Bearhawk Beyond Compare… in Utility, STOL and Strength.
Capable Homebuilt Performer STOL
Read the AOPA Pilot magazine article by David Tullis, November 2021.
AirVenture Momentum Pushes Bearhawk Kit Backlog Beyond 2022
AUSTIN, TEXAS, SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today the company is ramping up production at its manufacturing facility to meet increased demand for Bearhawk quick-build kits. The company offers a high quality kit of parts and assemblies used for the construction of Bearhawk two, four, and six-place amateur built aircraft. At present, five models are available in both plan and kit form, including the original Bearhawk 4-Place, two-seat Patrol, Companion and LSA, and the newest Model 5 with seating for up to six. Kit production takes place at a company owned facility in Atlixco, Mexico.
Bearhawk Aircraft participated in this year’s EAA AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Exhibiting in the experimental aircraft area were Mark Goldberg, manufacturer of Bearhawk kits, and numerous members of the Bearhawk community, plus aircraft on display including the Model 5, its largest that can accommodate engines up to 315 horsepower.
According to Goldberg, “Oshkosh 2021 was very busy for us. The crowd was undoubtedly attracted to the Model 5 sitting on 31-inch Alaskan Bushwheels at the front of our booth. We had ton of interest in all our models, and the most sales ever at the show this year.”
Two informative events held during and post-show AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 were presentations given by Goldberg relating the backstory of Bearhawk Aircraft and describing the various models that have evolved from his collaborations with Bob Barrows, designer/engineer of the rugged line of Bearhawk aircraft. The first was a “Homebuilts in Review” session, held mid-week during AirVenture and hosted by Joe Waltz of EAA’s elite Homebuilt Aircraft Council. The presentation featured the Bearhawk Model 5 in situ and an interview with Goldberg. Waltz gave an informative interview drawing upon his experience as advisor, builder, and careers as both Air Force and airline pilot. The ‘Bearhawk Aircraft Presentation at Oshkosh 2021’ can be seen here: https://youtu.be/hmOAEQkyZlw.
The second presentation was EAA’s weekly webinar series held on September 8, 2021. In the program, Mark Goldberg discussed the current five aircraft offerings, responding to listener and moderator questions. The two Bearhawk presentations offer a glance at what makes the aircraft so appealing to pilots and builders. Sturdily built, Bearhawk aircraft deliver a broad performance envelope that optimizes both speed and short-field operations. In addition, their unique load carrying abilities make them suitable for both cross-country and backcountry travel. The archived webinar can be seen here: https://www.eaa.org/videos/6271502678001.
Goldberg has been involved with Bearhawk for more than 20 years. He built his first Bearhawk, a 4-Place model, at the launch of the kit manufacturing business. Previously he was flying a RV-8 he had built, but felt the need for an aircraft he could fly more safely into unpaved strips. Goldberg attributes first becoming aware of the Bearhawk design to a Sport Aviation magazine article from 1995, at which time the only aircraft examples flying had been built from plans—a time-intensive process. Today, Bearhawk quick-build kits can be completed in around 1,000 hours, as evidenced by the 120+ currently flying.
Visitors at AirVenture often ask, “Why is the Bearhawk better?” The cool and casual response from Goldberg, and Barrows, often starts with a modest description of the Bearhawk’s technical prowess. For starters, Bearhawk wings form a constant airfoil with aluminum skin and flush rivets; a smooth surface translates to aerodynamic efficiency. This contrasts with fabric covered surfaces that form scallops between structural members.
Barrows worked with Harry Riblett on the design of the self-named, 10-percent thicker (roughly one-inch taller) airfoil now used on all Bearhawk aircraft. The product of their efforts was an optimized wing with 1–2 knot slower stall speeds and up to 5 mph gain in cruise speed. Also remarkable is that each Bearhawk model is designed to Utility category strength at full gross weight. Barrows places this, along with weight savings, at the top of his design criteria. More highlights are revealed in a 17+ minute YouTube interview, ‘Bearhawk – Bob Barrows’ Approach to Airplane Design.’
Bearhawk Model 5
The Bearhawk Model 5, fifth in the series, retains the classic styling of previous Bearhawks. It is a familiar high-wing design, a product of the ages and time-tested. As a conventional gear aircraft, it performs safely and predictably, especially on unimproved strips. The most notable change from the 4-Place is that the Model 5 is bigger, seating up to six. The two Bearhawks might be compared to the Cessna 180, a 4-place aircraft, and the larger Cessna 185. However, the Bearhawk is lighter and stronger, and can haul more with easy access through its large cargo door. The YouTube video, ‘A Walk Around the New Bearhawk Five with Builder Collin Campbell,’ provides more detail.
