SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS, JULY 7, 2020 – American Legend Aircraft Company announced today its MOAC, a.k.a. the Mother Of All Cubs, a backcountry edition of the Legend Cub. While rooted in the legendary Super Cub, MOAC is a thorough remake and all new construction from the expert hands of American Legend. MOAC incorporates numerous performance enhancing features and is purposely built for the backcountry operations.
Since the wildly successful introduction and debut of the Legend Cub in 2005, successive models have continuously evolved and innovated. At first, the Legend Cub was all about modernity and weight savings. American Legend added strength while lightening the airframe and components. Options to improve pilot situational awareness and comfort followed in the cabin and cockpit. Today’s evolutions of the Legend Cub are again numerous. These include envelope expanding modifications with higher horsepower engines and adapting the airframe for access to remote terrain. Now, MOAC is the most exciting way to fly low, and slow, while driving performance to the extreme.
Horsepower on the Legend Cub has more than doubled with MOAC and current availability of Titan engines from Continental. Up to 208 horsepower (187–195 continuous) results in remarkable takeoff and landing performance on its already strengthened airframe. A Cato fixed pitch, Whirlwind ground adjustable, and Hartzell constant speed are among the many propeller options.
Flaps comprise 20- and 40-degree full-span from wing root to aileron. Leading edge slats and aerodynamic square wing tips with optimized wing tip vortices also contribute to MOAC’s remarkable performance. MOAC can take off in its own length and behind all that thrust are balanced ailerons, highly effective with a light touch on the control stick. The tail surfaces on MOAC are sized to appropriately balance the aircraft’s higher power-weight ratio. “To appreciate these improvements alone, the aircraft must be flown, as simply watching in amazement does not complete the sensation,” stated John Wisdom, CFI and Legend demo pilot.
Perhaps the most critical component for backcountry pilots is landing gear performance. If you don’t remember the days of taxiing and landing on bungee gear and steel springs, your derrière and jarred teeth certainly do. The pinnacle of modern landing gear comes from TK1 Racing with its Shock Monster front suspension. Shock Monster is a nitrogen charged air/oil shock assembly. Designed for the harshest of bush flying zones, the oil dampened system eats up all the landing aircraft’s stored energy on compression. A dual shock setup delivers the security of redundancy, unbelievable cushioning and, best of all, zero bounce back. Shock travel of 4.50 inches equates to about 12–14 inches at the wheel. Combined with the Legend Cub’s custom extended cabane vee, the Shock Monster system summons the use of oversized tundra tires and high performance brakes. MOAC with Shock Monster nearly ensures pinpoint landings with a minimum of rollout.
Longer aircraft legs invariably mean a pilot wants to carry more stuff. MOAC features a turtle deck opening that gives access to extended aft fuselage storage. Cargo doors and a folding rear seat allow storage in the mid-fuselage area for unbelievable carrying capacity. A turtle deck hatch improves accessibility even more, offering two levels of storage and accommodation for longer items, such as a stretcher. The Legend Cub fuselage also allows for L-21 style extended rear windows and a skylight offering near 360-degree viewing.
Extra performance on MOAC also comes from 40-gallons-usable fuel tanks. The extra fuel capacity allows for longer roundtrip flights without a fuel stop, such as into and out of remote areas where fuel is not available. Since its introduction, only the Legend Cub offers doors on both sides of the fuselage for simplified ingress/egress and a full-open cockpit feel.
The cockpit on the Legend Cub has always been more extravagant than one would expect on a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants Cub, and MOAC is no exception. Most are equipped with Garmin G3X/G5 glass panels and iPad or handheld panel mounts. LED lighting and Lithium-ion batteries have become standard. Engine monitoring brings great awareness to what’s happening up front and an autopilot does the same outside giving the pilot more time to scan displays of traffic, terrain and weather. For today’s tablet, smartphone and other device equipped pilots and passengers, USB power ports and panel-powered headset jacks are available at all seats.
