Designing Airplanes For Over 55 Years, Jim Bede Unveils The BD22L
By Tom Woodward
Once called “The best damned airplane designer in the world” by Learjets Bill Lear, James R. Bede has designed and built more planes, received more awards, holds more patents and has garnered more attention than nearly anyone else in the aviation industry.
Bede’s list of aviation design achievements is staggering: 18 innovative aircrafts that include standouts such as the exciting piston-engined BD-5 pusher and BD-5J mini-jet, which have both thrilled a generation of air-show crowds; the twin-finned fighter-like BD10, designed to hustle a flying executive across the country at supersonic speeds; and the extreme long range BD-2 ( in which Jim broke three distance records and took a shot at a solo globe-circling record in 1969) is strikingly similar to the Kelly Johnson-designed U-2 spy plane.
Of the 15 Bede designed models, 11 are no longer in production. The BD-17L is the LSA version of the original BD-17, single seat aircraft and uses half inch honeycomb sandwich panels, a concept originally used in the BD-1 and the Yankee.
With the just introduced BD22L, Bede has attempted to answer the needs of his customers by giving them what they asked for such as;
A wide cockpit
State of the art avionics package
A low build time
Low maintenance and operating cost and
Choice of power plant
Although a prototype can be seen at the Bede booth on the North part of homebuilders headquarters, specifications were scarce on the website. This much is known; the cabin is 47' wide, among the industries widest. Fuel capacity is 30 gallons and the airplane is capable of flying with the canopy open. The prototype uses a low cost avionic suite comprised of a pair of panel mounted iPads pared with an iLevil to feed the gyro functions. The range is anticipated to be 600 NM and the BD22L can accept engines from 80HP to 120HP. Prices currently are $89,950 which includes everything but paint.