The first owner-built Bearhawk Companion, a side-by-side two-seat kit aircraft, has made its first flight.
The Companion from Bearhawk Aircraft of Texas, USA, is a marriage of the wings from the tandem seat Bearhawk Patrol and fuselage from the four-seat Bearhawk Model 5.
The first flight was performed by the aircraft’s builder Dave Lenart of Bethel, Vermont who completed the build from a manufactured kit. An experienced builder and mechanic, Dave has built two prior Bearhawk aircraft including four-seat and LSA models.
Working closely with Bob Barrows, creator of the Bearhawk lineup, Dave chose a 180hp Lycoming O-360 engine built by Bob as the power unit, with a Catto two-blade composite propeller.
The aircraft features flush-riveted aluminum wings, steel tube fuselage, and an airfoil shaped empennage. The two-place Companion handles and performs much like the narrower Patrol. A slightly shorter fuselage makes it sportier than the ‘pickup’ styled Bearhawk four-seater.
The build was completed in 10 months and an estimated 1,000 hours. Dave’s Companion came in at 1,130 lb empty weight and 2,200 lb gross.
According to Dave, “The shorter nose of the Companion makes taxi visibility very good. With full fuel of 50 gallons, the aircraft has proven very stable.”
He noted that a clean stall is at 42 knots indicated, and 38 knots with full flaps. Its design cruise speed is 126kt, reported as being met, and it has a payload target of 1,070 lb. The aircraft was engineered by Bob with STOL characteristics in mind.
The Companion was launched in August 2019, with first kit deliveries in January 2020.