Bearhawk Aircraft announced a new model in its lineup of Bearhawk aircraft kits, the Bearhawk Companion. Expected to ship in October, the Bearhawk Companion is a side-by-side seating two-place aircraft with utility category strength at full gross weight.
Originally dubbed the Patrol SxS, the new model got its name with assistance from the Bearhawk forum members who were encouraged to come up with an appropriate moniker.
The new model complements other Bearhawk aircraft ranging in size from 1320 lb (LSA) to 2500 lb gross weight with two or four seats and significant payload capability. The lineup of Bearhawk aircraft share many common traits, most notably the durability of their construction. Designed by Bob Barrows, Bearhawk aircraft are renown for their strength, performance and safety. All Bearhawks feature aluminum wings completely flush-riveted with driven rivets (not pull rivets), strong steel tube fuselages for safety, and fast cruise speeds while retaining excellent slow speed manners.
Mark Goldberg, owner of Bearhawk Aircraft kit manufacturing, stated after AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, “We have for some time now heard from many buyers that desire a side-by-side, two-place aircraft with all the great features of the Bearhawk designs.” While the idea was not new to the Bearhawk community of builders, its time had come. The Bearhawk Companion is based on the Patrol’s wings with a fuselage derived from the 4-Place. The result will be a very rugged two-place utility plane with a large area for cargo and superb load carrying ability. Without the need to haul significant weight far aft, like on the Bearhawk 4-Place, the two-place Companion will handle and perform much like the Patrol, however, it will be sportier than the “SUV/pickup” styled Bearhawk 4-Place.
The possibility of offering this model had been discussed before, then a firm order and deposit from Greg C. of Massachusetts put the plan in motion. Greg asserted, “I wanted the proven strength and wide performance envelope of a Bearhawk. But, like many others, was torn between the 4-Place and Patrol. Since most of my flying is local, or medium distance cross-country with a single passenger, the new Companion is a perfect fit.”
The Bearhawk Companion will appeal to backcountry and cross-country flyers alike. Side-by-side seating is preferred by some for its two-passenger configuration with both occupants having a broad view through the windshield. The arrangement also allows full access and an unobstructed view to the instrument panel. This can be advantageous for pilot training, flights into instrument conditions, and for “pinch hitter” pilots who may be called upon to take over the aircraft controls.
The Bearhawk Companion can be powered by the lower-cost and readily available Lycoming 4-cylinder engines including the 320/360/370/375 variants and IO-390 providing 150–210 hp. A large cargo area will occupy the cabin behind the seats. The new two-place Companion offers 2200 lb gross weight, an increase of 200 lb over the tandem Patrol. The Bearhawk Companion will be capable of carrying 225 lb of cargo in the baggage area (likely to be increased after flight testing).