Friday, 6 February 2015

Bede BD 4 of New Zealand

The Bede BD 4 was designed by Jim Bede in the 1960s and was the first homebuilt aircraft to be offered as a kit.  Kits were first available in 1968.  It is a pretty successful aircraft with few curved surfaces to simplify construction.  The fuselage is built an an aluminium angle truss and covered with flat aluminium panels and the wing uses a tubular aluminium spar with foam ribs glued onto the it.  It could be built as a taildragger or with a tri-gear undercarriage.

The BD 4 had a length of 21 feet 4 inches (6.50 metres), a wingspan of 25 feet 7 inches (7.80 metres) and a wing area od 110 square feet.  Empty wieght was around 1,250 pounds (567 Kg) and MAUW was 2,400 pounds (1,089 Kg) (but ZK-RDH was certified with a MAUW of 2,000 pound (907 Kg).  Engines could vary but with an Io-360 engine of 200 HP, cruise was approaching 200 mph which was pretty impressive.

We have had only one BD 4 in New Zealand as detailed below:

ZK-RDH (c/n AACA/285) was completeded by Russel D Harris of the Bay of Islands and was first registered to him on 20/11/96.  However, the project had been started much earlier by Trevor Ancell in Wellington in the early 1970s and I remember seeing it when I was a member of the Wellington Chapter of the AACA. The registration ZK-DYG was reserved at the time but not taken up.  It was fitted with an O-320 engine

I have a note that it was damaged on Waiheke Island in 2002 when it lost its nose wheel, and that it was then converted to a taildragger.  Does anyone have a photo of it as a taildragger?  It registration was revoked on 2/6/04.

The above photo of ZK-RDH was taken at the 1999 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton on 6 February 1999, exactly 16 years ago to the day to this post (and when the 2015 SAANZ flyin is starting at Ashburton).  Thanks to Dave Bates for the photo.


4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post . I think it would lookbetter balanced as a tail dragger. So after ten years is it .
    Still in one piece or ,< reduced to spares >
    Would be nice to know .

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  2. I posted a photo of it on line some time ago, and the owner responded "lost the nosewheel at Waiheke in 2002 and havent flown it since."

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  3. I have a BD-4 Kit I am assembling, and hope to have flying with a Diesel Engine in eventually. Hope to use a 2004 or later Honda Accord Euro CDTi Diesel for its Light weight and high torque, combined with exceptional fuel efficiency. I still haven't decided on Tricycle or Taildragger, but agree that the Taildragger looks better. Do you still have contact with the owner of ZK-RDH ? I'd love to catch up with him.

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