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help me decide ! Patrol vs. 4 place

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  • help me decide ! Patrol vs. 4 place

    I think i am abut to order plans - but dang-it ..... which ones.....
    My initial thoughts were that the 4 seat would be just about as easy/hard to build as the 2 place.... which I continue to believe. Fuel consumption seems just about
    Identical (at same speed) So it just seems to come down to how many seat and how it flies. I don't want a single seat- so 2 seats is OK and maybe 4 should be good too.
    As far as flying goes- I see that the patrol has a thicker wing planform and a flying horizontal stab- where the 4 seat has a slightly thinner wing and a horizontal with no profile( just tubes)
    I notice that this seems to give the 4 seater a slightly higher cruse speed and adds 5 knots to the stall speed. I would GUESS the the patrol's thick stab might require less trim input to
    counter power changes....... (?)
    I guess what I am asking is what would I FEEL different between the two if I could fly them blindfolded (so to speak) (as well as take off and landing)
    The only other difference I can see is the empty weight being a little higher on the 4 seater...... (which I would suspect might be due to the bigger engine more than the extra tubing)

    Any thoughts to help me decide ?????
    (I should be able to start making ribs once I get the plans- :-) )
    ( I have been helping my cousin restore his 1934 Fairchild 24 - and I think I can build one from scratch as easy as I could do what he has done..... in terms of man hours anyway ..)
    ( his plane will just about be a museum piece though...)


  • #2
    I know a builder who has built both, and he flies his Patrol all the time. I made him drag the 4 place out of the hanger a couple of weeks ago so I could take some pictures......I spent 15 minutes wiping the dust off of it. If you don't need 4 seats, the Patrol is a real delight to fly and is roomy....with amazing visibility. I'm not positive, but I think the Patrol is a faster airplane.....assuming both using 180 HP. If you'd like to talk to the builder, PM me and I will put you in touch.

    I am building the 4 place so I can haul my family.....or at least thats what I hope I don't think you can go wrong with either choice.

    Last edited by mswain; 12-02-2015, 07:49 PM.


    • #3
      I was thinking I might talk to Jim Clevenger- He built 2 from Avi's kits- I am guessing he did a patrol and a 4 seat (but I don't know-) He was a local rep for Avi and did demo rides
      from Kissimmee and at Sun and Fun while he had them. I am told that he has since sold both. It is only about 45 minutes south of me. My cousin said he had known him from keeping his
      vampire in the museum building while it was open. If you could send me your fellow's e-mail- that would be OK too !
      Would you say the cost of a run-out o-360 and an o-540 would be similar ? I would think the parts would be in the same ballpark........ o-360 's seem to be in pretty high demand........


      • kestrel
        kestrel commented
        Editing a comment
        I now own a 4 place that Jim built. It was the first QB kit made (but not the first flown) and I have the impression that it was his 2nd Bearhawk?

    • #4
      He doesn't do email, but I can PM you his phone number. I've been watching Barnstormers and Ebay for an IO-540 for almost 2 years......and the only engines i've seen are propstrikes or the 300+ HP versions. I am by no means an engine guru....but it seems the 360 are easier to find.


      • #5
        Most of my flight time is in the 4-place, but I have also flown the Patrol for about a dozen hours. For the same fuel flow, I saw about 15-20mph more speed in the Patrol. The thicker wing of the Patrol is actually a lower-drag airfoil, and the profiled tail ribs (which you could certainly add to the 4-place) allow a reduction in incidence, as does the special airfoil, since it has a lower pitching moment. This adds up to having a smaller "wedge" to push through the air. It is also narrower, and has more wing area for the same span, because less of the span is tied up in the fuselage. Each of those things adds up to a few knots, and those few knots add up in the end. The Patrol represents several years of innovation on Bob's part, since it is a newer design of his. I think the controls are more responsive on the Patrol, and it is less needing of elevator trim changes at various speeds, due to the lower pitching moment of the airfoil. If you don't need the cavernous space of the 4-place, or the back seat, I'd lean towards the Patrol. Bob designed each airplane to meet his needs at the time- and you see which one came second! As freight shipping got cheaper and flying got more expensive, he found he didn't really do much engine hauling, and for going to Idaho for a week or two, the Patrol is and was his ideal, clean-sheet design to best suit his mission. I'm paraphrasing what he's told me here, but I think that's the essence of it. For me, the airplane had to be a 4-seater, so the Patrol wasn't something I was able to consider.


