Bearhawk Transition Training in the Beautiful North Carolina Foothills

Do you need to learn how to fly a Bearhawk?

If you have your own flying Bearhawk and need an instructor, that's easy to fix- just hire your favorite local instructor. Pick someone with lots of recent tailwheel experience. If they'd like to talk about a few type-specific concerns, have them reach out.

If you are planning to fly a Bearhawk solo but have never flown one before and don't have access to one, that's not so easy to fix. One solution is to find a flying Bearhawk and ride along with its regular pilot, sort of an unofficial transition training. This can work if you can find a willing Bearhawk owner and if your insurance company doesn't require any flight time logged as instruction received.

On the other hand, if your insurance company requires that you have dual time in a Bearhawk, or an official transition training program administered by a flight instructor, that is the hardest problem to fix. The regulations prohibit a Bearhawk owner/instructor from providing instruction in his own Bearhawk, because this would require him to use his airplane for a purpose other than his own recreation end education. The FAA has authorized me to deviate from that restriction, as long as I comply with all of the requirements that they have specified in the documents linked below.

To summarize those requirements, the transition program is structured with ground and flight lessons, and lists student prerequisites including at least a Private Pilot certificate with a SEL rating and a tailwheel endorsement. The intent is that the student will enter the program as a current and proficient tailwheel pilot who just needs to learn the Bearhawk-specific skills. The intent is not to re-train a student who has not flown since he started building, or to teach tailwheel skills to a pilot who has not flown one before. The authorization includes a provision for using the training to meet the requirements of a flight review also (subject to a few more requirements) but the intent is to give a flight review to a current pilot who happens to be due for one, not to bring a non-current pilot up to flight review standards.

The hourly rate for this training is $300 for the airplane and instructor, with a three hour minimum. The minimum can be waived for an additional fee of $50 per hour for each our less than 3. We have to pay an insurance premium of $150 per trainee, which is the purpose for the minimum. If we fly together for two hours, the additional fee would be $50, for example).

Training Philosophy: Layers

Learning to fly is hard, in part because most of the skills must be learned in the airplane, and the airplane is a terrible learning environment. Further, there's always the task of protecting the flight path and remaining in control, without an option to "pause."

A new student has so many sensory inputs, and during many phases of flight, things happen quickly. If we made a list of the skills required to fly safely, it might include things like controlling the flight path in each axis, managing the engine, talking on the radio, navigating, etc. Each of those skills can be further divided into smaller categories. Proficient pilots will perform these many "micro skills" seamlessly, without thinking about them. Since a new pilot in training doesn't have all of those skills, the instructor can plan to perform almost all of the tasks in the beginning. As training progresses, the instructor gradually and incrementally passes these micro skills to the student, allowing the student to understand and master the skills one at a time instead of all together. These smaller bites of knowledge and skill are much more digestible, allowing the student to learn, but also allowing the instructor to pick up the rest, in order to keep the airplane flying safely.

This is the strategy we will use in your Bearhawk transition training. In our first ground discussions and in our first flight, I take inventory of your current skill level and establish a starting point. From that starting point, I gradually add additional skills and tasks, like layers that we gradually build up over the length of the course. As we progress through the syllabus, I add layers as fast as you are able to accept them, and we take frequent breaks. For most students, progress slows after about 45 minutes in a single flight. We might do as many as 3-4 of these lessons in the morning, and 3-4 in the afternoon, though we'll stop and do less if your brain gets full. The training is only for your benefit, so any time the training is not beneficial, we stop.

Training in Our Airplane for Yours

Since we are only training for a transition to your own Bearhawk, there are several layers of skills that are never intended to be transferred. For example, the training aircraft is a 4-Place Bearhawk Model B with a Carbureted Lycoming O-540 (250 hp) and a constant speed prop. If we are training for an airplane that has a fixed pitch prop, then the instructor will handle that set of skills for all operations. There will certainly be some cases where this isn't possible, but in these cases we talk about the differences.

Our goal is to prepare you for a safe first flight, and first 5 hours of flight testing. Once you reach that point, you'll be able to learn from your own airplane. Much of our ground training is about decision-making and planning for your first flight.

Click here to download the complete LODA and review the program requirements and syllabus.

For more information, contact Jared Yates at 828-308-1543 or email