1970 Bede BD-5 – N500BD
N500BD was conceived in 1967 as an ultralight powered glider. The aircraft was built in 1970 and fist flown in September of 1971 at Hutchinson, KS with Jim Bede at the controls. The prototype BD-5 differs from all later models in that it has a bolted angle frame and a fiber-glass outer fuselage shell; later versions have a stamped aluminum semi-monococque fuselage.
This BD- served as a test bed for many of the early modifications to the basic BD-5 design. Originally powered by a 36 hp Polaris snowmobile engine, it was later fitted with a Kiekhaefer 440cc engine of 40 hp and finally, a 55 hp Hirth. This airframe was also used to change from the original V tail configuration to the present design.
With the advent of the all-metal version of the aircraft, N500BD was retired for static display. It’s original paint scheme was an overall orange/red with a white stripe, black and white checkerboard band between the tail and cockpit and a black BD-5 near the nose. Its present paint scheme is the now-familiar Bede orange/red fuselage stripe and brown accent stripe on an otherwise all-white aircraft
When originally placed in the EAA museum at Hales Corners, the BD-5 was small enough to come through the front door, with the wings carried in – one under each arm.