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Any experiences with the BD-4

Posted By:
Jon McDonald
Homebuilder or Craftsman
25
Posts
12
#1 Posted: 9/26/2009 16:51:04

Hi guys,

Does anyone here have personal experience with the BD-4?  Any experience, be it building, owning, flying, riding, would be helpful.  What did you think of the aircraft?  What did you like?  What did you dislike?  I have been to the major BD-4 website, but am looking for more personal experiences/opinions.  Any info would be helpful.  Thanks.



Jon McDonald Building Sonex #1287
Ron Voss
Homebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
14
Posts
1
#2 Posted: 10/1/2009 18:17:16

Hi Jon,

I have a friend with a BD-4 he built many years ago.  I rode with him a time or two and thought it was a nice fast aircraft.  He never used it as a four place for insurance reasons.  He has been trying (not very hard) to sell it as he still also has a Kitfox IV on floats/skis/tundra tires and is nearing completion on a Super Pacer he calls a Kodiak Cruiser.  His BD-4 has an engine and prop from a salvaged Mooney.

 

I also noticed you are a Sonex builder.  I built plans #41, flew it 2 years and sold it.  I am now half way through my second Sonex from scratch while I fly my RV-6 (which just went up for sale).



Joseph Thalman
Warbirds of America MemberHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
1
Post
0
#3 Posted: 10/1/2009 22:57:49

Hi Jon,

 

I had N14BD, a BD-4 built by my father, for many years. It flew with both a 165hp Franklin and later with a 200hp IO-360 with a constant speed prop. Drop me a note at jbthalman@hotmail.com with specifics and I'll give you a call.


 Joe



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Steven Mahoney
Homebuilder or Craftsman
1
Post
0
#4 Posted: 10/2/2009 01:00:53

Jon,

 

I built and fly N579SC I first flew it in 1985 and now I have over 1200 hours on it.  ….so where do I begin ...Trips ?........flying down to the tip of  Baja Mexico with my family  (we are four and the airplane fits us perfectly)  it has over 1000 mile range,  trips to Oshkosh, Disneyland (my kids favorite destination)  Sunriver, Oregon….  too many to list over 24 years of flying.

 Or perhaps I should tell you about the utility of the aircraft …..this summer I hauled 3 bikes and camping equipment to the San Juan islands in Washington State.  I can lift 1000 lbs (useful load) or perhaps you would like to know about the performance… cruises over 160kts on a Lycoming 0360… efficient too… If I slow down I can get over 30 mpg, not bad for a four place airplane. It is is a very clean BD-4

A boxy little thing in appearance, but very deceiving…. many people think that I am exaggerating or don’t know how to calibrate airspeed indicators and calculate true airspeeds, or don’t how to use GPS ground speed so as to eliminate the wind. I tell you that I have bet and won a tank of fuel on the numbers. This was back when fuel was cheap, it would be considered a high stakes bet at today’s gas prices. If you want to know more and you are serious give me a call , I’m in the book McMinnville, Oregon

 

Steve Mahoney   

 



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OB Wilson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
1
Post
0
#5 Posted: 10/2/2009 07:13:46

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...

http://www.tv3.co.nz/VideoBrowseAll/CampbellLiveVideo/tabid/367/articleID/56633/cat/84/Default.aspx?articleID=56633

Good Luck, and take care up there!!

                        Owen Wilson

CAA Client/PPL Licence No. 61000

EAA Member 754777



Kristine Bennett
Homebuilder or Craftsman
15
Posts
1
#6 Posted: 10/3/2009 01:47:39
Steven Mahoney wrote:

 


 Or perhaps I should tell you about the utility of the aircraft …..this summer I hauled 3 bikes and camping equipment to the San Juan islands in Washington State.  I can lift 1000 lbs (useful load) or perhaps you would like to know about the performance… cruises over 160kts on a Lycoming 0360… efficient too… If I slow down I can get over 30 mpg, not bad for a four place airplane. It is is a very clean BD-4


Steve Mahoney   

 

Ahhh so you happen to own that BD4 I saw this summer. Nice looking craft from what I could see of it. I happen to be a member of chapter 1411that is here on San Juan Island.

