LS 1/72 BD-5J
I believe it was the 'Encyclopaedia of Military Models 1/72' by Tom Young and others that inspired me to try find this model, the smallest 1/72 model available. I love the contrast it presents when I hold it nose-to-nose against a big single-seat fighter, like my YF-22 model. I think the finished model really needs a 1/72 figure to show just how small the real thing is. Through the research of this model I also got very interested in the history of this remarkable home-built aircraft, and its technology. While building this model, I built a second one, N3038V, as a present for its owner Juan Jimenez.
The LS BD-5J is the smallest 1/72 kit available. The model was issued in 1983. Unfortunately LS went under a couple of years ago, so this kit is pretty rare. LS made two versions of the kit. Kit A193 has the jet powered BD-5J on the box top (shown above), and A194 has artwork of the prop-driven BD-5B. The contents of the two versions are identical however: each box contain complete kits of a long winged prop-driven BD-5B (12 parts), and a short-winged jet powered BD-5J (10 parts). A friend bought kit A193 for me at the IPMS-UK Nationals in 1995.
It had been reported for some time that ARII owned the LS molds, and in summer 2003 they finally reissued the kit. The box is now twice as big, and inside you will find no fewer than four BD-5's! You get two jet-powered 5J's and two prop-powered 5B's. Contrary to some reports, you get all parts for four aircraft (including four landing gears). The box contains two stands only however, but that shouldn't be a problem. The decals are identical to those of LS, but the printing is sharper, which is most noticable in the small lettering of the Acrostars aircraft. A drawback of the sharper decals is that some spelling errors are revealed :-) On the negative side, the canopies are not as clear as the original issue, and one has a pimple on the inside. Kit number is 32107, and in Japan it costs 1000 Yen. See Hobby Link Japan for more details.
In summer 2011 the same model set was reissued under the MicroAce label. It is reported that MicroAce is a brand owned by Arii, specialising in model trains. Like in the Arii reissue, the box contains four models. Decals are identical, and the clear parts show the same mediocre clarity too. Catalog number is 32108, and in Japan it costs 1200 Yen.
|LS A193 (1983)
||LS A194 (1983)
||ARII 32107 (2003)
||MicroAce 32108 (2011)
There are two more BD-5 models in 1/72 scale. The oldest was produced by 299 Models, run by Terry Moore from Seattle. It was a limited run injection-molded kit, with a vacformed canopy, sold bagged. There were two versions: a prop issued in 1981 with the short-span A-wing (catalog number 001) and a jet in 1982 (catalog number 003). Some 1500 were produced, but production was stopped when the LS kits came out. The other BD-5 model is a resin model by 'Pylon1 Air Racing Accessories'. They appear to be straight resin copies of the LS/Arii/MicroAce models, in both prop and jet versions. Various resin colors are used, such as blue, goldish brown and white. They appeared on Ebay in 2012.
|299 Models (1982)
Anigrand from Hong Kong is a producer of resin models, and in 2003 they had a BD-5J listed as a new release. But after the re-release of the ARII / LS kit, the announcement disappeared. As far as I know, there are no BD-5's in other scales. Back in 1996, Robert Beach considered producing a vacuum-formed kit in 1/48 (see Google's rec.models.scale archive). Large-scale RC models of the BD-5 exist in several scales (or at least plans to build them).
I started building this little kit at a time when I could only find very limited BD-5 information, mainly in some issues of Jane's all the world's aircraft. Since then the information explosion on the internet occurred, and with it the fantastic BD-5 web site maintained by Juan Jiménez. It contains several hundred photos and lots of other information. I haven't digested all this new information, but it could prove some of my detailing to be incorrect. In 2006,
BD-5Builder.com came online and looks to be another useful source of information.
Another nice source is Aeroplane Monthly from September 1974. In a 10 page article the story of the early years of the BD-5 program is told, including the first glassfibre prototype with a butterfly tail, and the second proto with sweptback tailplanes. It includes a nice cutaway of the BD-5B.
I'm building my model as the the Bud Light Jet N210LL, as flown by Bill 'Burner' Beardsley. I would love to lay my hands on one of two videos about the jet: 'Burner, Once a Blue Angel' or a shorter version called 'Airshow view from the Cockpit'. Please contact me if you happen to have one of them.
|I started by thinning the cockpit walls, and then added a top longeron. Next I made side console from plastic card, the width about one millimeter. Then I extended the rear cockpit bulkhead down to the seat level, to prevent see-through effects. A nose landing gear well or opening was completely absent, so I cut out the opening and created a box with card. The top of the box also serves as the front cockpit floor. The model is a definite tail sitter, so I filled every possible space in front of the main landing gear with pieces of lead, and filled left-over spaces with Milliput. The assembled model now balances around the leading edge of the wing, well forward of the main landing gear.
||Left fuselage halve. It received the same treatment as right fuselage halve. The integrally moulded pitot tube broke off in an early phase. It's too short anyway (see the cross-sectional view below), and later I drilled a hole in the nose, to accept a steel wire pitot tube later.
|The fuselage halves temporarily assembled. The seat is now inserted too. The seat has three modifications. From a cross-section drawing (shown at the end of this page) I learned that the seat should recline more, so I filled the middle part with putty (blue Tamiya putty is clearly visible). I also added a front end 'lip' to the seat from a small piece of card. The last modification was to scrape two slight dents in the seat to simulate the impression made by the legs of the pilot. I learned later that many BD-5's have custom seats, so my modifications don't represent a standard seat (if it exists). The seat back position depends on pilot's length, as does the reclining angle. On the front end of the seat part, the nose gear box is represented by a little knob. I extended this a little. The width of the side consoles can also be seen in this picture.
