BD-4 Aircraft And Builder's Archive

This page lists builders and planes about which I received information through third party. When you know anything about the people and planes that are mentioned here please let me know. I will add it to the page.

The BD-4 has, over time, become more to me than an aluminum box with wings. There is a life story attached to every single one. The dreams, the confusion and discussions with buddies to find answers, the dreadful long building time that demands such an incredible level of persistence and long term commitment, the arrangement with spouse and family and job, the often difficult financial challenges, the courage and concentration of flying it the first time, the rush of being unbelievable fast and high on wings built with own hands. And there are the family trips with kids on that spartan back bench and diapers in the wings, trips to Oshkosh and nights under the wings. But there are also the news of friends that have crashed and died (because we know it is not without risk), the aging of the builders while the plane looks fine and without wrinkles, becoming more and more demanding, and finally there are the survivors of passed away builders who stand in front of one of these...aluminum boxes with wings, knowing, it is not only that.

N11DV, S/N 333, built by Don Phillips 104 Lindburg Ct, Dayton, NV 89403

Don's plane won an Oshkosh award. Pictures courtesy Hugo Schneider, received through Bob White in Fall 2003:

Engine left view

Engine front view

Seat bottom with lightening holes in wood

Solid link in main gear

Solid link close-up

Engine cowling

Trim system

Seat tracks

bell crank trip system

Bell crank close-up

Solid link main gear





Damaged, being pushed to repair tent

Taking the gear out

Don, J. Bede

N213G, built by Hap Pischke 7255 Saffron Way, Citrus Heights, CA

Pictures courtesy Hugo Schneider, received through Bob White in Fall 2003:

Composite ribs

Side of fuselage

Retractable tail wheel

Retractable tail wheel

N231BF, S/N 007, built by Bjorn Floden

The following text is from emails I received from Rita, Bjorn's daughter in February 2004:

[...] Two years ago my father died, mother died a couple of years before. I was raised on airports in both Sweden and here in the US. Both parents flew gliders and power planes. Flying was their life. I've been disposing of their miscellaneous planes and the last remaining one is a BD-4. Dad built it when I was in college and I had my first flight in it when I was pregnant with my first son who is 27 now. When mom and Dad moved out to Colorado (from New Jersey) the Lycoming engine on it was not strong enough for the 8000 altitude in Colorado so Dad set about redesigning and planning for another engine. The project never got done because he got too old and couldn't do the work any more. He didn't admit to this, so he just puttered in his basement with his beloved airplane and probably didn't really care if it or he ever flew again. It just kept him busy. [...]

It is a an interesting plane historically because Dad had a long battle with Jim Bede about weaknesses in Bede's design, and I have all the original correspondence, calculations and drawings between them. I'm sure that jim Bede would cringe if he heard Dad's name as there was no love lost between them. Dad, who was a bull-headed engineer, made his own modifications and considered the plane safe only after that. I'm not sure of all the details, only that it was a very intense correspondence while it was going on. [...]

[...] Chris and I spent last night rifling through paper and notebooks to get a grip on what is there. The actual correspondence is fascinating and explosive, Chris said more than once that he couldn't believe that Bede hadn't been locked up. I hadn't realized just how MUCH modification Dad had done structurally. There is heated debate back and forth and then there are multiple change bulletins from Bede to all builders calling for the changes Dad calculated. Never any credit to Dad of course, but I got the sense that Dad had a strong behind the scenes impact. I remembered that Ed Mahler had been the one to fly the plane first several times out, but I hadn't realized that he was also the test pilot for Bede. I was there for the test flight of course and was saddened later when Mahler died after removing some element of his plane and taking off without it. He was an accomplished aerobatics pilot. Mahler notes the oil got too hot. There were copious notes written by Dad on every single step of construction., alteration, testing ... amazing ... all dated and signed, all written in pencil. [...]


N491JP, built by John Puent
John Puent completed N491JP in 1986. It is now owned by Jack Arthur, who has it up for sale. This aircraft has been flown around 200 hours.

N404BD, S/N 004, built by Ron & Delores Morton

The following text is from

My wife and I started BD4 N404BD in January of 1998. The kit had been in storage since 1969 and was SN 004. We used a Grumman nose wheel assembly and an IO 360A1A engine of 200 HP. In order to keep it simple we used a 4-blade warp drive prop. We chose the BD4 after finding it was the only homebuilt that met our criteria for speed, payload and the biggie---cost. I'm still tweaking the prop and installing gap seals, leg covers and vortex generators but even now I'm thrilled with the performance. Thanks to Jim Bede for much advice and a great design, our neighbors at Elm Creek Airpark for their encouragement and a special thanks to our daughter, Laura, for her week-ends home from college help" with sanding, riveting and the many general assistance tasks needed when building an airplane.


N919CV, built by Charles Valade 4081 TYLER AVE, BERKLEY, MI, 48072-1446

Pictures courtesy Hugo Schneider, received through Bob White in Fall 2003:

Mac McGinnis

Mac builds the longest BD-4 we know of. He sold a project to Steve Craigle. Pictures courtesy Hugo Schneider, received through Bob White in Fall 2003:

One streeeeeeeched BD-4

A Javelin Ford V6