See Photos of the BD4C taken at Oskosh 2009 - BD4C Photos

This site hosts information about the experimental aircraft 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 aircrafts it is the only one with no reported catastrophic structural in flight failure, as far as I know. 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.

The situation around BD-4 kit suppliers is currently undergoing some changes. The main players are (in alphabetical order) Jim Bede's BedeCorp and TVAP which reformed as new company Team Aviation at the same location. I will continue to report about the latest developments in the yellow "News" block to the right.

Here are pictures of finished planes, the first from Bernie Thalmann, the second one* is owned by John Cowan of Sierra Vista, Arizona:

Ken Kopp's BD-4  Bernie Thalmann's BD-4

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

The BD-4 does not have the best reputation as a pretty bird. The fuselage is somewhat boxy. Judge yourself by browsing in the gallery or looking at the planes from the builder's list.

To learn more about the BD-4 refer to the FAQ list.

There is an email list with ongoing discussions. We also "meet" every Friday in an online chat room.

This site is created and maintained by the builder's group and is not associated with any supplier. The quality and quantity of the information depends to a great extend on contributions of the builders. To contribute please contact the webmaster at

You can track the changes of this site on the page updates.html.

Another website devoted to the BD-4 is, currently run by Dave Anderson.