Backcountry specialist Bearhawk Aircraft introduced a flying prototype of the Model 5 six-seat tube-and-fabric short-takeoff-and-landing taildragger that is powered by a spec-built 300-horsepower Lycoming IO-580 engine.
The kit- or plans-built Model 5 is 24 inches longer and slightly wider than the Bearhawk 4-Place but shares the same Riblett airfoil and 186-square-foot wing surface area.
The cabin is 14 inches longer than the four-place high-wing model. The added space can be used for extra cargo or two additional seats. Bearhawk said the Model 5 “has considerably more interior room” than a Cessna 185 Skywagon, which is a much-loved aerial pickup truck also certified for six occupants.
The Model 5 prototype made its maiden flight on May 3 and has flown more than five hours in testing. Test pilot Rollie van Dorn said the Model 5 exhibited “excellent flight characteristics” during those initial flights. Takeoff performance was between 220 feet and 300 feet, and landings were intentionally kept short “to under 650 ft as the wet, muddy runway” caused van Dorn to utilize only half of the landing strip’s 1,350-foot length. He said the airplane “offered no surprises on takeoff or climb out” but with the big engine, “things happen quickly.” The company said power-on stall speed tests were recorded at “less than 40 mph.”
Cruise speeds nearing 160 mph are expected and “156 mph [true air speed] at 3,500-ft and 24-squared, or 72-percent power, was seen during tests,” the company noted. Fuel flow of 14.5 to 15 gallons per hour were anticipated during lean-of-peak operations equating to speeds “of around 145-150 mph.” The company expected additional testing would confirm the airplane’s projected 3,000-pound gross weight.
The smallest engine available to power the Model 5 is a six-cylinder 250/260-hp Lycoming O-540, but the aircraft has the ability to use the “heavier angle-valve cylinder Lycoming O-540 and IO-580 of 300 and 315 hp respectively.”
In addition to the quick-build 4-Place ($47,000), the Bearhawk lineup also includes the two-place side-by-side Companion ($45,750), tandem-seat Patrol ($44,750), and LSA ($38,500) models. Pricing for the Model 5 was not announced.