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Ground Handling

Amateur built aircraft differences


No two Bearhawks are likely to be the same. In addition to the differences between models, discuss the differences between various Bearhawks of the same model due to engine power and weight, fuel systems, CG range, tire size, cruise speeds, VG's, instrumentation, pitot static location, aircraft total weight, etc.


Not applicable.


Pre-flight Inspection


Pre-flight inspection differences would include a close look at areas on the Bearhawk that are perhaps more prone to damage than other aircraft:

  1. Horizontal Stabilizer Support Struts for integrity

  2. Rear Longerons for integrity

  3. Tail-wheel springs for deformation

  4. Pitch trim tabs for hinge play

  5. Pitch trim tab push rod arms for play in the front bushing

  6. Fuel caps present, secure, and vents clear, and facing forward

Ground Exercise

During a normal pre-flight inspection, point out the above areas in addition to other pertinent items on the aircraft being flown.




The Bearhawk steers well on the ground primarily using differential braking. This may vary between individual Bearhawks dependent on the strength of the tail-wheel springs.

In practice, a combination of rudder pedal (tail-wheel) steering and differential braking works well. To initiate a tight turn, pressing a rudder pedal to full travel first, followed by brake application, should allow the tail-wheel to easily unlock and become full castoring.

Ground Exercise

Allow the candidate to become familiar and develop muscle memory through a number of taxying maneuvers.


Cockpit Visibility


The visibility over the nose is restricted on many Bearhawks. In addition, like many other high wing aircraft, the wings of the Bearhawk obstruct visibility in some areas.

This is particularly noticeable when at a runway holding point at 90 degrees to a runway. Having a clear view of the approach path may require the aircraft to be turned towards the approach path. Also due to the wing sloping down towards the trailing edge when in the 3-point attitude, visibility towards the rear can be restricted when on the ground.

When turning from base leg to final, the downward wing can often obscure the view towards the runway.

Ground Exercise

Demonstrate and practice the above situations to emphasize the importance of turning the aircraft toward the direction that the lookout is required.

Air Exercise

When turning from base leg to final, suggest picking a ground feature prior to commencing the turn to aid with the roll-out onto final.


Tight ground turns off-airport


When performing a tight turn on rough ground, the tail is particularly susceptible to damage. Consider using forward (down) elevator (with caution) to lighten the weight on the tail.

Ground Exercise

Demonstrate a tight turn whilst lightening the weight on the tail-wheel.

Consideration should also be given to shutting the engine down and manually manouvering the aircraft into position.


Position Error


Discuss the difference between IAS and TAS as it applies to an amateur category aircraft, and the fact that unlike certified aircraft where they should all be identical, in an amateur built aircraft there may be differences.

Discuss the fact that many modern EFIS systems derive the TAS from IAS and that the displayed TAS is not accurate unless the IAS is accurate, and that the error is often accentuated at very low speeds.

Establish whether the specific aircraft beling flown has been thoroughly tested for position error.

Air Exercise

Not applicable.


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