AUSTIN, TEXAS, APRIL 9, 2021 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today the successful operations of a Bearhawk 4-Place aircraft on wheels, floats and skis. The Bearhawk is a rugged design built originally for heavy hauling and bulky loads. As a “triphibious” airplane, the Bearhawk 4-Place performs equally well on wheels, floats and skis apropos of the season.
Owner/operator/builder of the kit-built Bearhawk, Robert Taylor is based in Kenai, Alaska, a coastal city southwest of Anchorage on the mouth of the Kenai River. Having access to shorelines, waterways and often-frozen tundra, Taylor accentuates his flying preferences with the turf, water and snow options of his triphibious Bearhawk aircraft. “My son and I built the aircraft together. The idea from the start was to put it on floats. I fly year-round here in Alaska. I am on skis now, but it’s time to swap to wheels. In June, the airplane will go to a nearby lake and be on floats again,” Taylor commented.
Taylor’s triphibious Bearhawk is powered by a carbureted Lycoming O-540-E4B5, 6-cylinder engine. (For comparison, this is the same big-bore block typically found on Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six and Britten Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft.) Taylor is an A&P mechanic and former inspector. Since completing his Bearhawk in August of 2017, he’s accumulated over 400 hours flight time in it.
On wheels, the aircraft is powerful and responsive, according to Taylor, with the 260-hp Lycoming O-540 up front. He indicated, “The flight controls are very responsive and can be flown with two fingers. Stalls are very predictable with no tendency to drop one wing. The 6-cylinder Lycoming has all the power you could ever need, which makes it a safe airplane to fly.” Taylor affirms having seen speeds of up to 160 mph IAS in the aircraft and claims landing speeds of 52 mph, both while on wheels. “The ability to fly fast and also fly slow makes the aircraft very versatile. At a power setting of 22 x 22 [2,200 rpm x 22 inches MP], the Bearhawk economically cruises at around 130 mph burning 11–12 gph.”
Building the Bearhawk as floatplane for operation on the Kenai Peninsula equates to placing it in its natural habitat. Landing locations are abundant. “It has proven to be a very nice, straight forward floatplane,” Taylor stated. The installation of Edo 2870 floats (now serviced and supported by Kenmore Air of Kenmore, Washington) required minimal modification. The model 2870 was originally certified for use on Cessna 180/185 Skywagons. Adding floats slows down the aircraft by 15 mph in cruise, due to increased drag, according to Taylor. A ventral fin (a single strake / tail fin beneath the empennage) was also installed. This enhances directional stability when flying at higher angles of attack. Taylor claims takeoff time from idle to separation is approximately six seconds at sea level. An allowed gross weight of 2,700 lb on floats makes the aircraft “truly useful,” he contends. Water operations thrive on agility, and that’s where a Bearhawk floatplane excels. Taylor added, “The double cargo doors really shine when loading or unloading cargo on floats. Forward visibility is exceptional on the float-equipped Bearhawk.”
On skis, Taylor notes, the cruise speed of the Bearhawk 4-Place is slightly faster than on wheels due to reduced drag. “The extra power comes in very useful on skis in deep powder snow, and especially on floats.” As winter conditions dictate, Taylor’s Bearhawk gets fitted with M3000 main skis (all metal wheel replacements from Aero Ski of Brooten, Minnesota) and a T3000 tail ski (an all-aluminum wheel-penetration ski for the Scott 3200 tailwheel). When flying frozen tundra, “This combination gives a very useful ski plane. Handling characteristics are similar to flying on wheels,” he added.
“As a pilot, I find the Bearhawk meets all my needs. As a licensed aircraft mechanic, I have had experience with just about all the classic general aviation light aircraft. With this in mind, I find the quality of materials and workmanship of the 4-Place Bearhawk compare favorably with any certified category aircraft I have worked on,” Taylor asserted.
New Zealand STOL Winner Trifecta for Bearhawk
For the third year in a row, Bearhawk pilot Jonathan Battson wins the annual Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Champs STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) competition. The event is held in Blenheim, New Zealand, home to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center—a “living” museum commemorating the two World Wars (www.omaka.org.nz). The main objective in the STOL component of the competition is to get airborne in the shortest distance, and then touch down safely bringing the aircraft to a stop also in the shortest distance. Battson took top spot in the Heavy Touring Category (>2,550 lb) in his Bearhawk 4-Place aircraft. As has become customary for Battson in the Bearhawk, his winning score was by a wide margin. Battson completed the trifecta of wins in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Whether flying for sport and recreation, to make the best use of one’s time, or out of basic necessity, there is no equal to the Bearhawk. A triphibious Bearhawk with its array of landing options, carrying capacity and superior strength is prepared, all around, to ensure each challenge is met with reliability and strength. The combination of wheel, ski and float options on the Bearhawk, along with three successive competition victories, exemplify trifectas of achievement—that involving three successful outcomes.
Bearhawk aircraft are available in kit or plan form. Models range from 2-, 4- and 6-Place configurations. All Bearhawk aircraft excel at accessing remote airstrips and are renown for their rugged construction and carrying capacity. Avipro / Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality Quick Build kits for the Bearhawk 4-Place Model B, Bearhawk Patrol, Bearhawk Companion, and Bearhawk LSA, and Bearhawk Model 5.
For more information on Bearhawk Aircraft, visit www.bearhawkaircraft.com, or contact Bearhawk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-528-4776.
– Bearhawk –