As previously noted, Goldberg started his first Bearhawk with the idea that he would manufacture quick-build kits so others could save time in completing their aircraft. He understood a few key points before launching his project. First, good tooling makes parts repetitive and interchangeable. With regards to welding, a stable fixture ensures an accurately manufactured frame—the component on which all other parts rely. Each Bearhawk frame is MIG-weld tacked, then inspected for gaps per specification. Final welds are done using oxygen acetylene (gas), a method preferred by Bob as historical, still flying airframes were done this way. Thinner material, such as on tail surfaces, is TIG welded. More on this and other manufacturing techniques can be learned in a YouTube video titled, ‘Bearhawk Factory – How We Make the Kits.’
Other things learned in the presentations and videos about the Bearhawk that contribute to its popularity include airfoil shaped tail surfaces adding 20-percent performance increases with their greater surface area on horizontal and vertical stabilizers. The larger 4-Place and Model 5 Bearhawks approach at between 55–70 mph with their large 9’-2” long flaps. Touchdown is 40 mph in ground effect, equating to 43–44 mph stall in air. The 2,000-lb gross Patrol is so stable that reaching aft CG (center of gravity) condition is nearly impossible. Empty, it weights 1,100–1,230 lb. The Patrol touches down at 35 mph, cruises at 150–155 mph with a constant speed propeller, and at 140–145 mph with fixed pitch. Compared to a 90-mph Super Cub, however, the Patrol will get in and out of all the same places. Finally, check out how loading and hauling is accomplished with a Bearhawk. The YouTube video ‘Bearhawk – the pickup truck’ is a 30-seconds time-lapse showing the transfer of a loaded 4-Place Bearhawk to the bed of a pickup truck.
All Bearhawk models appeal to backcountry and cross-country flyers alike, and can perform a variety of flying activities. The 4-Place Bearhawk fills a utility and transport role extremely well with its large cabin. The Bearhawk Patrol is a tandem two-place version that excels at accessing remote airstrips. The Bearhawk Companion is a side-by-side 2-place model with superior strength and payload capability. The Bearhawk LSA is a lightweight design that meets U.S. Sport Pilot requirements. The new Model 5 seats six and is powered by up to 315-hp engines. Each aircraft excels at stable slow flight and attains higher than expected cruise speeds. Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality quick-build kits for all models.
For more information on Bearhawk Aircraft, visit www.bearhawkaircraft.com, or contact Bearhawk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-528-4776.
– Bearhawk –
Complete listing of videos and links mentioned above:
Homebuilts in Review, a live presentation hosted by Joe Waltz of 500AGL, https://youtu.be/hmOAEQkyZlw
EAA Webinar – Bearhawk Aircraft, presented September 8, 2021, https://www.eaa.org/videos/6271502678001
Sport Aviation magazine, October 1995, Flight Report: The Barrows Bearhawk, Utility in a Home-Rolled Package by Budd Davisson, 1995_10_08_Sport Aviation.pdf
Bearhawk – Bob Barrows’ Approach to Airplane Design, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4wid84CGZk
A Walk Around the New Bearhawk Five with Builder Collin Campbell, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k29_JrCACpY&t=1204s
Bearhawk Factory – How We Make the Kits, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2oe2ZF61t8
Bearhawk – the pickup truck, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rgnbjviNhg
Please click on YouTube’s thumbs up and share buttons and comment as appropriate. The Bearhawk community is grateful to all who participate.
Bearhawk – Beyond compare in Strength, Performance, & Safety
For the third year in a row, Bearhawk pilot Jonathan Battson won 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 Centre — a “living” museum commemorating the two World Wars. 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.
SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS, JUNE 23, 2021 – American Legend Aircraft Company announced today successive deliveries of MOAC, LSA, and Legend Cub Kit aircraft, and a restored Super Cub. A recent visit to a National STOL Series event saw Legend Cubs take the top four positions in a single category.
The Texas-based manufacturer has been in operation since 2005, earning its reputation as the preeminent builder of the classic high-wing, tandem seater. The array of offerings at Legend today highlights the best practices of Cub construction. According to Darin Hart, company president, “Sales have boomed since September 2020.” Here’s a sampling of what has been produced.