||The wing. The main landing gear openings (depressions actually) were cut open, and boxes were built from small pieces of card. The cross-section drawing showed a 3 mm height of these boxes, but I limited it to 2 mm. Since the wing was 0.5 mm, I added 1.5 mm. The boxes are partially closed by more card; on the inside they are closed by the fuselage parts (as can be seen in the next picture). Note: from construction photos on the BD-5 web site I learned that the separate landing gear boxes do not exist on the 1:1 aircraft. It appears to be one large rectangular open box, instead of two separate polygonal boxes, with the tubular spar just in front of it.
|In this photo, fuselage and wing have been glued together with CA (super) glue. After the assembly of the fuselage, I added the wing with great care. I first attached it using tiny drops of CA glue, then thoroughly checked the alignment (both dihedral and plan view). This proved to be perfect, and more CA was used to create a definitive assembly. The fit of the wing is not perfect: some Milliput will be needed to make things flush. The boxed-in main gear wells and the newly-created nose gear well can be seen clearly here. The rear fuselage/elevator part is not added yet.
||The nearly complete model, with the lower rear fuselage/elevator part temporarily added. I scored along the elevator-rear fuselage edges to create the impression of a moveable elevator. Perhaps I will cut it off completely using a razor saw, to pose it in another position. The whole model has to sanded lightly to remove a 'cast' effect, not unlike that of some DML/Dragon models. The wing roots are a little thicker than the wings (as can be seen in the photo), and it needed scraping and sanding.
|After a long break from working on the model, I started it again in 2002. First job was to add the lower rear fuselage/elevator. I decided to make my model a little more interesting by cutting off the elevator, and make it posable. I used a razor saw to remove the elevator, being extra careful not to break at the rear side, where it is very narrow. I sanded the part smooth and glued it to the fuselage. The gaps were filled with CA. During the sanding of the gaps I realised how much easier things are without the elevator in the way. Then it was time to install the elevator again. Although thin, the razor saw had removed some material, and I restored it using my thinnest plastic card (just visible in the photo). Some more fiddling and my elevator was a snug fit again. From a cutaway drawing I decided where to put the elevator's pivot; I drilled a hole and glued a short piece of 0.5 mm steel wire in the hole. I cut tiny notches in the lower side of the elevator, and now it snaps in place and is posable. It looks very nice indeed.
This photo shows the posable elevator. I haven't decided yet which position looks nicest. It appears that the normal position while parked is trailing edge down.
Another unfinished job was the lower wing - fuselage connection. It required quite a few applications of CA and sanding before things were flush. I scribed panel lines at the outboard edges of the wing root fairings. The wings are removable, so there is a panel line there. It is unlikely there is a panel line on the inboard side of the fairing, considering how much putty is used on the 1:1 aircraft to smoothen joints!
|One more view into the unfinished cockpit. I'm not sure yet, but I think the instrument panel has to be moved towards the rear. I plan to use Reheat bezels to create a realistic instrument panel. I hope the bezels are small enough for the tiny panel!
Last main item to finish is the canopy. Here things get ambitious again. I really want an open cockpit, and although the canopy isn't thick at all, it is still too thick for my purposes. I want to vacform a new one, preferable in a negative mold like my Mosquito canopy. I scribed the raised panel lines on the canopy, and gave it a sanding, in preparation for polishing later. To be continued.
Although I am a long way from installing the landing gear, some remarks about the doors that were posted on the YahooGroups BD5 list. The main landing gear usually has no doors. They are difficult to keep closed during high-speed flight, and because of their aerodynamics they increase gear retraction forces considerably. The speed penalty usually does not outweigh the problems. Only a few BD-5J's have MLG doors installed. The nose landing gear doors also show variations. The 5J usually has a complete set of doors, but many prop 5's lack the rear door.
|I will most likely finish my BD-5J as the Bud Light jet, N210LL. I made vector graphics artwork based on a Bud Light logo found on the Russian logo site. I am still working on the smaller decals like the serial number and small company logo on the tail. The photo on the right shows a test fit of sticker versions of the decals, to check the dimensions. It looked fine to me.|
Note that there were at least three versions of the Bud Light sponsor markings on N210LL. I chose the version that was easiest to print on an Alps printer.
Here are the Alps-printed decals for the Bud Light sponsoring. They turned out very, very nice! I am confident that the remaining decals will be great too. More decals can be seen further down the page.
Late 2007, Thrust Decals came out with three Alps-printed decals sheets for BD-5J's: the Bud Light jet,
Coors Light / Silver Bullet jet and the Pepsi sponsored jet. You can find more details on the real jets in the 'BD-5J overview' below. Thrust Decals closed shop in summer 2008, and sold the company to Draw Decals. Late 2009, Draw Decals reissued the the Bud Light jet (set BD5-1) and Coors Light / Silver Bullet (set BD5-2) jet.
In the summer of 2008, CanMilAir came out with a decal set for a
ficticious Snowbirds team from 2015 flying the Bede BD-5B/J. The set provides markings for two complete aircraft with position numbers from 1 to 6.
