This FAQ last updated May 1, 2010
About this FAQ
This FAQ is not an official document by Bob Barrows, the Bearhawk designer, or AviPro Aircraft, the kit manufacturer. When in doubt, you should contact them, since they are the real experts. This information carries no warranty whatsoever-- you and you alone are responsible for the safe construction and operation of your aircraft. If you have any comments or further questions about the FAQ, please don't hesitate to email me.
What is a Bearhawk Patrol?
It is Bob Barrows design and is the second in the Bearhawk series (the first being the 4-place Bearhawk). The Bearhawk Patrol is a 2-place, tandem seated, high wing airplane with conventional (tail dragger) landing gear or can be equipped with floats. It can be compared to a Super Cub or Aviat Husky but with better performance in speed and take-off & landing. It can be scratch built from Plans or it can by purchased as a Kit.
Bearhawk Patrol Specifications
Where can I get the Plans?
Contact Bob Barrows at:
R & B Aircraft
2079 Breckinridge Rd.
Fincastle, VA 24090
Or to order them on-line go to:
Is there a Builder's Manual?
Well "Yes" - sort-of. Eric Newton has put together a set of step-by-step instructional builder's manuals for the 4-place Bearhawk. These manuals were reviewed by Bob Barrows and according to Bob, they will work fine for the Patrol as the two designs and building techniques are so similar. The builder just needs to pay careful attention to the plans as the build progresses. The builder's manuals are divided into three volumes:
The first two volumes are primarily for those who are plans building their Patrol from scratch. The 3rd volume - Finish, is applicable to either scratch builders or lit builders as it contains the information about electrical, plumbing, fabric covering, systems, etc.
For builder's manuals purchasing information go to this website:
Is there a Newsletter for the Patrol?
Yes - starting in 2010, the newsletters for the Bearhawk 4-place and the
Patrol were combined into one. When you purchase your Patrol plans,
you will receive the back-issues of the Patrol (prior to 2010) newsletter
with your plans. To subscribe to the newsletter and/or purchase back
issues go to:
How many Patrols have been completed and flown?
The Patrol is a fairly new design. As of this FAQ update (May 2010) only two Patrols are known to be flying, The prototype Patrol and Steve Thompson's Patrol. Several are under construction and over 150 sets of plans have been sold. If you are aware of any other flying Patrols, please email me so I can update this FAQ.
Is there a Kit available, If so, where can I buy a Kit?
Yes - The same company that produces the 4-place Bearhawk kits Avipro, now
also makes a Patrol kit. You can get more information here:
How long does it take to build?
That depends on a lot of factors. Are you planning to plans build or
purchase a kit? Are you a first time builder or are you an experienced
It is estimated that a first time builder, building the Patrol from plans alone would take about 3000 to 3500 hours to complete it. If you go with a kit from Avipro, a first time builder can complete it in about 1000 hours. Of course experienced builders would take less time on both accounts.
How much will it cost me to build it?
Again - that depends - Kit or plans built? How good are you at scrounging used parts? New engine or used? Constant speed prop or fixed? Simple instruments or a complex glass panel? Leather upholstery or simple fabric?
The cost really depends on your choices. To get the cost of a Patrol kit go to the Avipro website (http://www.bearhawkaircraft.com/)
At the time of this writing (May 2010) A simple plans built Patrol could realistically be completed for as little as $15,000 to $20,000 using a slightly used Lycoming O-320, with fixed pitch prop, simple basic instruments for a day VFR airplane.
Where can I get a list of websites about the Patrol?
There are some links listed on the main Patrol website. There are a list of known Patrol builders on this webpage.
Can I build it - what skills/tools are needed?
Yes, you can build it provided you have some basic mechanical aptitude, the ability to do research, to learn and have patience. One helpful tool is the Bearhawk Builder Manuals designed for the 4-place Bearhawk but works just as well for the Patrol. The Patrol is almost identical to the 4-place Bearhawk in construction techniques and build processes. Bob Barrows has said that one can use the Bearhawk Builder Manuals to construct the Patrol as long as he/she closely checks the drawings as they go. You can build the Patrol with basic tools and access to an 8' brake for bending the spars and some trailing edge pieces, etc. You will also need a basic Acetelyne/Oxygen welding outfit.
