AUSTIN, TEXAS, FEBRUARY 12, 2019 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today a customer built, and flown, Bearhawk 4-Place aircraft took top honors in the premier New Zealand STOL competition. Jonathan Battson, in his Bearhawk NJB, outperformed all entrants with a combined score of 229 feet (74.1 meters), landing plus takeoff.
Battson’s Bearhawk competed in the Heavy Touring Category (greater than 2550 lb.) at the 2019 STOL competition. The event’s official title is the “Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships” and is held annually at Omaka Airfield, Blenheim, in New Zealand across the Cook Straight from Wellington. This seventh annual competition, run by the Marlborough Aero Club (www.marlboroughaeroclub.co.nz), was held on Saturday, February 2nd.
Battson built his Bearhawk from a quick-build kit in 2013. It is powered by a 260-horsepower Lycoming IO-540 with a Hartzell Trailblazer propeller. The Bearhawk won this year’s competition by about a 43-foot margin. “This is our fourth season at the contest, and we’ve worked hard to get the best out of the pilot and plane,” said Battson. The trophy has been in his field of vision for some time. In 2014, Battson took 3rd place at Omaka. STOL modifications to NJB include 31-inch Alaskan Bushwheels, vortex generators by Stolspeed, and Hoerner wingtips.
Worldwide, similar STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) competitions pit specialized aircraft head-to-head. STOL aircraft are designed uniquely for backcountry flying where landing on unimproved strips, and in often difficult conditions, requires short takeoff and landing capabilities. Pilot skill also plays a major role in operating these aircraft in such environments.
Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality quick-build aircraft kits for the Bearhawk 4-Place, and two-place tandem Bearhawk Patrol and Bearhawk LSA. Designed by engineer Bob Barrows, the Bearhawks have in common excellent performance and superb flying characteristics. Bearhawks are known for their short field capability, higher than expected cruise speeds, and very gentle slow speed manners. For utility and recreational use, customers around the world fly Bearhawk aircraft.