Another piece of reference material: the various wings. The LS kit contains the 'B' and the 'jet' wing. As far as I've been able to find out, there are the following wings that can be fitted to the fuselage:
||The early kits had both A and B wings included, but the A-wing was discontinued early 1974. The A wing has the same ribs as the B-wing, but the pitch has been decreased. Also found an area of 30.5 ft^2.
||for BD-5B, standard wing. Also found areas of 40.75 and 45.79 ft2
||for BD-5J. The J wing has the same ribs as the B-wing, but the pitch has been decreased.
|D or G wing ?
||GA(W)-2 wing section, J-wing span. Reduced wing area because of higher maximum lift coefficient and higher cruise drag of the GA(W)-2 profile, resulting in the same stall and cruise speeds as the BD-5B. Stressed for +/- 6G. For BD-5D (planned series built certified version) and BD-5G. 18 feet span also reported.
||for BD-5S sailplane version (N504BD). 'The BD-5 story' page 103 reports 'about 31 feet' span, but all other sources report around the 28 ft mark
The kit's paint schemes
The LS bit offers two decal options for both the BD-5J and BD-5B. Here's what my research has turned up about these options:
The two BD-5J options represent both aircraft of a Corky Fornoff / Bob Bishop team, called the Acrojets. These aircraft are modified BD-5J's, sometimes identified as Acrostar Specials. They carried registrations N70CF and N21AP respectively. I haven't found anything about the current whereabouts of N70CF, but N21AP now flies as part of the Freedom Jet team (usually busy simulating cruise missiles in military exercises!). From recent photos of N21AP it can be concluded that the LS box-art is quite accurate when it comes to the extra hatches and small NACA air intakes. These should be added to the model. Also, they appear to have a small additional aerodynamic surface at the rear lower end of the fuselage (anti-spin strakes?); a small piece of plastic card will take care of that. A long antenna is placed under the fuselage, simple to scratch from a piece of thin steel wire. Photos show small black dots on the wing, possibly fuel filling points? All in all, the model is quite accurate in representing these aircraft.
The BD-5B options are N501BD and a USAF example. Starting with the later, these white decals aren't mentioned in the instructions, and I haven't found any photo that resembles the depicted aircraft. There is a bare-metal BD-5B in a museum in USAF markings, but its marking are black and different. Then N501BD. The very first BD-5 proto was N500BD, with aluminum wings and a aluminum/glass fiber fuselage, painted red with a black and white checkers band. It never flew out of ground effect, since the tail configuration was inadequate. N501BD was the second prototype, completely built from aluminum. It made its first flight on 11 July 1972. Initially it had sharply swept separate horizontal tails (60 degrees on the leading edge), but this was later replaced by the one-piece tail (like that of the kit). It had a Kiekhaefer 440cc engine (from a snowmobile) first, but it was replaced by a 650cc Hirth industrial motor. I don't know which engine version the LS kit represent.
The blocks on the sides of the fuselage (to be painted orange) seem to represent small air scoops as seen on N503BD. On N501BD, cooling air was supplied by small NACA inlet at the corner of the canopy. These were insufficient, and a P-51 style scoop was added under the fuselage later (possibly not on N501BD though). The NACA inlets and/or the scoop are missing from the kit. I'm pretty sure it had split flaps, as opposed to all later BD-5's with plain flaps, which means that there shouldn't be a panel line of the upper wing surface. It had no oleo on the nose landing gear, just a glass fiber leaf spring as on the main gear. The NLG door was a single piece, hinged on the left side. The kit has an oleo nose leg and two doors connected to the nose leg, like later BD-5B's. It was flown with both short and long wings. Its flying career ended on 8 October 1972: an engine failure resulted in an emergency landing on a road, ending up in a ditch. It had flown only 30 hours, but the third prototype (N502BD) was thought to be almost ready to take over the test flying, but that would take until 26 March 1973. N501BD was used as a display aircraft after that, and as the famous truck-mounted flight simulator. Concluding, it appears that the BD-5B model does not do a very good job in representing N501BD. The nose gear must be changed to a leaf spring, the upper panel line of the flap should be filled, small NACA ducts should be added near the rear canopy edge, and/or a P-51 style scoop should be added under the fuselage. Also, it should have exhausts on both sides of the rear fuselage. On the positive side, the model is largely correct for a later BD-5B: only the orange boxes should be cut off, and some sort of engine-cooling scoop should be added. There should be plenty of 1:1 BD-5B photos around to serve as inspiration.
If you want an alternative paint scheme to the LS supplied decals, there is a limited choice. Only a small number of BD-5J's have been built and flown, largely because the required Microturbo engine was very scarce and very expensive. I have tried to compile an overview of the aircraft, with the kind help of Bob Bishop, Juan Jiminez, Corkey Fornoff, Peter Reny, Scott Manning, Erling Wiig, Stanley March, Paul Dion, Gecko, Warren Vail, Philippe Bezard, John Duncan, Gary Redden and Michael Wheeler. Bede factory-built aircraft appear to have construction numbers in the '5J-000x' range. The following demonstration teams can be found below: Bede Jet Team (1974-1975 at least), Acrojets (1976-?), Coors Silver Bullet Jet (1983-1992), Hammer Jets (? - 2004 or 2005), Bud Light Jet (?-?) and Microjet Airshow (1979-?). The same data can also be viewed in French with small photos on Philippe Bezard's 'Minijets' site.
- N1BL: formerly N153BD, registered as N1BL when sold to Leo Loudenschlager, seven-time US aerobatics champion. As N153BD previously, it continued to be flown as the Bud Light Jet during the 1987 and 1988 seasons, piloted initially by Ed Johnson and Leo Loudenschlager, and by Bill Beardsley from the spring of 1988 on (he made his first flight in N1BL on 7 February 1988). The aircraft was modified by Kirby Totty with a secondary spar. A unique feature of the Bud Light jet was that Leo added fireworks: a flare dispenser was mounted on the lower aft fuselage. The flares were fired in conjunction with a ground fired rack of salutes. A flame thrower was tried first, but that plan was abandonded. N1BL was also used as the 'mall airplane' for a day or two before the shows, fitted with fake fiberglass wings made by Kirby Totty. Re-registered N210LL (1988 or later) and continued to be owned by Loudenschlager.
