A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Big Tires at Intervale and Crow

April 21, 2019
Emilie Phillips

We bought the big tires for landing in backcountry strips out west. But it’s not enough to have the right equipment, you also need to know how to fly it. I expect I’ll need to fly the Bearhawk every weekend between now and our vacation to get good enough. We also need to record how the plane behaves with the new equipment.


First, Tyson took the Bearhawk to Intervale to practice. He initally landed carefully on the pavement. After breakfast with some other pilots, he walked over to the adjacent grassy field to see if it was suitable. It wasn’t smooth and it sloped to the side and undulated, but it was suitable for practicing. It took Tyson a few tries to learn the new touch down attitude. By his third try, his landing and takeoff were respectable. The big tires handled the bumpy field well.

Tyson set up his phone to film. We definitely need more practice filming before we fly west.

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Crow Island

Next both of us flew to Crow Island. Tyson and Isaac stayed on the ground while I practiced landings. The Bearhawk felt sluggish and unresponsive, but that’s always how it has felt compared to my RV-4. Distinctly different from before the tire change, I struggled to pull the stick back to raise the nose for the final deceleration before landing. That and the height of the tires resulted in me flying my landings straight into the ground. Luckily the big tires absorbed most of the bounce. Afterwards, I calculated my CG: 11.63″ aft of the datum. I marked 11.5″ on my weight and balance chart as the farthest forward I want to load the airplane even though the owners manual says it can go to 10.5″.

Meanwhile, Tyson had been chatting with Brian and the two of them took off in Brian’s Husky. Tyson reported the Husky flew nicely. The springs in the control system felt odd, especially on the ground, but Tyson guessed he could get used to it. The Husky glided lighter and slower, and didn’t come down as steeply as the Bearhawk. I aught to beg a ride in a Husky some day too.

When they returned, Brian set out cones for short field competition. Isaac and I videoed the other two. Narration on this one:

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