        • #6
          Originally posted by fairchild View Post
          As far as flying goes- I see that the patrol has a thicker wing planform and a flying horizontal stab- where the 4 seat has a slightly thinner wing and a horizontal with no profile( just tubes)
          I notice that this seems to give the 4 seater a slightly higher cruse speed and adds 5 knots to the stall speed.
          I think you'd find that difference in stall speed is predominantly a function of wing loading, which boils down to weight (largest single factor) when all is said and done. Yes the aerofoil matters, but they are so similar in this case, it's unlikely to be the deciding factor IMHO.

          Similarly, cruise speed is all about power. Yes there is some horse trading around the tail, but it happens all over the aircraft so I doubt that tail design is key to the speed difference.
          The 4 place is listed as cruising faster, I would say that's primarily because it takes a larger and more powerful engine.
          For the same engine and same power settings, the larger (= heavier and draggier) 4 place would be slower.

          The smaller plane will always be a lot cheaper to build, cheaper to run, to own and insure, and can be more STOL capable if designed for that. So why doesn't everyone have a two or one seat aeroplane? The answer is obvious, there's one very important thing they can't do.

          In my case, we are always using all the extra room and load carrying capability. Often just two passengers, but usually the cargo area is full to the top. We are tapping into the extra >200lbs useful load maybe 30% of the time. The other great thing about a bigger aircraft with the big engine is, your relative loss of performance is less, as you add load.
          Last edited by Battson; 12-02-2015, 09:50 PM.


          • #7
            It all comes down to "mission"... If you need four seats, build the 4-seater. If not, build the Patrol. Personally, I've had needed room for more than 1 passenger exactly once in the last 32+ years. (Unless you count dogs for Pilots & Paws missions... But I can pull the back seat out of the Patrol and get several kennel crates in there. There's a LOT of room once you pull the back seat out.)

            The Patrol suits my mission perfectly, and has the bonus of being roomier for the occupants - the front and back seats don't compete for shoulder or elbow room, and the back-seater has a really large, comfortable seat to sprawl out in. I think you could fit a couple of smaller kids back there. Just gotta figure out the seat belt thing...
            Jim Parker
            Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
            Patrol Quick-Build Serial # P312


            • #8
              If was going to fly solo most of the time the Patrol would be high on my list. I'm building the 4place because I have a family I want to haul around and when the kids are gone I want to travel with my wife. I've never flown a Patrol so I can't compare but I think the 4place is fun to fly so even going out and playing around solo is fun; not as fun as a Luscombe but still lots of fun.
              Scratch Built 4-place Bearhawk. Continental IO-360, 88” C203 McCauley prop.


              • #9
                Yes It sounds like all that makes sense ! The only other factor I have thought about Is resale value if I ever wanted to sell it (god-forbid!)
                Would the 4 seater be more marketable I wonder ?

                I think I remember there is a variation of the o-360 that is 200 hp- I want to say it is just being injected (Io-360) - but do I remember that there is a mod for using fatter pistons
                and jugs to get to 200 hp (maybe as non-certified or maybe by stc - cant remember now- )

                Thanks for the thoughts- I guess its up to me now ! (that's the hard part ----- deciding )



                • Gavin Chester
                  Gavin Chester commented
                  Editing a comment
                  200hp IO-360 lycoming 8.7-1 Pistons ,angle valve heads, oil cooling nozzles for Pistons , fuel injection,

              • #10
                I'm with Battson....I haul more as a necessity, that's because I live in the middle of nowhere... Everything has to be flown in or shipped via ocean freight. The only thing I don't like about tandem the Citabria's like ride'n a horse.... Feet spread wide'n all. Maybe someday I'll build patrol plans number 49....

                Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


                • #11
                  I have never sat in a tandem - are the pedals wider than side by side ? I mean so wide its awkward ?
                  Looked at the engine recommendations...... appears that the IO-360A or C (Lyc.) are 200 hp and fairly light.
                  I guess another deciding factor would be if you like your passenger to be beside you to communicate better .........
                  Still hard to decide !
                  Is the patrol soloed from the front ? I think yes ??????
                  I want to decide soon- have put off ordering for too long !
                  I will quote Benny Hill -------
                  "don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today- because if you do it today -and you like it- you can do it tomorrow too ! "


                  • #12

                    [QUOTE=fairchild;19422]I have never sat in a tandem - are the pedals wider than side by side ? I mean so wide its awkward ?
                    Wider yes, awkward.....Nope, just feels different.

                    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


                    • #13
                      Personally, I like the rudder pedals slightly farther apart as they are in the Patrol. It's a more natural seating position for me, and prevents my knees from bending "outward" as they inevitably do when the pedals are close together (as in my previous Grumman Traveler and current Commander 114). But I also should point out that I have not sat in the 4-place Bearhawk to see how those pedals are arranged. I knew from day one that the Patrol was the plane for me...

                      These days, with noise-cancelling headsets and intercoms, communication is no real issue in a tandem airplane. I will install a "baby monitor" mirror so I can see my passenger by glancing up at it. If they need my attention for something, they can always tap my shoulder to get it.

                      The Patrol front seat is the pilot station, with all controls (including brakes), full panel, etc. The rear seat has rudder pedals, but no brakes (unless, of course, you choose to add them -- it IS an experimental, after all). My Patrol is the "seaplane" version, with doors on both sides, so the throttle, prop control, and mixture will probably be panel mounted... If I go that route (highly probable), there will be no throttle, mixture, or prop controls for the back-seater.

                      I suppose it might be possible to build a lever-style throttle quadrant mounted low enough for the cables to reach through to the back seat position -- again, it IS an experimental... But having now flown a plane levers for throttle, mixture, and prop for a couple of years, I have to say I really don't like them... In my Commander 114 quadrant, I can move the throttle 1/4 inch one time, and get a 2-inch change in the manifold pressuer, and the next time I move it a 1/4 inch, I get next to nothing at all. (And yes, we've checked for wear and slop in the system -- it's the "friction lock" mechanism that introduces this weird behavior.) It's the same for the mixture (making it really hard to fine-tune LOP mixture settings) and the prop control. The net result is that you are never really at the RPM, MP, and fuel flow you had as your target, you're just somewhere in the vicinity...

                      When I get to that stage, I will probably go with the "vernier Assist" controls that McMaster is offering - push/pull like a friction-lock control for large changes, and twist for fine changes. They seem to offer the best features of both types.

                      I would really like to use a Superior XP-360 engine (if the finances allow), because I'd really like to go to their facility and build the engine myself with their expert looking over my shoulder to make sure I don't do anything stupid... If finances dictate otherwise, there seem to be plenty of run-out O-360s out there that could be rebuilt by a reputable shop and still be reasonably inexpensive (in aviation $$). I have not, however, ruled out the possibility of using a UL-Power UL-520 engine. The one big issue here would be figuring out the mounting, etc. to utilize an engine that is 6-cylinders (so a bit longer than the O-360) which is also considerably lighter (weighs less with all accessories and exhaust than the O-360). Decisions, decisions, decisions...
                      Jim Parker
                      Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
                      Patrol Quick-Build Serial # P312


                      • Chris In Milwaukee
                        Chris In Milwaukee commented
                        Editing a comment
                        While I've never touched one or seen one in person, I've always been a Commander fan. First plane I saw in the first Plane and Pilot magazine I bought when I started flying (although it was a 112). Sorry for the hijack!