MOAC / Super Legend XP
MOAC, the Mother Of All Cubs and a Legend original, is an experimental certified Legend Cub with a gross weight of 2,000 lb plus the ability to accommodate three persons. Recent MOAC builder/customers include Brian Steck of Mineola, Texas. Steck flies often for business in a pressurized Piper turbine, but for fun he chose MOAC. Its seats tell the story with “Scooter” embroidered on the front position and “Along for the Ride” at the aft place. Steck spent hours at American Legend Aircraft Company hands-on in the construction of his customized MOAC. It first flew in March 2020.
Greg Kirk of Livingston, Texas, was doing some training during the Steck build. In July his Super Legend XP, duly scribed on the cowl, along with MOAC on its wingtip, departed KSLR with an electronic triggered Continental IOX-370 195-hp fuel injected engine.
Also in the recent release lineup of Super Legend customers was repeat owner Greg Rodriguez of Franklin, Louisiana. Rodriquez’ new AL18, with its carbureted Continental OX-370 engine, was coincidentally inspector Mel Asberry’s 1,000th aircraft certification occurring in December 2020. Rodriguez previously flew an AL3 on floats. His flying companion in Louisiana took delivery of a new Legend FloatCub, on PK straight floats, in April 2021.
A Sun ’n Fun 2021 delivery, Mike Lemons of Conway, Arkansas received “The Punisher,” his black/orange/silver tricked out MOAC. It’s tempered by a screaming fuel-injected Titan IOX-370 engine beneath the searing circle/star/skull emblem on its cowl.
Bill Wirth of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, took delivery of his dream Super Legend with its go-fast checkered rudder in May 2021. Wirth first inquired about doing a demo flight at Oshkosh in 2018. His brand new Legend features slats, Shock Monster struts, tundra tires, and a Titan OX-340 engine.
Legend Cub S-LSA
The S-LSA Legend Cub is ASTM certified at 1,320-lb gross weight. It’s the paradigm of the popular Legend fleet and has been in production since 2005. The aforementioned Legend FloatCub is also an ASTM certified S-LSA with a 1,430-lb gross weight allowance.
With pre-owned Legend Cubs in high demand these days, the factory has three of its AL3 versions scheduled for delivery this year, one of which is headed to Australia shortly. In addition, the first-built Tweety is back, having been completely restored with a few updates.
Legend Cub Kit
While MOAC is a builder-assist aircraft produced at the factory to satisfy higher gross weight certification, kit versions of the AL3, AL11 and AL18 models, on the other hand, are shipped for assembly outside the factory.
Jim Clements of Cresson, Texas is building an AL11, while Sheldon Stewart of Godley, Texas is completing an AL18 kit. Tooth puller Dr. Bob Erickson of Bangor, Maine is 12-plus months into his project, “The Extractor.” It will feature dual Dynon SkyViews. Meanwhile, a student-built Legend Cub STEM project is well underway in McKinney, Texas.
Kit-built Legend Cubs are completed by their builders then certified under the FAA 51-percent rule for amateur-built aircraft. Construction is straightforward and well-documented. A Legend Cub kit eliminates the need for specialized tools and fixtures. Each airframe is fully welded and sealed from corrosion, and the all-aluminum wings are fully riveted at the factory. Assembly is all that’s required of the nuts, bolts, cables, pulleys, fuel lines, fittings, etc.
Every Cub has a story. What makes this one remarkable are its two new owner/caretakers who operate other aircraft for a multitude of reasons, yet fly this one solely for the fun of it. Celebrating this Super Cub restoration only begins with its paint scheme. Extra equipment on board reveals a covetous pick list of STCs and so-called Alaska mods: Power-saving and brighter LED lighting; Shock absorbing polymer suspension by AOSS with safety cables and giant tundra tires; Dual cargo doors for stowage both behind the rear seat and in the turtle deck; An advanced panel just in case your eyes wander inside the windscreen.
Lastly, and firstly, at the national SwampSTOL competition held in Louisiana recently, Legend Cubs took first, second, third and fourth places in the Bush Experimental Class while a fifth Legend pilot also placed third in the Light Sport Class. For details visit nationalstol.com.
The Legend Refined
American Legend Aircraft Company continues to be one of the most successful manufacturers of personal aircraft, and is renown for its exceptional product support. The Legend Cub is sensibly modern, a joy to fly, and built-to-last.
For further information on the Legend Cub, contact American Legend Aircraft Company at 1810 Piper Lane, Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482; call 903-885-7000, or log on to www.legend.aero. Follow on facebook @LegendAircraft and Instagram @legendcub.