- "N1BL": exhibit in the Budweiser Brewery in St Louis, MO (see tour information). Painted as the Bud Light jet that no longer exists (see N210LL). Although it conflicts somewhat with the information listed for the real N1BL, it is reported that this is the former 'mall airplane' of the Bud Light Jet team, that could be dropped off at a mall on the way into town to generate interest in the show. It was an abandoned BD-5 project made up to look like the show jet. Ed Johnson's crew member Michael Wheeler picked it up in Kenosha (WI). The following names are listed on the side of the aircraft: "Constructor Kirby Totty, Mark Hromnak - Assisted: Steve Borgman, Steve Stratz, Chris Woodward".
- N5BD: Bede prototype and demonstration aircraft. Construction number 5J-0001. Flown as N5BD with '5J' and '1' on the vertical tail, the latter probably as #1 of the 'Bede Jet Team'. Had oleo struts all around. Main landing gear could not be retracted completely. It made a hard landing at Edwards AFB (stalled at 20 ft altitude), removing the landing gear, and pilot colonel Jones (could be an alias) broke his back and was paralysed from the waist down. The lawsuit that followed resulted in large compensation to be paid by Microturbo, which forced the company to try and stop the use of their engine in the BD-5J. Most likely rebuilt, but severely damaged 1 August 1973 at Oskosh, WI. During landing the thrust reverser closed, and the loss of power caused the aircraft to approach too low and hit landing lights. Factory pilot Ed Mahler ('Big Ed' at reportedly 6 foot 5 and 280 pounds) was unhurt. Undamaged parts (including vertical and horizontal tail, rudder, thrust reverser, canopy, and instrument shield) were used on N70CF.
- N8TW: rebuilt from N13SL (below) by Tom Warren using spare parts from a kit over a one-year and 1200 hour period. Registered as a 'Warren-Thomas BD-5J'. Landing accident at Pampa TX in 1981 in which the aircraft was substantially damaged, and the pilot/owner broke his back. Sold to Dave Hoover, who rebuilt it as N45DH.
- N13SL: built by Steve Lansing at the Bede plant in two months time. Test flown by Bede Aircraft pilot Less Derven for about three hours. Destroyed in first take off by the owner at Newton, KS, 11 February 1976, killing Lansing. He had failed to fly the truck-o-plane simulator properly, but ignored the advice to get more training. He rotated too early or over-pitched, then got in severe pilot-induced oscillations (PIO), followed at the very end by a very abrupt pitch up caused the jet to snap roll to the inverted position from which it made a level upside down landing. It skidded almost 300 feet, stopping at the side of the runway. The airframe appeared relatively undamaged. The insurance company sold it to Tom Warren, who rebuilt it as N8TW.
- N21AP: owned by Bob Bishop / Aerial Productions International. Incorpated many design changes compared to BD-5J, and it was therefore licensed as 'Acrostar Special'. Flew as #2 of the 'Acrojets' team (briefly called 'Aerojets' in the beginning), as depicted by LS box art. NTSB reports incident on 6 August 1977, Latrobe, PA. Engine flameout during low level roll, aircraft went off the end of the runway, gear collapsed. Then flown as the 'Coors Light Silver Bullet' jet from 1983 to 1991. Then to Freedom Jet (owned by Bob Bishop), in a white and blue scheme (resulting from a sponsorship from USPA & IRA, a military financial planning firm). Among others flown in military exercises as cruise missile simulators. Still in operation. Recent avionics upgrade (Chelton EFIS/synthetic vision systems) and rewiring, plus extensive work performed in other areas.
- N23AP: owned by Bob Bishop / Aerial Productions International. Flown as the 'Coors Light Silver Bullet' jet from 1989 to 1991, in one or two aircraft shows (see N45DH and 21AP). Later part of Freedom Jet Team (Bob Bishop) for military financial planning firm promotions for USPA & IRA, and is now called a 'SMART-1' (Small Manned Aerial Radar Target Model 1). Landing mishap on 16 April 2002, Monroeville, AL. Veered off the runway after hard landing, left wing struck a vasi, and the nose wheel came off. Quickly repaired. Recent avionics upgrade (Chelton EFIS/synthetic vision systems) and rewiring, plus extensive work performed in other areas. Crashed on 27 June 2006 at Ocean City Municipal Airport (Maryland) during the landing phase. On finals leg it collided with trees that border the approach end of the runway. It came down 75 feet further, and caught fire. Pilot Chuck Lischer, with 9,600 hours in over 70 different models of aircraft and an airshow performer, was killed in the accident. The aircraft was flying a defense-related mission, and had accumulated 452 flight hours. The NTSB investigation concluded the aircraft was overweight for landing, got behind the power curve and developed a high sink speed that could not be arrested. Freedom Jet does not agree, and suspects a pilot incapacitation some 20 seconds before touchdown.
- N45DH: rebuilt from N8TW (above), owned and flown by David Hoover. Flew for five years for the 'Coors Light Silver Bullet Jet Team', in solo or twin aircraft shows (see N23AP). Crashed 12 September 1992, Chico, CA, at the end of display routine. While performing a flamed-out roll on final approach, pilot Hoover seemed to lose consciousness (possibly as the result of a medical condition). He did a couple of strange turns, away from the approach course, and hit the ground at a very steep angle, with no apparent last minute attempt to pull out.
- "N45DH": David Hoover (see the real N45DH) had a second BD-5J, that was probably never flown. It was built from one of the twenty BD-5J kits that Bobby Bishop bought from Bede Aviation when it went under. Hoover's widow donated this aircraft to the Ohio History of Flight Museum at Port Columbus International Airport, where it was displayed in Minolta Dynax colors (as used in a commercial). The N45DH registration was probably transferred out of respect. The museum closed in or before 2001. The Ohio Historical Society received part of the collection, and some of the aircraft have been returned to their owners. The BD-5J is now in archival storage in Columbus, OH, since it is considered part of Ohio history as Dave Hoover was from Ohio.
