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Bearhawk takes first flight in NZ

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  • Bearhawk takes first flight in NZ

    We had a successful test flight yesterday evening.

    The flight was 1 hour at 6,000ft VFR above scattered cloud, just before sunset, and it was truly exhilarating for all involved - the single best flight I've ever done in fact, in every regard. The plane flew flawless without a single problem, no heavy wing, no overheating, nothing at all - it worked like a dream. I could not have hoped for a better result.

    We used a chase-plane aircraft, having coordinated with the local control towers beforehand, so we got great views from behind/beside at all stages of the flight. Some times at quite close range when operations permitted it safely. It looks like a dream in the air, and is very fast compared to the 210hp Cessna we were using - in both climb and cruise regimes.

    We also took quite a lot of video from several "GoPro" cameras - internal and wing mounted - so I will share that once it's been processed into a short "highlights" clip. I wish I had brought my still camera in retrospect, as the views above cumulus cloud in the beginnings of the sunset were truly spectacular, but in fact we were just busy enough managing the flight safely as we were.

    I am also happy to report that all the temperatures were very good - all about 355F except #2 which runs a little hotter. Closing the cowl flaps increases temperatures to above 380F at 25"Hg and 2500RPM, so they seem to work very effectively and should prove useful on colder days or at a lower power setting. I will make one further mod which is known to further increase their effectiveness, then report back.

    The only minor things we noticed were the need for a little left rudder at higher speeds, Bob says this "sounds about right"; and then a few nuisance alarms which came from settings not being updated in the EMS - which we've already fixed.

    Here's a thanks to all the Bearhawker's who've shown an interest and offered help over the last 18 months of work. It's great to be flying.

  • #2
    Fantastic news Jono! Well done mate and congrats for getting the first NZ Bearhawk airborne. I look forward to seeing you and your machine either in Palmy or up here in Taupo.


    • #3
      Wonderful news, very glad for you! Anxious to see and hear more!!!
      Mark J


      • #4
        I guess the only slight downer we had today, is a subsequent problem with the L-mag on the run-up before the second flight.

        There was a serious RPM loss on the L mag. After shut-down, the noise from the impulse coupling was notable by it's absence. After checking the plugs and leads, deeper investigation revealed the impulse coupling's extension spring was "shattered" into many pieces. Closer inspection of the spring showed it was pitted and had many hairline cracks, and speculation is it's an original part. These are refurbished Bendix-S6 mags, of the old design.

        So it was a same-day fix and the "Bear" as Control refers to it, is back in airworthy condition and airborne once again.


        • #5
          Very cool and congrats, Jonathan! How did Nick feel?


          • #6
            John Snapp (Started build in Denver, CO) Now KAWO -Arlington Washington Bearhawk Patrol - Plans #255 Working on skinning the left wing! -Ribs : DONE -Spars: DONE, Left wing assembly's: DONE., Top skins : DONE YouTube Videos on my building of patrol :


            • #7
              Big congrats! Looking forward to some pictures...


              • #8
                Originally posted by GeorgH View Post
                Very cool and congrats, Jonathan! How did Nick feel?
                I think we were all quite nervous to start with! But it was certainly an exhilarating feeling once it was up there. We have 4 hours in the plane this morning, expecting to have about 8 by the end of today.

                There will be some video to come, here's a couple of pictures for now:
                Getting ready to go:

                This is the third take-off, a low high-speed take-off, it's doing about 115kts at this point...... Normally it shoots up like a rocket at 60kts.

                This photo sent from the air, the Bearhawk is still flying as I write this.‚Äč


                • #9
                  What does your machine weigh in at Jono?

                  Good that you're knocking out the hours today - looks like the rest of the week won't treat you so well if Metservice is to be trusted.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bradrock View Post
                    What does your machine weigh in at Jono?

                    Good that you're knocking out the hours today - looks like the rest of the week won't treat you so well if Metservice is to be trusted.
                    Yeah we are just gutted we lost 7 hours of perfect weather to maintenance yesterday. We weighed in an 674kg (1,482lbs).


                    • #11
                      First stalls at full flaps completed this afternoon. It's quite easy to pull on full flaps, which is good news.

                      The stall speed is 34kts (as measured by ASI or GPS) with power off!! Very happy with that.
                      You will not be surprised to hear, but it's a real breeze to control in the stall, no bad habits - even if stalled out of balance.

                      We will add VGs eventually and see if that speed comes down even further, but just adding power should help us fly even slower to start with. So we can cruise at 145kts TAS at 5,000ft and touchdown at 34kts, that's a pretty versatile aircraft.

                      About 9 hours on the Hobbs so far.


                      • #12
                        Love the picture Jonathan. Congrats on the first flights and on completing a great flying airplane. I hope be posting up my own first flight reports soon.
                        Eric Newton - Long Beach, MS
                        Bearhawk Tailwheels and Builder's Manuals


                        • #13
                          Another photo from one of the first landings.


                          • #14
                            Congratulations Jonothan! Beautiful photos and aircraft! Now Enjoy your work!
                            Mike Nault
                            BH #1250


                            • #15
                              The Bearhawk getting it's first taste of backcountry action!!

                              Sharing the experience with the Ag Tractor