Hugo Schneider's BD-4 Newsletter 1998


BD - 4 30th Anniversary

The design of the BD-4 plane has proven itself by surviving in a wide expanding market and by maintaining good safety records. Some of the modifications our builders have incroporated include different engines (expanding the envelope for higher gross weights) which now exceeds the speeds that the BD-4 was around. We also have a new safe gear box and landing gear legs that hold the additional weight and an all aluminum wing that is lighter than the fiberglass panels. We still have some unfinished kits and priced within reach of the average builder. These kits compare favorably to the two place composit planes that cost a lot more. We have a very good 4 place plane.

The question that is always asked is . . . we know we have 30 years behind us, but what does the BD-4 hold for the future? We now have the fuselage center section tubes as well as the wing spar tubes both in different lengths and we have a complete gear box & gear legs. The products are available through. . . . . . . . . . .

Dream Aircraft
188 Wealthy S.W. P.O. 1923
Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1923
(616) 454-7747 - - Fax: (616) 776-0224
E. Mail Scott(a) creative

For those who would like to have the metal wings for your BD, you can obtain the ribs, collars and rear channels from . . . . .

Long Aircraft Inc.
912 Stummey
Wichita, KS 67217
(316) 522 1697 Fax. . . . .(316) 522-1698

These two suppliers are well known for supplying very good products.

If you were not at our banquet last year, you missed meeting Jo Roabe-Asprey, Robert R. Asprey and Charles Musitano. They were introduced by Jim Bede. They have bought the interest in BD-4 development. Their company is TVA Products (Tennessee Valley Aviation Products) - address---2225 Drake Ave. Suite 17 Huntsville, Al 35805...(256) 704-2728--Fax(256)704-8827

We would likt to thank this group very much for picking up the tab for all of us who attended the 30th Anniversary Banquet. We welcome them to the BD-4 builders family.

I just recently talked to Charles Musitano, he tells me that they are now incorporating the complete BD-4 in the computer and down the road the BD-4 will be improved from the original prints and will be automated for all holes for bolts and rivets thus being able to construct in a shorter time. We wish them great success in their new endeavor

Jim Bede & Charles Musitano
Jo-Roabe-Aspre & Robert R. Asprey


I received a letter and phone call from Robert Bollinger, Fairfield, IA in January 1998. He sent me a copy of a form from Avemco, he received September 1998, which rejected coverage of his BD-4. The form stated (exceptions to statements of the applicant/special provsions)---No inflight operations are approved unless the insured aircraft is equipped with a functionla header fuel tank that is integral to the fuel system and that the insured aircraft has a valid and effective airworthiness certificate. Robert asked me if we BD-4 builders require a header tahk, I told him we have discussed it at our meetings and decided . . no.

I have stated before I don't know any engine that will run on vapors. The late Don Hewes (NASA), the late Murphy and a lot of professional people at our meetings have concluded that the problem we use to have (engine fuel starvation) had been in a nose high position. The BD design fuel system on the prints can and does unport the fuel system, as it goes forward at top of door and unport both lines. Expecially wen a pilot makes an uncoordinated turn as it will leave all ports uncovered.

We therefore feel that the above fuel system should be used because in a nose high attitude the fuel will always be at the rear of the tank and would be higher than the fuel supply to the engine.

I have within the last two years taken what Ray Ward has demonstrated at our meetings (the cookie sheet theory) and reduced the size of the holes in the gas tank ribs in the center and to reduce the size at the bottom of rib thus reducing the time it takes for the transfer of fuel from the inboard fuel tank cell to 1/8' drill size holes.

Avemco says you have to have a header tank but no other qualifications as to size, volume, or an acceptable design. After contacting Avemco, I find that they say that EAA are really the ones with the requirement that a header tank be installed.

I have inspected BD-4s with all kinds of what Avemco would accept as a header tank, some are plumbing nightmares and some are unsafe to fly. I have 700 hours on my BD-4 with the original design fuel system without any engine failure at all. I have vented fuel cap and have flown with very low fuel but I do not recommend that any builders follow the bd-4type of system.

take off on #1 tank

This system will provide fuel for take offs and also fuel for long range.

I feel the simpler you make a fuel system the less trouble you will have.

Robert . . . . . .I wish you a safe and successful flight afer 10 years of building.

Editor Note: of all the bd-4s I have inspected and flown, I have not seen any header tanks that were the same. Some have complicated plumbing, some are unsafe, in one case you had to reach under the panel to relieve the air in the tank to get the gas to enter, as the air was trapped on the top of the tank. Another one I followed thru construction and when the project was taken to the airport for testing, the wing was slid on the center section and the vent system was not connected. We made a series of high speed taxi tests, the gas tanks could not get air and the engine sputtered, I taxied back to the hanger and found they did not connect the vent. After that we had a very successful first flight.

Update on the BD-4 Super Sport----By Ray Ward

Subject: seat-back breakage during hard acceleration

I think something like an AD needs to be put out on any BD-4 that has over 180 horsepower engine like the prototype, to strengthen up the pilot's seat, or at least inspect the seat back. The BD Super Sport accelerates hard with the 475 hp engine and 3 blade CS prop. After 798 hours on the airframe, first with a 300 hp Lycoming, then the V/8, the seat back broke on take off.