  Kristine



remember KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid as well as add lightness to what you are flying!
Mike Daniels
Homebuilder or Craftsman
9
Posts
1
#7 Posted: 10/12/2009 21:51:36
Owen Wilson wrote:

 

Gidday from New Zealand, way Downunder!

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.


                        Owen Wilson

CAA Client/PPL Licence No. 61000

EAA Member 754777

 

 

I’m considering building a BD-4C. It seems like a great bang for your buck easy to build travel aircraft.

 This is the second forum I have seen someone mention the high stall speed. Bede’s web site lists at “Stall Speed - flaps up: 61 mph” “StallSpeed - flaps down: 55 mph”

This doesn’t seem that high to me. Is it not accurate, or am I missing something?

 The POH for the 1958 Cessna 172 that I fly lists these stall speeds at gross: Flaps up 58 mph Flaps down (40 degrees on this one) 52 MPH.

 

Mike

 



William Shepard
1
Post
0
#8 Posted: 12/21/2009 14:35:39

I took a ride in a BD4 with a builder back in the 70's. He had built the BD4 and aBD5. The BD4 was some plane! I think it had a Lyc 360 at tha time. Although not stol it would accelerate and jump off the runway to climb at agreat rate. The builder's name was Mike Schlick.Iv'e lost track of him. having moved from Fl to OR some years ago. If you found him he would be a great source of info.Godd luck Bill Shepard



Michael Lamb
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
3
Posts
1
#9 Posted: 12/28/2009 20:03:10

Hi Jon

   The Bd-4 is a great flying aircraft. I transitioned from a J-3 Cub to a BD-4 and was surprised to find that it was much easier to fly then most claimed it to be. As far as I am concerned, the BD-4 is the nicest flying aircraft that I have had the joy to fly.  The stall speed is not a high as it sounds. Compare it to some of the certified aircraft that are used everyday.  As for the performance of the BD-4, well it takes a genius to beat it, like Burt Rutan who had to build a special aircraft just to win against the BD-4 in the Cafe 400 race. Yes the BD-4 is very efficient.  You could fly the Four or you could fly an old dog like the 172, with the same engine the Four would blow its doors off.

   I spent twenty years researching which aircraft to build. I early on dismissed the BD-4 for it's boxy looks. Yet in the end, I found it to be the best bang for the buck. Easy to build, affordable kit price as well as great support for the design. I find it interesting just how many highly aviation educated people have built the BD-4. Maybe that is why you find so many in and around the Seattle WA  area.

   I was partners in an excellent flying BD-4, that was built by Charles Martel of Xenia Ohio, N6576B 160 HP. Charles had equipped the aircraft with a number of special features. Below wing fuel sumps, fiberglass gear legs, extended wings as well as wing tips of his own design. I was also partners in a BD-4 project that I had installed a 12 inch stretch in the fuselage. We had an O-470 of 206 HP to put on the nose. unfortunately when the economy crashed in Florida, I was forced to sell my interests in both aircraft. Something I will always regret. I plan to some day have another BD-4.

   I have collected a wealth of information on the BD-4, about five 2 inch binders as well as many brochures and publications. If you need some information you can feel free to contact me.

Mike Lamb



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Michael Lamb
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
3
Posts
1
#10 Posted: 12/28/2009 20:09:48

Hi Joe

Your father bernie built a beautiful aircraft. I used that photo of it as the background on my computer for years. Do you know who owns it now? I am interested in the performance specs on this as it was well fared in. The paint job sure make the Four look good.

Mike Lamb



John Brecher
Homebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
3
Posts
1
#11 Posted: 1/21/2010 21:09:26

Jon,

I built and flew BD-4 186JB. Finished it in 1986. Trigear, 180 HP Lyc with constant speed. Cruise 185 at 75%.  It had a "useful" of just under 1000 LBS. I enjoyed building it and flying was even more enjoyable.  A heavy hauling time machine. It was quick on the controls but honest. Could take off with 1 200 LB, 3 120 LB, 50 bagage and 60 gal fuel and be off in 1200 ft. I didn't like the Scott tailwheel nosegear so used a Murphy which performed very well. The rest was near "per plans". Jim's plans were excellent. I didn't think so when I was building but have since built several others and can tell you his were better than any others.

