The Snark, a composite construction microlight, is the creation of W.B. (Bill) Barber. Mr Barber is said to have wanted to design something a little different ("not a high winged strut braced taildragger"), and he certainly succeeded. The AHSNZ newsletter records the aircraft being described as 'the front end of a sailplane with an Airtruk tailboom'. Originally built on Mr Barber's farm at Dacre in Southland, he now has a workshop in Queenstown. The original single seat design (ZK-FOU) featured a mid-mounted engine, driving an 2.43m (8') shaft with the propeller mounted behind the tail group. First flown in late 1987, this was considered a little hot, and having provided plenty of experience he started over. The second Snark (ZK-FYE), a two seater, was a more successful prototype. Built on a tubular aluminium frame, this provided the moulds for the later all composite aircraft. The third aircraft, ZK-JEK, had a number of construction differences, being all composite. Changes were made to the wing which was hard rather than part fabric, and featured full span flaperons. The tailplane was increased in size and aspect ratio. The fourth aircraft (ZK-PIE) was built by David Laing of Dunedin. He had seen the drawings for JEK and began construction before that aircraft was completed. Built with advice (and assistance on the mouldings) from Mr Barber, the aircraft is basically the same apart from flaps and ailerons in place of the flaperons, and some undercarriage changes. Mr Laing, who was a Master Pilot on Wellington bombers flew over 60 hours in ZK-PIE prior to passing away in 1998, and described the aircraft as one of the nicest planes he'd ever flown. The next example, ZK-JIU was also built with flaps and ailerons, and small detail changes in the construction. This aircraft, which features dual controls, is now in Australia. Mr Barber has commenced a further aircraft which was put on hold at the end of 1998 (when he moved from Dacre to Queenstown). Construction has resumed and the new model will be lighter, feature slotted flaps and possibly a new powerplant.
Constructed from kevlar/carbon fibre, the HA/3 is a pusher propeller powered aircraft featuring elevated tandem seating in front of a shoulder mounted wing. The aircraft is described as handling like a little C152 with well coordinated controls and a tendency to neutral stability. The tricycle undercarriage allows good ground handling, and visibility is excellent with the large expanse of plexiglass. The 80hp Suzuki G13 engine was chosen because it was light, cheap, and had a good reputation for reliability. Using standard automotive 12volt electrics, the engine has SDS electronic fuel injection, and uses 10-11 l/hr (96 octane auto or avgas) in cruise. The 1323cc engine is capable of 6000rpm but is restricted to 5000, and will happily produce a 205kmh (128mph) cruise at around 4500rpm with the 1.6m (62") three blade Sport Prop propeller. The 60 litre tank (55 useable) will allow a range of 1040km (650miles) with no reserve. The Snark has been taken to the 225kmh (140mph) VNE in straight and level but may yet go faster. The aircraft stalls power off at 64kmh (40mph), and with flaps at 61kmh (38mph). Mr Barber says that the stall is straightforward, (apart from ZK-JEK which has less washout than the others and will drop a wing slightly). Flaps can be lowered at 125kmh (80mph). With a takeoff roll of 122m (400') and a landing roll of 110m (360'), the aircraft can operate from a fairly small field.
The Snarks are:
. . . and the name - it's not (as Bill Barber points out) a misspelling of Shark. it comes from Lewis Carroll poem "The Hunting of the Snark, an agony in eight fits" first published in 1876. This Snark does not appear to be a Boojum!
Bill was kind enough to send me quite a detailed specification sheet, along with photos and other details. Because some of that info does not fit the format of this page, and its seems a shame not to present it, I have added a Guest Gallery.
Last Update:- 3 October, 2000
Data is for HA3-B
© 2000 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved