Based on previous work with innovative light aircraft, the BD-1 (eventually developed into the American Aviation AA-1 Yankee) and the BD-2, Jim Bede designed the BD-4, the first real “kitplane” in the world. The design was based on a high-wing cantilever monoplane of conventional design, able to be fitted either with tail wheel or tricycle undercarriage, as the builder chooses.

The builder was also able to choose between building a two-seat or four-seat version. Bede wrote a 165-page BD-4 builder’s book, “Build Your Own Airplane”, that gives the amateur builder a good perspective on construction techniques. The intention was to have people with little or no fabrication experience start with a set of comprehensive plans and work up to a “bolt together” operation, using complex compone​​nts provided from the factory. In order to simplify construction, there were few curved surfaces and most of the fuselage was made up of flat aluminum sheeting. The only major components with compound curves were the engine cowling and landing gear spats which were made of fibreglass. The fuselage is constructed of aluminum angle braces bolted together to form a truss frame. An innovative wing structure employed a “panel-rib” constructed in sections consisting of a rib whose upper edge was “extended” horizontally to become one section of the wing surface. The wing was progressively built up by sliding these sections together over the tubular spar and fastening them together where they met. Although the original wing design was easy to build, current BD-4B features a redesigned, more conventional, metal wing with a tubular spar bonded to honeycomb ribs.

The BD-4C is a greatly improved four seat model with 1,200 lb (544 kg) empty weight and 2,400 lb (1,089 kg) gross weight. Estimated construction time is 700 hours. Two models completed and flown by 2011 with kits currently being assembled around the world.


| The Next Generation BD-4C |


Design parameters were to build the safest aircraft possible using the most economical and easy-to-work aviation-grade materials. Specially designed parts are limited, including the aluminum honeycomb construction ribs and the tubular spar for the new all-metal wings. Although the BD-4C meets or exceeds the structural requirements for certified aircraft as specified in FAR – Part 23, it is not certified, and is intended for construction and operation only as an amateur-built airplane.


All-metal, internally stressed design. Designed for home shop construction. No welding, no complicated jigs. Gusseted and bolted aluminum frame angles form “erector set” safety cage. Sleek bonded .016 and .020 aluminum skin, blind-riveted load-carrying components. The Cockpit can be upholstered and trimmed to production aircraft standards. Spacious instrument panel accommodates IFR components.


Forget rivets. The all-metal wings of the BD-4C are tough and smooth. Second generation Jim Bede-designed all-metal “wet” cantilever high wing design with the same 64-415 modified airfoil. The bonded wing skin is rivet-free except for the trailing edge spar. Ribs are 1/2″ aluminum honeycomb. 10, 20, and 30-degree flap deflection. Flaps and ailerons, designed to be removable, are torque-tube controlled. Rugged ready-to-mount 6.5″ O.D. tubular main wing spars of 6061-T6 aluminum are sleeved for fast assembly to fuselage spar. Three-piece spar assembles quickly, is light and strong, and permits foldable wing option. The all metal design incorporates a fiberglass fuel sump to alleviate any possibility of fuel starvation. The new wing is available in kit form from BedeCorp, or visit our Build Center for explicit help which usually takes 3 days.


The BD-4C uses S-ply main gear struts to replace the original aluminum struts. The internal components of the gear box are solid state with no welded components. The nose wheel is a custom designed full castering wheel that replaces the Scott tail wheel. The new wheel is available for separate purchase on older aircraft. The BD-4C can be tricycle or tail dragger configuration.


Horizontal stabilator is an all-flying design with 2.5″ OD 6061-T6 tubular spar, 63-009 airfoil, 36″ chord, and 90″ span. Strong, light aluminum honeycomb ribs bonded similar to the wings. Vertical tail is bonded as well. Both tails are fixture built and come assembled in the kit.


Most of the BD-4C controls remain unchanged from the original ‘B’ version. The trim has been redesigned using a push pull cable and is actuated by a quadrastat, eliminating the weight and complexity of the original wheel design. The flaps and ailerons quickly disconnect from the fuselage when removing the wing.


BD-4C Selected Dimensions and Capacities:

Wing Span

26.20 feet

Folded Wingspan:

7 feet

Height (tricycle gear):

7.23 feet


22.60 feet

Landing Gear:

Fixed tricycle or tail wheel configuration.

Cabin Width:

46 inches

Cabin Length:

103 inches

Fuel Capacity:

51 to 80 gallons

Ultimate G Load Limits*

BD-4C @ 2000 Lb. gross:
Positive 6.3 G, Negative 6.3 G. BD-4C @ 1400 Lbs. gross:
Positive 9 G, Negative 9 G

*The BD-4C, as a 4-place 2400-Lb. gross airplane, currently exceeds the required standards for the “Normal” FAA certification category. As a 2-place plane, it exceeds the required standards for the “Aerobatic” category. However, this design is not certified, and is intended only for construction and operation as an amateur-built aircraft.


Item # BDC101 = BD-4C Fuselage Package — $5,321.80

 Kit includes all formed aluminum angles, precut gusset’s, aluminum skins, center section and hardware *Builder Assist Package Available

Item # BDC102 = BD-4C Metal Wing Package — $18,944.76

Kit includes all precut honeycomb ribs, wing spars, formed rear spars, wing skins, new fuel pickup system, Proseal and electric fuel senders.  Kit includes flap and aileron-formed skins, precut mahogany ribs, and aileron torque tubes. *Builder Assist Package Available

Item # BDC103 = BD-4C Control Package — $6,042.30

This kit includes the bonded vertical and horizontal tail sections, all bearings, and hardware. Also included is all the weldments, push pull rods, trim system needed for the internal control systems.

Item #BDC104 = BD-4C Landing Gear Package — $9,299.40

Kit includes S-Ply landing gear struts, formed nose gear strut, redesigned landing gear box, nose gear wheel, main gear wheels, brakes, tires and tubes, all hardware, aluminum support angles, master cylinder, brake lines and all hardware

Item # BDC105 = BD-4C Finish Package — $3,465.00

Kit includes Plexiglas, wing tips, vertical and horizontal tips, all hardware

Item # BDC110 = BD-4C Complete Package — $39,829.39

 Kit includes all of the above packages with some savings.


Recommended Engines (180-260hp) — Call For Quote

Special Pricing For Lycoming Added


UL Power — Special Pricing Available

Avionics — Call For Quote


MGL — Special Pricing Available


Propellers (72″ diameter, 2 blade recommended) — Call For Quote


Prince Aircraft