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 –
Also featured on Kitplanes.com:
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 –
Bearhawk – Beyond compare in Strength, Performance, & Utility. All airplanes are not created equal…
AUSTIN, TEXAS, MARCH 1, 2021 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today two first flights of Bearhawk Model B aircraft in Idaho and California. The Bearhawk Model B is a 4-Place aircraft designed by engineer Bob Barrows. Also, aircraft kits of the Bearhawk Model 5, a 6-Place design announced last May, have shipped. The first four customers of the Model 5 have received their kits and construction is underway. All Bearhawk aircraft models employ superior strength and durability in their construction. Designed to fly fast and land slow, Bearhawk aircraft are renown for their short field capabilities, gentle slow speed manners, and hauling capacity.
The Idaho-based Bearhawk Model B was completed in under one year by Brent Huddleston, a short timeframe considering he’s a first-time aircraft builder. Brent says his new Bearhawk has more performance than his previous O-470-powered Cessna 182Q. He had never flown a taildragger, but this did not deter him from comparing the Bearhawk to others in his search for a kit. In the end, according to Brent, “The Bearhawk was the fastest, had the best specs, big doors, and, by comparison, the 182 was too small for even my dog.”
Brent installed an IO-540 engine, “ported and polished to 9.5:1 compression,” on his Bearhawk. With the big 300-hp engine, Brent and his instructor say it’s very responsive, not light, and yet not heavy on the controls. Brent has his own landing strip and already appreciates the difference in climb attitude, noting that the 182 points up in climb, while the Bearhawk is still gaining speed at 1200 fpm and 3/4-throttle but “feels level.” He claims speeds of 155 mph TAS, and says he’s getting many compliments on workmanship, paint and finish.
A second Model B builder, Tim Newsome of California, flew his Bearhawk for the first time last month. The Bearhawk Model B is a “refinement” of the original 4-Place Bearhawk by Bob Barrows. Enhancements to the Model B include a longer, speedier and more stable Riblett 30-413.5 airfoil, and weight-saving aluminum fuselage formers, window sills, and door sills in place of steel. Airfoil shaped empennage surfaces improve stability, control authority, and speed. The 4-Place Bearhawk is long-established as best-in-class for its speed, STOL capability, and large payload carrying capacity.
Four Bearhawk Model 5 kits have arrived in the hands of their respective builders. Virgil Irwin took delivery of one in Oklahoma, albeit, the aircraft is ultimately destined for West Africa. “The kit has been fantastic so far,” said Virgil. He plans to have it flying by October, and meanwhile will be finishing up his A&P certificate. The Bearhawk is Virgil’s first complete build, adding, “I will have a couple of guys helping off and on.” The instrument panel will be IFR-capable and built around the Garmin G3X. Once in Africa, the aircraft will be based on a dirt runway. Virgil states there is no actual IFR in the country, however, “Niger weather in the Sahara desert requires special VFR due to dirt in the air.”
The West African destination is tied to the missionary work the aircraft will service. Hence, Virgil expects to obtain permission to operate off-airport. He noted that Niger has no general aviation and only six such aircraft are based in the country now. Thus, no avgas is available. While it can be special ordered, at an exorbitant $22/gal., the Bearhawk will need to run on auto gas. Per its mission, the aircraft will be operating heavy all the time and Virgil needed, “a big aircraft that hauls a lot.” The Bearhawk Model 5 fit the criteria. It will employ a Lycoming IO-540 engine with 8.7:1 compression and EFII (Electronic Fuel Injection and Ignition).
A second Model 5 kit was recently delivered to a customer in the Houston area. Ryan Barker of Livingston, Texas, is a commercial pilot. After flying the Bearhawk 4-Place and 6-Place models, Ryan determined the Model 5 is the best all around plane for him and his family on their grass strip. Ryan is another first-time builder and expects to work solo on the build, enlisting help when needed. He looked at other aircraft, including certified models, for his family of five. “I wanted a family truckster,” he stated. “The demo flight really validated my choice. The engine will be an angle-valve IO-540.”
Two additional Bearhawk Model 5 builders have begun construction in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Jackson, New Hampshire. The aircraft’s design was in response to a customer’s call for more cabin and more payload. It’s the only 6-seat purpose-built kit aircraft on the market, and the first in the lineup of Bearhawk aircraft to use a 300-horsepower engine. The Model 5’s fuselage is slightly wider by two inches, and longer by 14, than the original 4-Place Bearhawk. The Model 5 has considerably more interior room than Cessna’s load-carrying 185 Skywagon. Gross weight is 3,000 lb, with utility category strength at full gross. Cruise speeds of 160 mph combine with exceptional takeoff and landing performance on the Model 5.
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 large cargo areas. Avipro / Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality Quick Build kits for the Bearhawk 4-Place Model B, Bearhawk Patrol, Bearhawk Companion, and Bearhawk LSA, and new Bearhawk Model 5.
– Bearhawk –
Build a Pedal Plane, a pint-sized version of a Piper Cub that children will love to pedal around in. These plan sets include dimensioned drawings for all wood and metal parts making it easy to build, and customize. Step-by-step instructions, a detailed parts list, and a flight manual are all included.
The replica Piper Cub resembles, and can be painted like, many versions of world famous Piper models, including: J3 Cub, PA-11 Special, PA-12 Super Cruiser, Piper PA-14 Family Cruiser, PA-15/17 Vagabond, PA-16 Clipper, PA-18 Super Cub, PA-20 Pacer, O-59 and L-4, Grasshopper, L-21 Army and Air Force Liaison, NE-1 Navy Trainer, and RAF Flitfire.
Materials and parts used in the construction are commonly available at local lumber, hardware and home stores. All that is required are basic shop tools such as hand/power drill, screwdriver, sander, saw, and wrenches.
Overall dimensions: 59 inches long, 53 inch wingspan, 28 inches high. The seat is 10.5 inches wide, perfect for 2 to 8 year old pilots. The pedal plane is driven like a tricycle and steered by the control stick. Get the plans here.
Bearhawk. NOTHING… Flies as fast, that lands as short, that hauls as much weight as a Bearhawk. Two, Four and Six-Place aircraft.
SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS, FEBRUARY 11, 2021 – American Legend Aircraft Company announced today its participation with McKinney ISD High School students and local STEM project organizers to build a Legend Cub two-place airplane. Organizers state that the project represents the team’s first time building a Legend Cub. The project is currently underway at McKinney National Airport (KTKI), a short distance from the Dallas-area school, and 49 nm due west of Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport (KSLR), home of the Legend Cub.
The Legend Cub is a thoroughly modern recreational aircraft manufactured from tubular steel and covered in fabric. The design takes its cues from one of the world’s most recognized small airplanes, the Piper Cub. The Legend Cub is renown for incorporating contemporary features and construction methods. The first Legend Cub was manufactured in 2005.
The impetus for the Legend Cub student build project began when organizers of separate projects were discussing future options. One casually suggested, “Why not replace your Cub?” The Legend Cub is well-regarded among pilots whom often volunteer their time on similar projects. The lead volunteer/mentor at McKinney High School, Phil Campbell, had previously built two other aircraft under the program. Campbell’s friend Ernie Butcher, in the Houston area, had worked on an estimated 24 builds. Campbell was aware that Butcher enjoys flying his Legend Cub.
Butcher serves as president of Eagle’s Nest Project, a national organization providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education experiences in aviation. According to Campbell, “The program we have devised is not directed at luring kids into aviation. Rather, aviation is the hook to get them involved in STEM studies.” The two leaders contend it works both ways, and added that the majority of student participants do tend toward a career in aviation.
Butcher co-owns a Legend Cub that logs much of its time training new pilots; and it’s a very high-time airplane. The other owner is Bruce Bohannon, legendary racing performer also known for his many record-setting altitude and time-to-climb flights. Bohannon currently devotes much of his time training others to fly. The “replace your Cub” suggestion by Campbell mushroomed into, “This time let’s build a Cub,” by Butcher.
The Legend Cub’s reinforced tubular frame, numerous integrated components, and lightweight covering system present a hands-on approach to fabrication. Each airplane is built by teams of workers, where in a factory setting the hours add up quickly. Giving others the opportunity to build a Legend Cub, from a kit and outside a factory setting, naturally lends itself to STEM and hands-on learning. In a student environment, where classroom time stretches across weekends, semesters and summers, participants become “owners” as well as masterminds of the project.
Legend Cub Kit
Approximately 80 Legend Cubs have been completed and approved from kit form. The list includes many notable builders, even aviation celebrities. First Legend Cub kit customer was Rand Siegfried, a former Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Director, who completed the build with his teenage daughter in 2008. Another father/mother/son team, the Takacs family built their Legend Cub kit in 2014. Both builds were done in a factory-assist program and both airplanes were flown to their West Coast homes upon completion.
Others have built a Legend Cub kit in their own airport-based hangar, or in a home-based hobby room. Notable are Craig and Sandy Gainza, a husband/wife build team, and their “Pirate Cub.” Their prior building experience was an all-metal airplane, like those of earlier STEM projects. Craig noted, “It’s a Cub, but it’s really a Cub that’s been modified and improved—it’s been pirated.” Their Pirate Cub won a Bronze Lindy for craftsmanship at EAA AirVenture 2013.
Danny Clisham built his Legend Cub kit in homage to airshow performer Harold Krier. Clisham, a veteran airline pilot, a.k.a. Skytalker, spent 55 years as an airshow announcer. Shortly after touring the Legend factory, accompanied by “six trusted friends and aircraft restorers,” his dream build was completed. The “Clisham Cub” was painted to resemble the late Harold Krier’s aerobatic airplanes.
A Legend Cub kit was delivered to Brazil in 2009. The design was selected for its outward appearance to, and finished to resemble, the Piper J3 Cub. Important considerations for the buyer were the kit being derived from the factory-built Legend Cub, FAA approval, and respective bilateral agreements with Brazil aviation authorities. Moreover, the kit enables the manufacture of personalized versions of a Cub with all the buyers’ desired features and options. A kit-built Legend Cub has been flying in the UK since 2012, and several are currently operating in Australia.
Considerations for STEM students as well as builders outside the factory include customized tools required in the manufacture of aircraft. A Legend Cub kit eliminates the need for many specialized tools and fixtures. Each airframe is fully welded and sealed for corrosion protection, and the all-aluminum wings are fully riveted at the factory. Assembly of components, finish details, and installation of nuts, bolts, etc. during fabrication requires only common hand tools.
Kit builders of the Legend Cub are presented with an easy-to-follow, detailed and illustrated manual for each step of the aircraft’s assembly. The manual serves as both how-to guide and textbook.
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 pleasure 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 us on facebook.com/LegendAircraft and instagram.com/legendcub.
– Legend Cub –