BD-5 Information Memo - No. 8

<Picture of man holding BD-5 fuselage shell on right shoulder>

<Caption: The aluminum fuselage shell for the BD-5 is very light. At the same time being extremely strong and rigid after assembly, bonding and riveting (using countersunk rivets) makes the BD-5 a semi-monocoque construction with a high-quality smooth finish.)

BD-5 Status Report

By the end of February the "Production Prototype" BD-5 -- all-metal Micro -- will be completed and ready to fly. All design improvements have been incorporated in the new model, and it looks really good. Even our engineers, who have been working with the BD-5 from the beginning are excited about the BD-5 now that all the "bugs" have been ironed out, and are just itching to get the machine in the air.

The Prototype-II BD-5 will complete all flight testing within a very short time (weather permitting) and we should be seeing some really exciting photographs of it very soon. The basic BD-5 design details have been thoroughly researched and tested these last few months, and every refinement and improvement will be part of the final design.

The photographs in this issue of the Memo were taken some time ago. The parts illustrated are now all beautifully finished and the aircraft is, outwardly, complete. Only the finishing touches need to be done. In face, we are so far along with the first "Production Prototype" that our engineers have already started another one!

BD-5 Cockpit Roomier

The cockpit in the BD-5 now has more "elbow room." This has been the result of going to the metal fuselage. Although outside dimensions haven't changed to any noticeable degrees, the cockpit interior has opened up considerably. It is both wider and deeper. It is amazing what a half-inch here and there will do.

Canopy Design Change

One change that will be incorporated in the production BD-5 is a "split" canopy. This means that the forward part of the canopy will be fixed, to form a "windshield," with the rear part of the canopy hinging at the top rear so that the canopy opens upwards. (Just like the F-4!)

Other Interesting Design Features

Other interesting features that have now been finalized include a device for centering the free-castoring nosewheel so that the wheel will be held in the correct position on takeoff for it to be retracted. Also, the spoilers at the inboard trailing edges of the wings have been tested and are very effective. In addition to the spoilers on the top of the wings, there is also a "counteracting" spoiler below the fuselage, which swings down to stabilize the effect of the wing-located spoilers.

Dual Ignition for the BD-5

Kiekhaefer Aeromarine has confirmed that dual ignition will be available as an option for all engines used in the BD-5. The 40 HP engine, supplies as standard in the basic BD-5, as well as the 55 HP and 70 HP optional engines, will be supplied with single ignition unless dual ignition is specifically ordered.

At this time we are not able to give a price on the dual ignition. As soon as it has been finalized with Kiekhaefer we will notify all BD-5 customers, as well as publish this information in the next edition of this memo. In the meantime, we would ask that you not call our office, or write specifically asking for this information. A price for the dual ignition will be announced in plenty of time for anyone to decide to order the system before we commence deliveries.

New Test Pilot

We are placed to have Mr. Burt Rutan join our company. Burt was with the performance and flying quality branch of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, and has been actively involved with the F-15. He will head our entire flight test operation and we expect to add additional people to proceed with an extremely active flight test program. With the pre-production aircraft available soon we have decided to spend every bit of necessary time and money to absolutely perfect the BD-5's handling qualities to the best possible. We feel that Burt Rutan's qualifications are excellent and he will be able to do an outstanding job. He is an EAA member and has designed and nearly completed his own canard homebuilt. (In addition to this he had ordered a BD-5 sometime ago and has a low priority number.)

New Information Kit

A completely revised Information Kit is now available on the BD-5. It is primarily a 24-page book, with a cover in full color, and containing actual photographs of the BD-5 -- both the original Prototype-I (with fiberglass fuselage) and construction detail pictures of the "Production Prototype" (with aluminum fuselage).

Final Dimensional and Performance Specifications for all engine and wing configurations are included.

In the new kit there is a full-page photograph of the BD-5 -- seemingly in flight and with gear fully retracted. We would like to make it clear that this is only a simulated in-flight photograph so as to give some idea how the BD-5 will look in this condition. We have not been able to take photographs with the gear retracted, but we thought everyone would like to see how it will look this way.

