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Thread: Homebuilt Bush Plane

  1. #1
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    Homebuilt Bush Plane

    I'm soon to be retiring at age 50. I want to spend several months a year exploring Alaska, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. A reliable, rugged, floatplane with long range and extra load capacity is what I need. I'm looking at a used Cessna 185 or a homebuilt of similar specs. So far the only thing close is a Avipro Bearhawk with Clamar Floats or Montana Floats.

    Anyone know of a homebuilt better suited for my purpose than a Bearhawk?

    Thanks

    Y.O.B.
    Last edited by yukonorbust; June 20th, 2006 at 12:37 AM.

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    Last edited by yukonorbust; June 19th, 2006 at 11:55 PM.

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    Registered User Captain_John's Avatar
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    The Sportsman 2+2 by Glasair is nice. You may also want to consider the Murphy line of airplanes.

    CJ
    RV-7 Fuselage

    http://www.rivetbangers.com

    There's an airshow EVERYDAY at Hangar #5!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator orion's Avatar
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    If the Cessna 185 meets your needs then airplanes like the Glastar will fall short in the areas of utility and durability. I would think the Bearhawk will come close although it too is noticably smaller than the 185.

    The only kit production airplane I can think of that might meet your needs is the Murphy Moose. Whether powered by the radial or the 540 Lyc., this airframe has the volume and the performance to be a bush hauler, and it is specifically designed for a variety of float options.
    "To live is to learn; to learn is to live" (author unknown)

  5. #5
    CAB
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    What about the bearhawk doesn't suit you?

    CAB
    Bearhawk #862 (yeah, I'm biased )

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    Originally posted by CAB
    What about the bearhawk doesn't suit you?

    CAB
    Bearhawk #862 (yeah, I'm biased )
    It might be the ticket, but I first want to see all available options. Like orion says, the Bearhawk is smaller than the 185. The 185 is a work horse. As I understand it, no Bearhawk has yet to fly with floats, so no one really KNOWS what performance is with floats. The Moose might be closer to the 185, but the Bearhawk is a lot cheaper.

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    Registered User wally's Avatar
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    Well "cheap" is a very relative term when applied to anything with wings!
    (Sorry, i couldn't resist)

    Congrats on being able to retire so early. I am 59 and looking at working until I drop.

    The only reason I am as successful as I am is years of trying to make more money than my family can spend!
    Best wishes,
    Wally

  8. #8
    Super Moderator orion's Avatar
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    Although I am not an owner of either airplane, I do have a partial Bearhawk plan set and I do know the folks at Murphy well enough to be familiar with their design paractices and their approach to the engineering process. If I were asked to compare the two aircraft from the standpoint of durability and pure capacity for rough, back-country operations, my own two cents worth of opinion would be that the Murphy is well ahead of the Bearhawk in terms of volume, structure and suitability to the back-woods.

    Don't get me wrong though - I think the Bearhawk is a good airplane and would suit the average owner or family quite well for general travel use, hauling and camping.

    But the Moose has more hauling volume, built in structure for floats, and potentially much better short field and/or off field performance. Yes, it is a bigger and more expensive kit but I know too many people in this business who have bought the smaller and cheaper airplane only to regret it later.
    "To live is to learn; to learn is to live" (author unknown)

  9. #9
    Registered User velojym's Avatar
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    We had considered the Bearhawk, and it remains my 'dream plane', but I decided to go with something a little simpler for our first project.
    http://www.zenithair.com/stolch801/index1.html

    1000 lb useful load, STOL, tri-gear.
    We took a test flight at the factory in Mexico, Mo, and were impressed enough to begin construction. The rudder is finished and we've brought home the rest of the tail kit.
    Construction is simple, sheet metal and pull rivets, and the airplane is basically a Flying SUV.
    "I drank WHAT???"

    --Socrates

  10. #10
    Registered User Dieselfume's Avatar
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    If a moose looks good to you, you might consider the comp air 6 or 7 with a 540 lyc, 520/550 cont or a M14P radial. The comp air 7 comes in different widths, stretches and gross weight levels.

    I know a guy that lives at crest airpark that is building a comp air 7 and has a m-14P radial for it. I think he's nicknamed it the "Compzilla" since one of the smaller comp air planes is called the comp monster. He's eventually going to put it on floats. He has tundra tires to get the prop clearance he needs. Tryin to remember if I have any pics of it. Airframe is 90% complete.
    It looks to be a very stout composite airframe, and it's a bit slicker than a moose would be.
    - Tom - aka Oddball
    EAA Ch26, Seattle (BFI)
    Project: Wickham Model F twin

  11. #11
    Super Moderator orion's Avatar
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    Despite their name and advertising, the CompAirs are small airplanes.
    "To live is to learn; to learn is to live" (author unknown)

  12. #12
    Registered User Captain_John's Avatar
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    Orion, not all of them. They make a CA10 as I recall.

    ...an ten seater isn't small in my book.

    CA10



    CJ
    RV-7 Fuselage

    http://www.rivetbangers.com

    There's an airshow EVERYDAY at Hangar #5!

  13. #13
    Super Moderator orion's Avatar
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    Yea, that's bigger but it also has a rather sizeable ugly coefficient. Besides, what school did the designer go to where they taught that two verticals are better than one. That alone (plus one or two other areas)makes me question their design and/or engineering "expertise".

    According to one of my customers though, their ten seater is no more a ten seat airplane than the seven is a seven seater. I sat in a turbine seven a couple of years ago - even for a more average sized person that's a tight fit. The pilot and copilot seats were from a very early model of a Geo Metro, which were the smallest seats they could find, and even then they had a tight fit with the door. For me, the sitting height was marginal and the width would have made a nice single seat cockpit, but not two. I think it measures quite a bit less than 40" wide on the inside. Even the owner indicated that he thinks of the airplane as barely more than a four seater.
    Last edited by orion; June 21st, 2006 at 10:29 AM.
    "To live is to learn; to learn is to live" (author unknown)

  14. #14
    Registered User Othman's Avatar
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    Hahaha!

    Nice comments Orion... it doesn't look THAT bad... except for the two closely spaced vertical tails as already mentioned, and the trike gear. Doesn't seem to have too much prop clearance, not so good for bush flying.

    My personal opinion, if you want a solid bush plane, you need conventional landing gear.

    My choice would be the Murphy Moose. Good design, and I would expect that the factory made parts from Murphy would be top quality.

  15. #15
    Registered User Dieselfume's Avatar
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    The comp 10 is the twin tail.

    The comp 7 that he's building is a standard empennage configuration and is a taildragger. The tundra tires are to ensure prop clearance (that M-14P has a HUGE prop, canoe paddles more like it), the 8.00X6's he had would have been cutting it close. He has aluminum spring gear and didn't want to get a new one made.

    I didn't think the interior room was that bad. Maybe a bit shorter in height than a moose, but it is wider than a 185... Long enough for 6 pass club seating.
    I guess I'd like to see a side by side of the moose vs comp 7. I wouldn't be surprised it the comp was smaller, but not by a huge amount.
    - Tom - aka Oddball
    EAA Ch26, Seattle (BFI)
    Project: Wickham Model F twin

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