“After years of lessons learned, including an 80-year Piper history, we build our Cubs to alleviate potential problems,” stated Darin Hart, president of American Legend. “This includes fit-and-finish, engine performance, and control systems. Doors and trim fit to perfection, and we often use common PMA-standard parts for easy serviceability. Our engine choices provide hours of reliability and proven service. Placement of physical controls are optimized to ensure freedom of motion from stop to stop without annoying interference issues so often present in other designs,” Hart concluded.
MOAC can be certified to a gross weight up to 2,000 lbs. As much as 180 lbs of that weight can be placed in the third seat of MOAC as passenger or cargo. Three occupants makes MOAC three times as fun.
American Legend Aircraft Company continues to be one of the most successful manufacturers of aircraft for personal and backcountry use. The Legend Cub is sensibly modern, competitively priced, and built-to-last by a company renown for its exceptional product support. MOAC is the incomparable Cub, a Legend to the extreme.
For further information on the Legend Cub, contact American Legend Aircraft Company at 1810 Piper Lane, Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482; call 903-885-7000, or log on to www.legend.aero. Follow us on facebook.com/LegendAircraft and instagram.com/legendcub.
– Legend Cub –
All photos courtesy of Jim Wilson photography.
The first annual Kokomo Bi-Plane Fly-In was held June 26–27, 2020 at Glendale Airport in Indiana. Kokomo airport ID is 8i3, with a lower case “i” for two good reasons. First, so as to not confuse it with the numeral one, but also to highlight the diminutive aspect of the aircrafts featured at this gathering.
Hosted and organized by Michelle and Ron Beachy, the Kokomo fly-in was held at their home-base airport. Both members of the Baby Great Lakes Biplane Group, the couple flies their very own Baby Great Lakes, a scaled version of its Great Lakes namesake. The 2T-1A Sport Trainer was a biplane produced in the early years of the Great Depression era. Its greatness endures in a big way, here on a smaller scale.
This familiar looking aircraft was manufactured by Great Lakes Aircraft Company from 1929–1933. The American company by which it was conceived produced civilian biplanes, float planes, plus biplane torpedo bombers and dive bombers under contract to the U.S. Navy. Roughly 240 of the Great Lakes Sport Trainer were built.
Chris Hiatt of San Antonio, Texas was one of the fly-in’s enthusiastic participants. He traded in a passion for Aeroncas, at least temporarily, for a chance to hone his skills at biplane aeronautics. Chris was flying an Aeronca Chief at the time the Baby Lakes came along. The new arrival fit neatly into the hanger beneath the Chief. As more of his time and focus centered on the more diminutive aircraft, the Chief got sold. The Baby Lakes served to amp up his quest for adrenaline.
The aircraft has many known names, including Baby Lakes, Oldfield Baby Lakes, Baby Great Lakes, Super Baby Lakes, Super Baby Great Lakes, and Buddy Baby Lakes. There exist a small collection of these babies in the U.S. and a tight group of enthusiasts who share their knowledge of them.
Once Chris learned about the fly-in, he was set on tweaking and updating his copy, N822CH. Every last minute was spent readying the aircraft to be trailered 1,200 miles northeast to Kokomo, a feat presumed far less tiring than traveling in a bumpy open-air cockpit solo and luggageless.
Prior to attending, N822CH received new cowlings and had its wings recovered. Chris has also managed to install a starter and new bungies while giving the Baby a thorough pampering.
Origins of the Baby Lakes are attributed to Barney Oldfield Aircraft Company, named for designer Barney Oldfield. Best summarized as “a scaled-down Sport Trainer,” the airplane uses steel frame tubing and spruce wing spars. It was intended as a one-off construction. Due to popularity of the model, however, plans were produced on-demand and this led to marketing the homebuilt aircraft. Copies began to multiply.
While designed for the Continental A-65 and Volkswagen air-cooled aero boxer engines, Hiatt’s build performs like a rocket with its upgraded Lycoming O-290G 145-hp launcher. It easily proved to be the fastest of the current crop of Baby Great Lakes, thus a world speed record was claimed last month, “130 mph in cruise in a Super Baby Great Lakes.” Chris admits that it wasn’t a real competition and therefore “top speed” was not determined. He was just so far out in front of the others, he surmised, that it must be a record.
