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Thu, Jul 31, 2003

Jim Bede Announces BD-18 Two Seater

ANN Exclusive! Two seat BD-17 is a natural evolution of the design

By ANN Correspondent Juan Jimenez

It's happened again - Jim Bede has announced a new aircraft design, this time the BD-18, a two-seat version of the BD-17. Not surprisingly, it looks like what the BD-17 suggests itself to be - a very close cousin to the BD-1, which went on to become the AA-1 Yankee, and which in years past evolved into the AA-1B Grumman Trainer, AA-1C Lynx and AA-5 Traveler, among others.

What this reporter did not expect, though, was that the BD-18 would be a side-by-side two-seater. Some months ago ANN had discussed the possibility of a larger BD-17, and there was some mention of a tandem seating design. However, the BD-18 makes sense - a tandem design means having to recalculate and redesign for a redistribution in weight, Going from one seat to side-by-side seating, though, means figuring out how to handle additional weight at roughly the same station.

The truly surprising aspect of the BD-18, however, is that it is designed to be built both as a kit and as a plans-built aircraft, from scratch. As with the BD-17 - as well as some of Bede's previous designs - the BD-18's entire fuselage is built from one-half inch thick honeycomb panel made of 0.020 2024-T3 sheets bonded to a metal honeycomb core with a one-quarter inch cell size. According to Bede, the panels have the strength of a 0.040 2024-T3 sheet in tension, 80 percent of the strength of a solid one-half inch plate in torsion, but weight only 0.75 lbs per square foot.

This honeycomb panel material can also absorb a large amount of impact energy, giving the structure an above average crash-worthiness. As if that were not enough, the panels float.

Specifications for the aircraft are available on Jim's web site listed below, but some of the highlights are estimated cruising speeds of between 142 and 196 mph depending on the choice of engine and propeller, and dirty stall speeds of between 52 and 61 mph. This is definitely not an aircraft designed to qualify for the new Sport Pilot program,

FMI: www.jimbede.com

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