The next change we made was to eliminate the fiberglass spring completely and make a rigid structure. At this point we also changed from the small solid wheel to a larger pneumatic tire the same size as the main wheels. This solved the porpoising problem but found the ride to be just a little hard. So as not to delay the first flights any longer we elected to continue testing at Hutchinson, Kansas, where the runway is exceptionally smooth. With the larger diameter nosewheel it was not possible at that point to retract the gear in the original gear well. We did, however, learn what we wanted to, and are now making the appropriate changes to the aircraft.
Some of the other changes we are making is to move the location of the main gear relative to the CG of the aircraft. This will reduce the weight in the nose gear and at the same time provide easier and smoother nose gear rotation on takeoff.
Another interesting thing we learned in flight test occurred on our early high speed runs. Our exhaust system simply had the exhaust pipe coming out of the side of the aircraft. The exhaust was discharged at nearly right angles to the side of the fuselage. Although we considered this installation as just a temporary one, we did not foresee any problems. What did occur, however, was the fact that when the engine was running at full throttle the exhaust does come out at a pretty high velocity. The result was a jet reaction of an estimated two to three pounds of thrust. We discovered, therefore, when we would lift the nose gear off the ground that the aircraft had a slight tendency to go to the left because the exhaust pipe in the aft portion of the fuselage was producing thrust to create a slight turning tendency. A simple redesign of the exhaust pipe rectified the problem but we are studying the jet reaction of the exhaust very thoroughly to see what potential performance gains we might obtain at high speed.
Although on all of the flights the aircraft became airborne
below 60 MPH IAS we are going to refrain from quoting any performance figures
until we have obtained complete information and have calibrated all of
Those of you who have a BD-5 already on order will be notified at least 120 days in advance of when your aircraft will be ready for shipment to you. We will be shipping your aircraft in a complete package. All materials and parts will have been inspected and complete in every respect. When you receive your aircraft there should be no delay in preventing you from starting fabrication immediately. For those of you who may choose to come to Kansas and pick-up your aircraft instead of having it shipped commercially, we would like to request that you give us at least two weeks notice. In the future newsletters we will publish shipping charges by both motor freight and air so that you may know the cost of shipping. The exact sizes and weights of the complete aircraft will be spelled out. We have established a firm policy of not making any shipments until all items are complete. If for some reason we cannot make shipment of your aircraft within the week specified, we will voluntarily impose a penalty of 10 percent annual interest of the cost of your order, for any delay that is a result of material shortages of packaging delays. We do not want to be held responsible for delays due to acts of God, war or other outside factors that are beyond our control. We are simply volunteering this penalty on ourselves because we intend on meeting our delivery schedules but will not do that at the inconvenience of our customer.
All flight test information must also be corrected to indicate what the results would be at maximum gross weight on a standard day. It is only in this manner that we would be at maximum gross weight on a standard day. If we release information that is only partially complete the exact performance may actually be considerably different. For example, our airspeed indicator on the first flight did indicate below 60 mph when we became airborne. This could easily, however, be 5 MPH or even more in error. We have established a very comprehensive flight test program and we are following it through to completion. We know everyone is interested in flight test figures but the only ones that mean anything are the accurate ones.
We are exceptionally pleased with the flight tests so far
and we are now even more convinced that our final results will be very
close to our design goals. One thing we can guarantee everybody right now
is that the BD-5 will give them performance they could not obtain from
any other aircraft up until this design.
In addition to these items, all three engines will be available at the start of production. The 32 HP engine comes with the basic aircraft. The 40 HP will cost $90 additional. The 70 HP including drive system and larger propeller costs $710 additional.
The price for the optional engines is based upon our current volume. We do find, however, that if we had approximately 2,500 orders we could make a substantial reduction of the optional engine prices. We are, therefore, putting on a drive to obtain new orders so that when we place our initial engine order we can get them at the lowest possible price.
We, therefore, would appreciate if it you are interested in the BD-5 please place your order within the next thirty days or if you already have an aircraft ordered and then find a friend who would be interested. If we reach our goal, we will supply the 40 HP engine at no cost to the basic $1,800 price and we will be able to supply the 70 HP engine for $450 additional. We feel that this is a significant savings that could be of benefit to all.
We would like to remind everyone that we voluntarily canceled
our price increase from $1,800 to $1,950 on the basic airplane to go along
with President Nixon's price freeze. When the price freeze is over, however,
we will go back up to the $1,950 figure. So now is really the best time
to place your order. There will be a number of additional optional equipment
available and we will announce these items and their cost as soon as we
get firm price figures.
With the increased gross weight we did not, however, want to affect the stalling speeds. The production BD-5's will, therefore, have increased wing area to provide essentially the same stalling speeds. With the increased wing area, cruising speeds will be reduced somewhat. Depending upon the configuration the loss in cruising speed will be between four to seven MPH.
We have found from those who have already ordered the BD-5
that there is considerable interest in optional equipment. The electrical
system, instruments, avionics, etc. affect the empty weight of the aircraft.
Also by going to the newer and better Kiekhaefer engines the aircraft's
basic empty weight is also increased. It is for these reasons that we have
upped the gross weight of the aircraft. A BD-5 owner can now install this
type of equipment and still have a practical useful load. With the increased
gross weight, takeoff and climb performance will be affected adversely.
