Issue 12, July 1985

Dear BD-4 Builders and Owners,

I know, I know, yes I'm still alive and yes it has been some time since a newsletter has arrived at your doorstep. I wish I could tell you that I've been flying so much that there is no time to write about it but that is not the case. The whole sordid story is that I've been building a home for my BD-4 (and also for my family). For several years I've wanted to live on a residential airport but just didn't have the money to do it. Crest Airpark at Kent, Washington (near Seattle) has always intrigued me. It is far enough out'to be called a 'grass roots' airport but close enough in so that I only have to commute about 35 minutes. Airports like this are few and far between in most parts of the country and are becoming scarcer each year. We have been saving money for a long time to get this chance at every pilots dream.

As you know airport people are usually really quite strange and because they think they have something special they really make you pay if you want to belong to the 'club'. The lots at Crest have been running between 55 and 65 thousand dollars for quite a few years this means you can sell your beginner house and only get a 0.7 acre piece of bare land for all your trouble. I finally found a senile old man who wanted my Republic SeaBee so bad that he sold me his lot at Crest for half price. My dear wife was of the opinion that we should just advertise the lot and wait for the 50 percent profit to come rolling in. I knew that there was no way I could live with myself if I gave up my one chance at every pilots dream. After letting the issue cool for awhile, "we" finally decided that if we did the work ourselves we could handle it. Anyone crazy enough to build airplanes and then fly them is crazy enough to do just about anything. We were told by 'friends' that you can't just go do all your own electrical, carpentry, and plumbing work as only UNION people were allowed to do that! I can't believe the amount of misinformation that is running around. Just to prove to them we could handle it, we really did it up right - even drawing and modifying our own plans. After a few fights with the county building permit people, we won approval for a 3000 sq. ft hangar with attached 1000 sq. ft shop with 1000 sq. ft "music room" above and a 2850 sq. ft two story house. The hangar/shop is a 4000 sq. ft building that is 20 ft from the floor to the trusses (just high enough to play volley ball in). The "music room" is set up so we can live in it while we are building our house. After a lot of earth moving and concrete work, we started building the hangar Dec 24, 1984 and with the help of BD-4 owner David Dotson and his wife Diane, we now have a beautiful hangar and a music room that is about ready to live in. Just in time too as we sold our house today!

Now I know this really isn't a good enough excuse to ignore my duties but it is the best I have.


Many people have been asking where to get the fiberglass parts that Duane Roberts had been making. Well Duane just couldn't stand all the sunshine and good weather in Nevada so he moved back to Seattle. You can look in issue 8 of the newsletter to see what is available. His new address and phone number are listed on the enclosed name 1ist. Call or write him for new prices.


If you have a very heavy airplane or just weak saggy landing gear, maybe Bill VanNoy's new idea will work for you. He couldn't find enough people to go along with making a new batch of 7075-T6 landing gear legs and he really didn't want to spend the money so he came up with a design for strengthening the legs he has. He is a structural Engineer so he actually designed this fix and didn't just guess at it. The engineering shows that it should be as strong as the 7075-T6 gear mentioned above. He has it on his BD-4 but has not 'bounce tested' it yet. The design is shown in Figure 1. Figure 2 shows the method used to strengthen the landing gear box. It looks identical to the way I did it and I have had no trouble with mine. Bill is using a solid link inside the box rather than the 'donut' arrangement.


I will shortly be moving to Crest Airport so here is the new address:

Roger D. Mellema
17605 SE 288 PL
Kent, WA 98042

It looks like the phone number will stay the same.


In newsletter #9, Jost Walliman from Switzerland wrote about a BD-4 door that hinged at the top. Several builders wrote and asked for some words about how it was done and Jost was kind enough to write it up and send it to me.

Top hinged doors on the BD-4

First of all I would like to point out that I did all my aluminum cutting for the aeroplane on my circular saw which I bought for wood work some years ago. I simply exchanged the saw blade for a metal cutting one.

May I give a few hints for those who never misused such a "can be dangerous" machine the way I do.
The saw should have an RPM of between 2500 and 3000.

You probably knew those things long ago, but in the heat of the battle I have to force myself to stick to those safety rules. So as a refresher the above lines might not do any harm.

Back to the subject:

I didn't like the original steel frame of Bede's design nor did I like the way they were hinged. I wanted the doors to be hinged at the top so:

  1. The doors weight would not pull on the far end hinges.
  2. the doors can be left open for taxiing on a hot day.
  3. the doors can be removed easily just by pulling the pin of the piano hinge and disconnecting the door lifter.