Here is an excerpt from an entry in the Bearhawk group where someone had asked this very question:
Bob Romanko offered the following sage advice:
The EAA is a great start, but it won't finish your plane. Equating joining the EAA and finishing an airplane is like saying if I step into a church I turn into a Christian. The association is good, and you will gain knowledge if you're a member. Knowledge is needed to build the parts that make the assemblies that go together to form an airplane. Knowledge is cheap.
Anyone with a brain, a decent eye, and a steady hand can build parts. The secret to building a Bearhawk, or a CH-801, or an "insert name here", isn't the knowledge or skills one has. In fact, it doesn't even matter whether the aircraft design is any good or not. Skills can be developed, and when you're bending a rib or welding a cage you're not thinking much about STOL, the airfoil the designer used, or your payload. You're thinking of building a part. It really boils down to whether or not you enjoy the building process.
Sure, a Bearhawk is an incredible plane. No one here will deny that. Heck, if they were certified I'm sure that Bob Barrows would sell gobs of them. Still, just because it's an awesome design doesn't mean you will build one. In fact, you could attend every Sportair workshop there is, commit to memory every book Tony Bingelis ever wrote, and surf rec.aviation.homebuilt till you know Badwater Bill on a first name basis. I'd even say you could go on and get your A&P ticket and STILL not finish your Bearhawk. Why? Simple. You have to like the build process. Notice I didn't say you have to like the plane. What? Blasphemy!
No. Not really. My wife has an uncle who's nearly finished with a Volksplane. He is doing a great job with it. Heck, it's like a piece of furniture. Problem is 'ol Scott decided about three years ago he wanted a two seater instead. Still, you'll find Scott out there in the garage just plowing forward with his single-seat VP-1. How is that? He likes to build planes. If you enjoy the process, it really doesn't matter much what you're building. Of course if you like to build and like what you're building, it makes it that much more likely you'll have a completion.
Sure. There are probably folks out there who managed to build a plane they loved in spite of the hell they went through building it. These are few and far between. You'll read more about these folks in Trade-a-Plane as they sell their projects than you will in 'Sport Aviation' in the completions section. Theirs is a classic love/hate relationship. Loved the plane, hated the process.
Then you have the Bob Barrows' of the world. These guys love to build. Shoot, the Bearhawk wasn't even meant to be duplicated. Bob needed a plane to haul parts, drew up the Bearhawk, and built one for himself. When folks went nuts at Oshkosh and Budd Davisson (thanks, Budd) wrote his Pirep in the October '95 'Sport Aviation' the plane started to really catch on. Bob realized he needed to verify the plans, so he build a SECOND set of wings just as a proof-of-plans. I saw them hanging up in his hangar in Fincastle. To take it a step further, Bob went ahead and build a SECOND Bearhawk, Prototype II, and hung a Lycoming 540 in it swinging a three-blade prop he BUILT. When I grow up, I want to be Bob Barrows (grin).
So you see, it's not what you know or who you hang around with. It's what you like to do in your spare time. Dan offered you an excellent suggestion. Go to a Sportair Workshop and bend some aluminum. See if you like it. If you're not the greatest rivet pounder when you leave, don't sweat it. Those skills come with practice. Think more of how you like the activity than how good you are. You probably will only need the sheet metal course, since the wings take about quite a bit of time to build. When you get to the point where you need some steel in there, take the welding course.
Attending a workshop is a cheap way to find out if you like banging parts. As far as whether you can (will) build a Bearhawk, you'll be able to answer that question for yourself when you walk out of your first seminar.
For what it's worth...
A&P (but I like the process!)
Some measurements are missing on the plans - what do I do?
The drawings are done to scale. Look for the scale on the drawing (i.e 2:1, 4:1, etc.) then simply measure the drawing and convert using the scale. For instance if something measures 1.5" on the drawing and the scale is 4:1, simply multiply 1.5" x 4 = 6" . The drawings are very accurate.
Where can I get more Information and meet other Patrol builders?
There are two Yahoo e-groups that are dedicated to Patrol builders. The
BH-Patrol group and the Bearhawk group. Between these two groups you
have access to over 1000 people who are either building, or are already finished
and flying their Bearhawk or Patrol. There is a wealth of knowledge
and talent on these two e-groups. You can join either or both by putting
your email address in the box(s) below.
Click to join BH-PATROL
Click to join BEARHAWK