Bearhawk Stories

From Rusty H in Alabama

After working with Mr. Way for about a year on his QB Bearhawk LSA. I wanted to drop you a line about the project. First I would like to say it was a pleasure working with you and your team of fine craftsmen. The kit construction was excellent with all the difficult parts done to very high standards, it required no jigs and all parts fit as per the plans.
      My subsequent flight proved that Bob Barrows designed a great flying aircraft. Performance of the aircraft is great, meeting or beating the  advertised numbers. This is a FUN airplane to fly. This 
aircraft redefines LSA. A large guy cockpit, classic looks and configuration, speed to the edge of LSA limits, great handling plus short takeoff and landing roll. A real airplane and a winner kit.


New Patrol Weight & Balance

Having recently completed my Bearhawk Patrol kit, it was time to do the final weight and balance on it. Having worked hard to keep it light, I was pleasantly surprised to have the empty weight come in at 1,061 lbs.

Someone pointed out to me that with the maximum Gross Weight of 2,000 lbs that means my Patrol can carry a payload nearly equal to its own weight. That is amazing when you think about it.

When I was doing the sample W & B figures with max. gross weight and max. aft CG, I really had to keep making the pilot and passenger heavier and heavier to get there. I finally ended up with a 275 lb. pilot, a 250 lb passenger and 100 lbs of baggage plus full tanks (300 lbs) to get close to gross weight and max aft CG.
All I can say is - "What a remarkable airplane."

Eric Newton - Long Beach, MS


Patrol Flight Reports

From Peter in Salt Lake City:

Today was one of those days that you will rarely find in aviation.  There was virtually ZERO wind during the test.  The density altitude matched the pressure altitude within 50 feet or so and the GPS and Indicated airspeed matched almost perfectly.  As you know, at around 5,300 feet density 24 inches is about all the MP you can get so here we go.

MP and RPM True Airspeed MPH per the Dynon
20/2000 133 mph
21/2100 140 mph
23/2300 146 mph
24/2400 157 mph


I have to admit that up until the time that I was comparing speeds with Andy in his C185 I never believed my indicated read outs. I do now and I find them to be pretty incredible.
Still working on getting used to the slow speeds on final. At this point it is strictly a cerebral thing to be worked out through repetition. I hasten to add that at my age, that might take a while. Got 30 hours flown off with 10 to go to get out of my bird cage. Landings are improving a lot since Bob told me that you never land the Patrol clean. Those that do will find that it wants to stay in ground effect for a long time. I find that the plane really likes three or four notches of flaps.

Best to all,

From Ben in Alaska:

I have about 60 hours logged so far on my Patrol. I was practicing the other day with about a 10 mph headwind and full fuel. I was consistently landing in 150 feet and taking off in less than 100!

My speeds are significantly slower than Peters, no doubt due to a flat pitched prop, large tires (35” AK Bushwheels), and unfaired gear and wing lift struts. However, I've found I can still cruise very economically at about 100-110 mph (and up to around 125 if I'm willing to use quite a bit more fuel).


Sky City Aerial Photography

March 8, 2012
I use my Bearhawk for taking aerial photography of the southwest. It gives me a mission to fly and it works great. I believe the Bearhawk is probably 
better suited for aerial photography than any other airplane I've flown.

The reason is because it is very stable when trimmed and can be flown 
around with slight rudder input. I can slow to 60 or so with a couple 
notches of flaps, trim, open the window, and steer around where I want 
to take photos without touching the stick. Gives both hands free. The 
stall characteristics are so benign, I don't worry about stalling. In my 
Bearhawk, rudder alone turns of course have to be made gradually, but 
you can turn enough to get the photos you are interested in. It isn't 
too windy in the cockpit with the window open, and not too cold even in 
the winter.
I've attached a photo I took of "Sky City" not too far from Albuquerque 
"Sky City" is the Acoma Indian pueblo that sits on top of a large sandstone mesa. The Acoma Indians built it on top of the mesa for protection around 1150 AD. It is the oldest, continuously inhabited community in North America. 
Anyway, I don't know how many other Bearhawk builders are using their 
Bearhawks for photos, but it works great.

David B. Albuquerque NM



Still Grinning

I had the wonderful opportunity to solo fly Mark’s newly finished Patrol today, N410BP. What a blast. I'm no test pilot and the flight was short, but I was sure left with some good impressions.

With 180hp, a constant speed prop and less than half full tanks, I was off after a very short ground run. With the nose above the horizon, I was climbing at 100mph. The VSI was inop, so I don't know the rate, but I do know things were changing fast. I leveled off at 2000 AGL and set the engine for 24" and 2400 rpm. The IAS was showing 140 mph. I didn't wait for it to accelerate to a steady speed but instead began a few steep turns to get the feel of the control forces. Then I did a little slow flying at 55 mph for comparison. Slowing up from that, the IAS dropped below 40mph before I could detect the onset of the stall. While this was all good, the best part was the landing. I found it quite easy to set up for 60 mph on short final. I must have guessed everything correctly as the flair and 3 point touchdown were almost intuitive. Most of my flying experiences are in my rv-4 (1700 hrs) and my Aeronca Champ (800 hrs). This Patrol is a perfect inbetween plane for me. Good for rough fields and fast enough to get there. I sure wish my Patrol was finished and  flying.

