Bearhawk Aircraft, based in Austin, Texas, announced its newest airplane, the 6-seat Model 5, on May 21. The airplane adds to its line of 2- and 4-seat airplanes, with a difference: It will be powered by a series of engines, including a spec-built 315 hp Lycoming IO-580 engine. The new airplane is Bearhawk’s largest to date, designed by Bob Barrows.
The Model 5 made its first flight on May 3, and the company reports that the prototype had 5 hours on it at the time of the announcement. Bearhawk test pilot Rollie van Dorn pronounced its flight characteristics “excellent,” and further testing will establish the aircraft’s max gross weight at 3,000 pounds. The smallest engine to be used in the Model 5 will be the six-cylinder 250 or 260 hp Lycoming O-540. The Model 5 can also use the heavier angle-valve cylinder Lycoming O-540 (300 hp) and IO-580 (315 hp).
Bearhawk has been working on the new airplane for two years—and it’s just a bit wider and longer than its predecessor, the original 4-seat Bearhawk. The prototype was built in collaboration with longtime Bearhawk builder Collin Campbell, of Bolivar, Missouri, who adds this to his fleet of high-end Bearhawks that he’s completed.
Bearhawk Aircraft president Mark Goldberg recounts the genesis of the design. “A friend of design engineer, Bob Barrows, requested he create a larger version of the Bearhawk 4-Place as this friend is a big guy. Bob did the drawings for his friend who began construction on it. However, health issues forced him to quit working on the project and it sat for about a year. One day I was talking to Collin Campbell who told me he was getting bored now that his Bearhawk LSA was finished and flying.” Goldberg said a light bulb came on and, thus, a plan was made for Collin to finish the Model 5 project. “Truly, there is no one in the world, except Bob himself, more qualified to have built this prototype than Collin,” Goldberg said.
The Model 5 is expected to cruise at 160 mph, with lower speeds of 145 to 150 mph that could be achieved with an economy fuel burn of 14.5 to 15 gph. Takeoffs will come in around 220 to 300 feet, with landings under 650 feet.