Over the years we have been asked many times if we offer a side by side 2-place model – and the answer has always been “no” – until now. The Bearhawk Companion was designed for this purpose.
The Companion is really derived from other Bearhawk models. Not per se a clean sheet design. The Patrol wings are used, and the 4-place Bearhawk fuselage is used also but with a number of modifications for the new model.
The modifications that make the Companion fuselage are as follows:
1) Elimination of the big, double cargo doors on the right side of the fuselage saving around 25 lbs. Since access is so easy to the cargo area of the Companion by just folding forward the seatbacks – no cargo door is needed. The resulting fuselage is actually stronger with the truss tubing on the right side instead of the cargo doors.
2) The rear seat (from the 4-place BH fuselage) is eliminated. This also saves between 20 – 25 lbs. Where the rear seat was is now the cargo area able to hold at least 225 lbs in the Companion. Perhaps more after flight testing.
3) The aft bulkhead of the cargo area is moved forward one fuselage station to just aft of where the rear seat is on the four place. The elimination of the need to carry 100’s of pounds in the rear cargo area of the 4-place allows other changes which will make the Companion have flight characteristics more like the Patrol than the 4-place BH.
4) The four cylinder Lycomings used on the Companion will be placed six inches closer to the firewall compared to the 4-place BH. This can be done because of elimination of the very far aft cargo area of the 4-place BH.
Design engineer Bob Barrows looked closely at the potential benefits of designing an all new fuselage for this side by side 2-place with Patrol wings. After a bit of study Bob determined that re-designing the fuselage for a 2200 lb gross of the Companion (as opposed to the 2500 lb gross for 4-place) would result in between 10-20 lbs weight savings by reducing the wall thickness of some tubing. There was no performance gain to be realized. Bob felt that it was not worth the re-design effort for such a minimal weight savings. In addition, the Companion fuselage and landing gear will be extremely rugged for a 2200 lb gross weight plane. Since some of the Bearhawk community take their planes off airport into some rough places – the additional strength in the fuselage and landing gear is desirable.
It should also be noted that when Bob Barrows calculates a gross weight for all his designs – he uses UTILITY CATEGORY strength – not standard category as is normally used by every other manufacturer. In essence, this means a 17% stronger structure stressed for the utility category requirements.
To learn more of Bob Barrows approach to airplane design, click here: https://youtu.be/k4wid84CGZk
While this new Companion model has not flown yet, design engineer Bob Barrows is confident (and excited) that the Companion will be a really good flying plane.
The landing gear and shock struts (as well as the attachment fittings) remain the same as the four place BH of 2500 lbs gross. With its 2200 lbs gross, the Companion will be very rugged.