Chris commented, “Another record was set on Friday the 26th of June 2020… the largest gathering of our beloved tiny Baby Great Lakes biplane.” Months of planning drew Ron and Michelle Beachy and their Baby Great Lakes example, plus Chris with his Super Baby Great Lakes. Shad Bell of Centerburg, Ohio dodged storms to attend in his Baby Great Lakes. Final attendee of the record-setting foursome was Corben Meyer who flew in from Timber House Airport near Lafayette, Indiana, a brief 40 miles west with his 65 hp Baby Lakes.
“Each of the planes are unique in several different ways, with none of them sharing the same landing gear setup. Although the wind blew a constant 20-plus mph,” stated Chris, “Shad Bell demonstrated the aerobatic ability these tiny biplanes in the hands of a skilled pilot.”
As was intimated, the Baby Great Lakes are a take-off of the Great Depression era Great Lakes 2T-1A-2 Sport Trainer. These military aircraft, the full scale versions, were originally powered by 85 and 90 hp American Cirrus engines, and later powered by 140 hp Lycoming O-320 and 180 hp IO-360 engines. Other full size copies were plans-built. Production of the concept has stopped and started for nearly a century. But the design would feign oblivion and gain notoriety as a WACO Classic which are built new today, hence reinforcing the greatness and familiarity of the Great Lakes airplane lineage.
|Great Lakes Sport Trainer||Oldfield Baby Great Lakes|
|Length||20 ft 4 in||13 ft 6 in|
|Wingspan||26 ft 8 in||16 ft 8 in|
|Height||7 ft 4 in||4 ft 6 in|
|Wing area||187.6 sq ft||88 sq ft|
|Empty wieght||1,230 lb||480 lb|
|Max. takeoff weight||1,800 lb||850 lb|
|Maximum speed @ sea level||115 knots (132 mph)||117 knots (135 mph)|
|Cruise speed||102 knots (118 mph)||96 knots (110 mph)|
|Stall speed||50 knots||43 knots|
|Rate of climb||1,400 ft/min||2,000 ft/min|
Kokomo-Glendale Airport (8i3) is home to EAA Chapter 235, chapters.eaa.org/eaa235.
This article was published in General Aviation News, August 20, 2020.
This article also appeared in In Flight USA magazine, August 2020.
This article also appeared in Sport Aviation magazine, September 2020.
At workweek’s end, winding down only to wind back up might seem antithetical to that hungering for a few day’s break. But for Mike Silvernagle, this routine makes perfect sense. The responsibilities of managing his construction business actually compel him to welcome the end of the typical workweek with yet another set of projects. The many projects inside his hanger may seem grand, but by comparison they are quite small compared to the large-scale construction jobs he runs during the week. For Mike, the airplane builds are the small stuff, at least with regards to easing the worries on his mind.
Moreover, Mike likes turning his airplane building projects into springloaded adventures. Another way one might look at it is, building airplanes enables him to spend his winding down with mother nature—Earth’s grandest builder. To admire her work, to soar above and lose oneself in the middle her earthly paradise, this time is the most constructive in his view.
Starting in 2017, Mike set out to build a Bearhawk Patrol for the express purpose of flying the backcountry in his native Saskatchewan. The Patrol was his first aircraft project from a kit, and the result is now a spectacular one-off example of the Bearhawk lineup. Around the same time as the aircraft first took flight in 2018, Mike was enlisted as the Canadian distributor for Bearhawk Aircraft, the model line’s manufacturer of kits and parts. Mike’s enthusiasm for everything Bearhawk is self-evident, and he’s well acquainted with how these aircraft are put to use.
There are countless places for fishing in Upper Canada, though Mike numbers three as sufficient for his preferred form of the sport—flying in. Saskatchewan is a province with no natural borders, its marked by prairies of grasslands, plains and lowlands stretching in every direction. By all counts, it’s an earthly paradise, uniquely his own Shangri-La. This particular geography is the whyfor of the region’s many lakes. And by December 15th every year, they are frozen solid.
