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Heavy Research

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  • Heavy Research

    I've been lurking on here for too long but I've learned an absolute ton. Thank you all for that. I will be either building or buying an experimental 4 place as soon as I can. I have it narrowed to the BH, the Super Rebel, and haven't ruled out a Moose. I'm leaning BH because of the community and seemingly excellent support.

    I have interest in out west backcountry flying, but I'm in deep south florida, it will be a while until I "get out there". Which is fine. Bahamas trips, medium length cross countries and small airplane exposure for two young ladies are the immediate mission. Also, when the FAA decided on that 170#/person thing? Yeah, they weren't asking me or anyone I seem to know. I find a 172 to be laughably tiny -- fun for 10 mins, but I'm not looking forward to flying something that is just that tight. Went and sat in a Pacer 20/22 -- again -- super cool capability -- just not something I'd sit in for very long. I don't think I'm a giant lard -- but I do wear a size 50 jacket, i enjoy lifting weights, i don't see myself getting smaller (not a goal) -- and I'm just not that into being THAT intimate w/ my buddies.

    So -- 1000# useful is a bottom end. I'll happily sacrifice some airspeed for comfort, but under 130 starts to be a bottom end. I'd like a nice known airframe. I'd like the ability to do longer adventure type trips. I'd like the ability to work off of grass and dirt, I don't need sandbar short, but I'd like to not think twice about a 1400' stretch of hayfield.

    I realize that some people might be thinking "Hey man, uhhhhh, maybe a Cherokee 6 is what you should be looking at?". I get that argument. You'd probably win a rational argument w/ me on that. However. I been flying other people's airplanes for a long time. I want things set up the way I want them for once. I want a panel that I like. I'd like a relatively new airframe and engine package that I am intimately familiar with. I'd like seats that are actually comfortable, with a darn head rest.

    Cost is a factor, so is operating cost, so is build time (or acquisition). If I do a build it would be a QB kit for sure. Building does have appeal to me, I recognize the work that goes in (built my house) -- but like the known awesomeness result.

    I have read every post on the forum about cabin size and width. I have tried to find where guys have bubbled their windows. I have looked at the gull wing door mods. I have read all the comparisons to other "more common" airplanes. I just can't wrap my brain around shoulder to elbow room. The idea of having to sort of lean to the right and have my left elbow pinned to my side is just not something I am willing to accept. EVERYTHING else about the BH is pretty awesome. In the 172 I pop the window for most of every flight just for relief in this area.

    The Murphy stuff scares me a bit. I have been reading about Murphy "beef up" kits ... why would I build an airplane that needs a beef up kit? Perhaps that is just with "ludicrous" power options, not sure. I sense that the Murphy kits aren't as complete as the BH kits. I have yet to find a "support community" like this one (except maybe Vans, but I have zero interest in that style airplane). I get the sense that going Murphy you are a bit more out on your own and "more" experimental.

    Any big folks out there have comments on the shoulder room or ideas how to make that ... work? Heck, I've never even SEEN a bearhawk in real life -- anyone in S. Florida know of one I can just plunk into and see? Maybe it's fine...?

    Great forum, you guys are wicked talented and have some AWESOME airplanes!!

  • #2
    First you have to decide whether you are a buyer or a builder. Second, what you want. For me an Experimental is where it is at. If I could affordably buy a 180 or Maule, and then modify to my desire, that would have been a quicker route. But they are "certified". To me, that means I don't really own it, I lease it from the government, and they get to choose what I can do to it.

    To me, a heavy BH is only a little better than a factory Maule. I can't change a Maule, I can build a Bh closer to the designers specs, and have a spectacular useful load.

    if you want speed, and can live with airport to airport, an RV-10 is hard to beat. If you want to explore, and carry a bunch of weight, I don't see a better plane than a BH.

    A 180 or 85 with a big motor and STOL kit is a great airplane. It is also 40-60 years old, with steam gauges, And it is north of 150 - 200k. Making it better costs 10's of thousands of dollars.

    But. You have to want to build.


    • #3
      Welcome to the board...


      • #4
        My experience with a Murphy Super Rebel kit was awful, plus dealing with a company in another country gives you practically no recourse.


        • #5
          Jim -- that's exactly what I was afraid of. Not scared to build a plane. Buuuut a little scared w/ no help/advice available... Thanks for that input.

          Up_North -- thanks!

          Svyolo -- yep, if it's going to be my personal plane then it's going to be experimental. i do want to explore and carry a reasonable load. like you are getting at -- i don't need 40 years worth of other people's problems, nor do i need steam gauges.

          Any thoughts on the cabin size question?


          • #6
            You can sit in a C182, C180, or C185 and be close to the interior size of a 4 place Bearhawk. When you are ready to consider a kit - get in touch. I am happy to answer your questions. Mark 512/626-7886


            • #7
              I think you just have to find a Bearhawk and sit in it. The Bearhawk is a nice size but it isn't Cherokee 6 width. Everyone has their "deal breakers" on what they want and don't want. You will need to see if the Bearhawk is wide enough for you. The Bearhawk is fine for what you are talking about so far as numbers go. You need to decide if you want the Bearhawk experience and that only comes by trying it out.


              • #8
                I doubt anybody here will try to talk you into a Cherokee 6. I wanted to build a Bearhawk for years but when I had the cash for a kit I decided to buy a plane that I could fly right now and got a Pacer. It was a good plane but I quickly realized it would never be what I really wanted. It did show me that I personally would prefer the tandem seating of the Patrol. So I got the kit and built the exact plane I wanted and I couldn't be happier. My Patrol does everything I wanted it to do. I can land it anywhere I want to, outrun all my PA-18 and Scout buddies, haul my wife and two dogs with full fuel, or leave the dogs (or take the dogs and leave the wife) and take all the camping gear I want and go.

