Jim Bede's round-the-world aircraft BD-2

AeroFranz

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I found mention of an early design by Jim Bede that he was planning to use on a round the world record attempt. It was a converted Schweizer sailplane, with a Continental engine in the nose and a "wet" wing. He never got the record, as we all know, but he did perform a 70-hour flight before being forced down by an electrical failure. I was surprised there wasn't more litterature on the subject.
I am attaching a picture from Aviastar.org
I was wondering if forum members had some technical data to share beyond what (little) is available with a google search.
I am also curious to know how putting the engine in the nose did not upset the cg range. Did Bede extend the rear fuselage or something? ???
 

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Dear Aerofranz,
The BD-02 Love One (Low Orbit Very Efficient One) was designed by James Bede and built by the Javelin Aircraft Corporation. The aircraft was intended to perform the first un-refuelled flight around the world and World Flight, Inc. was founded to co-ordinate and finance the flight.
As you already mentioned the basic structure came from a Schweizer 2-32 glider and equipment included an autopilot. Take-off was done from a jettinosable 3-wheel trolley. The first flight was made 11 March 1967. Although the world flight was not made, the aircraft established several FAI records including the flight of 70 hours and 15 minutes and a flight covering 8.924 miles non-stop. During 1980-1981 the aircraft was modified by Javelin and renamed as the Mullens Phoenix and under that name made a 10,070 miles non-stop flight in 73 hours and 2 minutes (5-8 December 1981).
Engine was a 225hp Continental IO-360-C. Wingspan 63ft 4in, length 27ft 4in and height 6ft 10in.
cruise 205 mph, ceiling 20,000ft and theoretical range 28,500 miles
Regards, Walter
 
Thanks for the additional info. I was wondering about the landing gear, since in the picture i have it looked like a trolley (a la Me-163).
I wonder how Jim Bede planned to stay awake long enough to complete the flight. 70 hours is amazing in itself, and for their Voyager flight, Rutan and Yeager could at least take shifts. I assume an autopilot would have been required.
 
Interesting photo. I have read of 2-32s being modded for many high-efficency projects. I will dig through my files when I can. I just registered. It looks like a good site.
 
Thanks for the additional info. I was wondering about the landing gear, since in the picture i have it looked like a trolley (a la Me-163).
I wonder how Jim Bede planned to stay awake long enough to complete the flight. 70 hours is amazing in itself, and for their Voyager flight, Rutan and Yeager could at least take shifts. I assume an autopilot would have been required.
I understand that he would remove the detachable control stick, engage the autopilot during the day, and try to sleep by pulling the shade over the canopy. At night he would fly the plane to give him the best odds of dealing with any situation that might arise. I have attached a picture of the interior of the plane.
 

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Interesting photo. I have read of 2-32s being modded for many high-efficency projects. I will dig through my files when I can. I just registered. It looks like a good site.
During the Viet Nam War at least two Schweitzer 232s were modified for quiet recce of the Ho Chi Min Trail. The first retained most of the original airframe but added a mid-mounted engine driving a large-diameter, slow-turning propeller above the nose. Shaft was routed above the tandem canopy to connect the mid-mounted engine with the tractor propeller mounted above the nose. It retained the traditional glider landing gear with large wheels on the center-line and small out-rigger wheels near the wing-tips.

There were a least 3 high-efficiency variants all based upon the wider TG-7A motor-glider. Civilian designation Schweitzer 2-37. The TG-7A sat a pair of pilots side-by-side above the wing with a tractor engine and conventional (tail-wheel) landing gear. Main-wheels were mounted on the ends of Wittman-style, flat spring gear legs. A dozen TG-7As served student pilots at the USAF Academy for 1982 to 2003.

During the Viet Nam War a pair of Schweitzers were modified for quiet recce over the Ho Chi Min Trail. One was an almost stock TG-7A airframe with a large-diameter, 6-bladed propeller turning at 1,000 to 1200 rpm (IOW half the speed of a conventional Lycoming prop shaft.

During the 1990s the USCG operated two more Schweitzer variants to intercept drug-smugglers along the USA’s Southern borders.
The single-engine RG-8 was based upon the TG-7 airframe with a Lycoming IO-540 piston engine turning a single tractor propeller mounted in conventional tractor configuration. A pilot and sensor-operator sat side-by-side under a large, bulged canopy (aka. Malcolm Hood).
I repacked “a bunch” of bespoke RG-8 pilot-emergency-parachutes while working for Butler Parachute Systems.

The Schweitzer RU-38A was a radical re-redesign powered by a pair of Teledyne GIO-550A piston engines. The “G” part of the designation means that the propeller is “geared” to turn slower than the crankshaft. A Continental engine replaced the Lycoming (RG-8) tractor in the nose. The rear, pusher propeller required a radical redesign with a much-shortened center fuselage and twin booms supporting the tail surfaces.

RU-38 typically transition to-and-from surveillance areas with both engines running, but shut one down to extend loiter time over the target area.

The later RU-38B variant is re-engined with Allison 250 turboprops that can be throttled back to turn props at only 1,000 rpm.
 
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Specs from JAWA 1967-68, just a phone snap so hopefully readable.
 

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