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