Bearhawk Patrol Flight Report
In mid December 2003, Bob Barrows came to my house in North Carolinas to bring me a set of O360 crankcases. To my surprise he shows up in his Bearhawk PATROL. At first glance I mistake the new airplane for the four cylinder, four place/ Bearhawk. The side profile is very much like the four place. A closer look revealed a different airfoil, ailerons, landing gear profile, side-windows and of course a two place tandem with a sky-light over-head.
After removing the crankcases from the back seat and some conversation about the airfoil of the wings and the fact that the tail on the PATROL has a symmetrical airfoil rather that a flat surface, Bob offered me the PATROL for a solo flight. Needless to say I lost no time accepting the chance to strap this neat little airplane on for 30 minutes flight in the beautiful sky of North Carolina. Mounting the Patrol is as easy as a CITABRIA or a DECATHLON and as much more so than a CUB, TAYLORCRAFT or LUSCOMBE. Once in, visibility is good. After a brief verbal checkout, Bob commented that the PATROL had been rolled one time and if I wanted to I should feel free to feel out the ailerons at full travel and although the PATROL had never been looped, he felt there would be no problem. I took this to mean I was free to fly the PATROL through a basic acrobatics routine.
Bob propped the PATROL and the engine came to life on the first attempt. When the engine started I felt a slight vibration, Bob had mentioned the O360 parallel valve engine with 8.5 to 1 pistons was in fact a conical mount. This slight vibration however was no different than I see in any conical mount engine including my MORRISSEY SHINN. Taxing was normal for a tail wheel design. Steering was what one would expect with a good SCOTT tail wheel.
Bob's PATROL is fitted with his own tail wheel design. Run-up and pre-take off was normal. there was some increase in the noise..... Bob is a real stickler about keeping it light and the PATROL has no sound proofing at all. When doing the control check I was pleased to find the controls were very free with little to no friction or drag.
I lined the PATROL up on the runway and advanced the throttle rather slowly and realized right away that I had very good direction control. Take off was in about 400ft with one notch of flaps used. Performance numbers were not recorded,.. However I quickly reached 90 MPH airspeed with a good rate of climb.
After reaching 3000ft MSL, which is 1800ft AGL, I did some steep turns in both directions and found the PATROL very responsive in all axis. Control balance is good, pressures are light for an airplane of this type and very pleasant. Centering of controls is good, as are the brake out forces. Slow flight control was good; stall was soft and straight forward. About this time I remembered what Bob said about dropping the nose and waited for 130 on the airspeed, brought the nose up to about 20 degrees and applied full ailerons. The PATROL went around at about the same speed as a good DECATHLON, using moderate rudder she held direction very good. The left roll worked so I followed with a roll to the right. I did try one roll at 100mph and the PATROL did waller out as would be expected. I followed with several more aileron rolls and two Cuban-eights. The PATROL had no trouble at all holding altitude while doing the maneuvers as would a CITABRIA.
All and all, I felt the airplane did a good job. Landing and rollout was as straight forward as any tail wheel airplane could be.
Congratulations Bob you have a great little airplane.
-- Above Flight report is by Jim Clevenger of Kissimmee FL. Jim has over 11,000 hours of
flight time in a wide variety of aircraft from Cub type, Acrobatics types, race planes, to P51 mustangs. I respect Jim's opinions and experiences in the world of aviation.