Bearhawk Aircraft of Texas announced Dec. 29 that a pair of first flights were made in November, marking the first customer completions of the company’s quick-build light sport aircraft kits. The owner-pilots both reported smooth maiden flights, and impressive handling.
Bruce McElhoe of Reedley, California, was the first customer to complete a Bearhawk LSA kit, choosing a low-time Continental C90 for his powerplant and a "California Blue" color scheme for the two-seater. He opted to cover the fuselage and control surfaces with the Poly-Fiber system that “came out smooth and shiny” after diligently following the instructions. McElhoe, in a company news release, said he was pleased with the appearance of the finished airplane, and pleased also with the handling characteristics and performance.
A few steep turns and stalls at altitude confirmed the low-speed handling of the Bearhawk LSA design, with stalls described by McElhoe as “docile at 30 mph with no surprises. The airplane glides much farther than I expected, so I had to slip on the approach, again well behaved.”
Equally pleased to be flying his newly built Bearhawk is Alabama pilot Bob Way, who chose to finish his Bearhawk in red with white stripes, and made his first flight during Thanksgiving week.
Way reported reaching 116 mph at 2,700 rpm and 24 inches manifold pressure at 4,500 feet, figuring that to be 75 percent power.
“Climb is great and the airplane is very easy to handle for takeoff, maneuvering and landing,” Way reported. “I flew for about 45 minutes and explored the slow flight regime in preparation for landing. Handling when slow is benign and very normal. The airplane glides very well, so if you are building one it would be wise to brush up on slips.”
Bearhawk Aircraft showed off the LSA kit at EAA AirVenture in 2014, and also makes other versions including a four-place model. The LSA kit is priced at $30,000, or $36,000 for the quick-build version which requires no welding, and is the kit McElhoe completed three-and-a-half years after delivery.