Ivan  #150 .......still grinning....

New Zealander Flying Testamonial

Two New Zealanders are about to fly their four place Bearhawk for the first time. One of them came to the US to get a little stick time in a Bearhawk. Here are his comments:

Very impressed with the whole Bearhawk in general. It's a stable, docile, high performing aircraft that is extremely capable. It exceeded any expectations from all the PIREPS I have read before. Your transition to the Bearhawk will be smooth I'd imagine.
I'll give you a run down from today's flying:

KALM Airport (Alamorgordo) 4199' AMSL
Wind: 160/13 gusting 17 kts
24*C (7am)!
30.10 inHg
Bearhawk N152GH

Take-off was choice. We used the cross vector 16/34 Dirt runway. If you have a look at the chart for Alamorgordo, we got airborne about 50-75 meters BEFORE it turns to into the seal runway. I guess 150 meters or so ground roll. Take-off was just full power, keep straight, and have slight back pressure on the stick. The Bearhawk just flies on its own. I tried the normal technique too, which was easier to control in the windier conditions. With power on the Bearhawk was easy to keep straight.

Climb out was good at around 80-90kts, seeing 1000 fpm climb at 7,500' DA and over 2000lbs T/O weight. We flew this crazy spiral-climb that Georg had been shown. The Bearhawk's configured like this, 25* flaps, full power, 30 degree bank, nose attitude 10 or so degrees, climbing at least 600 fpm at 38 KIAS! It was unbelievable man. The Bearhawk just hung in there! I had to be reasonably aggressive on the stick to get a stall out of it - more on that soon. Turns have great visibility without a skylight, so with a skylight will be even better.

Stalls are a complete non-event. For a basic stall, there was no violent buffet, just a smooth transition to the stall phase with the usual Cessna-esk nose drop letting you know you stalled. We did another basic stall and held the elevator full back - the Bearhawk just started descending. Tomorrow we're guna try chuck a bit of aileron in the mix and see how that goes, but "stable" is the word to use. Flap and power-on stalls were the same thing. The nose drop was more pronounced as you would expect. There was a very slight wing drop, which you could actually pick up with aileron! But release stick pressure and she's up and going again, it flies itself out of the stall.

Now the spiral climb thing... this was impressive, seriously. Remember what you get taught about climbing turns as a PPL and "what not to do", we did it - and the Bearhawk kept climbing! A steady 38kts and climbing with 25 flaps on. You really had to be quite aggressive to get it to a stalled state. But when ya did, you just ease the back pressure slightly and she kept right on climbing.

Engine leaning was a good exercise. The modern instruments are very useful. It was very easy to lean and it means a better running engine, so good news all round. LOP at 8500' got 8.8 GPH out of it with CHT close to 300*F, perfect. Managing the mixture control in the descent needs to be stressed when running lean. Every 500-1000' it needs to be wound in a few turns.

Circuits were good. We used about 20inHg at 2700rpm giving us around 90kts downwind. Reducing power mid-late downwind to around 10inHg and that's good for an approach to start with. I went 2 notches of flap off the bat, and added the 3rd on short final, never needed the 4th. We crossed the threshold at 60-65kts for wheels, 55-60kts for 3 point landings. Touchdown was slower.
As mentioned earlier, it is easier to handle the rollout with airspeed and/or power thus the wheeler landing was nicer and easier for me. The 3 point required a bit more foot work once you slowed down (what tailwheel doesn't?). It's just when there is no power you just have to be active on the pedals once you're below 35kts or so. Transitioning from rudder to brakes smoothly and not being excessive on the brakes helped to give a smooth ride. It's not hard at all - it's just something to think about.

Baulked landings and go-arounds were sweet as. Georg has installed electric trim and this was slightly slow to respond on the go-around... The flap retraction at low speeds is quite necessary because the flaps do require a bit of force to operate at higher speeds. Something to get used to.

Taxiing in the wind was interesting. Lot of brake work required but not impossibly hard - again welcome to taildraggers. We had to do the whole 270 left turn to go right cause of the strong winds. Similar to the Citabria.

All and all, it is no doubt an impressive aeroplane. We have built the right aircraft and it will suit our purposes well. I am very excited for the next few months ahead. I will add though as caution, since this aircraft is so forgiving it will be easy as to be complacent and lazy, especially if we end up flying other aircraft. All manageable risk, but we will need to be careful that we don't get too comfortable and push on beyond our own limitations. But if we do find ourselves in a situation where our personal limitations are at the limit - this aircraft is the best to deal with it.

Otherwise mate, the Bearhawk is mint.