Boxy as it is, you wouldn't find a better utility Sport Aircraft. I've built 2 1/2 BD-4's. A great aircraft.

John Brecher

Rahul Saini
3
Posts
0
#12 Posted: 3/15/2010 01:10:26

Hi Mike,

I am trying to gather info on BD-4C but am empty handed. I looked at the BD-4 blogs, bede's webpage etc and did not get the answers I am looking for. I saw your post and maybe you can help me. BTW, I even talked to JIm Bede. So here I go,


Are there any folks flying the BD-4C right now that can comment on the performance of the aircraft (which engine, cruise speed, stall speed, rough field operation, landing and take off distance, fuel economy etc..)

I want to build a 4 seater or a 2+2 with good luggage capacity(>100lbs). I have never done this before so a kit will be great. Here are the few things that I would like in my bird:

  1. My airstrip is 1/2 mile away and is a rough field so it should be able to handle that well.
  2. I am building a house with tandem garage and would like to keep my plane there so a folding wing design will be great ( so bearhawk is out).
  3. The aircraft should be trailer-able for every flight so the folding mechanism should be nice( something like kitfox, highlander)
  4. The Stall speed should be low (<50mph or even <40 mph) to give my wife piece of mind and the family access to a semi-bushplane regime so we can enjoy the weekend trip in the country. The 12' wings have a 50mph stall and not 55mph.
  5. It should be able to cruise at 150mph+ with full load so cross-country travel is possible. I want to cover a 1000 miles in about 6-7 hours or better. 
  6. It should be able to accommodate an auto conversion (because if I cant pay for the hanger rent, I cant pay for an aircraft engine + I think the prices are way over the top).
  7. Good fuel economy so that the immediate feeling after filling the gas tank(with auto fuel) is very satisfying.
  8. The build time from basic kit is <1000 hours( I really want to fly more than build a plane).
  9. The price of the kit should be <$25k (firewall backward) and not more than $40k (The sportsman is out of my budget)
  10. Good handling. Stable but responsive, well balanced control forces and flys well.
Does the BD-4C does all of the above. On the Bede website, the specs are very attractive but do you guys who have build and flown it second that. Any links to actual pilot review on the BD-4C will be great.

The other issue is are all the previous issues with leaky gas tanks, landing gear for rough field operation, wing spar (specially with folding wings) resolved. Also the new wing with sealant useage is of concern to a lot of builders. Too much contradicting information. 

Any help and enlightenment for this newbee to make me better educated!

Rahul

 



Udo Rumpf
Homebuilder or Craftsman
1
Post
0
#13 Posted: 3/15/2010 13:32:20

Hi Mike,

would it be possible for you to provide  your Bede 4 collection and information to me.

I would cover all your cost, plus some for your complete package.

Please let me know how I can be of help to bring this about.

In the last few weeks I have studied as much as I could from the BD4 website  and all the related links.

Still it would be nice to have it all in one place and in a  binder.

My name

and address :  Udo  Rumpf

                         154 Elizabeth St.

                         Brighton, ON    K0K 1H0

                         Canada

email          urumpf@reach.net

phone         613 475 4009

 

Regards

Udo



John Hyland
1
Post
1
#14 Posted: 3/22/2011 12:32:01

I just saw your posting and thought I'd relay this link to you.  I was also interested in the BD-4C after seeing a video from last year.  One of my searches came up with this:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/con-artists/james-bede-bedecorp/bedecorp-airplane-bd-4c-all-47fwd.htm

I went to the BD website and registered for a newsletter and immediately got a response.  Looks promising but I think it might be smoke and mirrors.  I think I'd have to see some parts and planes before I'd get involved.

http://www.bedecorp.com/index.html

Good luck

Jack