                Try to find a Bearhawk that you can go see in person. No amount of reading and comparing measurements on the internet can be as good as just sitting in one once.

                Oh, one more thing. I was a bit skeptical about the performance numbers before buying my kit as I think most companies exaggerate or list numbers that are only attainable under perfectly ideal conditions. Not the case here. Mark is actually a little conservative when it comes to listing those numbers. I doubt there is a completed Bearhawk out there that can't beat the performance numbers listed on the website.

                Rollie VanDorn
                Zanesville, OH
                Patrol Quick Build


                • #9
                  I’m a big guy, and the Patrol was attractive to me in part because I could fit with all kinds of extra room, even if I was wearing heavy winter gear. And pretty much anything you can fit will fly, if you build reasonably light. But I’m fortunate that the kids are grown, and it’s just me and D’Ann (and maybe a pup or two) and baggage.

                  If if I still had kids, I would probably build the 4-place and bubble the windows - maybe even with a “bowed” door-frame.
                  Jim Parker
                  Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
                  Patrol Quick-Build Serial # P312


                  • #10
                    I am tall and pretty beefy and currently fly a Citabria which is pretty comfortable. I wanted more speed, payload and interior space however and the Patrol fit the bill. After a test flight at Oshkosh I was hooked so I am now building a Patrol. You need to be aware that you really have to want to be a builder even with a Quick Build as there will be a fair amount of head scratching involved.


                    • #11
                      I think I remember that Jim Parker said he flies a Rockwell 114--- that is a nice roomy aircraft---- but it would never be mistaken for STOL I guess. I guess a Cherokee 6 has cargo room
                      but I just HATE that laying down style of seat position. (german sports car VS. BIG American SUV on sitting position)

                      You can make your front seats as adjustable and plush as you feel like ----- All up to you !

                      Sounds like you need a Beaver----- but who can really afford one of those. Maybe a howard DGA or a stinson sr-7. LOTS of room and plush inside !
                      Stinsons are fairly cheap too. But you might have to restore it. I almost did an sr-9.

                      Where are you in south Florida ?



                      • #12
                        Mark -- we chatted last week -- I'm totally sold on BH quality and my "gross capacity" to build. The support on this airframe is only approached by Vans it seems, and the community on here - I've been just reading reading - so much excellent and creative work done. I'm in awe. I been burning up the site and the EAA stuff. But before I commit I just have to make sure it's going to meet the need. Building would be a huge endeavor for the family and i. And before I commit so much family resource and time? Homework.

                        FC -- I'm south of miami about 40 miles. I should have dropped in on Sun n Fun but ended up having to work through most of it.

                        Eric -- yeah -- the numbers absolutely work on a BH -- and once the kiddo's are gone (8 years give or take) it is "less" ridiculous to fly around 2 of us in a Bearhawk than ... a Moose (man that thing is ridiculous). I am overwhelmingly impressed w/ Bob's design and the range/payload/performance package. To my mind it really hits a sweet spot. In my brain the BH is a personal C-27. The Moose is like a darn C-130. I gotta say though -- as I get smarter on GA it seems like the rag n tube really does pay off if stuff goes sideways... (this WHOLE part 91 flying this is ALL new to me, SO much to learn)

                        Jim -- great point about the Patrol -- and i get it -- but i think side by side seating is a must on this endeavor. I been burning holes in a cub w/ a buddy to try and figure out all this tailwheel and movable footrest stuff -- and the Tandem is great for that for sure! I like your "bubble the windows" idea -- that's something i been scouring the forums about. seems like if you could get 2" of shoulder/elbow room on each side that would be a game changer on how it feels. The problem isn't hips, it's shoulders. If you have an example of where someone has done this I'd sure take a vector. I read about the DIY in the oven method... I'm thinking there has to be a place out there that would do it for you ---- and if framed properly you could even still have it on a gas strut --- or it could slide back for the full Cub effect... or you could actually frame it up to angle out as it goes up, frame an elbow ledge to buy one inch, the frame out the top of the door to get another inch (aaaand then you can't get it open... i'm working on it!).

                        Rollie/Eric -- yep, I'm looking to see a Bearhawk I can sit in -- worst case I think I can probably catch-a-ride on over to texas and swap Mark a 5 minute sit for some Caribbean rum or something. Totally agree -- you HAVE to sit in it. (Sat in a Pacer ... that's how I know how tight it feels and that it's a no go)

                        Svyollo -- yeah I don't know if I'm a buyer or a builder. I know I'm supposed to know -- but I don't. I get to "fly" plenty, and one job has pretty fun planes to fly, on someone elses dime -- but none of that is general aviation -- can't exactly bring my 11 year old. They whole point here is to expand my world into Gen Aviation a bit, fun flying; and to involve the family -- what we do is SO cool - it's so easy to get jaded when you do it every day. AAAAnd I kinda want what I want. So if I'm going to have strong preferences? Then maybe I'll just have to be a man about it and build. (which i love, just the time/family factor).

                        First world problems for sure -- and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the input.


                        • Mark Goldberg
                          Mark Goldberg commented
                          Editing a comment
                          You for sure should sit in a Bearhawk 4 place before you decide you need bubbled out windows. MG