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Comparison Shopping

Bearhawk Specifications

So, you wanna build an airplane?

One piece at a time

Comparison Shopping

Amateur Built Aircraft
Useful Load
Cruise @65%, mph
Quick-Build Cost
Bearhawk 250
Utility, not Normal Cat.
Bearhawk 180
Utility, not Normal Cat.
Tundra/Dream-200 hp
Not available as of Sept 05
135 est
Not Available as of Sept 05
Bush Caddy, 180 hp

Murphy Super Rebel 
Lycoming 250
Murphy Moose
Same kit as S-Rebel
GlasStar 2 + 2, 160 hp
Not true four-place
Certified Aircraft




Cessna 180F
150 mph
$75,000 plus
At Normal, not Util. Cat.
Cessna 182
155 mph

Cessna 172M
130 mph

Cherokee 235
150 mph

Maul MX-7
145 mph
Not at gross weight







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Bearhawk Specifications

Top Speed (VNE) 175 mph Wing Span 33 ft.
Cruise Speed 120-150 mph Wing Area 180 ft.
Landing Speed 40 mph Length 23 ft. 6 in.
Take Off Roll 250-600 ft. Cabin Width 42 in.
Range (55 gal @ 60%) 800 miles Cabin Length** 9 ft. 8 in.
Empty Weight* 1190 lbs. Engine HP Range 150-260
Gross Weight 2500 lbs.    

  *Aircraft weights are dependent upon engine choice, electrical system, avionics, and starter. Your 
   weights and performance figures may vary.
**Measured from the firewall to the end of baggage area.

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So, you wanna build an airplane?

There are many reasons to build an airplane.

1) You don't have anything better to do with all your spare time.

2) There is too much empty space in your garage.

3) You have too much money in your bank account.

4) You like the taste of $100 hamburgers that will be worth $200 by the time you have a flyable airplane.

4) Last but not least, you are plane crazy.

While these are all legitimate reasons for you to run out and buy a bunch of metal, fabric, paint, fiberglass, etc., let's get down to the real basics. First of all, you want to fly your own airplane. You are tired of renting those old worn out Cessna's with the shimmying nosewheel. You can't afford to pay the mechanic $50 an hour to change your sparkplugs. You don't trust a machine to carry you and your family 5000 feet above terra firma on crusty wings that are 60 years old that you can't see inside of.

What you really want is control over your destiny. That's it! You are a real man (or woman) and you want to be able to say "I" built it so I trust it. You want new aluminum in those wings. You want to design your own paint scheme. You want to at least be able to change the spark plugs, without having "ol Sparky", the worn out, underpaid (in his book) A&P looking over your shoulder, at a cost that will soon break the bank.

You want to know every crevice and corner of that flying machine that will haul your delicate body and those of your wife and children thousands of feet in the air. You want to be able to fly a taildragger instead of the club spam can with a worn out nosewheel.

Or maybe you just want to build an airplane because you can't afford to buy one. Welcome to the club.

Of course it's also because you are a confident, mature human being who knows they can do whatever they set their mind to. You know that you can build that airplane. After all, if a couple of humble bike builders could design and build an airplane 100 years ago, why can't you? We have the technology!

Well, we here at Bearhawkin.com think that you can do it. As a matter of fact, we know that you can do it. All you have to do is write a check to The Bob (Bearhawk designer) and you will soon have in your grubby little paws, a set of plans that will get you started. Then, you will have to pick up the phone, place an order with an aircraft parts supplier or with AviPro to get your quick build and you will be well on your way.

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One Piece at a time

Just in case you get a little discouraged along the way, Budd Davisson, our Bearhawk magnate and vaunted aviation writer has a left us all with a little philosophical advice to ponder. He is writing in response to a despondent Corky, who thinks that he is better off giving up on his Bearhawk project. After reading Budd's dissertation, you will soon realize that Corky has no choice but to continue his long, hard fought dream to soar with the eagles.


If you're reading this, sit your project in a corner, cover all but one piece of it with a tarp and absolutely do not look at any more of it than that one piece.

The telling comment in your writings was that "....I crave to create things...." However, you did two things one should never do as part of the creative process, 1. you tried to come up with a rational reason to do it, when creating is a reason in itself, and 2. you started looking down the road looking for a completion date as if the completed project was the reason for creating, when it isn't. The act of creating each piece IS the project. Not the entire airplane.

Any project is a series of acts of creation that are vaguely connected to one another. First you create an aileron spar, then a rib and another rib. But, you never should think past each piece to the time when you'll be wafting over the horizon in your own airplane. Creation isn't about use. Creating is about creating.

I had a classic example hit me in the nose three nights ago. I've spent six very frustrating months building headers for my little hotrod. First, it was trying to correct the damage done by the chrome platers polishing through the first set I built, then it was building an entirely new set. I almost forgot I was working on a car, since the damn headers had taken over my life.

Two nights ago, I finished the headers. Then looked around. What's next? As I was looking at the brake and clutch pedals and trying to decide how to modify them for more travel, I realized I could just remake the floor boards in that area and recess them an inch and a half. So, out came the cardboard and scissors, some 20 gauge steel and away I went. Where the headers had been grinding me down, I suddenly found myself whistling and grinning---I had that rush that ALWAYS comes with starting a new project. In this case, it was just a foot square piece of floor boards where the steering column went through, but it was a new project, using a different  skill set than I'd been using and I was having a ball. I finished them last night and several times this morning walked out just to look at what I had created over the last couple of days. It made me feel good.

The emotional release and mental relaxation that came from making that little floor board panel was more than enough justification to be doing the entire project. And today has gone much smoother because of that.

Can I rationalize building an open wheel, open hood, sitting-on-the-ground car powered by a 57 year old motor? Of course not! The Maxima more than does what it can do. So can my 15 year old Honda Civic for that matter. This process (which is coming up on 47 years in length) was never about building a piece of transportation. It was about creating something that I saw in my head and wanted to see sitting in my garage. Could I afford to do this project? Absolutely not, even though the finished cost isn't even that of an overhauled Lycoming. But, I could afford to do that little piece of floor board. And the headers. And I could afford the $6.57 I spent this morning on a 6" long Grade 8 bolt and a mixture of washers and nuts that will become my throttle assembly. I can't afford the tires. But, hopefully will sometime soon. Not that the tires make any difference because I have so many cheap things to do first.

When I hit something I can't afford to do, I find something on the project I can afford to do. But, I never, as in NEVER, sit down and figure out what the entire project is going to cost me because I know it'll be out of proportion with what I'm building. The cost, however, will be a fraction of what the project has given back to me in terms of scratching that creative itch and making me forget the BS that accompanies most of our lives.

If you look at the act of creating something like a flying machine and then look at the act of pushing that project out of your life unfinished, you need to be really objective about which act is going to do the most damage. As Bruce so beautifully put it, ten years from now you'll be ten years older no matter what, but even if the airplane isn't finished at that point, just the knowledge that it's out there in the garage waiting for you is a benefit. The creeping regret that almost always lingers after giving up on something will definitely not be a benefit.

When we give up on something because of the two most controllable items in our lives, money and rationalization, the regret that always follows becomes even more crystal clear, when time gives us the perspective of distance and can see we made the decision based on the wrong facts.

Regret is a terrible thing and entirely too often it forms the basis for an unhappy last chapter to our lives.  So, throw a tarp over the project. Take one piece and continue to create. When there are no more unfinished pieces under the tarp you must be done. And, whether you fly it or not, you'll be a happier man for it. Push it out of your life and that probably won't be the case.

End of sermon. Didn't mean to ramble. Sorry.


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