Approximately five months after Bearhawk Aircraft announced a two-seat, taildragger kit design—the Companion—the Austin, Texas-based company has delivered the first two airplanes.
Both of the new owners, Chad Marks and Greg Charest, are new to aircraft building, and both are expecting assistance from Mark Goldberg of AviPro (the Atlixco, Mexico-based builder of Bearhawk’s quickbuild kits), who, they say, has been very supportive so far. The build process is expected to take a few years, based on data from previous Bearhawk builders.
Marks considered several airplane types before settling on the Companion. “This type of backcountry aircraft was what I wanted,” he said. “Metal wings, payload, speed, all I read about, it fit the criteria.” Marks has an aviation-related degree, with a focus on systems.
Charest said he chose the Companion because of its economic cost of ownership and side-by-side seating configuration. He plans to teach his daughter to fly once the airplane is built. Charest was choosing between Bearhawk’s other kits—the 4-Place and the Patrol—when the Companion was introduced. According to Bearhawk, Charest wanted an airplane with proven strength and a wide performance envelope. He also chose the Companion because it offers an affordable path to a new airplane. “I’m super excited about eventually being able to fly and maintain a new airplane, rather than something built in the 1970s,” he said. Charest has owned several vintage Cessnas and currently owns an Aeronca Champ.
Bearhawk offers several engine selections for the Companion, providing 150 to 210 hp. In addition to the side-by-side configuration, the airplane has a large cargo compartment and a max gross weight of 2,200 pounds, which is why the company refers to the airplane as a “sporty SUV/pickup.” Bearhawk expects the Companion to cruise between 113 to 130 knots.