Who am I?... Well, I've been working on that question for all of my years and I have not answered it yet. (If anyone knows...please tell me). I am simply a fool and his airplane. I started my Berkut project on April 1, 1993 (April Fools day) at the age of 24 (and YES, I am paying for this myself and NO, I didn't win the lottery or anything). I am told that makes me one of the youngest builders in the nation. As you might guess, I don't have much of a life outside of work and the project...but what little I have is very intense - I tend to play as hard as I work (I'm also a CFI/CFII). It took 11 and a half years but the bloody thing FINALLY is officially an airplane and is FLYING! Most people think I'm crazy, but anyone CAN do this - you just have to want it enough. It's a dream, a curse, a source of great reward and pain...a challenge, for sure! However, it is mostly proof positive that YOU can achieve the seemingly impossible if you work hard enough!
If you REALLY want to know more about me (outside the hangar), just click here and I'll tell you. Enough rambling, you say? OK...on with the show!
The BERKUT! ....Berkut? What's a Berkut? Well, let me tell you...it's a bird with an attitude, in more ways than one! And for those of you wondering, it is pronounced 'Bear-Kõõt'. But first, the namesake Berkut: ...hummm....I think a book quote is in order:
"The most exotic sort of wolf hunting involves the use of eagles. It has been seen only - Barry Holstun Lopez
occasionally in Europe; its real home is Kirghizia, in south-central Russia. The specially
bred birds - a subspecies of golden eagles called a Berkut - are flown by nomadic tribesmen.
The birds weigh only ten or twelve pounds but can slam into a wolf's back and bind its nose
with such force that the wolf is almost paralyzed. Often the bird binds the spine with one
foot and, as the wolf turns its head to bite, binds its nose with the other foot, suffocating the
animal or holding it down until the hunter kills it. The birds are deceptively strong; there is
almost a ton of binding force in each foot and the blow of a thirty-six-inch wing can break
a man's arm....Kirghizian tribesmen still hunt wolves in Russia with Berkut, on horseback,
with the aid of dogs."
Of Wolves and Men
"The most exotic sort of wolf hunting involves the use of eagles. It has been seen only
- Barry Holstun Lopez
Wild, huh?!? Here's a picture of a Berkut's wolf kill. Still doubting this bird remarkable strength...OK...watch a Berkut eagle take out a deer: Berkut deer kill video!!
So...take that and apply it to an airplane. Quick, strong, efficient and powerful...a Berkut!!!