                    • #14
                      Like Jim said, “it depends on the mission.” The Patrol and 4-Seat Bearhawk are two different missions. The 4-seat Bearhawk is a heavy hauler and a very comfortable cruiser. The Patrol gives way to heavy loader in favor of more sporty but still a good cross country airplane. If your primary mission is going long distance out and back with a load the 4-place with aux tanks is what you want. If your mission is mostly local sporty flying with one or less passengers and an occasional long cross county then the Patrol is what you want. Both are great cross country airplanes as far as speed and time. My personal preference between the two for a long cross county flying is the 4-place Bearhawk. The 4-place Bearhawk is just a perfect and comfortable cruiser yet has great STOL capabilities. My personal favorite if I’m going to go out to play is the Patrol. The Patrol is hands down the most fun sporty flying airplane! So it really depends on your own personal mission. If you don't need the load capabilities of the 4-place I'd recommend the Patrol. If you want to cruse long range in comfort I'd recommend the 4-place. In a perfect word you would have both!
                      Wayne Massey - Central Florida


                      • Battson
                        Battson commented
                        Editing a comment
                        This is the perfect summary.

                      • JimParker256
                        JimParker256 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I agree with most of what Wayne said -- especially the comments about absolute max load to be carried. The 4-place will carry more people, or more cargo than the Patrol, no matter how you slice it.

                        But as to the cross-country capabilities, I would say that's pretty much a "draw" or maybe a slight nod to the Patrol... But then it is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to spend more than 4 - 4.5 hours at a time in ANY airplane without taking a break. My personal "endurance" is closer to 3 to 3.5 hours at a stretch. With 55 gallons of fuel standard on the Patrol, the airplane will have WAY more endurance than I do (up to 9 hours at low power settings, and probably about 5:15+ at fast cross-country cruise speeds).

                        With the assumption that no one builds as light as Bob Barrows, I'm hoping my Patrol will come in below 1100 lbs (versus his 950-ish). With a 2000 lbs gross weight (utility class, per Bob's plans), I should have 900+ lbs useful load, and something like 570+ lbs for payload. That's a 250-lb pilot and 320 lbs of baggage! Or two 250-pounders and 70 lbs of baggage.

                        But I would rarely need that much fuel for a single flight. I normally plan for 3-hour legs on cross-country flights, plus at least a full hour of fuel reserve, a 4-hour "mission profile." With the Patrol, I'd be taking off with about 40 gallons of fuel (240 lbs), leaving a "mission" payload of about 660+ lbs. That's that same 250-lb pilot and 410 lbs of baggage / cargo. Or the same two 250-pounders with 160 lbs of baggage.

                        So I guess what I'm saying is that the "breakover" point more about the number of seats that will be used and/or the maximum single-pilot cargo hauling you'll need to do, versus the range, speed, or endurance profiles of the two types. If you need more than 2 seats, or need to haul more than the answer is obvious: Build the 4-place Bearhawk. Otherwise, the Patrol might be the right choice, as it was for me.

                        Either way, they are great airplanes that are incredibly flexible!

                    • #15
                      Fairchild said: "I guess what I am asking is what would I FEEL different between the two if I could fly them blindfolded (so to speak) (as well as take off and landing)"

                      Personally I don't recommend flying blindfolded :-) ...But if you did what you would feel between the two airplanes is very little difference in control load factor. Both jump off the take off roll before you expect it. You'll be flying toward heaven before you can blink twice. For landing you will experience the same. I like using full up trim for landing and the load factor feels the same to me between the two.

                      What you would feel between the two is a difference in is trim factor. The Patrol is not as trim sensitive and requires very little trim change. The 4-place is more trim sensitive and requires more frequent minor trim adjustments based on flight envelope changes. Once you get used to it it's not that big of a deal but you do want to have the 4-place trimmed correctly for take off or go-around otherwise it can be a handful. (As you should for any airplane that you are flying.)

                      Given a choice of which airplane of the two to fly blindfolded I'd chose the 4-place for take off and landing trimmed correctly and the Patrol for air work. But I still don't recommend flying blindfolded... :-)
                      Last edited by Wayne Massey; 12-06-2015, 06:13 PM.
                      Wayne Massey - Central Florida