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The original MTOW of the early Bearhawk 4-place aircraft was 2500lbs (1136kgs) in the utility category (4.4 G). The designer allowed Bearhawks equipped with floats to operate to a higher limit of 2700 lbs (1227 kgs).

A number of Bearhawks (4-place) use a MTOW of 2700 lbs by extrapolating the MTOW utility weight out to establish a normal category weight (3.8 G). The MLW of 2500 lbs is still used.

As a result of test flying mine to 2700 lbs, my preference is to use 2500 lbs for both MTOW & MLW. At 2700 lbs the fuselage can be observed flexing, and there is noticeably more stress on the tailwheel and lower longerons. Once airborne it seemed fine, but it's unlikely that I'll need the additional weight margin anyway, and I haven't yet become restricted by either payload or CG.

Being in the Amateur Build category, it is up to the individual builder to choose which weight to test and operate their aircraft to.

A MTOW of 2500 lbs gives me almost 1000 lbs payload. When operating into shorter, rough airstrips I reduce it further to 2200 lbs to add a safety margin and reduce the likelihood of airframe damage. This still allows me a payload of 700 lbs.

As a rough rule of thumb, when operating into rougher backcountry airstrips, I treat my Bearhawk as a 2 place machine. This works very well and allows a greater margin for error by keeping the aircraft light and the CG forward.


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