This past winter, a trio of airplanes, two of which were Bearhawks, took to the tundra despite the freeze-over and raffish extreme cold temps. Including Mike’s Patrol, an experimental 4-Place Bearhawk utility aircraft and a Cessna 185 went along for the temptation. Mike had previously owned and flown there in this same C-185.
Tongue-in-cheek, Mike pointed out, “The 185 owner was previously freeloading off me.” Now both fisherman have their own skiplane aircraft. Evidentiary proof also exists that Mike enjoys the company of friends as much as the sport of flying in for fishing.
The trip was to be a proving ground for the new C-185 owner as he had previously never flown on skis. However, his prior floatplane experience would pay off as the aircraft was on amphibs first, according to Mike.
“I went down the Bearhawk road six or seven years ago,” Mike capitulated. First, he purchased a completed 4-Place Bearhawk from its owner/builder. He later bought the Bearhawk Patrol kit as a companion to the 4-Place. Both he conceived as upgrades to his admiringly steadfast C-185.
Mike recalled his very first skiplane fly-in, “It was minus 26 [degrees] Celsius. We landed on the lake with a generator and a tent. We almost turned back twice due to moisture inside cabin that was freezing on windshield. After finally arriving, we set up the tent, started the generator and plugged the plane in. Temps warmed up to a comfortable minus 12 Celsius during the day,” he effused, “and we were fishing in hoodies.”
This type of adventure has long been a dream for Mike, as well as his convincingly like-minded flying companions. “To go where nobody would go,” he asserted, implicating the challenge to be greater than the simple idea.
Mike pointed out, “There are definitely things you worry about. Such as wings snapping off in the extreme temps, and engine health.” Planning for running an engine in severe cold requires advance preparations including preheat and controlling air flow. Dressing the pilot properly involves wearing full skin suits. One of Mike’s favorite attributes of his Bearhawk is its heated seats. Mike also points to the autopilot as a key component, much more than a luxury, to his backcountry flying excursions. An autopilot allows a pilot time to tend to and monitor everything in the engine compartment as well as the environmental variations on the outside.
Having access to a cabin on a skiplane excursion is a step up from sleeping in a tent. Mike’s pad is six miles from “real” land. “While it may look like a peninsula there’s no road,” he said. “It is boat or fly-in access only,” making it literally a pad. The shelter is a solid wood log cabin with wood heat gathered from the trees around. On arrival, one must auger through the ice to pump water into the cabin. With no electrical lines, he supplanted, “solar power offers a workable solution.”
For a bit of extravagance, there’s a hot tub. The water gets to 105 degrees (F) by way of a wood fire beneath. While the pilots are warmed and sheltered, the skiplanes are left exposed. Therefore, at night it is necessary to cover the whole plane. Pilots are up at 5:00 AM to fire up the generators. This delivers preheat to loosen up the engine oil and dissipate the moisture camped inside. Two or three hours later, Mike and crew huddle again with their planes to unstick the skis and set up for fishing alongside their ski-footed fowl.
Next to the main cabin, there’s also a guest cabin, but according to Mike, no neighbors for about six miles. The 26 miles of lake are accessible via boat in the summer. When flying in during the thaw, Mike moors his floatplane on an island and arrives at the cabin via canoe that’s left there year round.
Presently, Mike prefers taking his Bearhawk Patrol on fishing trips. Alternatively, he has the Bearhawk 4-Place, similar to the (green) one his fishing buddy brought in on this trip. Also, Mike is close to finishing up the build of a Bearhawk LSA, a slightly smaller version of the Patrol that will satisfy Canadian Advanced Ultra-light Aeroplane (AULA) requirements.
