ll be able to both take off and land in the advertised distance or less.
Most of my recent fixed wing flying has been in my Pacer, which I kept modifying for STOL and pretty much every takeoff and landing I was trying to make as short as I could. I got pretty good at getting that Pacer into short fields, but with that short wing and relatively high stall speed, it was often a little uncomfortable approaching short strips. Compared to my Pacer the Patrol just wins in every way I can think of. The center line seating gives better visibility, even though the nose is longer/higher, being able to lean a bit to each side and see around either side of the nose, instead of just the left side, makes it a lot more comfortable coming in low over trees on short final, and also helps during taxi. Speaking of taxiing, The Patrol handles beautifully on the ground. Positive tailwheel steering, good visibility, and that long tail (compared to a Pacer) makes it easy to control during takeoff and landing. My first takeoff was a bit long because I was behind the plane, it was ready to fly while I was still holding the tail up and accelerating, as soon as I started to lower the tail (at probably 65 mph) I was off the ground and flying. Or I should say climbing at over 1200 fpm and accelerating through 90 mph. I never did try a climb at Vy, simply because I didn’t see any need to climb any faster, although now I am curious just how fast it would climb at Vy. The next couple takeoffs were much shorter as I simply brought the tail up for a couple seconds and then brought it back down and I was flying before the tail made it back to the ground. I’d like to give a speed for that but I wasn’t familiar enough with the panel layout to find the speed quickly enough to read it on the takeoff roll. The takeoff roll just doesn’t last very long. The plane accelerates rapidly and doesn’t need to be going very fast to fly.
Overall I am very happy to know that I made the right choice in upgrading from my Pacer to the Patrol. The Patrol has better manners on the ground and in flight, It seems to ride smoother than my Pacer did, and it seemed I was always chasing the trim ball whereas the Patrol only got out of trim when I entered turns and put in too much rudder, I had to think about not moving my feet so much. The approaches and landings happen slower in the Patrol, making them almost seem like its happening in slow motion. The Patrol has more headroom and a roomier cockpit and about the same useful load as the four seat Pacer. I think the big baggage area will pretty much make up for the back seat area in the Pacer. I think I’ll be able to get as much camping gear in the Patrol as I did in the Pacer.
I think the only big surprise for me was when you let me fly the LSA. I was amazed at how much fun that plane is to fly. I only have a little time in Cubs and I have always thought that if a Cub had 100hp, it would be great, especially if you could change that door so it isn’t so awkward to get in and out of the Cub. Well, forget all that – the Cub will just never be what the Bearhawk LSA is. Super short take offs, great rate of climb, and higher cruise than a J3 could ever hope for. All in a plane that flies great, is easy to get in and out of and even has an adjustable front seat, I guess when they were making Cubs all pilots were the same size or something. If my mission didn’t involve long cross countries and hauling more payload than will fit in any light sport plane, I would be kicking myself for not building the LSA instead and saving a bunch of money on a smaller engine and fixed pitch prop. ”
From Tom in Virginia: “Gotta tell you ….very pleased to see the workmanship in the fuselage. Just because there’s a fixture doesn’t equal workmanship necessarily….welds are very nice.
From Richard P. who just received his Patrol kit (April 7, 2017): “Was very pleased with the quality of the kit as I got it unpacked. You have done a FANTASTIC job on quality control. I was amazed at how light the pieces were. The only reason I needed help unloading was because the pieces were so awkward, not because they were heavy. My helper even commented on how good the welds looked, and he is an A&P, and is an AWS certified welder with 35 years experience.”