Windrider BD-5 EPP - EDF Version - RC Groups
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Windrider BD-5 EPP - EDF Version

Confirmed by Guinness World Records as the worlds smallest jet, the BEDE 5 still amazes crowds even though it has been flying for over 30 years. Windrider brings a foam version to market and we stuff 650 watts of EDF goodness into it!



Wing Area:180 sq. in.
Weight:16-26 oz.(25 ounces as reviewed)
Wing Loading:20 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Hitec HS-55 9gram (3)
Transmitter:Spektrum DX-7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100 (Rev. 1.6)
Battery:Thunder Power ProPower 30C 14.8V 1800mAH
Motor:Hoffman Magnetics Mightey Mite
Ducted Fan:Alfa 60/25 64mm
ESC:Castle Creations Phoenix 80
BEC:Castle Creations BEC Pro (10 amp)
Available From:Windrider
Price :$75.00 + $30.00 EMS shipping to USA
Flight Duration:4-6 minutes
Time to Build :3-5 hours

My first introduction to the BD-5 microjet was in 1983 at the Cleveland Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport. That one was dressed out in the now infamous Coors Light color scheme, and I remember being absolutely amazed that a fully functional and flying jet could be so small. Fast forward some 25 years, and I still love air shows. And thanks to modern electric radio controlled technology and an ever-shrinking global economy, I received my very own version of the Bede 5 microjet direct from Ming Lou and his Hong Kong based company called Windrider.

Ming’s version is notable for several reasons. One is that his prototype BD-5 first flew as an unpowered slope soarer, but it can also be easily modified to accept an electric power system, and not just one type of electric power system either! Whether you prefer a pusher prop system or an electric ducted fan, the Windrider BD-5 can easily accommodate it. But the choices do not end there: Ming manufactures it in two different types of foam: EPS, or Expanded PolyStyrene and EPP, Expanded PolyPropylene. The former is notable in that it is commonly referred to as Styrofoam. The latter type of foam has a certain sponginess to it and improved overall resistance to denting.

If you personally prefer propellers to impellers, check out Mike Llewellyn’s Ezone review of the pusher prop version of the Windrider BD-5.

Windrider BD-5 Jet Pusher Version Review

Kit Contents

I selected the EPP version of Windriders BD-5, with the intent to go with an electric ducted fan power system.

In The Box:

  • EPO foam fuselage halves, wing (with pre-installed carbon spar), flying elevator and vertical stabilizer
  • Carbon joiner rod for elevator
  • Servo Y cable
  • Metal elevator hinges (2)
  • Control horns (3)
  • Push rods (2 aileron, 1 elevator)
  • 8 strong magnets
  • Single black and white sheet of instructions with line art drawing illustrations

Required for Completion:

  • Electric ducted fan and brushless motor
  • Electronic speed controller
  • Lipoly battery
  • Battery Eliminator Circuitry
  • Servo extensions (1 to 3, depending on your installation)
  • 5 and 15 minute epoxies


Although this model does build quickly, the single sheet of instructions may in some ways oversimplify the assembly of this kit. Depending on your choice of power system, a little engineering may be in order. Before starting the assembly, it is a good idea to lay all of the foam parts of the BD-5 out on the table, along with the radio and power system gear you plan to install and do a little planning. It will be necessary to remove some foam in order for your battery of choice to fit into the fuselage, and it is much easier to do this while the fuselage is in two pieces than after you join them. A couple of sharp razor blades make clean and short work of this foam removal.

Also, you may need to perform a little preparatory work on the fan mounting area depending on your choice of EDF. The Alfa 60/25 fan I intended to use has an inlet ring on it which necessitated me removing a little foam at the front of the fan mounting area for this inlet ring to fit into the fuselage. Any required "adjustments" to the fuselage are easily made BEFORE the two halves are glued together in Step 2. It is best to take a little time at the outset to be sure you have the fuselage properly modified to receive all of the gear you intend to install.

Additional information, with many photos and examples of how other BD-5 builders installed their gear, can be found in THIS Windrider BD-5 thread on RCGroups. I will openly admit that many of the techniques I employ in my build below were copied or borrowed from others who have already built this model. Such is the wonder of RCGroups!

Step 1 - Prepare the flying elevator

Windrider includes a pair of metal hinges in the BD5 kit. They are used together to attach the full flying elevator to the rear of the fuselage. The two of them side by side are just a bit wider than the point of attachment on the fuselage but they are for the most part hidden from view. I had some reservations as to whether epoxy would securely bond metal to foam.

I decided to utilize a technique long used by modelers to guarantee that their hinges will not pull out in flight. Other builders of this BD5 have also employed this technique. I used a pair of small wooden matches as pins, They were the perfect diameter to fit through the holes in the hinges. Once the epoxy had set up, I cut the matches flush and sanded them so that they are almost invisible.

Step 2 - Install the power system and elevator servo.

Though Ming included one of his 64mm fans in this review kit, I had a complete high performance 64mm power system from a recently destroyed jet that was in need of a new home. There are any number of electric ducted fan power systems that you can select for installation into this model. From mild to wild, the fuselage of the BD-5 will accept a 60 or 64mm fan and even larger perhaps.

The speed controller fits nicely into a special pocket cut into the fuselage. I did use my Dremel to remove a little foam around the points of entry for the ESC wiring. A couple blobs of hot glue were used to anchor the Phoenix 80 in place. I also used hot glue to cleanly and neatly position the ESC wiring so it would remain in place when gluing the two fuselage halves together.

The elevator servo cutout is designed to accept a 9 gram class servo. I installed a Hitec HS-55 sub micro servo, and it fit perfectly into this little pocket. Hot glue is perfect for locking servos into place. A servo extension is needed to get the elevator servo connection forward into the radio/battery compartment. Lately I have been using heat shrink to secure my servo extension connections but in this case, I laid a bead of hot glue onto the foam and then pressed the elevator servo extension connection down into it to secure it.

