Successful Project Completion: Bearhawk vs RV-7
I'm trying to decide between QB Bearhawk and QB RV-7. Any thoughts on completion stats between the two aircraft? I'm leaning toward the Bearhawk but am concerned as it looks like a lot of kits have been started but not finished.
EAA Staff / Moderator
There are a lot of RV kits that get started and not finished as well...the sample is much larger tho. Do the numbers on Bearhawk completions include plans built? Can't do that with an RV, so I wonder if the comparison is apples to apples.
From what I've seen since my envolvment with homebuilts since 93' is the RV's are the best you can get for project completion and the set the bench mark in a solid build process and completeness. The bigger issue is metal construction right for you, although there is learning in any new project make sure this is the construction medimum that best fits your skill sets, I'm a composites guy but to each their ownSpencer
Thanks for the inputs. I love both airplanes, but can only do one. The Bearhawk seems to make more sense for my mission preference. In reviewing some of the websites, it just looks to me like a lot of guys have had their QB kits for a number of years with not a high completion percentage. I don't know if that is an accurate perception though. I was just curious if anyone has heard of any problems with the kit or plans that may be hindering completion.
What kind of workshop setup do you have for the project? Have you done any sheet metal work before? I've found time and time again the biggest drivers for getting the airplane done often have nothing to do with the plane type it's self, but alot to do with a usuable every day work shop, a rutene schedule where you can spend a few hours a day every day an proficient fabrication skills in a particular construction method.Spencer
My preparation is coming along. I'm converting my garage to a workshop, finished the insulation and wiring with 110/220, paneling the walls and installed the airconditioner so I can work in the Texas heat. Also attending an EAA RV-7 workshop in August. I think even if I decide to go with the Bearhawk the RV-7 workshop will be time well spent since there is still riveting to be done on the Bearhawk. Will be attending a fabric covering workshop when one becomes available clsoe to me.
Hopefully I can shed some light on Bearhawk Completions since I'm working on building one, currently. If you havenít already, Iíd recommend joining the Bearhawk builders groups over on yahoo groups: (groups.yahoo.com/group/bearhawk and groups.yahoo.com/group/bearhawkqbkit).
Online builder logs aren't 100% accurate in judging the completion rate of either plane, but for the most part Bearhawk builders donít really document their projects online. They also donít tend to show up at shows or anything. Itís a whole different builder community (Bearhawk) that tends to be more rural or family oriented (not showplane, formation flying, or aerobatics).
For Bearhawks, there are many projects that get sold to a second builder who completes the plane. This one, for example (http://www.mykitlog.com/rogletree) that was sold to Jared Yates (http://jaredyates.com/bearhawk/) , who hasnít updated his log recently but is getting very close. Also, there is a mix of scratch built entirely, scratch built with kit compenets, and whole kitbuilt Bearhawks out there. There's no good way to figure the completion rate with all that. I know that over 1200 plans have been sold (for the 4 place), I have 1196. Also there have been at least 121 fuselages sold, many more wings from Avipro. Iíd guess that about Ĺ or possibly more of the kits are either complete or are being actively worked on. Many more kitbuilders reach completion, most scratchbuilders give up after pounding out the ribs (or never start after buying plans).
The Bearhawk build is much different from vans both in techniques used and instructions provided. The Bearhawk Kit manuals are out on the bearhawkaircraft site for free. Read through them, compare to an RV builders manuals if you have the chance. Youíll notice vans is a much more pre-engineered build, everyone does it mostly the same. There is a lot to still figure out yourself on the bearhawk. For example the vans firewall forward is an entire kit with lots of detail. The bearhawk is 3 pages in the manual and they say use whatever engine you want (lyc 360, 390, 540, cont 470, franklin, or even auto conversion). They provide mounts for some engines but pretty much leave the rest to you.
Also, vans has all the hardware pre-planned because it can work that way. With a bearhawk, a weld bead or tube trimming can set you off a whole AN bolt length size. As a result no hardware is provided with the kit, just a list of stuff to buy and sizes that should be close (wicks has the list made up into a kit).
Thatís pretty long, but I really like my Bearhawk kit, it is different than a vans. Iíd let the mission determine the airplane and then go develop the skills to build what you need.
Thanks Matt. You gave me some good insight. I need to find a kit builder near by and get a look at it first hand. I agree with you that mission must decide the airplane you eventually build. The Bearhawk fits my mission better than any other airplane out there. I just want to ensure myself that I will be able to finish what I start.
There are some kit builders in TX. I'm sure one of them would welcome you to come by for a visit. You might be able to locate one here: http://bearhawkbuilder.com/ or join the Berahawk Yahoo list and ask there. I think mission comes first in the decision.
Last edited by jwrjrjwrjr; 08-05-2011 at 08:31 PM.
What is your primary goal for actual use of the airplane? What is your age?
RV7, Fast, but limited baggage capacity, and low wing means you will be looking at the wing instead of the ground. Excellent reputation, plenty of help available. Plan on a sunshade and or tinted canopy. Can buy one on the current used market now fairly cheap if you have a pile of cash or can get a loan. Can land off airport, but not like the Bearhawk can.
Bearhawk is slower, typical cruise about 125mph for fuel efficiency. Lycoming 360 or 540 size engine. Hauls a ton of stuff...seriously. Tube and fabric design. Can buy quick build options, exchange cash for time saved. Very roomy interior. High wing, can camp under it, and see the ground you are flying over. Slow build from plans will take you a good 6+ years if you have a full time job and limited build time available. Some guys push 6+ years on RVs if they don't work at it regularly or just don't have the time they thought they would. If you have all the time in the world, you can crank a Bearhawk out in 3 years probably, maybe less if you are an overachiever type.
You do not see many finished, because they take a LONG time to build. Compare that to the number of RVs finished. Great plane though when it is done. Plenty of help available on the Bearhawk forum on Yahoo.
If you are anxious to fly...buy.
If you are anxious and still want to build, RV7 quickbuild.
If you are young, patient, and complete the projects you start, then go for the Bearhawk or Patrol(two seat tandem version of the Bearhawk).
It is easy to start a big project with enthusiasm, only to lose motivation 6 months or a year down the road when the reality of the size of the job hits, as well as the never ending charges to your credit card. How motivated and financially able are you at this point in your life?
Last edited by BearHawke; 08-07-2011 at 05:55 PM.