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8th of July, 1992

On this day in aviation history, the BD-10 made its first flight.

BD-10 Prototype

The roots of the BD-10 can be traced back to the BD-5, a single-seat kit aircraft, designed in the late 1960s by Jim Bede.

The BD-5 was a single-seat aircraft powered by a 2 cylinder two-stroke engine providing 70 hp. It had an MTOW of just below 300 kg(659 lb) with a cruise speed of around 200 knots and had a range of just over 800nm(~1500 km). After some legal issues, Jim Bede was not allowed to sell aircraft for 10 years. During these 10 years, he worked on several projects, one of them the BD-10. BD-5 in flight

The design and testing of the BS-10 did no go smoothly, a maintenance error during assembly even led to the first prototype having both the tail booms damaged resulting in the vertical stabilisers being canted at slightly different angles. This didn't stop the test-flying of the aircraft, although it suffered more damage when the gear failed on landing after one of the first test flights.

The aircraft was repaired and started flight testing again. The aircraft however was a lot heavier than the design weight of 1600 lbs (like a Cessna 172). it weighs 2250 lb. To counter the issues this gave with weight and balance the fuel capacity was reduced, and with that, the range was reduced 500 miles to 1500 miles.

A design error led to a lot of damage to the prototype in august 1994. During the take-off roll, the canopy opened and take-off was aborted after Vr, resulting in a runway overrun. The cause was found to be the canopy closing mechanism, which could activate the canopy closed switch, even with the canopy not fully closed. a minor design change resolved this issue. Further development of the design was undertaken by several investors in 1993, and the aircraft was renamed the Fox-10 and later renamed again as the Peregrine Falcon. The first prototype under this name was completed in 1994, it was lost in a mid-air break-up when the vertical stabilisers failed in flight. The project was renamed PJ-2 and a new prototype was built, this aircraft was lost in august 1995, killing the pilot, when one flap failed to retract after a go-around. Two kit aircraft were delivered by the late 90s one of them was built but crashed, the other in unflyable.

This brings the total number of BD-10 (or its successors) being built at 5, 3 crashed, 2 not flyable. Maybe a clue why it wasn't a success? Some design specifications of the BD-10, some of them seem too good to be true ;-)

  • Crew: one pilot

  • Capacity: 1 passenger

  • Length: 28 ft 10 in (8.794 m)

  • Wingspan: 21 ft 6 in (6.55 m)

  • Height: 8 ft 1 in (2.46 m)

  • Wing area: 98 sq ft (9.1 m2)

  • Empty weight: 1,600 lb (725 kg)

  • Gross weight: 4,430 lb (2,014 kg)

  • Powerplant: 1 × General Electric CJ-610 , 2,950 lbf (13.1 kN) thrust

  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.4

  • Cruise speed: 593 mph (957 km/h, 515 kn)

  • Range: 1,550 mi (2,499 km, 1,350 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,715 m)

  • Rate of climb: 30,000 ft/min (152 m/s)

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