World's smallest manned jet crashes locally

One of these crashed yesterday. What a tiny little thing!

Pilot is killed in jet crash

$300k for one!? Bah, should of picked up a few of these and saved some money.

My dad was building a BD-5A back in the '70s. A friend offered to be partners in the aircraft in exchange for a jet engine that would fit it. Dad called Jim Bede and was told in no uncertain terms that a jet engine could not be fitted to a BD-5. A year later the BD-5J came out.

Dad paid for the Hirth engine and the drive shaft, but never received it because the engines became unavailable and Bede was in financial trouble. When dad moved, someone from the moving company smashed the disassembled kit and dad used the insurance money to buy a six-year-old Cessna 172 instead of trying to salvage the kit.

Is that the same as the BD-5? One of those crashed here in Ottawa just before the air show.

I wonder if that pilot just ran out of gas? Those things look like they have the glide ratio of a brick.

Yes. BD-5s started out around 1970 or so with a V-tail. The standard tailfeathers were found to be better and the design was changed. IIRC the BD-5A had short wings – about 12 or 13 feet. The BD-5B had longer wings. I don’t remember the BD-5C, but I believe the BD-5D was ‘factory built’ – or at least planned to be. The BD-5J was the jet version. Before the jet there were, I think, three engines available. I think the 90 hp three-cylinder Hirth was the most powerful. (Dad wanted the short wings and the big engine.) Hirth ran into financial difficulties in the mid-'70s and was unable to deliver engines. So a lot of BD-5 kits languished. Some of them got Honda (CVCC?) engines when industrious builders made modifications. But most of them just sat. The Rotax craze didn’t start until later. You could probably find any number of Rotax engines that would work in the old airframe. I know there’s a company that’s selling BD-5 kits. I think they’re in Oregon, but I’d have to look them up.

I read about a problem with the BD-5. (No cite; this was in a magazine back in the '80s.) In case of an engine failure, if the aircraft gets into a stall the air falling off of the wings can wash over the stabilator so that the pilot loses pitch control.