What happened is we were taking off to the right. I already had full left aileron, so full left rudder was applied, left brake was applied hard, since the plane was still drfting to the right. By this time the plane was going about lift-off speed. The seat back broke due to acceleration and probably pushing hard against it for braking. The plane became airborne with me looking at the cabin roof. I had let go of the stick and throttle. This alllowed me to sit up in time to see us headed down with left wing down. The plane had almost snapped to the left with full left rudder near stall speed. The left wing tip hit, then the plane bounced over to the right wing tip, and broke off the right wheel. It was a round steel Cessna 172 LG leg. Nobody was hurt, and thought fuel was pouring out of the right wing, there was no fire. The right wing fuel tank, wing tip, LG leg, side channel and wing tip, as well as the left wing tip, and propeller and cowling were damaged. The plane is dissassembled and stored in my hanger. I might part it out or sell it as is (more about this later).

I examined the broken seat. I have the seat back material left unusef from my original BD-4 kit. The BD Super Sport seat was made by Gordon Moore, and though it is a little different than Bede's seat, it appears to be the same 1" .062 wall aluminum called out for the BD-4. Therefore, I think it would be prudent for anyone using this seat back to put a piece of 7/8 material inside the tube at least half way up inside the tube as a doubler, or any other method to strengthen the pilot's seat. I remember one time Jim Bede said "the single most important part of an airplane is the PILOT". Check that seat . . . if you are using high HP.

Post Script: I had mentioned something in the preceding story abput parting out an airplane. I discussed selling the airplane as is with a BD-4 builder who wants a plane like mine. We had come toa mutually satisfactory price to sell it to be rebuilt and reregistered airworthy with a new hull number.

As a coincidence, my FAA people arrived the next day to inspect the Ward Acro as Airworthy (it was), and I told them our plans to sell N62RW as is to be registered airworthy with a new number. I wanted to do this to minimize liability as manufacturer of the airplane. They said that can not be done. Nobody can legally remove the serial number plate. Essentially I can sell any parts of the airplane, but I am still the manufacturer of the parts and if the fuselage part ever flies again, it must bw with the serial number plate attached to an airplane airworthy as originally certified.

So we cancelled our deal. If anybody knows a legal way around this problem, let me know.

Update on Ward Acro-------January 11, 1999-----By Ray Ward

Hello Fellow Aviation Buffs:

For those of you who have asked, "When are you ever going to fly that thing", a picture is worth a thousand words. It will now be several months. I was really discuraged yesterday and today I can't say I am my usual ebullient self.

After all these months of building and the delays, I was within days of the maiden flight. Ihad done extensive taxi testing. The last delay was shearing six 3/16th bolts in the landing gear box, allowing the gear leg to move u and come to rest against the longeron/engine mount. Had just finished that repair and beef-up (used larger bolts) and resumed taxi trials. I had workde up to a couple of 60 mph runs, when----as I was slowing down (30 to 40 mph), the left weldment that attaches the axle to the fiberglass leg broke in two----------

With the wheel gone, the leg stabbed into the turf. There went an expensive propeller. The plane slid around 180 degrees, bending the tail wheel spring and left aileron. The sideways sliding also peeled open the right weldment, leaving the right wheel on top of the gear leg.

Thank God for neighborly farmers. I called Alan Stazney (the guy who picked up the BD Super Sport in October when the seat broke). His diesel front-end loader picks up airplanes like a toy. He deposited it inside the hangar.

I still have Ann's BD-4 in service. Alan's wife, Lisa made a radical suggestion; put a big eyelet on top of my planes so they would be easier to pick up.

Preliminary inspection indicates that the BD-4 type landing gear box was torn apart, pulled outward about ½ inch, moving the engine mount/longeron just above the leg. Will have to remove the engine, fuel tank, etc. to work on it.

Ann was about to throw me out or the airplanes, or both last night and I would not have given much argument.

Donald DeMarco ---started project 1993
200 HP very sensitive on rudder---Cessna type gear legs 
First flight of 40 min. assisted by Hugo---successful flight


Charles Valade is in the final stage, assembling at airport. He made his doors like a J3 Cub, lower door serves as a step, has Cessna flat gear legs.

We are quite proud in Michigan, we have 7 BD-4s and 3 more under construction.

Steve Knight, from Co. receiving the
Hugo Schneider Award for Best BD-4 1998 
(see front cover)

Nancy McDonald, MaryLou Lienau & 
Katy Steere our beautiful & talented
Judges for the BD-4 award



30th Anniversary of the BD-4
cake & dinner enjoyed by all


John Steere enjoying sitting in his BD-4 ---with hopes that he will soon be able to take it to the airport.

For those who are waiting to solve the gas leak problem in your glass wing and reduce some weight by going to the new all aluminum wing panels that Dream Aircraft has been developing; I have been informed that they hope to have one at our Oshkosh event.


Meeting for our BD-4s Friday, July 30, 1999
(across froy Gruenhagen--Lake Winnebago room---- 7:30 PM

Banquet--Reeve Memorial Saturday, July 31, 1999
Union---Upper Court 6:00 PM

Have a safe trip---look forward to seeing you there! !