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Prospective IFR Patrol Builder in Mexico w. Questions!

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  • Prospective IFR Patrol Builder in Mexico w. Questions!

    Hello All,

    I recently moved to Mexico City for work and was pleased to discover that Bearhawk QB kits are made close by in Atlixco. It's next to impossible to rent aircraft here solo, let alone TW, so I'm thinking quite hard about using a fair amount of my time here to build my first airplane. Except for the wood and fabric glider I made as a kid, this would be my first airplane build.

    I do have a few questions, I'm hoping folks here on the forum can help with:
    • Has anyone built/is anyone building a Bearhawk in Mexico? I'm an EAA member and have reached out to their team to understand the inspection process needed to get an N-number but if there are folks who can share first hand experience with the process it would be much appreciated
    • Because of the weather here in Mexico, especially in the summer months, I'd want my airplane to be certified for IFR. Has anyone built an IFR BH, of any variant?
    • Although I've watched almost every video on YouTube available (including the "Better than a Carbon Cub?" one from Jon Kotwicki), I haven't seen one in person, nor flown one. I'll be in Portland the last two weeks of February and up in Victoria/Vancouver the first week of March and would love to do a hangar visit if possible
    About me as a pilot: PPL, currently working on my IFR rating. I have about 25 hours of TW time and received my endorsement with Steve Krog up in Hartford Wisconsin. Most of my TW time is from flying a J-5 out of my former home field in Camas, WA.

    Thanks all, excited to join the community here and hope to fly together some day!

  • #2
    I put a waas GPS and nav radio in mine for IFR. Haven't used any of it yet, but there's no reason you can't put IFR avionics in it.

    Comment


    • zkelley2
      zkelley2 commented
      Editing a comment
      I did the MGL V16/N16 combo. I haven't gotten around to testing the VOR or LOC/GS portion but the built in intercom and comm radio work well. No noise on it at all. I will say the interface is not very intuitive if you ever used an airplane radio before. Almost like the interface was designed by an engineer that's never flown an airplane. I'm getting used to it. I might come to prefer it, time will tell.

    • henning
      henning commented
      Editing a comment
      robcaldwell my use for IFR would basically the same as yours. I wouldn't want to be stuck in hard IMC for more than splitting layers and being able to play in the clouds a bit. All flights ere in Mexico require a flight plan, so if I'm going to be filling out forms for every flight anyway....

      svyolo & zkelley2 good information. My starting point instrumentation-wise has been the G3X with autopilot but there's clearly a lot to learn in terms of which avionics fit best in the Patrol, which package goes best together etc. Lots of research to do!

    • whee
      whee commented
      Editing a comment
      zkelley, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the N16 once you use it. I have the V16 and planned to install the N16.

  • #3
    Señor Henning, if you get in touch I can help you with some of your questions. Mark . N95MF@hotmail.com

    Comment


    • #4
      Funny you mention... There's an excellent plans built example of a patrol in Camas WA, and two kit built patrols a bit south of Portland. They're all flying.
      Mark
      Scratch building Patrol #275
      Hood River, OR

      Comment


      • #5
        I’m in Camas and have the Patrol that Mark mentioned. I would be more than happy to show you the airplane and take you flying.
        Shoot me an email and we can set it up. mike_mooney@comcast.net
        Mike

        Comment


        • #6
          As said above, no reason you can't equip a BH for IFR flight. A couple of thoughts: I've been told that it would be wise to install an autopilot for IMC flight in a BH and I tend to agree. I love how my BH flies but it is no C172 when it comes to dynamic stability. A C172 you can basically let go of and it will correct itself fairly quickly and fly in whichever trim condition you left it in. My BH is dynamically stable but not to the extent a Cessna is. To me, this means hand flying in IMC will require a much higher level of concentration and proficiency, a level of concentration that I wouldn't find enjoyable and a proficiency level I wouldn't likely be able to maintain as a GA pilot. So while it would be possible to hand fly in IMC an autopilot would help make it much more enjoyable.

          Second thought, make sure you'll be comfortable betting your life on whatever instruments you install. There is absolutely zero chance I would trust my life to my EFIS. Honestly I don't think adding a second EFIS would make me feel much different.
          Scratch Built 4-place Bearhawk. Continental IO-360, 88” C203 McCauley prop.

          Comment


          • zkelley2
            zkelley2 commented
            Editing a comment
            Quite honestly, if you feel the need for an autopilot to go IMC, I highly recommend staying VFR. An autopilot is nice for monotonous droning through the sky, but if you have to rely on it to keep control of the aircraft, you're in a really bad situation that's best to never get into. That said, having the ability to get a pop up IFR clearance is 1 million times better than going lower and lower trying to maintain VMC, but only if you don't have a LOC event the second you're truly IMC.
            I'm hoping to do a little hood time with it this winter once I can carry a safety pilot and before I venture into real IMC this summer.

            If you plan on practicing or doing all or some of your IFR training in the bearhawk, no CFI-I or DPE will worth their rating will let you use the autopilot on any of it.
            Last edited by zkelley2; 01-13-2020, 06:18 PM.

          • whee
            whee commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, zkelley. It would be terrible for the BH to end up like the 737Max 😉

          • henning
            henning commented
            Editing a comment
            zkelley2 thanks for the perspective here. My simulated IMC work has gone pretty well so far, and I haven't had an issue hand-flying the airplane, so hopefully that continues to be the case when I experience actual IMC. Part of my mission down here will ideally include some longer flights to Central America and definitely a few trips back up to the US, so even if in VMC, I'd want the AP. I have been/will be doing my IFR training between a 172 and a Cherokee so unfortunately not in a Bearhawk...

        • #7
          Even for someone who never wants to get IFR rated, learning to be comfortable and reasonably proficient flying their gauges is definitely worth the effort. It might save your life some day. What percentage of your flying hours are spent droning somewhere, bored? Why not make a cheap hood, and practice instrument flying instead of being bored? It is free, and you will be a safer pilot for it, and your pax will be safer as well, even if they don't know it.

          I started doing it while I was taking my original flying lessons 40 years ago.

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