YouTube – BD-5
1- 326 lbs.
5 ft. 7 in.
12 ft. 5 in.
The BD-5 kit aircraft, designed by Jim Bede and made by the Bede Aircraft Corp., was introduced in 1973. It could be powered by either a pusher prop or small jet engine.
The idea behind the BD-5 was of a small, easy to construct and fly aircraft. With just a 40 hp engine, the design proved so aerodynamic that speeds of 190 mph were attainable. Fuel economy averaged 40 mpg. Its wings were easily removed which allowed loading into a custom trailer for towing by a mid-sized car. It could easily be stored in a garage and the propeller version needed less than 1,000 ft. for take off or landing.
In its first year of production, over 4,500 orders had been placed for the aircraft. Unfortunately, the manufacturer of piston engines for the aircraft went bankrupt. Bede found another engine manufacturer that promised deliveries within nine months. However U.S. certification for use of the engine in the aircraft eventually took some three years. By that time, Bede Aircraft Corp. went bankrupt.
The world’s smallest jet aircraft, the BD-5 is a single seat home built kit that was introduced in the early 1970’s. Few of the kits were completed after the company’s bankruptcy in the mid 197’0s due to the failure to deliver reliable engines.
The micro jet airplane used a Microturbo TRS-18 turbojet engine that was manufactured in France, and in the U.S. under license from Microturbo.
It is estimated that there are some 150 airworthy BD-5 aircraft, of which around 30 are actively flying.
The BD-5 holds the Guinness world record for smallest jet propelled aircraft.
Sean Cassidy, Champaign, IL sent in the photos above and below of his RC BD-5 on its test flight. It has a wingspan of 103″ and a full flying stab. For power Sean uses a P-120 turbine producing 27 lbs. of thrust. All up weight is 45 lbs.