- N53EJ: built by Bill Zivco for John Duncan (see N153BD), who donated it to his airshow partner Ed Johnson (hence the 'EJ' in the registration). Flown as the 'Bud Light' jet together with John Duncan's N153BD, and later for Leo Loudenslager. When Ed Johnson gave up airshows, the aircraft was sold to Dave Harris / 'Hammer Jets', aka Micro Aviation Services, and flown in airshows in a white-blue-red paint scheme. Red left wing with 'MAS' and blue right wing with 'MICROJET'. The paint scheme was most likely based on Pepsi sponsor markings carried at one point. The basic red-blue pattern was then retained for a number of sponsorships, like Tri Counties Bank (1994), Clamptite (1994), United Van Lines (1995) and United / Fly Navy (1997). It usually had a two-digit number on the fuselage identifying the season. Reportedly one of the most beautiful -5's ever. The aircraft was stolen at one point, but recovered. Sold to Bob Bishop/Aerial Productions International in 2004 or 2005. Sold to the Red Bull 'Flying Bulls' team, late 2009 / early 2010. Pilots Guido Gehrmann and Markus Siller have been trained to fly the aircraft. The aircraft retains the basic Micro Aviation Services color scheme (white, red and blue) but with Red Bull logos. A photo report can be found on the Flying Bulls website, which shows it at the Salzburg airport in Austria. On 1 May 2013, pilot Guido Gehrmann gave a flying display in Zillertal, but during the return flight to Salzburg he experienced engine problems. Gehrman attempted an emergency landing in the Baumkirchen-Mils area, but the aircraft hit a road embankment and the pilot lost his life.
- N55PQ: owned by Jerry Mercer, who establised PDQ Air Service (PDQ standing for People Dedicated to Quality), renamed to Financial Air Express, US Check and finally AirNet Express. Listed as manufactured by Ames Industrial Corporation, model MJ 90; see F-WZAV below for a partial explanation. The serial number is listed as 001A, year of construction 1978. N55PQ was flown with Budweiser (not Bud Light) sponsoring in the eighties and possibly nineties. The aircraft was sold in 2003 to Freedom Jet (Bob Bishop), to be flown as a 'SMART-1'. Recent avionics upgrade and rewiring, plus extensive work performed in other areas.
- N60LC: owned by Lewis & Clark Performance, LLC and built by Justin Lewis. The aircraft is called an FLS Microjet instead of BD-5J, in honor of the work that BD Micro Technologies, Inc. put in the development of their 'Flight Line Series' kits. The airframe is possibly the only jet BD-5 with a 5 inch stretched fuselage, and it is fitted with a jet-standard 17 feet wing. The aircraft was certified in November 2010, but due to Oregon weather, flight testing was first started late January 2011, and is expected to be completed by March 2011. The pilots are Justin 'Shmed' Lewis and in the near future Tom 'Tiny' Lunsford. The aircraft was initially in bare metal with a large blue registration number, but this has been replaced by a three inch registration number and vinyl decals promoting Lewis & Clark Performance and BD Micro Technologies. The aircraft will be painted later for corrosion control.
- N70CF: owned by Corkey Fornoff. Flown as #1 of the 'Acrojets' team (briefly called 'Aerojets' in the beginning), as depicted by LS box art. It was built in 1976 by several FAA-certified mechanics. The total time to build it was in excess of 3500 man-hours, using many parts from the original BD-5J, N5BD, plus the FAA conformity airframe bought from Bede. Like N21AP, N70CF incorporated many design changes compared to BD-5J, and it was therefore licensed as 'Acrostar Special'. The name 'Acrostar' was also used after the 'Acrojets' disbanded. Currently on display in a Seattle aviation museum as 'James Bond 007' without registration. Still owned by Corkey Fornoff.
- N78FS: owned and flown by Stefan Maldonado. Built by the owner and BD-Micro Technologies (builder assistance program) in one year. PBS TJ-100 engine installed. BD-Micro Technologies calls the aircraft an FLS Microjet (FLS for Flight Line Series) instead of a BD-5J, since hundreds of improvements and upgrades ranging from hardware (nose to tail) to an improved laminar airfoil wing have been made. First flight September 2013. Pilot training under supervision of Justin Lewis (see N60LC).
- N100DK: owned by Dan Gray and Lucy Scaranzzi, operated from Camarillo (CA), first flight 17 May 2012. It has a PBS Velka Bites TJ100 with 250 lb / 110 kg thrust and 42 lb / 19 kg weight, and a JetCatUSA P200 mounted below main engine to give 60 lb boost. Full glass instrument panel. Painted light gray with yellow registration. Called 'Kedan1' because of the changes in the design. Just before one of the test flights, the JetCatUSA P200 caused a fire that damaged the fuselage extensively. Rebuilt fuselage, now featuring one engine, and renamed 'Kedan2' accordingly. First flight 27 October 2013.
- N150BD: cn 5J-0005. Not 100% sure, but almost certainly formerly N501AE (see there). Bob Bishop flew it while at Bede. It went to France as F-WZAV (see there) in 1976. At the time Bede was in a legal dispute with Microturbo about unpaid engines, but this was likely settled by turning over N150BD. N99775 was originally intended, but crashed during tests.
- N151BD: destroyed when Ed Mahler (a BD-5 dealer) had a flameout shortly after takeoff from Corpus Christi NAS, TX, on 29 June 1974. Ed survived the crash, but not without some injury. Substantial airframe damage through collision with concrete blocks.