To build the door frame I was looking for a T-shaped alu-profile and came across the profile of which you see a crosssection in full scale below.

I had to cut off the part initially meant to hold a rubber seal for some other purpose.

The 6 foot alu-bar then was cut to produce the doorframe as you can see in the following drawing.

Click on image for larger view

To fix the whole frame together, corresponding angle pieces were cut from 10 mm alu-plate as shown below. Two countersunk screws of AN 3-4A type are enough t o fix each corner.

The centerbar is held in place with gussets and pop-rivets (see below).

Click on image for larger view

The main modification to the fuselage structure was to replace the crossmember underneath the cabin spar by an alu-profile as sketched below.

Figure 5
Click on image for larger view

Enough room all round the door frame is left to mount a seal as shown.

On the hinge side no seal is provided. Once the frame is finished, the door is covered by alu sheet. I glued the sheet to the frame before bending the ends round the frame. This stopped the skin from moving while bending. The window opening is given by the frame. The centerbar can be placed at will to obtain the window height as desired. The perspex (plexiglass) simply glued in with silicon and may be supported by light alu-angle riveted to the frame.
As a doorlock I used the locks from an old minivan rear door, which is of the type where two bars are extended by turning the doorhandle. The same type of lock can be found in any hardware store. Here in Europe they are in use on windows and cabinets. The locking bars extend on the extreme ends into the doorposts. As an extra I have mounted on each door a shocklift strut as used on car-rear hatches to hold the doors when open. If any one would like photos or even the same profile I used, he can contact me.
Jost Walliman


We had the pleasure of being involved in the first flight of Steve Mahoney's BD-4 in early June. Steve purchased Phil Rabb's BD-4 a few years ago and has been working very hard on-it ever since. The airplane is a tail-dragger with standard wins, an O-360 engine and a fixed pitch prop. The final weight was 1105 lbs. Steve has some interior to put in yet and the airplane has no fairings. Steve did an excellent job of keeping the weight down. I gave Steve some dual in my BD first and then he went out and did a super job of test flying his airplane. Steve had never flown a tail-dragger so the dual in mine was needed to get the feel of it.

While flying with Steve I noticed something that I hadn't considered before. Steve has been flying Cessna's and he did two things different than I do when flying my BD. When using the rudders, he has the heels of his feet off of the floor and he jabs the rudders and allows the return/centering springs to bring the rudder back to center position. I keep my heels on the floor and work one foot against the other when using the rudder. Steve says that his technique works very well in his airplane which has centering springs. The BD-4 has such a sensitive rudder that I have trouble flying with my heels off of the floor and as I do not have centering springs I have to do it all a little different. Ah well learn something different every day.

Steve flew his first flight at a very light weight and the airplane sure did perform. I flew chase plane in my BD-4 and could never catch him in climb.. He can climb 1500 ft/min at 120 mph, and 1700 ft/min at 100 mph. He is going to repitch his propeller as it is definitely a climb prop. Steve checked his airspeed accuracy with my BD-4 and with his fathers Mooney and found it to be right on. His stall speeds came out below book value (light weight). At maximum power and 1500 ft he can true out at 175 mph. The 175 mph number is exactly what I got on both of my airplanes right after I built them.

Steve is eager to get his airplane all faired in so he can take on the field at the CAFE 400 next year. Congratulations Steve!

Fred Hinsch and Eric Munzer from Vancouver, BC Canada called recently and said they are about ready to fly. Fred has been ready since last October but decided to wait until spring. David Dotson and I are scheduled to go up there this weekend to help with the test flying of Fred's airplane. Eric has to paint his yet so it will be a couple of weeks.


Keith Nicely sent me the following list of articles about the BD-4 that have appeared in Sport Aviation.
Article Month Year Page
Note only Apr. 1970 26
" May 1970 18
" Mar. 1971 6
" May 1971 66
" Jun. 1971 66
" Jul. 1971 42
" Jun. 1972 9
" Aug. 1972 14
" May 1973 6
BD-4 Fuel Limitations Feb. 1976 23
BD-9CB Mar. 1976 54
Towing a BD-4 2800 Miles Dec. 1976 66
Turbo BD, BD-4 Sep. 1978 54
Bede Trustee Named Jan. 1979 8
Nose Strut Failure & Ice in Aileron Jun. 1979 59
Bede Bakruptcy Now a Fact Jul. 1979 8
Nose Gear Spindle Failure Dec. 1979 18
Ron Smith's BD-4 With Long Wings May 1981 52
STOL BD-4 Jan. 1982 46
George Graeser's BD-4 Aug. 1982 58


Don Holm would like to know if anyone has tried the 64(2)415 wing tip droop leading edge scheme?

