Bede BD 4

The BD-4 is the first real kitplane in the world. Jim Bede designed and started to sell the kits in 1968, that's almost 35 ago! Despite its age, the BD-4 still is high in demand; no real surprise when you look at the specifications below. It is still one of the fasted 4 seat experimentals, but requires a fraction of building time and financial investment in comparison to younger composite designs.

The BD-4 has an excellent safety record. From all experimental designs with a larger number of high time aircraft it is one of the few with no reported catastrophic structural in flight failure. A rough analysis of the accident numbers in the NTSB database since 1983 reveal an accident rate that is about half of the combined other designs.

Despite the fact that the BD-4 was designed 35 ago it is still a very good alternative as an experimental plane. These are the main advantages:

  • Relatively easy to build (everything is pretty square)

  • Proven design with numerous modifications and design improvements that were developed in 30 years of building and flying

  • Fast: up to 190 MPH cruise with a 200 HP engine

  • Fuel efficient: up to 20 MPG (in 1983 it was Roger Mellema's BD-4 winning the CAFE 400 race against a number of modern composite designs)

  • Can seat 2 adults and 2 kids or 3 adults. If built with a fuselage extension it's a true 4-seater.

  • Long range, fuel tanks up to 80 gal (or even more)

  • Inexpensive to build, if built from plans

  • Multiple engine configurations were tested and used

  • One of the best designs to incorporate custom design modifications

Powerplant (Lycoming Engine)

l08 hp.

150 hp.

180 hp.

200hp

220 hp.

Gross Weight (utility)

1600 lbs.

2000 lbs.

2400 lbs.

2400 lbs.

2500 lbs.

Empty Weight

960 lbs.

1010 lbs

1250 lbs.

1290 lbs.

1295 lbs

Useful Load

640 lbs.

990 lbs.

1150 lbs

1110 lbs.

1205 lbs.

Wing Loading

15.15 lbs/sq ft

17.59 lbs/sq ft.

23.53 lbs/sq ft.

23.53 lbs/sq ft.

**

Power Loading

14.35 lbs/hp

12.00 lbs/hp

13.33 lbs/hp

12.00 lbs/hp

11.36 lbs/hp

Maximum speed - at sea level

156 mph

172 mph

183 mph

203 mph

217 mph

Cruise Speed - 75% Power

145 mph

165 mph

174 mph

192 mph

209 mph

Cruise Speed - 65% power

136 mph

155 mph

169 mph

180 mph

197 mph

Stall Speed - flaps down

54 mph

58 mph

61 mph

63 mph

58 mph

Stall Speed - flaps up

58 mph

63 mph

65 mph

67 mph

67 mph

Rate of Climb maximum

900 FPM

1250 FPM

1400 FPM

1700 FPM

1750 FPM

Takeoff Run

650 ft.

650 ft.

600 ft.

600 ft.

550 ft.

Takeoff run - to 50 ft. obstacle

1200 ft.

1100 ft.

1000 ft.

750 ft.

700 ft.

Landing Roll

500 ft.

600 ft.

600 ft.

600 ft.

600 ft.

Maximum Range (48 Gallons with 45 mins. reserve)           

900 miles

900 miles

920 miles

965 miles

935 miles