- N152BD: Bede built, cn 5J-0002, painted in a standard Bede scheme (white with red, Bede logo, number 2 on tail, probably as #2 of the 'Bede Jet Team'). Incident on 17 July 1974 at Newton, KS, Bede home base, with Bob Bishop at the controls. Canopy failed at redline speed (250 kts.), and the force of the blow, along with flying debris hitting the tail, probably caused the stick to full deflection producing a calculated 14.7 Gs. The airplane flew home with 23 degrees of permanent set in one wing, and 19 in the other. The aircraft was flying again in about two weeks. Later sold to Dave Harris / 'Hammer Jets', aka Micro Aviation Services, and flown in airshows in a white-blue-red paint scheme. Sponsored by Boeing Airplanes in 2000. Sold in 2006 to Peter Reny, without an engine and incomplete cockpit. Refurbished and fitted with a TRS-18-046. First flight 22 July 2012. The engine will be replaced by a Jetbeetle motor in 2015.
- N153BD: Bede built aircraft, cn 5J-0004. Flown as N153BD with tail number '3' in standard white-red Bede livery, probably as #3 of the 'Bede Jet Team' (a picture with tail number '1' exists too though). It was used for military evaluations by the USAF (painted in a camouflage scheme as shown below), US Navy at Patuxent River, and in France. Sold to Richard Bach, as a sister ship to N177RB. Sold to Red Stevenson, who crashed it on takeoff damaging wings and fuselage. Sold to John Duncan, who hired former Bede factory foreman Bill Zivko to rebuild it. It was also modified on several occasions with upgraded wings and engine. The aircraft was operated from 1979 to 1987 as 'Microjet Airshow', then for Republic Airlines and finally as the (first) Bud Light jet, piloted by owner John Duncan. The aircraft and pilot (plus Ed Johnson) also served as the second jet on the movie Octopussy, alongside Corkey Fornoff. Sold to Leo Loudenslager and re-registered N1BL (later re-registered again to N210LL).
- N154BD: registration reserved for Bede built aircraft, cn 5J-0006. It is unclear whether the aircraft was actually built.
- N155BD: registration reserved for Bede built aircraft, cn 5J-0007. It is unclear whether the aircraft was actually built.
- N177RB: owned and flown by author/pilot Richard Bach. Reportedly the first private 5J. Sold to Red Stevens from Tulsa, OK. Sold to George Marshal. Landed short due to flap problems at Merced, CA, on 14 September 1979 according to NTSB report, with airframe damage, but no injuries. Rebuilt by Keith Hinshaw and others, and flown at least in 1980. It was then totaled in a trailering accident. Sold to Keith Hinshaw, who resold it to Lit, and together they rebuilt it again, this time with GAW wings. The GAW wings lowered the stall speed some 30 MPH, at a cost of top speed of some 25 to 30 MPH. It was flown for some 25 hours by both Lit and Keith Hinshaw during 1986, before it was decided to donate it to a museum and take a tax write off. The museum then sold it to Mike Brundage, a Texas captain for Southwest Airlines. Mike was briefed on an engine problem, with intermittent stoppages, that was caused by a faulty engine overspeed switch which cut the fuel to the engine to save it from itself. This problem continued to occur until a full flame-out required an emergency landing at Vanderhoof, BC, Canada. Unfortunately the aircraft hit a wire and flipped over, the crash killing Mike Brundage.
- N210LL: previously N153BD and N1BL (see there). The new registration N210LL was chosen as the most compatible with N10LL, Loudenschlagers Laser 200. It continued to be flown as the Bud Light Jet, piloted by Bill 'Burner' Beardsley with his parents (Bill and Teresa Beardsley) as crew members, together forming the 'Bud Light Air Force' aka BLAF. On occassions where both the jet and Leo's Laser attended, Leo flew the jet too. Ownership transferred to Bill and Teresa Beardsley after Leo Loudenslager passed away in 1997. Red-white scheme with blue and gold cheat line, Bud Light markings in several variations. Flown for a number of years like this. The jet was leased to Freedom Jets, and flown without Bud Light markings on military contract operations. During one of these missions, the aircraft developed an in-flight fire. A fuel servo burst and flooded the engine compartment and then cockpit with flames. Pilot Bob Bishop bailed out, and the aircraft was destroyed (17 April 2002, near Grovehill, AL).
- N313HJ: owned by William 'Wild Bill' Brooks from Cornville (Arizona). Initially registered as N711J, but possible conflict with a PA-23 with the same registration (see N711J below). Fitted with a Solar T62 engine (T300 hybrid of T16 gearcase with T32 burner and fuel control). 25 flight hours are claimed, but only a faked in-flight video from the early nineties exists (it shows taxi tests at a US air field and footage of C-GBDA taking off at Kelowna (BC) and in-flight footage). Rebuilt with three engines (HJFS-100, 107 lbs thrust each, reportedly 420 lbs total with water injection for two minutes), one internally, two in engine pods on the sides of the rear fuselage. Possibly reregistered as N313HJ at that point? Reportedly heavy and underpowered. Winglets fitted. Not flown in this configuration. Offered on Ebay around 2002-2003, and again in 2004, possibly by the purchaser of the first auction. Bought by Dave Dearing without engine(s), with the intention of fitting a Noel Penny NPT301 jet engine. Canard wings. Dave opened a small website about his aircraft.
