Tag: High-wing

Bat Hawk South Africa

The new South African Bat Hawk has been designed and developed by Micro Aviation South Africa primarily for surveillance and is the most affordable light sport aircraft on the market.
The Original BantamThe Micro Aviation B22 Bantam is a New Zealand “microlight aircraft” designed and produced by Max Clear in New Zealand.

The aircraft is supplied as a complete ready-to-fly-aircraft. The aircraft complies with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale microlight rules as well as the United Kingdom BCAR Section ‘S’ regulations. It features a strut-braced high-wing, a two-seats-in-side-by-side configuration enclosed cockpit, fixed tricycle landing gear and a single engine in tractor configuration.

As a conventional 3-axis microlight, the Bantam does not rely on pilot weight shift to affect control. Twin seats are positioned side by side for full dual control and both crew members are well protected from the weather by an aerodynamic fibreglass pod and large wrap-around windshield.

Performance of the Bantam in its multiple options has been widely acclaimed as nothing short of sensational.

In the hands of a learner it remains perfectly balanced for fingertip control and hands off flight, but pushed to the maximum by an experienced pilot the maneuverability is breath-taking.
 Bat Hawk LSA – Big BrotherSeveral major design changes were incorporated into the Bat Hawk, which included a larger six-cylinder Jabiru engine with more substantial cheekplates and engine mountings and increased all up weight to 540 kg, stronger main gear, larger ‘bush’ tyres, improved brakes, increased fuel tank capacity to 80 / 100 liters, zip open / close luggage area, MGL EMS, stronger wing spars and wing struts, re-designed more streamlined nose pod and a much larger windscreen for improved visibility. Perhaps the most obvious visual change is the fact that the new larger windscreen is now positioned forwards of the front no.1 downtube, thereby creating a much roomier cockpit.

There is a big demand for this LSA aircraft in the surveillance and conservation industries and Micro Aviation believes that contrarily to what is published, the Bat Hawk is the only true ‘bush-plane’ on the market. “Other manufacturers advertise ‘bush planes’, but they all have propellers that are far too close to the ground, which are damaged by grass, sticks, stones and sand. On the other hand the Bat Hawk has its engine and propeller installed high up out of the ‘damage area’ and also very importantly,” out of the pilot’s line of sight”. All of the other supposed ‘bush planes’ have high instrument panels which severely limit and restrict outward visibility. The Bat Hawk’s cockpit is very similar to that of a helicopter with excellent forward visibility as well as to both sides. All parts and materials have been sourced in South Africa, fabricated and approved.
Test FlightsDuring flight tests conducted over the weekend of 1 December 2012, test pilot CC Pocock managed to pull 4 Gs during VNE tests, with maximum pull-up and climb testing. He entertained everyone with a magnificent display of loops, barrel rolls and stall turns in the Bat Hawk. All this was recorded on the G-meter, which was installed, as well as on the MGL S/D card. Wing loading tests up to 3000 kg on the Bat Hawk wing have been conducted and she carried it with ease.

The Bat Hawk is a delight to fly and like its ‘baby brother the Bantam’, needing zero rudder input while flying. There are no ‘excess yaw’ tendencies at all. She takes off in 50 metres and climbs out at 1200 feet/min with a 100kg pilot and full tanks at Nelspruit altitude at 3000 feet above mean sea level.

I had the opportunity to fly with Andrew to a nearby farm so that I could conduct the aerial photography from a Kitfox and I was convinced that the Bat Hawk presented similar flight characteristics to the Bantam, but with a more ‘solid feel’ due to the increased power to weight ratio and strengthened structure. Andrew says the Bat Hawk provides a much more solid feel with its thicker cheek plates, whilst the cruise speed has increased to 75 knots from the Bantam’s cruise speed of 65 knots using the same engine. Stall speed remains 35 knots, although with a single pilot and half tanks this comes down to 32 knots.

Multiple Roles

The Bat Hawk airframe is strong and durable, allowing it to be used in many roles. With the second seat available to take significant loads a number of Bat Hawks have been adapted for use in a variety of applications such as:
Game reserve aerial surveillance, where the type is particularly well adapted due to its very slow forward cruising speed, relative silence and stealth characteristicsFence checking and stock mustering on farmsAerial topdressing and sprayingAerial photography and surveyingReconnaissance and surveillanceRegular ranger patrols.Carcass location.Water-point monitoringMonitoring of rare speciesGathering of Scientific data for research purposes. Radio telemetry and chemical immobilization of animals.Anti-poaching and follow-up patrols.Patrolling rivers and gathering valuable data on crocodiles for the Kruger Park Scientific services.Monitoring and mapping burning programs in the Parks , including aerial burning of fire breaks with the Raindance Aerial Incendiary machine.Patrolling the Kruger/Mozambique/ Zimbabwe borders.Vegetation mapping and erosion monitoring.

Side by side seating, dual controls, comprehensive instrumentation and flying characteristics totally free of vices, make the Bat Hawk an ideal flight training aircraft. Due to the conventional 3-axis aircraft controls, the Bat Hawk is ideally suited for initial flight training towards a National Pilot’s Licence (LSA).

Bat Hawk: Well-Established South African Aircraft Lands in America


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.

Bat Hawk

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!