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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Justin Lewis to Fly BD-5FLS Microjet at AirVenture
Justin Lewis and his BD-5FLS are set to appear at AirVenture 2013.
Lewis fits snugly in the BD-5FLS.

March 14, 2013 - Not since the late 1990s has a BD-5 microjet appeared and flown at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, but there's one coming to the show this year, and it's definitely not your father's BD-5.

EAA has confirmed that Justin Lewis, owner and pilot of the world's first BD-5FLS version, will attend AirVenture 2013 and debut the upgraded version of the world's smallest jet, performing in air shows here for the first time. It's not his first visit to AirVenture - Lewis, EAA 392017, was here through most of the 1990s. But this will be his first as an air show performer.

He attended the EAA Air Academy in 1992, was a Young Eagle, and joined EAA Chapter 186 in Manassas, Virginia, where he says he learned a lot.

"EAA has been the most influential part of my life when it comes to building skills and support," he said. In flight training since age 14, Lewis soloed at age 16, earned his private pilot certificate at 17, and that year flew about 10 Young Eagles. The World's Largest Logbook notes that he has flown 25 Young Eagles overall.

Lewis likely would have attended Oshkosh many more times over the past dozen or so years were it not for his day job - he became a naval aviator after graduating from the University of North Dakota in 1999. He flew the F-14 Tomcat, E-6B (nuclear command platform), and T-45 as an instructor. Lewis logged more than 1,200 hours instructing and more than 3,400 flight hours overall.

For the past two years he has served with the Arkansas Air National Guard's 188th Air Wing flying A-10 Warthogs. He was deployed in Afghanistan from July-October 2012. Since his return he's been preparing for the 2013 air show season.

The significance of coming back to Oshkosh as an air show performer is not lost on Lewis. In fact, he says he has to pinch himself sometimes to realize it's going to actually happen at AirVenture's air shows, which are presented by Rockwell Collins.

"I can't use the word 'humbled' enough," he said. "As a kid I remember seeing Bob Bishop and Corky Fornof and the Silver Bullitt Team, and to think I'm now going to fly this aircraft at Oshkosh. Well, I'm kind of beside myself."

History of the BD-5

The BD-5FLS microjet is a high-performance, single-seat, aerobatic, low-wing, all-metal, jet-powered aircraft built from an amateur homebuilder kit originally developed in the 1970s by Jim Bede of Bede Aircraft Inc., of Newton, Kansas. It was a public sensation and fueled homebuilders with dreams of owning a high-performance propeller or jet aircraft at a fraction of the normal cost.

Instantly coined the "World's Smallest Jet," millions of people soon saw the aircraft flying in the James Bond movie Octopussy. Over the years, air show teams captivated fans all over the world, but today only four flying BD-5Js still exist. Famous past sponsors include Coors Light Silver Bullet and Bud Light Air Force.

The aircraft, however, was well ahead of its time and proved too difficult for most homebuilders to build. This and several other reasons caused Bede Aircraft Inc. to close its doors in 1979.

In 1992, Ed ("Skeeter") and Richard Karnes started BD Micro Technologies Inc. (BMT), beginning a long journey to update the BD-5 with modern technology while using current building techniques. After many years of research and development, BMT has successfully incorporated many improved design features in an aircraft lineup called the "Flight Line Series" or "FLS" kits.

FLS safety advances include improved stall characteristics, increased pitch stability, reduced airframe fatigue, and modern technology integration focused on increasing systems reliability while reducing pilot workload. Lewis, who formed Lewis & Clark Performance LLC, collaborated with BMT to build the first complete FLS Microjet - the airplane that Lewis is bringing to Oshkosh this summer, currently sponsored by BMT and US Fleet Tracking.

The plane also provides the standard for future kits, which are built and marketed by BMT. Learn more at the BMT website. Also visit the Lewis & Clark Performance LLC website for more about the team.

BD-5FLS Microjet Specifications
Top Speed: 320 mph
Stall Speed: 67 mph
Max Range 200 nm
Max Loading: ± 6 g's
Wing Span: 17 feet
Length: 13 feet
Height: 5 feet, 9 inches
Empty Weight: 416 pounds
Gross Weight: 890 pounds
Jet Fuel: 31 gallons
Engine: Quantum Turbine System Featuring the PBS TJ-100
Thrust: 265 pounds


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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