- N501AE: built by Aeronca (hence AE in the registration) in preparation of a proposal to manufacture the aircraft in series. Incomplete set of parts provided by Bede. Engine installed by Microturbo. Because of legal problems of Bede Aircraft and possible liability of Aeronca, the management did not want to get involved, and the aircraft was registered as a 'Hollenbaugh-Murphy BD-5J' in September 1975 (Bob Hollenbaugh is confirmed as an Aeronca engineer). The plane only made high-speed taxi tests and was not flown, again because of fears of liability. Transferred to Bede Aircraft, paying around 10,000 US$ for expenses made. All links to Aeronca were removed (papers, registration), and almost certainly re-registered as N150BD (see there).
- N505BD: built and owned by Gary Lyons from Tennessee. It received its airworthiness certificate in March 2006, and it has about six hours of low and high speed taxi test time on it. The wings are the standard B-model wings with the 21'6" span. It uses a Turbomeca Palas turbojet with 350 pounds static thrust, taken from a 1954 French SIPA 200 Minijet. The installation is modified by having the thrust vectored below the horizontal stabilizer, with part of the lower rear fuselage cut away, and the original exhaust tube plugged. It is painted in a blue-white scheme with a red and gold cheat line.
- N557DM: formerly C-GBDA (see below). Owner listed as Twin D Enterprises, location reported as Hemet, CA. Hasn't flown yet.
- N575J: formerly N11069, see there. Donald Wall of Omaha, NE, has rebuilt the jet. First flight 17 July 2004, piloted by Harry Barr. This Nebraska PIREPS PDF has more information and some photos of the first flight, and this EAA page has more details and photos.
- N711J: previous identity of N313HJ (see there) during the first half of the nineties (probably). However, N711J has been assigned to a PA-23 since 1982 if I interpret the FAA registry correctly.
- N3038V: formerly VH-JRQ, finished by Juan Jiménez, almost ready for taxi tests late 2004.
- N11069: built and owned by Al Thompson of Racine, WI, a Bede employee (landing gear specialist). Test flown by John Duncan in Kenosha, WI. Sold to Mr. Kimura of Florida, who crash landed the jet in a Florida swamp after a flameout, the result of an unlicensed mechanic tinkering with the engine's black box. Date is yet unknown, somewhere in the mid or late nineties. Became N575J.
- N99775: built by employees of Ames Industrial Corporation in Newton, Kansas, possibly after Ames took over the BD-5J design from Bede Aircraft (and possibly part of the staff??). Crashed on 5 March 1976, Newton, KS. Pilot Bob Bishop was performing factory stall tests and entered a flat spin, from which he could not recover. He jumped from the plane and parachuted to safety. Aircraft total time was 13 hours. The aircraft was bare aluminum, unpainted. The aircraft was to be shipped to Europe after testing. This BD-5J was fitted with 17 foot wings with the then new GA(W)-2 profile. The aircraft would spin normal to the left but was very difficult to get into a spin to the right. NASA investigated the crash, since they had just introduced the GA(W)-2. Their conclusion here was that the rapid spin rate (due to the short span wings) created a situation in which the gyroscopic forces were starting to translate the high pitch moment of the stalled GA(W)-2 wing into a yaw moment. Depending upon the direction of the spin, those forces were anti-spin or pro-spin. Bob Bishop recommends against intentional spins in the 17 foot (jet) wing or anything shorter. He remembers Les Berven spining a 17 foot GA(W)-2 wing prop-driven BD-5 and described it as "the fastest spinning aircraft I had ever seen"
- D-EBDJ: built and flown by Peter Jo Volk. Designated BD-5J/V, most likely a play on the builder's family name. The aircraft is fitted with a PBS Velka Bites TJ100 B1. First flight on 1 August 2012 at Manching, still in primer paint. In 2015 it was painted bright green with black checkers at the tips of the flying surfaces.
- C-GBDA: built by Geoff Taylor, serial number BS-9 (perhaps Barron-Stephen nine?), registered December 1993. Registered owners were David Barron and James Stephen. This is a heavily modified 5J: pointy nose, Allison 250 (C17-20 version reported, but only B17 and C20 versions exist) turboprop modified for thrust only, exhaust under instead of overhead the horizontal tail. Aircraft was described as being seriously underpowered. Removed from the Canadian register in November 1999. Sold to a buyer in the US, see N557DM.
- C-GBDV: owned by Scott Manning, first flight November 2003. White overall with a red flash along the fuselage and other red details. See also the Microjet Canada website. Performed in several airshows during 2005, but crashed fatally on 16 June 2006 at Carp Airport during an airshow practice for Air Show Ottawa. Initial analysis of the accident by Bobby Bishop was that a split flap condition must have occurred after the gear demo pass (the 'now you see it, now you don't' routine). Power is added at that point and the flaps are pulled up in two steps (40 to 20 degrees, then to 0 degrees). One flap was thought to have came up all the way, resulting in a sudden split flap situation, giving full roll command at low level. That condition is basically unrecoverable at any altitude. The CTSB later analysed that a bolt in the right flap wasn't held properly by its locknut, resulting in the uncommanded retraction of the flap. Since the flap actuation was electric on this specific BD-5, retraction of the remaining flap would have taken seconds anyway.
