sport aircraft family by Jim Bede
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BD-5 Role Homebuilt Manufacturer Bede Aviation Designer Jim Bede First flight September 12, 1971 Introduction 1970s Status ~150 airworthy, ~30 flying

The Bede BD-5 Micro is a series of small, single-seat homebuilt aircraft created in the late 1960s by US aircraft designer Jim Bede and introduced to the market primarily in kit form by the now-defunct Bede Aircraft Corporation in the early 1970s.

The BD-5 has a small, streamlined fuselage holding its semi-reclined pilot under a large canopy, with the engine installed in a compartment in the middle of the fuselage, and a propeller-driving engine – or jet engine in the BD-5J variant – mounted immediately to the rear of the cockpit. The combination of fighter-like looks and relatively low cost led to the BD-5 selling over 5,000 kits or plans, with approximately 12,000 orders being taken for a proposed factory-built, FAA-certified version.[1] However, few of the kit versions were actually completed due to the company's bankruptcy in the mid-1970s, and none of the factory built "D" models were produced, as a result of the failure to find a reliable engine for the design.

In total, only a few hundred BD-5 kits were completed, although many of these are still airworthy today. The BD-5J version holds the record for the world's smallest jet aircraft, weighing only 358.8 lb (162.7 kg).[2]

Design and development [ edit ]

The Micro concept [ edit ]

Development of the "Micro" dates back as early as 1967, when Jim Bede was inspired by the Schleicher ASW 15. Along with his chief designer, Paul Griffin, they make preliminary designs of what would become the BD-5. At the time, however, Bede was working on the Bede BD-4.

Serious work on the Micro started in 1970, with construction of the prototype starting in earnest late that year. While the BD-4 was fairly conventional looking, the Micro was a radical design. It is an extremely small one-seat design that looked more like a jet fighter than a typical general aviation…
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