Bearhawk Model 5 Kits Ship, Model Bs Take First Flights

This Model B with a Lycoming IO-540 engine will be based in Idaho. Courtesy Bearhawk Aircraft

In May 2020, Bearhawk Aircraft launched the latest addition to its line of kit-built backcountry-ready airplanes with the Model 5—a six-place tailwheel aircraft “designed to fly fast and land slow,” according to a company release on March 1. That news shared that the first four of the Model 5 kits had gone out to customers, with construction already begun in some cases. The Model B saw two more first flights as well, with owners completing kits and getting them into the air in Idaho and California.

Customer Brent Huddleston built the Idaho-based Bearhawk Model B in part because he was looking for more performance than what he experienced in his Cessna 182Q, powered by a Continental O-470 engine. “The Bearhawk was the fastest, had the best specs, big doors, and, by comparison, the 182 was too small for even my dog,” said Huddleston. His Model B features an IO-540 engine “ported and polished to 9.5:1 compression.” So far, that’s translating into better climb performance than the 182, and a reported speed of 155 mph true airspeed.

In California, Bearhawk builder Tim Newsome first flew his Model B in February, and it takes the place of the four-seat original Bearhawk he had, which was built by Bob Barrows. According to Newsome: “Enhancements to the Model B include a longer, speedier and more stable Riblett 30-413.5 airfoil, and weight-saving aluminum fuselage formers, window sills, and door sills in place of steel. Airfoil-shaped empennage surfaces improve stability, control authority, and speed.” The company notes that the four-place Bearhawk is “long-established as best-in-class for its speed, STOL capability, and large payload carrying capacity.”

The four Model 5 kits have arrived in Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, and New Hampshire. The new Bearhawk features a gross weight of 3,000 lbs. and a cruise speed of 160 mph. With this addition, the company now offers 2-, 4-, and 6-seat models of the tailwheel design, with quick-build kits speeding the construction process to get pilots out flying to the remote airstrips and out-of-the-way places they love.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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