Don Gamble has a BD-4 center spar for sale.

Jerry Guess was recently building a new wing from the Val Barnhardt kit and discovered a lot of corrosion on the outside of one of his spars. It was bad enough that he didn't want to use the spar. He had purchased the airplane used and the wing, had laid on the ground with some water in it. Would you believe that in one day he found a complete set of spars for sale!!!! He should now be busy finishing his new wing.

Lloyd Brekke wrote to say that Larry Schubert, 236 S. Florence, Wichita, KS 67209 has a damaged BD for sale for $2500. The airplane was gently tipped over on its back. No engine, prop, or instruments and the wings look like they need some work. Larry's phone number 316-943-1157 (home) or 316-946-7074 (work)

Ray Ward would like a set of metal ribs for his new 300 HP BD-4. Jim Murphy and John Raffensparger arn't supplying them anymore.

Hal Carpenter is looking for drawings of the Val Bernhardt's nose wheel assembly.

Barton Greer sent a letter and a newspaper clipping of his first flight in his BD-4 on September 29, 1984. It only took him 6,245
hours and 15 or so years to build it. It really looks nice with everything faired in. Congratulations Barton!!!

Ray Ward wrote to say that he recently purchased a set of wings and has the aileron and flaps available.

Michael DiIIey, Star Route 2 Box 3422-B, 21404 Quail Springs Rd. , Tehachapi, CA 93561 has dynafocal mount, tail spring, landing gear box (new), side channels (new), landing gear legs, axles, wheels, Brekke cowling and camlocs, control system weldments, tail group, and yoke controls for sale. Phone 805-822-4743 (home), 805-824-2645 (work).

John Raffensparger would like to build a two place 'BD-4X' that would be powered by a VW engine. He would like to, cut 6 inches off of the height and have side by side seating.

The BD-4 type of construction is actually very good for building very light weight airframes of this type. I have often thought of building something like the Avid Flyer using aluminum angle techniques. rdm

Dan Hartley called me to ask if anyone has thought of somehow putting the firewall on the backside of the engine mount so that when it swings away, the entire underside of the instrument panel opens up. Any ideas? Dan is working hard on an aluminum block Buick V8 powered BD-4.

Rick Graf is working on a new type of wing for his airplane. It will use fiberglass sandwich for the wing skin and fewer ribs. He also has a 351 Ford V8 all set up with light weight heads etc. to put on his specially made engine mount. A little heavy but it looks like it might work. The engine is made to develop high torque at low rpm so that the prop does not have to be geared (weight savings).


The Arlington fly-in will be held as usual this year. The fly-in is now four days long - Aug 8-11. There will be no charge to those who fly in. They are going to stick the 'civilians' coming through the gate for more so that we go free. You can buy food at the site so you don't have to pack your own - give your wife some time off! We have been having a really great turn out of BD-4's at this fly-in. I believe the record so far is 9 aircraft. Come on up and enjoy your self - there is a fly-by pattern so can show off your dazzling speed. I also hereby promise that there will be no Cold Duck this year - this for several good reasons.

  1. It makes me sick to look at it.
  2. It makes it hard to get up in the morning.
  3. It takes until 2 in the afternoon to feel like flying.

It is time to think about dues again. Many of you have already sent in more money and I have noted it by putting a "@" symbol in front of your name on the enclosed BD-4 builder list. This means that you are good for another 5 or so issues.

Those names with the "*" will get this newsletter and maybe the next one before I drop them.

The price of the next 5 or so newsletters is $5.00.

Now that the big push is over for a place to live, I do hereby promise to answer letters quicker and get the newsletter out in a more timely fashion!!!!           rdm

CAFE 400

The CAFE 400 was held again this June but I didn't go because of my building project. Apparently there were no BD-4's in the race.