The new Information Kit will still be sold for $5.00, but we will be sending it out free of charge to all BD-5 customers who have placed an order. Anybody else who would like to purchase the new kit, and who have already bought the original kit, can get one by sending us $1.00.


We have been receiving a lot of mail at our Cleveland office, and the quantity seems to be increasing every day. We are doing our best to answer everyone's letter, but want to ask the indulgence of you all if it appears we are taking our time about it. We are doing everything we can to clear up the backlog of mail, and you will definitely receive an answer.

BD-5 Seminar -- Lansing, Illinois

It would really be an understatement to report that the BD-5 Seminar held at Chicago-Hammond Airport in Lansing, Illinois on Tuesday evening, February 8 (1972), was an outstanding success. Such an attendance at a BD-5 seminar would surely not be equaled!

A wonderful crowd of enthusiastic and friendly people literally stormed the hangar (loaned to us by its owner), and people arrived not only by road but also flew in by air! And when we report a crowd, we mean something like 1,200-1,500 people! It had to be the wildest evening since Custer lost his hair at Little Big Horn.

Jim Bede talked non-stop for about three hours, and when he suggested the BD-5 (which was not to be seen underneath all those people) be taken outside into the icy cold night and taxied down to the runway, very loud cheering accompanied the twenty-or-so "volunteers" who lifted the BD-5 bodily to shoulder-height and, in a trice, had it parked outside in the snow.

It was difficult to taxi anywhere, actually, as a thousand "aviation nuts," reminiscent of a molten volcanic mass, moved along with -- and very close to - the BD-5 as it rolled under its own power to the airfield.

But everyone appeared to enjoy the evening -- even Jim Bede himself who, by the end it all had raspy voice (although seen for several hours afterwards walking about shaking his head and mumbling to himself).

The assistance of Fred Boos, President of EAA Chapter 260 in Dolton, Illinois, was very much appreciated, and his fine efforts in taking care of the arrangements helped tremendously to make the seminar a success.

One of these days we'll go back to Lansing, Illinois.

BD-5 Dealers

The BD-5 Dealer Program is going ahead as planned, and some dealers will be appointed by March 1. We have already appointed one in Salt Lake City, and next Information Memo we hope to list our dealers.

<pics of the variable speed drive>

<Caption: Components of the Variable Speed Drive System are shown above. Top: the upper pulley shive; Below: the lower pulley shive and flexible rubber coupling>

<pic of BD-5 prototype with 2 men standing in cockpit>

<Caption: The BD-5 is definitely not a two-place aircraft!>

Where You Can See the BD-5

The BD-5 can still be seen by visiting our facility at Newton Municipal Airport, Kansas (22 miles due north of Wichita), but it will also be on display at the following placed on the dates shown:

March 17-26 (1972) - Convention Hall, Cleveland, Ohio

(Canadian-American Sportsman's Show)

June 6-9 (1972) - The Reading Show -- Pennsylvania

We are also going to organize a West Coast BD-5 Show sometime in the near future, but we haven't firmed up any details on this yet. It will take place in California, and most likely near San Francisco; but please don't call us -- we'll call you.

<Pics of Bede Aircraft staff>

<Captions: Design Engineering; Production Planning and Purchasing; Marketing and Customer Relations; Manufacturing & Prototype Shop, Flight Testing>

<Caption: Here are the personnel in the various departments at our facility in Newton, Kansas. As soon as our shipping and warehouse building is finished, we will publish photographs of it.>

BD-5 Information Memo For BD-4 Builders

Starting with this edition, this Memo will also be mailed to all our BD-4 builders. We have a number of BD-4 customers who have also ordered a BD-5, but still a large number of enthusiasts only write and call us about the BD-5.

Effective March 1, 1972, the price of the BD-5 will be $2,100.

Last Update: 5/23/97
Web Author: Juan Jiménez
Copyright © 1997 by Juan Jiménez - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED