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New to the BH 4-place

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  • New to the BH 4-place

    Finally got around to joining the forum and subscribing to Bear Tracks. I was lucky enough to get into a partnership in a four place Bearhawk out here in Idaho. I have about 12 hours in it so far. I have little tail wheel time, mostly in citabrias, cubs, and champs. It's a been a bit harder getting used to the sight picture with 26in tires but it's getting better! I find it much easier to fly than those three types but a little heavier in roll.

    I'll probably have a few dumb questions in the coming months (as I'm only a 300 hour private pilot and new to experimentals), but here's a few to start off with:

    Does a formal POH exist for any 0-540 BH 4-place or do most people simply create their own? I wonder if there is a good one to start off with. I plan to fly at different weights and CG's to learn the aircraft, take notes, figure out best glide, Vx, Vy, etc. but I wonder if there's advice for starting out of the gate.

    Our four place has the older style wing. Does anyone have the B model 'riblett' wing but with the old horizontal stabilizer? Wondering if there's any feedback about the newer style landing gear I've read about, also.

    Lastly, do any builders have any good product recommendations for a pad for the glare shield. The metal crimp where the glare shield meets the instrument panel is a sharp 90 degrees without all the extra cushion seen in most certified aircraft I've been in. While we have four-point hooker harnesses, I can imagine the damage inflicted on a face in a forced landing. I've seen a few commercial products on the Vans forums however I'd like to know if they off-gas and cause a nasty haze on the windscreen. Not doing it for looks...just like to plan for the worst to make any crash as survivable as possible.

    Thanks for all the help. Looking forward to many adventures in this great aircraft.

  • #2
    There's a few POH's out there. I'm sure someone will be along to offer one. I'm not making one per se, because I think the idea of a POH for an aircraft this simple is a joke. There are not 12 steps to an engine failure at 400 ft. There's roughly 1.

    The question you need to ask is what on earth the builder did during phase 1 if they don't have the V speeds, lading distances, etc.

    They were required to provide a flight test plan, they should have the results of those test flights or at least notes. Something.
    Last edited by zkelley2; 12-22-2019, 03:30 AM.


    • Gerd Mannsperger
      Gerd Mannsperger commented
      Editing a comment
      Not trying to highjack this tread your cement on engine failure just hit a nerve.

      At 400 feet you will have enough time to run through all checks and moves necessary to restart and prepare for a emergency landing if it does not restart.

      That is if you do proper annual emergency training so it is second nature to you -- be prepared.

      Most pilots fly for years without incident and and forget about training.

      When the engine stops they try to think back to what they were taught in basic training, for some of us that is a bit far out.

      Once a Year instead of going for the 100 dollar hamburger spend the time with a qualified pilot and go through all emergency scenarios in the air.

      Follow each exercise right through to the end. Do some full on engine of landings in safe areas that resemble some of the terrain

      you usually fly over in your aircraft.

      Make up or find a good check sheet and go through it step by step. Once up to speed you can check your buddy and he can check you.

      It is amazing how much we can learn and how much fun it can be.

      Someone should start a tread on annual emergency/proficiency training.

    • zkelley2
      zkelley2 commented
      Editing a comment
      There's roughly 2 things that will cause an engine failure after takeoff that you can do anything about. Fuel and intake air. Tanks and pumps, alternate air/carb heat on. 400ft is ~20 seconds to the ground. The vast majority of people get caught up in checklists that usually are put together by people that have no idea what should actually be on a checklist and then the get wrapped up in them (as a do-list I might add which is also VERY wrong.) and forget to fly the airplane. 20 seconds isn't much to find a suitable place to land while you're trying to complete checklist items that are beyond irrelevant.

      To expand - reasons engine quit - 1) fuel - only thing you have is switch tanks and pump on 2) ignition - they're already on since the engine was running to get you airborne in the first place, so skip 3) compression - you can't do anything about that 4) air - alternate/carb heat - these are very unlikely to cause complete failure all of the sudden, but yes, it's possible.
      Most people design the fuel system with a both, so that should even eliminate that. Some people don't have pumps, so maybe, depending on your aircraft.
      So at most it'd be tank switch, pump on, alt/carb heat on. But ALL of that needs to be able to be done without a checklist. If after you have that done, are at best glide and have a nice spot picked out, you happen to still have some time, then you can look at a checklist to insure that you did in fact do , everything. Which is what checklists are for. Not for going through item by item and doing each thing as you read it, which is what someone who expanded those 3 things into 12 is going to do.

      I don't know when you went through training, but we've had far better emergency performance and error catching with flows and checklists that are very short and to the point in the last couple decades than the old 50 item ones and the only things memorized are emergencies and then only the ones that require action right now.

  • #3
    Who built the airplane that you are partners in John? Mark


    • #4
      Welcome Jon! I’m on the east side of yhe state with a 4-place. I assume you bought into the BH that has been in Nampa for a couple years? Hope you get it back in the air soon. We’ll have to meet up sometime.
      Scratch Built 4-place Bearhawk. Continental IO-360, 88” C203 McCauley prop.