Each project has to start somewhere, and this one has started as a pile of books. My wife told me that the traditional gift for a first wedding anniversary is something made of paper; so my gift came as an order from the EAA bookstore. They included the four Tony Bingelis books, the EAA welding book, Richard Finch’s welding manual, and AC 43.13 1b.
My first introduction to the Bearhawk was at the Kissimmee Airport on the Monday before the 2008 Sun-N-Fun fly-in. Avipro was hosting the event at Jim Clevenger’s Hangar, and I got to talk with Bob Barrows (the designer), Budd Davisson (representing Avipro), Wayne Massey (a scratch builder), and several others. You can see pictures at http://jaredyates.com/pages/bhkism/bhkism.shtml of the whole day.
Before Oshksosh in 2008, I was interested in the Bearhawk, but faced a bit of a dilemma. I didn’t want to find the money to buy an Avipro kit, and I didn’t have the skills or knowledge to scratch build one. The educational resources at Oshkosh changed all of that. I didn’t know how one could possibly form ribs, until I went to a seminar about forming ribs. Then, it sounded pretty easy. I wasn’t sure about welding, until I spent some more time in the welding workshop. One by one, my mastery of the various skills became a bit more realistic. I wouldn’t begin to say that I had mastered them at that point- rather, I just learned that I could certainly be able to master them in the future. You can read all about my 2008 Oshkosh experience here: http://jaredyates.com/pages/oshkosh08/oshkosh08.shtml
We had a bit of travelling to do just after Oshkosh, but I was convinced that I wanted to try scratch building a Bearhawk. Just about that time, Jeff Walin put his Bearhawk materials on Ebay. I purchased his plans, a copy of Russ Erb’s CD, and Eric Newton’s first 2 manuals all as a single package. I opened the box on the day that we got back from a month of traveling, and the fun had begun.
The time elapsed from the picture immediately above until the picture at the top of this entry was about 3 months. This phase was one of information gathering, where I was still reassuring myself that I really wanted to undertake such a project. All together, that process has almost taken a year.