While Mike concedes the Cessna 185 as the gold standard for utility and flying into remote locations, this one can get into trouble due to its wheel penetration skis. With the wheels and skis both contacting the ice, one must, per Mike, “Pull it up for cool down every five minutes and inch it forward. If you leave it set, the snow and ice will melt and then will refreeze and stick.” Icy water builds up in the gap between the wheel and ski making the bond especially strong.
Comparing landing performance to the C-185, Mike says, “The 4-Place [Bearhawk] gets in in half distance. Quite simply, it excels at slow speed performance.” The Bearhawk has large cargo doors, by design, for ease of loading bulky and heavy cargo. “This also makes it great for setting up a tarp/tent structure off both the cargo doors.” With such a shelter set up, Mike says he’s able cook on the floor of its cabin.
Comparing to the other gold standard, the Piper Super Cub, Mike adds, “The Bearhawk Patrol on skis is 140 mph aircraft. A Super Cub, on the other hand, is not even close to that speed.” Its swiftness advantage is not lost at the low end. The Patrol lands at 35 mph, also outperforming the typical Cub.
Avoiding the sticky ice issue, the Bearhawks Patrol and 4-Place had straight skis. However, one might add that flying with straight skis limits the number of landing options enroute. Fortunately for Mike, there’s La Ronge (Barber Field) Airport off Lac La Ronge in the center of Saskatchewan territory. The airport has a ski strip, so landing and refueling there is possible if needed. But for Mike, another plus of the Bearhawk is that it can hold enough fuel for a round trip to the cabin. During his summer trips, Mike stockpiles avgas at the cabin to be more self-sufficient.
Canada has its share of “portage” lakes—those only accessible by canoe. While one waterway may offer better fishing, getting to it requires carrying the canoe across land. This is particularly relevant for fly-in visitors. Skiplane and floatplane operations require space for takeoff and landing. There’s not really a STOL option here.
“What’s more you can’t just drop in and land, or leave the mains down.” Mike explained, “You must fly over the snow covered ice creating a long set of tracks where you intend to land, and fish.” This will cause flood ice, by “heaving” on top. And it keeps happening, in layers. As you wait for the track to refreeze, you then come back and do it again along the side, “because you never land in exactly the same place,” Mike added. You do this in three or four sets to pack down your landing track.
To get out, he explained, “You must make 360-degree turns to pack the whole area down. While the lake is frozen under three feet of ice, the flood ice still comes in. Again, it’s all about the layers.”
Mike assures that it’s generally not unsafe. There’s no threat of falling through, but getting stuck requires a lot of work. To lift the plane, and repack the snow beneath it, requires leverage and ingenuity when isolated and your only resources may be a tree and a rope.
The 3-day weekend fishing trip was nothing out of the ordinary for Mike. For the non-winterized type, it’s an exceptional way to enjoy flying. Mike usually makes plans to go when the temps are warmer than minus 20 degrees C. To buffer from unexpected weather, pilots are always aware that there’s no rush to get back.
While attending to domestic things like cooking, cleaning, resting and hot tubbing, the planes remain on the lake the entire time. “The house is on an island about eight miles long,” Mike exclaimed. “There are others around on three-acre islands.” In this setting, remote takes on a whole new meaning and that’s the winding down component.
“The world is a small place when you have plane,” said Mike. He lives near Regina, 200 miles north of the U.S. border. Tazin Lake is in the far northwest of Saskatchewan, seven miles from Northwest Territories of Canada. The two regions are divided by the 60th parallel, a line half as long as the Equator. In his Bearhawk, Mike can fly up to the lake and back in one day.
Neighboring Tazin Lake is Lake Athabasca. On its southern shores is Athabasca Sand Dune, one of largest in the world. “You can land there, and there’s no house for 300 miles. There are hardly any trees. You get a sense that no one has ever set foot there before,” said Mike.
The Bearhawk is so well suited for this type of flying, Mike Silvernagle and Bearhawk Aircraft Canada portend to have found that mystical, harmonious place literarily known as Shangri-La. Perhaps it does exist in Saskatchewan, unencumbered by natural borders, a permanently happy isolated land. For Mike, getting to unwind is being gently guided to earthly places in the well-equipped Bearhawk skiplane he deftly conceived and constructed.