The formula was changed this year from:
MPG x LOAD(0.75) x SPEED(1.25)

This was done to help eliminate the several different race categories. It was touted as allowing the 4 place aircraft to compete on an equal basis with the 6 or 7 placers. In reality it allowed the 1 and 2 place experimentals to come out on top. A Quickie had the highest overall score. Gary Hertzler had the highest score in the two place category in his vari-eze. A 201 Mooney did very well with LoPreste at the controls. It was the highest scoring big production airplane. Apparently there were no 3 or more seat experimentals.


For all of you going to THE-fly-in-this year be sure to check the sign posted in the window of Hugo Schneider's BD-4 for when and where all the BD-4 happenings will occur. Hugo always parks his airplane near the Classic Cafe so it should be easy to find. I will not be going this year so would someone please write up a short report on what goes on so I can publish it in the next newsletter?

Several builders have called for information about ProSeal type products, their prices, and sources. Several builders have sent me bits and pieces of information - much more than I can put in the newsletter. Thank you to all of you who sent the literature.

I'm including two data sheets on the most popular of the sealants. There are about eight slightly different types but these two should be sufficient for our use.

The MIL SPEC number for these products is MIL-S-8802 E type 1. PRC (Products Research and Chemical Corp.) 1422 A and 1422 B are the same as GC (Goal Chemical Sealants Corp.) 407 A and GC 407 B which are the same as Essex (ProSeal) 810 A and 810 B.

The company addresses are:

Global Sealants Corp.                   PRC Corp.
3137 East 26th St. 5454 San Fernando Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90023 PO Box 1600
213-269-0461 Glendale, CA 91209

Companies that carry these products area

ATAC Products                            Inter Sales
1120 SW 16th 4150 1st Ave S
Renton, WA 98055 Seattle, WA 98134
206-226-8340 206-622-6030
Seal Pak
2614 S Hoover
Wichita, KS 67215

Type A is brushable and the B type is thicker. The relative viscosities listed indicate the difference. Water viscosity is about 0.01 poises, A type is 200 poises, and B type is 12, 000 poises.
The brushable is excellent for use in coating the inside of the fuel tanks before building the wing or for sealing leaks later. Jim Bede recommends using the regular (B) ProSeal for putting the wing panels together. The 3M 2216 originally called for will soften when exposed to certain elements in av gas and car gas.


I recently asked Rick Hatcher for a report on his Ford conversion project and here it is.

The engine is a Ford 2000 cc (1971). This engine an a car is rated at 100 HP. When you remove it from the car and take off the smog stuff you gain 25 percent which brings it up to 125 HP. I installed a turbo cam, forged pistons, racing valves, double springs and valves (I cut down the seats to hold both valves) put in Cavelar 77 main and rod bearings, O ring the engine (copper dead soft wire to back up fire rings on the head gasket, cut O ring in block .040 wide.

I installed electronic ignition, one distributor, two brain boxes, I use switches on dash to control the brain boxes. The distributor hole in the engine was too small so I drilled it out to fit the electronic distributor. The oil pump drive has two different sizes, use the larger one, cut to length and mill the oil pump end down to fit.

The reduction gear is 1.6 to 1, the lower gear has 30 teeth, the top 48. The gears are made from 6160. The lower gear is bolted right on to the crank with outer bearing for support. Power is transmitted via 1/2" pitch cog belt to upper gear. Upper gear is on a shaft that also has prop flange and adjustments.

The engine uses a Ray Jay turbo. At 10-12 pounds the engine doubles it's horses. Engine balance is at 14.5 inches from the firewall. It weighs 418 pounds (this is firewall forward including mount,, prop, radiator, starter, alternator and oil).

If anyone wishes to install a Ford engine I would say the V6 2800 cc aluminum head might be better. It is now available in wrecking yards. It weighs less and can produce more HP.

If anyone wants more information they can call me.
                               Rick Hatcher


Bill deProsse supplied these inputs to help you builders out. Remember Bill has the amphibious BD-4 covered in a past issue. A spy told me that there are lots of smashed bugs on Bills wings but the airplane has not flown yet - another 2 months.

I H 024 Engine Mount Bracket - Bede had these made up by an aluminum extruder.

1 H 132 Channels - They are 3/4 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 0.025 2024 T3 for the roof and cowl. Bede had them made up. Anyone with a good brake could make them.

1 H 202 Avex Rivets - Avdel Inc., Cerritos, CA., located near LA. The phone is 213-926-0902. The part numbers for them listed on the Bede Parts List are actually the Avdel part numbers. A lot of folks also get them from Fastener Rivet Co., 615 W. Colfax, Palatine, IL 60067, 312-359-3838. Excellent quality and not terribly expensive.

