Refined Bearhawk Four-Place Aircraft Offers Enhanced Performance

Bearhawk Bravo

Bearhawk Aircraft announced the unveiling of its Bearhawk Bravo. The Bravo is a refinement of the original four-place Bearhawk design that established the family of Bearhawk aircraft. The Bearhawk Bravo, referred to internally as the Model B, will be available as both a plansbuilt design and a quickbuild kit. The aircraft features best-in-class speed, STOL capability, and large payload carrying capacity. The original design and modifications are by renowned aviator, mechanic, and engineer Bob Barrows.

“For some time, Bob has wanted to incorporate into the Bearhawk certain design features of his more recent aircraft, namely the Bearhawk Patrol and Bearhawk LSA,” stated Mark Goldberg, president of Bearhawk Aircraft and manufacturer of Bearhawk quickbuild kits. Originally designed in 1994, the Bearhawk was due for enhancements following its 22-year tenure.

Most prominent among the design changes to the Bearhawk Model B is the use of a Riblett 30-413.5 airfoil, as incorporated into the two-place Bearhawk Patrol. Following his study of the airfoil, Barrows felt the Riblett would offer some advantages over the Bearhawk’s original NACA 4412 airfoil. Flight tests proved his thesis correct, with the new wings producing gains in the range of 5 to 8 mph faster. This speed increase is coupled with similar, if not better, stall speeds, yet conclusively greater stability in an induced stall.

Bearhawk Bravo

Test pilot Wayne Massey explained, “Having flown the Bearhawk many hours prior, I was at first apprehensive when I heard that modifications were to be made. I liked the way the Model A airplane flew, and I didn’t want the feel of the airplane changing. Now, having flown the Model B for several hours, I feel that the changes were worthwhile. The increase in cruise speeds makes it an even greater cross-country airplane.

“The original Bearhawk already had excellent stall characteristics, and the Model B with its Riblett airfoil enhances the stall characteristics even more. Performing full aft stick, wings-level, power-off stalls in the Model A leads to a stable leaf stall. Continuing to hold full aft stick in the stall, the nose drops just enough to recover some airspeed, then goes back into a leaf stall, again remaining very stable. On the new Model B, performing full aft stick, power-off stalls leads to a wings-level, stable full stall, and a sink rate of around 1200 fpm. While holding full aft stick in the stall, the wings remain level and the nose does not drop—the aircraft does not leaf stall.

“In a moose stall, the Bearhawk Model B now performs similarly to the Patrol. In a turn with some power on and speed diminishing, there’s a very slight buffet at around 35–40 IAS, yet the aircraft remains very stable, with no noticeable tendency to drop a wing in the opposite direction. Gentle forward pressure on the stick leads to instant, stable airspeed recovery.”

Additional changes incorporated into the Bearhawk Bravo are:

  • Use of aluminum fuselage formers, windowsills, and doorsills in place of steel formers and sills, offering weight savings and corrosion resistance.
  • Use of airfoil-shaped ribs on the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, as opposed to flat ribs, giving enhanced stability, more control authority, and a speed increase of 3 mph due to the change from 3 to 4 degrees of down deflection of the horizontal stabilizers.
  • Use of shock struts made from heavy-wall round tubing in place of streamlined tubing, providing more resistance to side-load failure while on the runway. The round tube is faired with streamlined PVC to neutralize drag.
  • Use of a round tail spring fabricated from 6150 heat-treated alloy steel bar in place of the leaf-type spring set, providing a small weight savings and better flex/spring effect in any direction. The round profile also has the potential to save the rear fuselage from damage at unpaved strips.
  • Use of the aforementioned Riblett airfoil wings, with a 1-foot longer wingspan and an additional 5 square feet of wing area.

Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high-quality quickbuild aircraft kits for the Bearhawk Bravo, two-place tandem Bearhawk Patrol, and Bearhawk LSA. Designed by engineer Bob Barrows, the Bearhawks have in common excellent performance and superb flying characteristics. Bearhawks are known for their short field capability, higher-than-expected cruise speeds, and very gentle slow-speed manners. For utility and recreational use, customers around the world fly Bearhawk aircraft.

See the new Bearhawk Bravo at AirVenture in booth #630 in the North Aircraft Display. For more information on Bearhawk Aircraft, visit www.bearhawkaircraft.com, or contact Bearhawk at info@bearhawkaircraft.com or 1-877-528-4776.

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