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The cockpit can hold one person, is smaller than a compact car and as narrow as a motorcycle. What kind of plane is this and how hard would it be to fly?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ In its current state, flying it would be extremely difficult! ;) $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Jun 26 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ On the contrary, that plane is VERY unlikely to crash any time soon. $\endgroup$ – Mike Brockington Jun 27 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ There is a retro simulation of it released by Microprose called AcroJet en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrojet $\endgroup$ – Immetiade Jun 27 at 12:10
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Go to Oshkosh (Air-Venture). You'll see several of these in flying condition. There's also one in Udvar-Hazy (the OTHER Smithsonian Air and Space museum south of the Dulles airport in DC).

The original BD-5 was a kit-built, pusher-prop (wooden, fixed pitch), single-seater, retractable tricycle landing gear, aircraft. More recently, others have bought licenses to the design and adapted them to jet engines. It's a high performance, tiny aircraft. You can buy one:

https://bd-micro.com

The problem of the original BD-5 was that it was designed around a collection of engine specs that didn't belong to any existing engine. The builders have had to find an appropriate engine and adapt it to the airframe. Jim Bede, the designer, tried a lot of different engines and never found one to include in the kit.

The one in the Smithsonian (Udvar-Hazy):

https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/bede-bd-5b

It took over 5,000 hours for two guys to build. They flew it for nine hours and then gave it to the museum, likely because it scared them too much to fly it, and as builders, they would be liable for any crashes if they sold it.

It was a dangerous aircraft to fly. Fighter pilots loved it because the controls are familiar to them in that small movements of the stick result in large changes in the aircraft's attitude. The controls are extremely sensitive.

The safe alternative for a builder is to contribute it to a museum under the strict condition that it never be flown again, get a tax break for your contribution, and let thousands of people a day admire your pretty little airplane.

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  • $\begingroup$ Would it be cheap to maintain it because it is smaller? $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Jun 27 at 4:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Muze you'd need less paint, that'd help. And cheaper to construct because you need less materials. Probably cheap to run because it uses less fuel than a larger model too. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jun 27 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ It was a dangerous aircraft to fly. This is the biggest understatement on the page. I think the BD-5J has a crash and pilot loss record that would probably rival some WWI fighters. $\endgroup$ – J... Jun 27 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ BD Micro kits don't take nearly as long to build because they have been reengineered. BD-5's also get bought and sold all the time, same as any other experimental aircraft. It's called a liability release and no experimental is sold without one, regardless of how safe people think it is. BD-5's are not inherently dangerous. That's been proven by pilots who have collectively accumulated thousands of hours in the type. They are unforgiving of pilots who do not do the homework and prepare themselves to fly a high performance aircraft. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 28 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ The only reason BD-5J's have a high accident record is because of pilots who are not qualified to fly it, and because only a handful have ever been built. The aircraft requires pilots with enough experience to stay ahead of the aircraft. There are BD-5J pilots who have been flying the aircraft continuously for more than 30 years, including the pilots who flew the jet in Octopussy. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 28 at 10:37
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Thats a Bede BD-5 a microjet famously flown by James Bond. Based on the tail that may be the propeller variant.

enter image description here

(source)

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    $\begingroup$ Anecdote: the aircraft can also be admired in the London Film Museum at their Bond In Motion exhibition. In Octopussy (1983) Bond flew such a thing. $\endgroup$ – PerlDuck Jun 27 at 8:44
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That is a very poorly-built example of a Bede BD-5B. I can tell by simply looking at the placement of the rivets. To me that is the #1 indicator of low build quality on a BD-5. The low quality of the build is probably why it's sitting on a pole instead of flying. The lack of a thrust attenuator makes it a prop version.

To fly the prop version you only need a private pilot's license. To fly the jet version you need an experimental type rating, which you won't get without convincing the examiner that you have enough experience to rate the privilege.

The prop version is relatively easy and inexpensive to maintain. The jet version is expensive to operate and maintain, mostly because of the cost of maintaining the jet engine and paying for fuel, insurance, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ This answer partially answers the original question, but includes now irrelevant information as the question was rolled back to the original. I advise you edit this answer to just contain the first part - the identification. $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Jul 1 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ If I were to chase down all edits users make to their questions so i can edit my answers I wouldn't get anything else done. The additional information adds value. I will leave it as it. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jul 1 at 8:23

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