Gidday from New Zealand, way Downunder!
I own a BD-4 Kit and 3 BD-5s in varous states of disassembly, but plan to get started this coming year. My BD-4 will initially be powered by a Lycoming O-320 that I have with 160 HP, but I hope later to convert to an Auto Engine Conversion, either a Turbo V-6 or a Turbo Diesel and run on AVTUR. (I'd like to use the 2004 2.2litre HONDA Accord Diesel if I could get one from Europe... 340nm of Torque (450 ft lbs) from 2500rpm allthe way to 5500rpm. It is lighter and more powerful than their own 3.0litre V-6, and got 93 mpg in an economy run in the UK!!)
I have the 12ft Wing-Spars, and plan on doing an Aluminium Wing combining Pressed Ribs with Honeycomb. (let me know if you want a copy of the Aluminium Wing plans) I would like to put Winglets on the tips (available through Bede Corp) for cruise performance and maybe a slightly lower stall speed.
I like the BD-4 for its proven Performance, Strength & simplicity of construction, and convenience of folding wings. I am planning on making it a Taildragger for its looks, although being a BD-5 fan, it will never be a beautiful bird. (it is growing on me, though)
The things I'm not so keen on are the Stall Speed, partly a factor of the Aerofoil shape, and partly the Plain Flap constuction. It could be re-designed to have Fowler Flaps, but it would mean re-designing the Wing and Aileron controls too, and probably not worth the hassles with FAA approval etc. Also, you get nothing for free, and improved stall performance would probably mean slower cruise speed.
My thoughts, if you want a STOL Aircraft build a C701 or a Maule, but if you want cruise performance, build a BD-4 and get used to landing faster. I own a Beech Sport 150, so any performance gain will be appreciated once done.
I am fortunate to live in New Zealand where a 6 hr flight at 100kts will do the full length of our beautiful country, and we will have seen all the best that Europe can offer, all squeezed into its 600nm !!
Do It !! as it has to be the best Value for money Kit available.
Check out a bit of excitement in my recent life story at this website...
Good Luck, and take care up there!!
CAA Client/PPL Licence No. 61000
EAA Member 754777