Bearhawk Designer Bob Barrows Injured in Landing Crash

Image: Steve Craddock / WBTV News

Bob Barrows, who designed the Bearhawk line of Experimental aircraft, suffered a landing accident on approach to Holly Ridge/Topsail Island Airport (N21) on Monday. According to reports, Barrows clipped power lines on approach and the Bearhawk LSA impacted the turf runway in a strongly nose-down attitude. Continue reading "Bearhawk Designer Bob Barrows Injured in Landing Crash"

BIG: Mojave Experimental Fly-In 2019

A clean, rounded cowling and Catto 3-blade fixed-pitch mark the Dendy Tailwind. Power comes from an otherwise stock O-320 Lycoming with 9.0:1 pistons. Dendry reports a 180 mph cruise at a busy 2740 rpm and 8 gph.

If the Mojave Experimental Fly-In had a theme in 2019 it turned out to be "big."

The planned part of big was Mike Patey arriving in Draco, the over-the-top Wilga on Pratt & Whitney turbine steroids. Certainly the hero-class leader of back country STOL experimentals, "Draco" features PT-6 power and a showy, high-gloss and feature-packed persona to wow 'em out west. His low, slow and high-angle demonstration certainly didn't go unnoticed when Draco arrived mid-morning. Continue reading "BIG: Mojave Experimental Fly-In 2019"

Indoor Aviating at Mojave

Karl Schultz tries to believe his dad, Scott's, admonition that his Build & Fly glider really will be more fun if they replace the vertical tail. Karl wasn't having any interruptions, however, even if dad works at Virgin Galaxtic.

It's taken seven years for us to attend the Friday night glider build and free-flight soaring competition at the Mojave Experimental Fly-In, but this was finally our year, and it was good, low key fun. We didn't build anything last Friday night, but enjoyed catching up with friends, ate a little pizza and watched the youngsters--and some old guys--have some fun playing with balsa wood.

There was plenty of food, fun and room at Mojave's Stuart O. Witt Event Center for the Build & Fly competition.

It wasn't like it cost anything; walking in the door the all-you-can-eat pizza was $5 and entering the Build & Fly contest was $20 ($15 pre-registered), which included a model kit. Super easy and inexpensive.

All told the evening is somewhere between a fun time with the kids--and the young engineers at the cutting edge aviation companies habiting the Mojave airport all seem to have plenty of young 'uns for occasions such as this--and a chance for the local model building club to strut their stuff. The general idea is competitors choose one of three simple balsa kits to build, then fly against the clock for maximum duration.

Bill Watson schooled everyone with a 42-second free-flight. He modified his kit for maximum stability, thus allowing just the correct amount of right turning input and maximum rubber band winding to keep his glider out of the ceiling.

The free-flight event is held in a large auditorium at the Mojave Air & Space Port, so the air is calm--a definite rarity in Mojave unless you are indoors--and the technical challenges are bracketed by winding the rubber band hard enough for maximum duration, but not so much the plane over-exerts itself right into the ceiling.

Competitors had their choice of three model designs to work with. Having Brubaker Models etch in the event name and year was a classy touch.

Naturally the little tykes were pleased to be able to throw something, anything, while the oldsters were able to summon impressive displays of skill. Somehow capturing just the right amount of power and the coveted stable, spiraling flight netted Bill Watson an amazing 42 second flight and all the marbles in the top Masters class. Heck, our Starduster doesn't go much farther on 44 gallons of low-lead.

Seeing so much positive family time and youth in aviation was a great experience.

If you're flying in from out of town for the main Mojave Experimental Fly-In the following day the Build & Fly is an excellent way to miss the Saturday morning rush and meet all sorts of cutting-edge aerospace engineers the night before. That, and you might as well build an airplane while you're there.

Beth Stanton, aviation scribe to the stars, and Andrew Angellotti of Spingarage fame--think air data boom--share a moment while the gliders were flying.

An Aviating Day

Aviating over the Sierras

It's been an odd winter for our area - lots of low cloud days and precipitation here in the Lake Tahoe region - and that has limited the fun flying ever since November. But today was a Saturday that dawned calm and clear... and there were missions to be flown! Instead of setting up to fly the jet, I took off at the crack of dawn in our RV-3, headed south to rendezvous with my wife in Bishop, California for breakfast. She has ben spending the week there doing some cycling training with an old teammate of hers form their glory days with USA Cycling, and I thought I'd drop in to see how they were doing - and have breakfast at the marvelous Schat's Bakery, familiar to any Californian who has traveled the eastern Sierra. Continue reading "An Aviating Day"