Bearhawk Aircraft’s Model 5 Makes First Flight

Six-place, 300 hp STOL airplane also hauls big loads.

The six-place Bearhawk Model 5 has made its first flights. [Credit: Bearhawk Aircraft]

Bearhawk Aircraft said its Model 5—a kit-built, six-place backcountry design—has completed its first flight. The new model brings increased hauling capacity to the Austin, Texas, company’s current lineup of two- and four-place airplanes.

The aircraft performed as expected, according to Rollie Van Dorn, an airline pilot who flew the Bearhawk 5 for its initial 25 hours and also flew the Model 5 prototype, along with other Bearhawk models.

“When maneuvering, the larger Model 5 feels the same as the Patrol [the company’s two-place tandem model]. Ailerons actually feel lighter,” Van Dorn said. “I expected this build to perform exactly the same as the prototype, and it did without exception.”

Bearhawk aircraft, which are designed to handle off-airport operations while still producing reasonable cross-country cruising speeds, reflect the growing enthusiasm for STOL-style flying and pilots’ desire to travel long distances quickly.

“The Model 5 lands nicely and goes really fast,” Van Dorn said. “I was able to skywrite and view ‘BEARHAWK’ on my [Garmin] G3X and ADS-B displays. This made the time go by faster but also heightened my appreciation for the Model 5’s agile flying qualities.”

Van Dorn also noted the aircraft’s speeds and power settings. At 8,500 feet, he said, the aircraft indicated 142 knots at 24-squared (2,400 rpm and 24 inches manifold pressure). The Model 5 maintained altitude well with reduced power in Van Dorn’s tests, with fuel consumption ranging between 11.0 and 15.7 gph.

The Bearhawk Model 5 was designed to use Lycoming engines ranging from 250 to 315 hp. The prototype used a Lycoming IO-580 rated at 315 hp but the airplane that Van Dorn tested had a 300 hp angle-valve Lycoming IO-540 and a carbon-fiber Hartzell three-blade propeller with an 82-inch diameter.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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