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Wed, Jan 18, 2012

Hollywood Comes To Spirit Of Flight Center

BD-5 Micro Joins The Museum's Collection

A BD-5 Micro aircraft has joined the Spirit of Flight Center air museum collection. The single-seat homebuilt aircraft, created in the late 1960’s by US aircraft designer Jim Bede, was introduced to the aviation market primarily in “kit” form by the now-defunct Bede Aircraft Corporation in the early 1970s. In total, only a few hundred BD-5 kits were ever completed, and many of them still fly today. The BD-5J (J stands for jet powered) holds the record for being the world’s lightest jet aircraft, weighing only 358.8 pounds.

Spirit of Flight BD-5J Restoration Project

“I have had a copy of a 1972 issue of Air Progress magazine in my office for years, only because it had an article introducing the BD-5, which I still think it is an amazing plane” said Gordon Page, President of the Spirit of Flight Center. "We have always wanted to have one in the collection, and now we have one thanks to a generous donor”.

The Spirit of Flight BD-5 will be configured as a BD-5J and will be painted in the colors of the BD-5J that was used in the 1983 James Bond movie Octopussy. In the movie, stunt pilot “Corkey” Fornoff flew an amazing sequence in the tiny jet to outrun a heat-seeking missile that included a flight through a hangar. “Sorry to report that the Spirit of Flight BD-5 will NOT be flying through any hangars” said Gordon Page with a smile on his face.

The BD-5 restoration will be taken on my museum volunteers and will be part of the museums PROJECT Take Flight. PROJECT Take Flight is the Spirit of Flight Centers program to restore aircraft and artifacts, but it also helps out with service projects within the community. In addition to the BD-5, several other Hollywood movies, aircraft and items will be featured throughout the museum during the year. “Our goal is to have every visitor to the museum learn three things they didn’t know about aviation and aviation history” said museum volunteer Kathy Persons. “I have been volunteering for over three years now and it amazes me how much there is to learn, especially when it comes to the Hollywood history”.

File Photo

The museum is also expanding its educational and living history days in 2012 and is working on a new teaching curriculum with several local schools. One of the major additions to the Spirit of Flight Center for the New Year is a mobile air museum that can go to schools, retirement homes and other facilities that may not have the budget to take visitors to the main museum facility.

“The new BD-5 will fit right into the mobile air museum so kids can sit in it and get their picture taken” said Gordon Page. “I am just a big kid, so I hope to be the first!”

FMI: www.spiritofflight.com

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