AUSTIN, TEXAS, MAY 21, 2020 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today the introduction of its largest Bearhawk model to date, the Bearhawk 5. The new aircraft was designed by engineer Bob Barrows and is the first in the lineup of Bearhawk aircraft to use a 300-horsepower engine, seating up to six occupants.
The Bearhawk Model 5 made its first flight on May 3rd. The prototype has flown more than five hours in testing and is exhibiting excellent flight characteristics, according to test pilot Rollie van Dorn. Further flight testing is expected to confirm the airplane’s projected 3,000 lb gross weight.
The Bearhawk Model 5 has been under development for two years. Slightly wider and longer than the original 4-Place Bearhawk, the new design is powered by a spec-built Lycoming IO-580 engine. The first Bearhawk Model 5 was built in collaboration with avid Bearhawk builder Collin Campbell of Bolivar, Missouri. Collin has scratch built a fleet of different Bearhawk models and has a reputation for outstanding workmanship.
Mark Goldberg, president of Avipro / Bearhawk Aircraft, manufactures Quick Build kits of the Bearhawk models. Mark has been eager to announce the Model 5 for some time. “A brief history of how this design came about… 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.” Mark said a light bulb came on and, thus, a plan was hatched 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,” he concluded.
In many ways, the new Model 5 can be compared to the Bearhawk 4-Place the way the Cessna 185 is compared to the Cessna 180. Just like the two Cessnas, both the Model 5 and 4-Place use the same wing. The Cessna wing has 174 sq ft of surface area while the Bearhawk wing has 186 sq ft with its Riblett airfoil. Compared to the 4-Place Bearhawk, already bigger than a C-180, the Model 5 has a wider, longer fuselage and features a bigger motor. Specifically, the Model 5 is two inches wider than the Bearhawk 4-Place, and its cabin is fourteen inches longer. Overall length of the Model 5 is twenty-four inches longer than the 4-Place. There is room in the Model 5 for 5th and 6th seats in the back or, alternatively, extra cargo space. The Model 5 has considerably more interior room than a C-185.
While the Bearhawk 4-Place can use four-cylinder Lycoming engines, up to the parallel valve O-540 series, the Model 5’s smallest engine will be the six-cylinder 250/260 hp Lycoming O-540. The Model 5 has the ability to use the heavier angle-valve cylinder Lycoming O-540 and IO-580 of 300 and 315 hp respectively.
The prototype Model 5 partly owes its outstanding performance to the Lycoming IO-580 at 315 hp. A three-blade Hartzell 82-inch diameter carbon fiber Trailblazer propeller completes the package with its really strong takeoff thrust and climb. At a projected gross weight of 3,000 lb, with utility category strength at full gross, the 1,512 lb empty weight of the Model 5 results in a plane that is expected to carry double its own weight.
Cruise speeds around 160 mph are also expected as 156 mph TAS, at 3,500 ft and 24-squared, or 72-percent power, was seen during tests. Reduced, economy lean-of-peak fuel flow speeds of around 145-150 mph and 14.5 to 15 GPH are also anticipated. Takeoff performance was 220 to 300 ft. Landings were kept to under 650 ft as the wet, muddy runway conditions in the very middle of the 1,350-ft runway allowed use of only half the strip, Rollie reported. “Collin did a beautiful job building it, and he and I worked together for the three days I was there to get as much done as we could. The Bearhawk Model 5 offered no surprises on takeoff or climb out. With all that power, things happen quickly.” Rollie also noted power-on stalls to be less than 40 mph.
The Bearhawk lineup includes two-place Patrol, Companion and LSA models. The 4-Place and new Model 5 fill out the larger end of the lineup with excellent carrying capacity. All are available in kit or plans and excel at accessing remote airstrips. 2-Place and 4-Place Bearhawk kits are now shipping, including a Bearhawk 4-Place Model B shipment to New Zealand today. Bearhawk aircraft are renown for their rugged construction and large cargo areas.
– Bearhawk –