3 C 100 Flap Pins - Bede had them made from #M1020 mild steel. The PSI range is 55,000 - 60,000. Ordinary 3/8" key stock from the locksmith does very well. It is cold drawn, and has a PSI around 85, 000.

3 H 124 Wood Screws #432 PK66A4-5 - To screw the flap and aileron skins to the wood ribs. Van Dusen Aircraft Supply (worldwide, but nearest to me is Van Nuys 213-988-7308). However, they are not countersunk. A lot of folks are getting stainless steel, countersunk wood screws from the hardware store, and a little smaller too.

3 G 151 Lead Mass - Your local used battery store can steer you to an outfit that melts them down into 25 lb ingots.

3 H 190 and 191 HEYCO Bushings - Heyman Mfg. Co., 1011 Centery Drive, Waukesha, WI 53186 414-542-7155 (or Van Dusen). The SB stands for snap bushing, and the OCB stands for open-closed bushing.

3 H 279 Ball Bearings - Fafnir Bearing N0. B541DD, any bearing supply house..

3 G 308 Wood Round - Two pieces of PhiIIipine Mahogany, same as the aileron and flap ribs, easily made up. They are on drawing 4-3-05 as #94.

4 D 047 Lord Landing Gear Mounts - They are the same squishy donuts used on the old mooney. If you haven't dreamed up somethig different, get them from the local Mooney dealer.

4 D 052 Tires - For a taildragger be sure to get the 18" wheels. Also, Lloyd Brekke sells a real good landing gear extension kit for the taildragger. I have one on mine. It's a lot cheaper than a new prop and crankshaft.

4 D 055 Nose Wheel Assembly - The Scott 3200 or larger tailwheel.

4 H 164 Nuts #AN365-524 - You're better off with 1/2" castellated #AN310-8, and drill out the rods for cotter pins.

4 H 187 and 5 E 050 (and where ever else they show up) Oilite Bearing - Bearing Service Co., L. A. 213-587-8271; but any bearing house has t hem.

5 H 153 and 154 Flap Handle and Rudder Pedal Spring - You care pick the tension to suit your taste at your local hardware store.

6 B 062 Fuel Tank Transmitters - I understand these, and 6 I 069 Engine Instrument Group, are from old Pipers. You might check the Piper dealer.

6 C 067 #18 wire - Shielded Type I is best. It minimizes external noises.

6 C 068 Battery Cable - Size "0" (many people are now using aluminum wire to lighten the weight) rdm

6 F 084 and 085 Primer and Primer Lines - Koehler Co., Koehler, WI 414-457-4441. Their part No. K2402-2.

6 G 240 Molding Seal Strip - This is round foam, .375 " in diameter, with plastic around it, and a tail along it, .400 wide. You've seen something similar around household doors. The tail is for fastening. Midwest Fastener, Wichita, 316-267-3318. Van Dusen has this too.

6 G 241 Sound Insulating Material - Buckley Industries, 1600 E Murdoch, Wichita, 316-262-0425. Bede used their part No. PF3340, though Buckley now recommends their part NO. PF105. It could be the Bede selection is quiter, I don't know.

6 G 250 Master/Starter Relays - Radio Supply, Wichita, 316-267-5213. It is an Essex Type, No. 70-918. However, it is identical to the Delco three terminal 12 volt relay. I got two from the local Delco dealer.

6 G 311 Battery Box - You may want to consider the new plastic ones they are using in motor boats. They are easily anchored by several methods, and are impervious to battery acid, while the aluminum battery box is not.

6 G 381 Aluminum Plate .5 x 1. x 1. - Aircraft Spruce has these.

6 H 388 and 389 Plastic Tee and Elbow - These are the fittings for the pitot and static tubes. Aircraft Spruce has them as part Nos. 0715-153 and 0710-153, respectively.

Two good suppliers are:
Aircraft Spruce and Specialty
Box 424 Fullerton, CA 92632
(excellent how-to catalogue)

Aviation Products, Inc.
114 Bryant
Ojai, CA 93023
(cheap brake parts)

Two places that make engine mounts (they have mockup of the BD firewall):
Custom Aircraft Parts
1318 Gertrude
San Diego, CA

Stolp Starduster
Riverside, CA

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