AUSTIN, TEXAS, MAY 17, 2021 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today the first flight of a Bearhawk Companion, side-by-side two-place aircraft. The Companion is a utility aircraft with backcountry flying characteristics. It derived from the tandem seating Bearhawk Patrol wings and the Bearhawk 4-Place Model B fuselage.

Design goal cruise speeds of 145 mph (126 knots indicated) have been met, as well as payload targets of 1,070 lb. The first flight of a Bearhawk Companion was performed by the aircraft’s builder Dave Lenart of Vermont. Dave completed the build from a kit. An experienced builder and mechanic, Dave has built two prior Bearhawk aircraft including 4-Place and LSA models. He is currently assembling on a Patrol.

Working closely with Bob Barrows, creator of the Bearhawk lineup, Dave incorporated a 180-hp Lycoming O-360 engine built by Bob into the first flying Companion. The aircraft features completely flush-riveted aluminum wings, a super strong steel tube fuselage, and an airfoil shaped empennage. The two-place Companion handles and performs much like the narrower Patrol. It’s slightly shorter fuselage makes it sportier than the “SUV/pickup” styled Bearhawk 4-Place.

The build was completed in 10 months and an estimated 1,000 hours—a short timeframe by most kit-built aircraft standards. The aircraft has accumulated 12 hours thus far with flight tests confirming center of gravity loading.

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 clean stall is at 42 knots indicated, and 38 knots with full flaps. The aircraft was designed by Bob with STOL characteristics in mind. With its Riblett airfoil, the aircraft has uncharacteristically higher cruise speeds than other aircraft of this class.

Commenting on the kit, “I see excellent quality welding, fit and finish of the tubular steel frame. Wings were delivered at an advanced stage of completion. Tanks were installed, wings were drilled with proper dihedral and angle of incidence. The wing struts were finished. Its tail surfaces were balanced.” Dave added, “The skylight formers and other improvements are nice updates to the older kits.” He estimated a savings of 100 hours or more from his earlier projects.

Buyers were clamoring for a side-by-side, two-place Bearhawk and the Companion delivered. The result is a very rugged utility plane with a large area for cargo. The model was introduced in August 2019, with first kit deliveries in January of 2020. Dave’s Companion came in at 1,130-lb empty weight and 2,200-lb gross. It spins a Catto 7662 two-blade, composite cruise propeller.

Bearhawk Owners Gather in New Zealand

The other down under is an untamed wilderness comprising the South and North islands of New Zealand. Together they outsize Great Britain. However, just over 5,000 aircraft are registered in New Zealand while Great Britain is the fourth-largest aerospace producer in the world and lists about 27,000 aircraft operating there. The Bearhawk has come to roost in the southern hemisphere.

The first ever Bearhawk gathering took place in New Zealand the last weekend in April 2021. In attendance were two 4-Place Bearhawks, a Patrol, and an LSA. “The crowd included other wannabees [not to be confused with wallabies] and guys still building,” according to Bearhawk.

<photo>L-R: Graeme Prankerd, Jonathan Battson, father/son Murray and Dave Patterson, Simon Nicholson and son Aidan. <Pics from Murray Paterson,>

Graeme Prankerd, of Stratford, owns PBH <yellow/white>, the only Bearhawk Patrol flying in New Zealand. Jonathan Battson of Christchurch and father/son Murray and Dave Patterson, also of South Island, fly 4-Place Bearhawks NJB and FHR, respectively. Not in the photos were a Bearhawk LSA and its owner Nic Roberts of Hawkes Bay, presently the lone example of this model in New Zealand. Simon Nicholson expects to have his 4-Place completed by Christmas 2021. While the seasons may be different down under, the holiday still falls in the late December timeframe.

All Bearhawk models appeal to backcountry and cross-country flyers alike, and can perform a variety of flying activities. The 4-Place Bearhawk fills a utility and transport role extremely well with its large cabin. The Bearhawk Patrol is a tandem two-place version that excels at accessing remote airstrips. The Bearhawk LSA is a lightweight design that meets U.S. Sport Pilot requirements. The Bearhawk Companion is a side-by-side 2-place model with superior strength and payload capability. Each aircraft excels at stable slow flight and attains higher than expected cruise speeds. Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality quick-build kits for all models.

For more information on Bearhawk Aircraft, visit, or contact Bearhawk at or 1-877-528-4776.

– Bearhawk –