AUSTIN, Texas — The first Bearhawk Companion kits have been delivered to customers, Bearhawk Aircraft officials report.
The side-by-side two-place aircraft, introduced in August 2019, is STOL capable, cruises at 130-150 mph, and carries from 950 to 1,150 lbs. of payload.
Greg Charest took delivery of the first Bearhawk Companion kit in January 2020.
In selecting the Bearhawk Companion, Charest said he wanted an aircraft with proven strength and a wide performance envelope. His dilemma was deciding between the Bearhawk 4-Place and Bearhawk Patrol, then the Companion was introduced.
Charest resides in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
“Weather this year has been back and forth, between cold and warm,” he stated. “A little luck with warm weather helped with an uneventful kit delivery and the Companion is under cover for a couple of weeks while work on the shop is completed.”
While a first time aircraft builder, Charest noted he has a close friend in Vermont with whom he’s worked on aircraft before. He’s expecting his friend to help with the large assemblies.
“Like many other first time builders, I am a little nervous about being able to complete such a big project. Fortunately, there is great support available from Mark Goldberg at AviPro and a very active Bearhawk builder community. Bob and Mark want to see the first build go well,” declared Charest.
From owning and fixing Cessnas, to his current Aeronca Champ, Charest is looking forward to having a plane built with new parts.
“I’m super excited about eventually being able to fly and maintain a new airplane, rather than something built in the 1970s,” he exclaimed.
A second Bearhawk Companion customer, Chad Marks of Montana, received his kit this month as well.
“I’m going through things right now. This is my first time to build an aircraft. It’s all new to me,” he stated.
Marks has been interested in flying for years, but it was always financially impossible. Now Marks says he’s fulfilling a lifelong dream. Following research on available aircraft, Marks decided on the Bearhawk.
Living in Montana, “This type of backcountry aircraft was what I wanted,” he said. “Metal wings, payload, speed, all I read about it fit the criteria. Tubular frame, sturdy, reliable.”
Like Charest, community help was important in the decision.
Marks is looking forward to flying with and teaching his daughter one day, so a tandem aircraft seemed less suitable than one with side-by-side seating. Marks says he expects the Companion will fly like the Bearhawk Patrol, though with greater payload and without the higher cost of ownership of the Bearhawk 4-Place.
The Bearhawk Companion can be powered by Lycoming 4-cylinder engines, including the 320/360/370/375 variants and IO-390 providing 150–210 hp.