Photos by Willie Bodenstein
Mpumalanga based Micro Aviation has been building light sport aircraft since 2013 and the companies’ Bantam and Bat Hawk LSAs have sold in large numbers not only locally, but also throughout the continent.
There is barely an African country where Bat Hawks are not being used in the nature conservation and ant poaching roles. The Bat Hawk’s cockpit is very similar to that of a helicopter and it provides excellent forward visibility on either side of the cockpit.
Micro Aviation’s Terry Pappas has confirmed that they are currently developing a wider body amphibian version to enable parks with extreme wet seasons to be able to access all areas throughout the year that can also be utilised for fisheries management in such areas. The amphibian version, they feel, will also find a market in the USA and Canada.
Bat Hawk are built from scratch in Nelspruit at the company’s factory that has a capacity to build five units a month, with an order usually taking about eight weeks to complete. All the components used to build the Bat Hawk, besides its 100 hp four-cylinder Rotax engine and its propeller, are sourced locally.
Designed for African conditions, the Bat Hawk’s engine is mounted in a tractor position above and ahead of the crew with the propeller positioned up and away to reduce the risk of damage to the aircraft by grass, sticks, stones and sand. The Bat Hawk features a strut-braced high-wing, a two-seat in side-by-side configuration open cockpit and fixed-tricycle landing gear. The high-wing has two tubes forming the spars, one at the leading edge and one at the rear edge of the wing. The full span flaperons attached to the rear spar are of similar construction and covering.
All these parts are manufactured from corrosion-resistant aluminium alloy and stainless-steel wires, while the air-frame and wings are covered with tensional Dacron sailcloth. Equipped with substantially tough landing gear for rugged terrain, the aircraft is also ultraviolet light proof and can handle winds of up to 30 knots in flight and a cross wind component of 16 knots.
As a conventional thee-axis light sport aircraft, the Bat Hawk 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.
Supplied as a complete ready-to-fly aircraft, the Bat Hawk complies with the ASTM2245 Build Standard rules and regulations, as well as has a South African Civil Aviation Type Acceptance Certificate.