Bearhawk 4-Place Wins New Zealand STOL Championship

AUSTIN, TEXAS, FEBRUARY 12, 2019 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today a customer-built, and flown, Bearhawk 4-Place aircraft took top honors in the premier New Zealand STOL competition. Jonathan Battson, in his Bearhawk NJB, outperformed all entrants with a combined score of 229 feet (74.1 meters), landing plus takeoff.

Battson’s Bearhawk competed in the Heavy Touring Category (greater than 2,550 lb.) at the 2019 STOL competition. The event’s official title is the “Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships” and is held annually at Omaka Airfield, Blenheim, in New Zealand across the Cook Straight from Wellington. This seventh annual competition, run by the Marlborough Aero Club, was held on Saturday, February 2nd.

Battson built his Bearhawk from a quick-build kit in 2013. It is powered by a 260-horsepower Lycoming IO-540 with a Hartzell Trailblazer propeller. The Bearhawk won this year’s competition by about a 43-foot margin. “This is our fourth season at the contest, and we’ve worked hard to get the best out of the pilot and plane,” said Battson. The trophy has been in his field of vision for some time. In 2014, Battson took 3rd place at Omaka. STOL modifications to NJB include 31-inch Alaskan Bushwheels, vortex generators by Stolspeed, and Hoerner wingtips.

Worldwide, similar STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) competitions pit specialized aircraft head-to-head. STOL aircraft are designed uniquely for backcountry flying where landing on unimproved strips, and in often difficult conditions, requires short takeoff and landing capabilities. Pilot skill also plays a major role in operating these aircraft in such environments.

Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality quick-build aircraft kits for the Bearhawk 4-Place, and two-place tandem Bearhawk Patrol and Bearhawk LSA. Designed by engineer Bob Barrows, the Bearhawks have in common excellent performance and superb flying characteristics. Bearhawks are known for their short field capability, higher than expected cruise speeds, and very gentle slow speed manners. For utility and recreational use, customers around the world fly Bearhawk aircraft.

For more information on Bearhawk Aircraft, visit, or contact Bearhawk at or 1-877-528-4776.

– Bearhawk –

Bearhawk - New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk – New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk - New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk – New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk - New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk – New Zealand STOL Champion

Titan Engine on a Legend Cub

It was at AirVenture 2017 when discussions about an engine swap on a Jabiru-powered Legend Cub took place between myself, Darin Hart, owner of American Legend Aircraft Company, and aircraft builder/owner/operator Rand Siegfried. One year later, I followed up with Rand about “Mickey’s Cub,” nicknamed Ziggy, and its 180-horsepower Titan installation. His reply: “Fantastic! Runs wonderfully, performs amazingly. Only thing wrong is that she is still in Illinois. We have been moving and didn’t have a hangar out here. Planning on some backcountry work next season, stay tuned!”

Rand built the Legend Cub at the company’s facilities in Sulphur Springs, Texas back in 2008 with his daughter McKinley. They took part in the factory’s KwikBild program. While a gift for “Mickey’s” 16th birthday, Ziggy has been flown by many members of the Siegfried flying family.

I was curious of the whereabouts of Ziggy and suggested a new photo shoot with its plumped-up engine cowling. The Titan engine is a derivative of the Lycoming O-360. Its four flat-set cylinders deliver an additional 60 horsepower over the formerly installed, and narrower, 6-cylinder Jabiru block.

Rand provided an incisive synopsis of the engine swap effort: “At Oshkosh a while ago, Darin told me that I’d love the performance of the Titan in a Legend, ‘It is spectacular,’ he said. Our Jabiru powered kit-built Legend, Ziggy, was ready for a change, so I called to ask if we could buy a full firewall forward kit. The answer was something like this: ‘Well we don’t really have a kit, but we could probably make up some parts for you, but you’d be doing a lot.’

Hanging a new Titan engine on one of the Legend Cub
Hanging a new Titan engine on one of the Legend Cub

“During a subsequent call he was obviously thinking as he went along. Legend had never mated their Titan cowling to the Jabiru boot cowl and firewall, so although he didn’t see any reason it wouldn’t fit, there may be some mating issues and building to do as the boot cowl and firewall are a different shape. He then thought about the elevator, more specifically that they have always had a balanced Super Cub style horizontal stabilizer mounted with the Titan and cautioned there might be some issues there. We agreed that since Ziggy is Experimental and as long as I was aware, the evaluation flights should be fine. If there was an issue, I could do something then.”

Creation vs. Construction

In building your business, keep in mind the opposing forces of Creation and Construction. While construction is fixation on the end game, creation is about how you play the game. Success will depend on both.

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists, as the mother can love the unborn child.

– GK Chesterton

Living in the moment

Full Speed Ahead_Flying By
Full Speed Ahead & Flying By

Looking back in anger, or forward in fear, you’re sure to miss the awareness around. Try instead, living in the moment.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

In order to be utterly happy the only thing necessary is to refrain from comparing this moment with other moments in the past, which I often did not fully enjoy because I was comparing them with other moments of the future. – Andre Gide

When we can’t access our inner resources, we come to the flawed conclusion that happiness and fulfillment come only from external events. That’s because external events usually bring with them some sort of change. And so we’ve learned to rely on circumstances outside ourselves for forward or backward momentum as we hurtle through life. But we don’t have to do that any longer. We can learn to be the catalysts for our own change. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Bearhawk Aircraft Announces Bearhawk Patrol First Flights and Bearhawk LSA Wins Award

AUSTIN, TEXAS, OCTOBER 22, 2018 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today the first flights of two Bearhawk Patrol aircraft built by customers from Quick-Build kits. Owner/builders Scott French of Iowa and an Australian threesome comprising Alan Arthur, Doug Harrington and Avon Furphy have completed, certified and flown their Bearhawk Patrols in September 2018.

A Bearhawk Patrol, VH-TUC, made its first flight in Perth Australia last month. This aircraft joins two other Patrols currently flying in Australia. “Another in Perth was built from a Quick-Build kit. There is also scratch-built Patrol flying in New South Wales, Australia,” according to Mark Goldberg, president of AviPro who manufactures Bearhawk kits. VH-TUC is powered by a Mazda rotary engine.

A second Bearhawk Patrol, N862SC built by Scott French, flew for the first time in Iowa last month. This aircraft was partly fabricated from scratch and kitted assemblies. Bearhawk Aircraft plans are available from designer Bob Barrows. N862SC is powered by a more customary Lycoming O-360 engine assembled by Superior Air Parts.

Modern Warbirds Now Operating in the European Theater

Being away from the big shows for months on end, I recently pondered the increasingly popular pastime of collecting warbird aircraft. What’s the big appeal? Then deliberating further on the replicas and remakes I stumbled on 2017 and 2015, I asked where have all the modern warbirds gone?

It was 18 months ago I last visited AERO Friedrichshafen. There, in the Old World I was surprised to see the same fascination for vintage aircraft that Americans embrace in the New World. Observing up close many European takes on the warbird I detected life left in the aero combat veterans and their impersonations. Is the warbird story still remarkable today, in a world of adrenaline obsessed and digitally consumed aviators?