- F-WZAV: entered in French register May 1976, Microturbo (France) owned. Formerly N501AE and N150BD (see there), reportedly cn 5J-0004. Presented at the SBAC Farnborough show in September 1976, with a red-white-blue scheme, flown by Airbus test pilot Pierre Baud. The Farnborough appearance was sponsored by the US company Ames Industrial Corporation, the American subsidiary of Microturbo, and the UK agent for Microturbo. In some photos it does not carry the French registration, but 'MJ90' on the left side of the cockpit. MJ90 (Micro Jet 90, no idea what the 90 stands for) was the designation Ames wanted to use for the BD-5J, the rights of which it had taken over from Bede Aircraft, following a lawsuit following the crash of N5BD with an Air Force colonel at the controls. The aircraft was also noted at the 32nd Salon at Le Bourget in June 1977. Stored later that year by Microturbo. After three years of work and the installation of a TRS18-046 by Microturbo, it was flown again on 7 June 1982 by Jean-Marie Saget, chief test pilot of Avions Marcel Dassault (he flew the Alpha Jet and Mirage 4000). It was owned by the aeroclub 'Cercle Aeronautique Marcel Dassault' (CAMD). A 'Cercle Aeronautique' is an association which takes the name of a man in homage, in this case Marcel Dassault, but it has no official links with the Dassault factory. It was painted in white overall with light and dark blue stripes on the fuselage and wings, described as the colors of Jean-Marie Saget. Further markings are '-BD5J-CAMD-' under the cockpit and '-TRS18-MICROTURBO-' on the rear fuselage. It made a hard landing in 1984/1985 and required extensive structural repairs of (at least) the fuselage. These were not performed, and instead the aircraft was donated to a aeronautical college near Aix en Provence. It was later sold to M. Muller, who plans a rebuild, but confirmed that the fuselage is beyond economical repair. It has been reported that the aircraft was reregistered F-BZAV at some point (F-Wxxx is for prototypes, after receiving a certificate it is re-registered), but this very likely never materialised.
- F-BZAV: formerly F-WZAV, see above. Situation is not clear on this registration, and most likely it was never actually used. Listed in this (unofficial) French 2002 register (no longer online but accessed through the Wayback Machine), with c/n 50005 instead of 5J-0004 (see above). Reportedly owned by Chris Esquirrol (spelling not sure). The official French registry has no F-BZAV listed, only a pencil-written entry that the registration was reserved on 21 March 1976 for a BD-5J with cn 5-0005.
- F-PJET: Nicolas Charmont built a new BD-5J, starting in 2003. It is fitted with a TRS18. First flight on 20 August 2015 at Melun-Villaroche that lasted 15 minutes.
- HB-YAU: c/n 281, Swiss registered. It started life as a BD-5B built and owned by the official European BD-5 importer from Davos, Switzerland. Whether it was registered HB-YAU back then is not confirmed. It made an emergency landing in the Lake of Locarno during the first flight on 10 June 1976. It then flew some four hours in France without a airworthiness certificate or a permit to fly. Due to a stolen log book its history until 1988 is unclear, but a TRS 18-046-1 was fitted somewhere. In 1988 this engine was replaced by a TRS 18-1-202. It was now based at Locarno-Magadino airfield. Yellow overall with red flash on the fuselage sides and a red tail banner with Swiss cross. Crashed 16 August 2002 in Iragna, very near Lodrino airfield, just after take-off from Lodrino. Instead of flying back to Locarno-Magadino as planned, the pilot entered the circuit after take-off, but crashed during the base leg to finals turn, killing the pilot. Investigations did not turn up a definite cause, but the pilot's health and the elevator structure (left side was never found) were noted as possible causes.
- VH-JRQ: built by Quentin Campbell in Australia. It has a non-standard wing structure, similar to that of the Smyth Sidewinder. Sold largely finished to Juan Jiménez and reregistered N3038V.
- VH-POK: built and owned by Tori Mac. Yellow overall with black pinstripes, 'The Trailblazer project' markings on the tail. Teledyne Continental J402-700 drone engine planned (same diameter as a TRS-18 but slightly longer) 600 pounds thrust. Appears largely finished, but no immediate plans for flying. It is partly a marketing tool for Tori Mac.
Alternative paint schemes
Shown below are two liveries of one aircraft, cn 5J-0004, first as N153BD painted as a proposed USAF version, colors unknown (from Jane's All the World's Aircraft), and later as N210LL with Bud Light sponsoring.
Fellow modeler Tony Landis has built N53EJ owned by Micro Aviation Services in the original Pepsi scheme. He designed a set of Alps decals for his model, consisting of the Pepsi logos and the N-registration for the rear fuselage, and white 'Microjet' and 'Pepsi' scripts for the right and left wings respectively. A cute set, that measures less than 30 by 30 millimeters by the way! Micro Aviation Services reported that the aircraft had the words 'Chill Out' on the nose, but since no photographs seem to exist that show this, it couldn't be reproduced.
The resulting model can be seen below. Tony used the kit-supplied stand in a creative way to display the model in a flying attitude with the gear up.
Tony also kindly provided fantastic artwork of the 'Coors Light Silver Bullet' BD-5J N21AP as flown by Bob Bishop. IPMS Belgium had an article about this aircraft in their magazine KIT (issue 81).
Some more information about the BD-5 was found in various issues of 'Jane's all the world's aircraft'. An interesting cross-section drawing was published in the 1975/76 issue. From this drawing I concluded that the seat of the LS kit should be more reclined.
A three-view drawing of the BD-5A and BD-5B was published in the 1973/74 issue. Length minus pitot tube is 3.78 meters. The wing planforms are probably not correct. The A and B wings have the same ribsm but with a different pitch. The tip chord of the A and B wings is identical, and the drawing does not show this correctly.
An interesting cockpit picture, taken from the TAB book "Complete guide to cockpits". It shows the instrument panel, the nose wheel well, the seat, the side consoles and the side stick. Note that the instrument panel lay-out varies from builder to builder, as can be seen on the BD-5 web site.
BD-5 modeling links
Concluding this page, links to all web pages I know of that show the LS BD-5 kit:
Links to web pages showing BD-5 modeling (also RC):
ScaleBD.com website with mostly RC BD-5 models, including a Testors control line model
Jet-Mart USA 1/3 scale BD-5J
And lastly some links to references:
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