Starting on the BD-4C Doors

I have spent the last week making the steel frames for the doors for my BD-4C airplane. OK, let me be more precise. I spent the last week making the first frame. Having done the copilot’s door, and figured out all the hard stuff, I made the pilot’s door in few hours today. The only task remaining is to tack-weld the pieces together but, since it is now 7:00pm, I think I will write this blog post and then go watch some Netflix with my beautiful bride of 16 years and a day (yesterday was our anniversary <3 ). Continue reading Starting on the BD-4C Doors

Garage Heaters and Airplane Progress

I only have a little bit to say about my airplane this week so today’s post starts in a different direction. My friend, Don, and I got to talking last night. He is building a wooden sailboat in his garage. How cool is that?! As it turns out, it’s a bit too cool for Don to work on it this time of year. Continue reading Garage Heaters and Airplane Progress

Prescription Health Insurance Insanity

Excuse me while I vent about the insanity of health insurance here in the USA.

I take levothyroxine for a chronic condition (which means that I have taken the same dose for years and will likely continue to do so). I have a couple of choices for buying it:

  • $15.89 for a 30 day supply using my insurance at a local pharmacy. (My insurance will not authorize a 90 day supply.)
  • $8.95 for a 30 day supply at retail from Costco. I get that by paying $26.85 for a 90 day supply and not telling Costco anything about insurance.


My wife, who is lucky enough to have a Medicare plan, got 90 days of the same levothyroxine for $3.00, which works out to a whopping $1.00 per month.


Tailcone is Done!

It’s hard to believe but I have actually finished the tailcone of my Bede BD-4C airplane. Lots of nutplates, screws, and rivets. I think the hardware to hold it together may well weigh more than the aluminum in the tailcone itself. Here it is assembled to the back of the fuselage. (Click any photo to see it larger.)

Left side of Bede BD-4C tailcone.
Left side of Bede BD-4C tailcone. Note rivets along the bottom and back. Screws hold it to the fuselage at the front and screws hold the top on.

Continue reading Tailcone is Done!

Return of the Bede BD-4C Tailcone

In December 2011, when I first started building my Bede BD-4C airplane, I made the tailcone according to the drawings. I documented that process in two blog posts, Top of the Tail Cone and Bede BD-4C Tail Cone. In the intervening three years, I ended up rebuilding the tail of the fuselage to fit the weldment which holds the horizontal part of the tail. (The weldment is the black piece visible in the photo below.) As a side effect of this rebuild, the original tailcone was too wide. I had to build a new one.

This time around, I used the old parts as templates but measured the fuselage and fabricated all of the parts to fit the airplane. I started with the two sides. (Click any photo to see a larger version.)

Left side of Bede BD-4C tailcone
Left side of Bede BD-4C tailcone

Continue reading Return of the Bede BD-4C Tailcone

Comparing Health Insurance (ObamaCare vs. Company Health Plan)

Comparing health insurance plans
Image credit: Alan Cleaver

For years, I have offered health insurance to the employees of my company, Hen’s Teeth Network. December 2014 is the last month that HTN will provide health insurance. This blog post explains why and includes the spreadsheet that I used for my analysis. It is all about the numbers; this is not a political rant. Most of this blog post is plain English and you don’t have to be a math major to understand it. Read on. Continue reading Comparing Health Insurance (ObamaCare vs. Company Health Plan)

Finished the Bede BD-4C Rear Seat Frame

The first brace for the rear seat frame of my Bede BD-4C airplane took so long that I thought the remaining three would take quite awhile. I was wrong. With help from my friend, Dave, I got them all done on Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving. Here are photos of the complete set of braces and Dave test fitting the two braces on the right side of the fuselage.

Rear seat braces.
Braces for the Bede BD-4C airplane rear seat frame.

Continue reading Finished the Bede BD-4C Rear Seat Frame

Fabricating Steel Parts

Now that I am a “master welder” (hah! :-P ) I am moving forward with fabricating steel parts for my Bede BD-4C airplane. My first attempt was the tail skid. I had to have the tube bent for me, since I do not have a torch, but then I cut the tube to length and sanded the ends to the angles necessary to mate up cleanly with the end plates. I made the end plates out of flat steel and then tack welded them to the tube. S.S. Welding took over from there and did the real welding for me. Here is what the skid looks like on the bottom of the back end of the fuselage.

Tail skid clecoed to Bede BD-4C fuselage.
Tail skid clecoed to Bede BD-4C fuselage.

With the tail skid done, I can now fabricate the ventral fin. Before I do the fin, though, I am going to finish up the frame for the rear seat. Continue reading Fabricating Steel Parts