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How many planes have you built? Was the Bearhawk line of aircraft your first build?

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  • How many planes have you built? Was the Bearhawk line of aircraft your first build?

    I'm curious to know how many builders here have other building experience. Please list what you've built and whether from plans, kits, etc.

    My followup question is:

    Knowing what you know now, would you have built something else first, not from a performance aspect but from a construction or learning point of view.
    Yes, a Bearhawk aircraft was my first build and it was in kit form.
    Yes, a Bearhawk aircraft was my first build and I built from scratch.
    No, I have built other planes from kits, scratch or both.

  • #2
    First time builder here. If you want to learn, go to a weekend workshop and make a test piece, or make small pieces of your own. Building an airplane that you don't want will be more practice than you need, at too much expense of time and money.


    • #3
      I built the original Glasair, completed in 1985. Sold it after 2 years and 110 hrs. when my 2nd daughter was born and I needed a 4-place. Replaced it with a Maule M5 as I was then living in Alaska and wanted a bush plane. Eventually stripped all the original fabric and paint, made some mods, winter project turned into a 3 year affair.


      • #4
        I built an RV-8 from the original, standard kit (not match drilled). I am currently scratch building a 4pl A model...mostly..but I did buy the ribs, completed spars, seats, tanks, and landing gear from Mark G.

        I tell everyone who asks about scratch building versus buying a QB to BUY THE KIT. The kit is excellent, and it will save you years and years of work. It might cost a little more (not a lot, really) but it will be worth it. I wish I was in a position to buy the kit back when I started. I am now just at the QB stage...9 years later.

        Maule M5-235C C-GJFK
        4 Seat Bearhawk #1078 (Scratch building)
        RV-8 C-GURV (Sold)


        • Ray Strickland
          Ray Strickland commented
          Editing a comment
          I strongly agree, Mark. While I enjoyed the mostly scratch build (13 years) process, if I had a do-over it would be a quick-build kit.

      • #5
        I am a first time builder. I have about 100 hours in a C180. Based on that flying experience I am very happy with my 4 place Bearhawk project.

        I do have close to 40 years building formula type race cars, Formula Vee, Formula Fords Formula Continentals and Formula Super Vees. Many of the cars I designed. The materials I am working on my Bearhawk project are the same materials I have used for my race cars, with the exception of fabric covering. Forming wing ribs is old hat but the Bearhawk ribs are infinitely larger than the wings I usually build. I have never built fuel tanks as large as the Bearhawk tanks but my race car tanks were gas welded aluminum, something I did not do on the Bearhawk, just because I have not done it in 30 years and I did not want to go back and get current gas welding aluminum.

        I am about a month or 2 of getting all the race cars out of my shop and returning to the Bearhawk project full time. The wings are hanging in the fixture awaiting rivets and the fuselage is on its wheels with the engine under the cowling on the front. A few more brackets and mounting points for small stuff and it is off to the paint shop for the fuselage and tail feathers.
        Last edited by S Lathrop; 07-24-2020, 04:57 PM.


        • #6
          Bearhawk was no 5. No 6 in progress and may finish late fall. Started no 7.
          yes I do like to fly too.


          • #7
            Thanks for the answers thus far. There is an aircraft out there that shares some similar design features (however loosely) with the Bearhawk. It's called the Legal Eagle. It has a 4130 steel fuselage, fabric covered wood wings (vs aluminum with some fabric wing surfaces on the Bearhawk). It's a small, simple plane but it's plans built. Most are being built for $5000-$7000. I've looked at it extensively and have discussed an idea over on their forum. I can build the Eagle as an ultralight and fly it. Then once I get my license, I can have it N numbered and build time in it. I think it's a great way to learn most of the processes involved to see if I like it AND have something to fly during the subsequent years of building a Bearhawk.


            • #8
              First build for me. QB Patrol. Scratch tube project is way out of my league, but guys who do it turn out a nice product. Scratch aluminum is a bare “maybe” as long as ugly is OK. I can’t see the value in building my own ribs and spars though. Not because it’s impossible, but because time is like money; most of us have only so much-maybe less than we think. I need to see daylight at the end.

              Bearhawk kits are beautifully constructed, in my opinion. That’s the second part of the “value” equation. Can you really do this kind of work? I can’t. I had a guy drop by the other day who did 2 decades as an airforce mech in the 50s and 60s and then went for 2 more decades as a mech for Air Canada. He has built 6 planes including a Mong Sport and two Zenairs. He was simply awestruck with the quality of the BH kit. Only problem was I couldn’t get much guidance from him beyond: “such a beautiful kit; try not to muck it up”. I AM trying, man!


              • #9
                Scratch built a Minimax Eros little over 10 years ago. wood and fabric light sport. started to scratch build a sonerai but met the wife and bought a family plane and sold that project. now kids are older so back to 2 seats. spent the last year heavily modifying an RV4 and now 2 weeks into scratch building a Patrol


                • #10
                  I'll chime in here, not to talk about how many different aircraft I've built or worked on over the years, but to give my opinion on the Bearhawk. I'm a Tool&DieMaker by trade, but have been building kit plane parts since the late '70's when I got involved in a Zenair CH250 project. I've now been building kitplanes for customers full time for the last 20 years. I've been involved with, or built, most types of construction in the industry, from all wood,to all aluminum and most everything in between. I would have to say the "easiest" kit I've built was an RV7 from Van's, all the matched hole skins and parts are excellent and everything is there for you. The earlier Van's kits (RV6 for example) were a lot different and not as easy for sure. The most challenging was an all wood SAL P51 replica that I helped build.

                  I'm now on my fourth Bearhawk model, (with #5, a BHB, unpacked and fuse on its gear). I've done a BHA, a Patrol, an LSA, and now I'm finishing a scratch built BHA that was purchased at about the QB stage. For me, the Bearhawk line are the most enjoyable kits to work on. You get a mixture of all types of construction, which makes it fun, and you get to learn a bunch more stuff with the multiple types of construction and techniques required to build one. And at the end you get a plane that is so much more versatile than many others. After I finish BH#5, it is finally time for me to build one for myself, I'm still not sure which model yet, but right now it's between the LSA and the Companion. If you ever get a chance to fly the LSA, you will understand why I that one is a choice.
                  Happy building all.
                  Steve Busby