– Legend Cub –
Additional Super Legend XP / MOAC aircraft you may have seen:
Mike Taylor is a veteran design engineer, mechanic, builder and marketing consultant who writes occasionally about extraordinary planes. Mike has spent 30+ years visiting aircraft facilities around the world exploring the fascination of flight.
AUSTIN, TEXAS, MAY 17, 2021 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today the first flight of a Bearhawk Companion, side-by-side two-place aircraft. The Companion is a utility aircraft with backcountry flying characteristics. It derived from the tandem seating Bearhawk Patrol wings and the Bearhawk 4-Place Model B fuselage.
Design goal cruise speed of 145 mph (126 knots indicated) has been met, as well as payload target of 1,070 lb. The first flight of a Bearhawk Companion was performed by the aircraft’s builder Dave Lenart of Bethel, Vermont. Dave completed the build from a manufactured kit. An experienced builder and mechanic, Dave has built two prior Bearhawk aircraft including 4-Place and LSA models. He is currently assembling a Patrol.
Working closely with Bob Barrows, creator of the Bearhawk lineup, Dave incorporated a 180-hp Lycoming O-360 engine built by Bob into the first flying Companion. The aircraft features completely flush-riveted aluminum wings, a super strong steel tube fuselage, and an airfoil shaped empennage. The two-place Companion handles and performs much like the narrower Patrol. A slightly shorter fuselage makes it sportier than the “SUV/pickup” styled Bearhawk 4-Place.
The build was completed in 10 months and an estimated 1,000 hours—a short timeframe by most kit-built aircraft standards. The first Companion has accumulated 12 hours thus far in flight tests at held Lebanon Municipal Airport (KLEB), also confirming center of gravity loading.
According to Dave, “The shorter nose of the Companion makes taxi visibility very good. With full fuel of 55 gallons, the aircraft has proven very stable.” He noted that clean stall is at 42 knots indicated, and 38 knots with full flaps. The aircraft was engineered by Bob with STOL characteristics in mind. A Riblett airfoil gives the aircraft uncharacteristically higher cruise speeds than other aircraft of its class.
Commenting on the kit, “I see excellent quality welding, fit and finish of the tubular steel frame. Wings were delivered at an advanced stage of completion. Tanks were installed, wings were drilled with proper dihedral and angle of incidence. The wing struts were finished. Its tail surfaces were balanced.” Dave added, “The skylight formers and other improvements are nice updates to the older kits.” He estimated a savings of 100 hours or more from his earlier projects.
Buyers were clamoring for a side-by-side, two-place Bearhawk and the Companion delivered. The result is a very rugged utility plane with a large area for cargo. The model was introduced in August 2019, with first kit deliveries in January of 2020. Dave’s Companion came in at 1,130-lb empty weight and 2,200-lb gross. It spins a Catto 76×62 two-blade, composite cruise propeller.
Bearhawk Owners Gather in New Zealand
The other down under is an untamed wilderness comprising the South and North islands of New Zealand. Together they outsize Great Britain. However, just over 5,000 aircraft are registered in New Zealand, while Great Britain is the fourth-largest aerospace producer in the world and lists about 27,000 aircraft operating in country. Nevertheless, the Bearhawk has come to roost in the southern hemisphere.
The first ever Bearhawk gathering took place in New Zealand the last weekend in April 2021. In attendance were two 4-Place Bearhawk aircraft, a Patrol, and an LSA. “Participants included other wannabes [not to be confused with wallabies] and guys still building,” according to Bearhawk.
Graeme Prankerd, of Stratford, owns PBH, the only Bearhawk Patrol flying in New Zealand. Jonathan Battson of Christchurch and father/son team Murray and Dave Patterson, also of South Island, fly 4-Place Bearhawks NJB and FHR, respectively. Not in the photos was Nic Roberts of Hawkes Bay, his Bearhawk LSA is presently the lone example of this model in New Zealand. Simon Nicholson expects to have his 4-Place completed by Christmas 2021. While the seasons may be different down under, the holiday still falls in the late December timeframe.
All Bearhawk models appeal to backcountry and cross-country flyers alike, and can perform a variety of flying activities. The 4-Place Bearhawk fills a utility and transport role extremely well with its large cabin. The Bearhawk Patrol is a tandem two-place version that excels at accessing remote airstrips. The Bearhawk LSA is a lightweight design that meets U.S. Sport Pilot requirements. The Bearhawk Companion is a side-by-side 2-place model with superior strength and payload capability. Each aircraft excels at stable slow flight and attains higher than expected cruise speeds. Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality quick-build kits for all models.
– Bearhawk –
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