Hawk International MiniHawk
The GAF-125 was developed by Hawk Industries Inc. from Yucca Valley, CA. This company specialised in equipment and tools for the off-shore oil industry, and was looking for a more efficient way to transport their products all over the country. Road transport was too slow most of the time, and loading their large and unusually-shaped products onto conventional aircraft often posed many expensive and time-consuming problems.
And so in July 1977, the president of the company, Ernest "Ernie" Hauk, together with designer Larry Stewart, initiated the development of a freighter aircraft that was to overcome these problems. The design was named the GAF-125 GAFHawk, with GAF meaning General Aviation Freighter. The name later changed to GAFHawk 125. The design would have to meet many demands: rear loading door for easy on/off loading, STOL capability for remote airstrips, square-section fuselage for maximum loading efficiency, single engine to lower maintenance time and cost, single-pilot operation etc.
The company obtained 1956-built Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer N6911B (msn 22-4186), which was almost completely disassembled in the workshops of Hawk Industries' Aircraft Division on Aviation Drive, at the small airport in Yucca Valley, California. The little aircraft was then rebuilt, but in an extensively modified form. It was made to look like a miniature version of the GAFHawk design, to serve as a small scale flying testbed for the GAFHawk's development. The aircraft was appropriately named the MiniHawk, and first flew in 1978.
Looking like a miniature version of the actual GAFHawk, this little aircraft served as a flying testbed for the GAFHawk's development. It is now preserved at Roy Williams Airport in Joshua Tree, CA. Photo taken by AirNikon in May 2004.
In 2006 the MiniHawk testbed N6911B was also still registered, with its status quoted as "In Question", and no registered owner. It just says "Sold to Hawk International", which was the new name for Hawk Industries' aircraft division.
The MiniHawk eventually went to Roy Williams Airport in Joshua Tree, only 15 km (9.5 miles) from Hawk Industries' workshops in Yucca Valley. The little aircraft is now preserved there, swiveling freely on a short pole and acting as a big windsock.