Jim Bede and his father James Bede with the intention to develop and
produce in series light aircraft formed Bede Aircraft in 1961.
Bedes first design XBD-2 was a twin-engined high-lift pusher
STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) research aircraft. The innovating
features of this design, were a aluminum honeycomb construction,
glass-fibre main landing gear, two engines stacked in the rear
fuselage driving a shrouded propeller, and a wing with suction BLC
(boundary layer control).
Under contract to Bede, the Aerophysics Department of Mississippi
State University did the initial design study for the BLC system. In
the wing upper surface 164,000 holes were drilled, varying from 0.020
to 0.029 in (0.5 to 0.737 mm), to suck the air from the wing and
discharge it rearwards through thrust augmentors. In between test
flights the system was slightly modified to improve performance and
facilitate the manufacture of the system for eventual production aircraft.
The companys prototype N327BD flew for the first time on 26
July 1961, and made most flights with only a pilot and the remaining
cabin space filled with test equipment. The XBD-2 accomplished about
50 hours of flying before being retired and donated to the EAA Museum
at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bede BD-3 and BD-7 were based on the
XBD-2, and some parts were used in later models, but no further XBD-2