It’s always exciting to welcome a new entry into recreational aviation. Two Bat Hawks are presently inside the USA and will be debuted at Sun ‘n Fun 2022.
Bat Hawk is a well-established, conventional microlight-style light aircraft powered by a Rotax 912 that helps it provide “sensational” performance.“We now have two planes in the country,” said importer and representative Gary Saitowitz, “and we just received our FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate at the end of 2021.” At this time, Bat Hawk is not a Special LSA. As they get started with the new-to-Americans model, both are registered Experimental Exhibition. After Bathawk Aircraft USA can gauge market interest, they may pursue another level of FAA approval.
LSA with a Purpose
“Like a bat outta…” in this case, South Africa not that hotter place. Kidding aside, Bat Hawk is positioning itself as a very capable workhorse. Their website shows a great many activities for which this aircraft is being used, perhaps most notably, as a workhorse for rhino anti-poaching actions.
Such working duties should not surprise anyone since LAMA has (apparently) successfully convinced FAA that these light aircraft are more than capable of certain types of for-hire activities LAMA called “aerial work.” LAMA didn’t call it “commercial use” as that could imply passenger hauling or air freight and those were not included in the request. Instead Bat Hawk in South Africa refers to work such as anti-poaching and follow-up patrols; water-point monitoring; patrolling rivers and gathering valuable data on crocodiles; vegetation mapping and erosion monitoring; and, monitoring and mapping burning programs, to select only a few. Most of these are surveillance of one kind or another and any of us who enjoy aerial sightseeing can comprehend that use easily.
I’m pleased our fun flying aircraft might be pressed into some useful duties. These aircraft are capable and offering manufacturers another potential customer base can help keep them healthy so they keep developing and building recreational aircraft for the majority who simply fly for fun.
What is Bat Hawk?
As the South African describe it, “Bat Hawk is a high-wing monoplane with crew of two seated side by side in an under-slung tubular framed structure surrounded by a glass fiber composite fairing.” Occupants are protected from the elements by “a very large wrap-around windshield.”
Bat Hawk’s engine and prop are mounted in a tractor position at wing level. Its tailplane is conventional in location and layout. Tricycle gear has a steerable nose-wheel. Bat Hawk’s wing is strut- and lift-wire braced. Once common, wire bracing has largely disappeared from fixed wing but it remains a very strong configuration.
Bat Hawk’s wing is built around two larger aluminum tubes forming the spars, one at the leading edge and one at the rear edge of the wing as is very common of aircraft with this construction. Sewn Dacron sailcloth covers all wing and tail surfaces plus the aft cockpit fairing.
Bat Hawk uses full-span flaperons attached to the rear spar; flaperons work independently as ailerons and together as flaps. There is no flap position indicator but approximate settings can be determined from the flap selector angle. Maximum flap movement is restricted by a limit stop mounted on the flap lever quadrant.
Side by side seating offers full dual control based on a center stick that no doubt makes entry a bit easier. Bat Hawk’s rudder is actuated by cables running from the pedals. Ailerons are controlled by cables from a torque tube connected to the central control stick, which has a built-in control stop. The elevator is actuated by a push/pull cable attached directly to the control stick with built-in stops.
Manufacturer Micro Aviation said a wide track undercarriage has the main wheels supported by an inverted ‘V’ shaped glass fiber that provides suspension. Bat Hawk’s nose wheel is supported by two hydraulic shock absorbers that “allows Bat Hawk to operate on rough terrain.” Black Max disc brakes are actuated using a hand lever on the control stick. Differential braking is not available.
Instrumentation is provided by an also South African MGL EMS (sold and serviced in America by Michigan Avionics). The MGL digital instrument is standard equipment and “enables the pilot to monitor dual CHTs and four EGTs plus voltage, oil pressure, oil temperaturem and RPM simultaneously.”
Price? — What will this multi-purpose aircraft set you back? In Experimental Exhibition category for now, the first aircraft is listed for sale at $79,500 plus shipping. Bathawk Aircraft USA is investigating Experimental Amateur Built or Light-Sport Aircraft for the future. More about that as I learn about it.
All specifications provided by the factory
- Overall length — nose to rudder trailing edge 18.2 feet (5.5 meters)
- Length — propeller to rudder 17.0 feet (5.3 meters)
- Wingspan — 31.2 feet (9.50 meters)
- Height — 10.5 feet (3.20 meters)
- Undercarriage wheel track — 5.4 feet (1.7 meters)
- Main wheel size — 8 x 6 inches
- Nose wheel size — 4 x 4 inches
- Powerplant — Rotax 912 100 horsepower 4-cylinder, 4-stroke
- Maximum weight all-up weight (gross weight) — 1,204 pounds (540 kilograms)
- Typical empty weight with standard equipment — 573 pounds (260 kilograms)
- Maximum fuel — 20.5 gallons / 123 pounds (56 kilograms)
- Minimum solo crew weight — 163 pounds (74 kilograms)
- Payload with full fuel — 508 pounds (231 kilograms)
- Cruise speed — 77 knots
- Stall speed — 36 knots
- Vne — 92 knots
- Take-off run — 100-165 feet (30-50 meters)
- Landing roll — 165-200 feet (50-60 meters
For more info, Bathawk in America is finishing their new website, so email importer, Gary Saitowitz, or call 404-408-0305. You can also check the South African website for Bat Hawk producer Micro Aviation SA.
I’ll be looking for Gary and his two Bat Hawks at Sun ‘n Fun 2022. I’ll report more then. Hope to see many of you in Lakeland!