Flashback: Kitbuilt Supersonic Jet Single Next on Jim Bede’s Hit List

 - January 6, 2022, 10:48 AM
Aviation International News 2/1/89, p.91

With AIN Media Group's Aviation International News and its predecessor Aviation Convention News celebrating the company's 50th year of continuous publication this year, AIN’s editorial staff is going back through the archives each month to bring readers some interesting events that were covered over the past half-century.

REWIND (JANUARY 1989): A pre-production version of Jim Bede’s newest kit-built aircraft, a supersonic derivative of his BD-10, is expected to be completed by mid-summer, the Cleveland-based kit builder said. With the exception of some minor work, engineering on the aircraft to be known as the BD-10J, is complete and fabrication of the composite materials will begin shortly.

Bede told Aviation International News that he expects to build only about 20 to 30 or the two-place, single-engine supersonic aircraft through his company Advanced Aircraft. No final price has been set for the BD-10J but Bede said it will probably cost about $160,000 sans engine and avionics.

FAST-FORWARD: A completed jet flew in July 1992, and by the following year, the price had grown to nearly $700,000 per kit. In 1994, former US Air Force pilot Mike Van Wagenen acquired all production and marketing rights to the design, which he called the Peregrine Falcon, and declared his intent to gain FAR Part 23 certification. After two successive prototype crashes that killed Van Wagenen and his successor, the design was purchased by a Canadian company that was unsuccessful in a plan to convert it into an unmanned military drone (see AIN 1/1/97 page 8). The lone owner-flown example broke up in flight in 2003, killing its pilot.