For those convinced these performance characteristics are critical, our
recommendation is to maintain as light as possible empty weight and operate
their aircraft at values below maximum gross weight. Under these conditions,
takeoff and climb performances will not be appreciably affected. We are
beefing-up the aircraft's structure so that the maximum G-load capability
will be essentially unaffected.
The original design called for seven fiberglass components molded with compound curves in such a way that they would form the complete outer fuselage surface. With this arrangement it was necessary to design an all-metal internal structure that carried all primary and secondary loads. For a number of technical reasons we did not feel it was advisable to use the fiberglass shell as part of the basic structure to carry any loads. Now that we are capable of going with an all-metal fuselage skin we have eliminated a major portion of the internal structure and allow a major portion of the flight loads to be carried by the metal skin. This greatly simplifies the internal structure and the complexity of building the fuselage. It also provides us with more room for the cockpit and engine compartments. It results in a substantial savings of as much as 22 percent of the aircraft fuselage weight which can be utilized as useful load. With the BD-5 now being made entirely of metal we can assure the structure of having an essentially unlimited life.
To form compound curves out of metal for the fuselage requires very expensive tooling. This tooling could not be justified if it was not for the considerable interest and orders that we have for the BD-5 already. Although the tooling is quite expensive, the rate at which these parts can be manufactures is considerably higher than production techniques for fiberglass. This means that we will b able to supply the BD-5 materials packages with an almost unlimited rate, thereby reducing delivery times for everybody's aircraft. We have now established the design so that the fuselage will come in eight separate components. Four right and four left pieces. The metal will be formed to shape and trimmed very close to the final butt lines. We have worked out a relatively simple way that the final fitting and assembly of this structure can be done by the most inexperienced homebuilder. A combination of bonding and blind rivets will be used to make the smooth structure. The blind aircraft-quality rivets are pulled with a simple pop rivet gun. It is a one-man operation not requiring complicated equipment.
With this design it will be possible to have two very large
engine compartment doors, one on each side. The cockpit will be roomier
in both width and height. Although the initial tooling cost for Bede Aircraft
is quite high, we cannot visualize a better, safer way of fabricating the
We have been convinced, however, in testing, that this completely American-manufactured engine is of exceptionally high quality. It is without question the best engine we have been able to find from any manufacturer. The internal parts are manufactured under exceptionally high tolerance and are completely interchangeable. There is no select match fitting of internal components. Furthermore, the design of the internal parts of the engine are so over-strength that we are assured of extremely high reliability. A new and improved cooling fin design permits the engine to produce a substantial increase in horsepower for the displacement. Our evaluation of the engine proved so successful that we are extremely excited about the adaptation of the Kiekhaefer engine in the BD-5. We are convinced that we will have the best possible lightweight engine for this aircraft.
We have found it desirable to use a single carburetor for the twin engine version. The cubic inch displacement on the engine is 433cc. The engine has the capability of producing either 32 HP or 40 HP under a different configuration. It comes equipped with a manual starter and is available with an electric starter as an optional feature. We have found the engine to be exceptionally easy to start and unbelievably smooth in all speed ranges from idle to maximum RPM. The basic engine will come equipped with a solid-state capacitor discharge ignition system. There are no moving parts or mechanical points to fail. The entire ignition system is a lightweight completely sealed unit.
We are expecting to develop dual ignition heads so that
all engines can be modified for dual ignition. This will be available in
the future as optional equipment. The three cylinder 648cc displacement
engine is an amazing unit that produces a substantial amount of power for
its size and weight. It comes equipped with a capacitor discharge ignition
system, manual starter and electrical starter as an option. We believe
that we will have a substantial increase in engine overhaul time and hope
to come up with the exact figures from our testing bench. At the present
time, however, we will quote only the need of a top overhaul at 300 hours.
This will consist of merely removing the cylinder heads and replacing the
piston rings. We believe a major overhaul of other items will not be required
until possibly a thousand or more hours.
We have also come up with a simple, foolproof design of
fuel disconnect fittings so the BD-5 wings can still be easily and quickly
removed. There will only be a very small header tank in the fuselage which
will provide fuel for inverted flight and a simple and convenient gas gauge
installation. With this design change two major benefits are derived: first,
fuel capacity can be increased to a maximum of 14 gal. on each side for
28 gal. total; second, it provides additional fuselage space which can
be utilized as a convenient and roomy baggage compartment. Exact size and
dimensions will be available in the near future. Although the original
arrangements had adequate provisions for fire prevention upon hard landings,
this new arrangement provides even greater safety.
Newton, Kansas Airport is located approximately 22 miles due north of Wichita, and 1.5 miles east of Interstate 35 West. The phone number for this operation is (316) 283-6910. We request that you do not call collect because quite often people authorized to accept collect calls are not there. Furthermore, we are doing everything we can to keep our overhead as low as possible which in turn keeps the cost of the airplane down. Although if you visit our Newton facility and wish at that time to place an order you can do so. We do request, however, that if you are sending your order in you mail it directly to our main office in Cleveland, Ohio. In this manner your priority number will be processed immediately without delay.