Step 3 - Glue the fuselage halves together

Before you glue the two fuselage halves together, there are a couple of important items to consider. The two fan inlets are cut such that there is a prominent step just before the openings lead into the fan. Fans like to be presented the least turbulent air as possible. Making the inlet and exit ducting as smooth as possible is just one of the ways that "good air" can be created for a fan. I decided to smooth out the inlet ducting as much as possible, using my rotary power tool and a sanding drum to eliminate these steps and also generally clean up the inlet ducting. This is easiest done while the fuselage is still in two halves and with the power system removed from the airframe. Now is also the best time to prepare the battery compartment by removing any foam vanes necessary for your choice of battery to fit properly.

Once ready to glue the two halves together, trial fit them to ensure that no wires or components will prevent them from properly seating together. When the fit seems good, a massive mix of 15 minute epoxy can be brushed on the mating surfaces. I used rubber bands and painters tape to hold the two fuselage halves together until the epoxy set. Watch that the rubber bands do not deform the curves of the EPO foam.

Step 4 - Install the aileron servos

Ming designed the BD-5 so that a pair of 9 gram sub-micro servos will fit snugly into a pair of molded pockets cut into the wing. The assembly instructions detail the aileron push rods as being run on top of the wing. I personally do not care for the appearance of control rods running on top of the wing but prefer they be located on the bottom of the wing. I thus installed mine with the intent to locate the linkages on the bottom of the wing. Hot glue is great for securing servos into a foam airframe. I picked up a pair of fairings to protect the aileron servo horns when performing belly landings. Hobby Lobby sells them at a very fair price. I needed to substantially trim their length for the BD-5. I used double sided tape from Scotch to attach them. Narrow channels cut into the wing provide a path for the servo wires to reach a hole in the center of the wing. This small hole provides a way to feed the aileron servo wires into the radio compartment.

My decision to locate the linkages on the bottom of the wing instead of the top required me to minimize the items protruding off of the bottom of the wing. The included aileron control horns are on the long side. I trimmed them substantially and rounded them to get rid of any sharp corners that could catch in the grass when belly landing the BD-5.

Step 5 - Install aileron push rods and hinge ailerons

The aileron push rods are seriously short and sweet. Though it is a little tricky to get them perfectly right, I made up push rods with a Z bend at each end. Foam safe CA is good for gluing the aileron hinges into the EPO foam. I like to run a piece of Blenderm tape down the hinge lines as a secondary means of securing the control surfaces.

Step 6 - Glue vertical stabilizer and wing to fuselage

Both the vertical stabilizer and wing fit very snugly into their respective recesses. I used epoxy to attach both of them. The elevator push rod is semi-hidden and connects to the center of the flying stabilizer. After the wing is attached to the fuselage, white electrical tape can be used to cover the servo wires.

Step 7 - Glue canopy retention magnets in place

Windrider includes a number of rare earth magnets to attach the canopy to the fuselage. They mount in small circular recesses cut into both mating surfaces. These precut holes make it easy to get perfect alignment, and thus a strong magnetic bond. The canopy snaps on and off very solidly thanks to these magnets, and I did not feel the need to use a piece of tape as an additional anchor for the canopy, as I often do with my EDFs.

I used my airbrush to paint the canopy and then hand painted the white canopy framework lines when the blue paint was dry.

Step 8 - Install receiver and battery

There is plenty of room inside the fuselage for the radio gear and battery. I mounted a Spektrum AR6100 six channel receiver down low and to the rear of the interior compartment. A Castle Creations 10 amp BEC provides the necessary voltage for the radio system. The Thunder Power Pro Power 30C 1800mAh 4S lipo battery fits so snugly between the foam sides of the battery compartment that it was not necessary to use the usual hook and loop material to anchor it.


All in all, the BD-5 is a pretty fast build. The final steps to completing it involved checking CG and doing some programming on my Spektrum DX7 transmitter. I set up my control throws so low rates are mild and high rates are mechanical maximums. Exponential is 30-40%. Hitting the recommended CG is pretty easily done simply by shifting the lipoly battery forward and aft in the cavernous interior of the fuselage.

To protect the belly of this gearless EDF, I applied some clear 3 mil vinyl protective film. It goes on very easily and is soft enough to bend around the complex curves of the BD-5 without any wrinkling. It goes a long way in protecting the foam from any damage that is almost sure to happen when sliding out across a grassy field at the end of a flight.

Spektrum AR6100 Receiver Channel Mapping
Channel Function Notes
1 Throttle Speed controller
2 Aileron Right aileron servo
3 Elevator Elevator servo
4 Rudder Not used
5 Gear BEC connection
6 Aux 1 Left aileron servo

All Up Weight=25 ounces

Center of Gravity = 1/4 of wing chord, from leading edge

But, something is still missing from this airframe. I cannot quite put my finger on it. Oh, yeah, it needs some snappy and colorful paint scheme to honor its high speed heritage. But what to do?

But the BD is Naked!?

When considering a finish for my Windrider BD-5, I found myself with a bad case of artist’s block. But maybe that is because I am not an artist! Windrider sells a really nifty set of graphics to dress it out as the Coors Light Microjet, and I found myself considering that as an option but I also wanted to do something a little different. So I decided to contact Callie at Callie Graphics. I have used her vinyl graphics on a few of my products and have always been extremely satisfied with the way her colorful and custom vinyl can dress an airframe out. After a few emails back and forth, I asked Callie if she would consider picking up her designer’s brush and ink me up a completely custom set of graphics that would at the same time let the readers see what she is capable of doing when it comes to vinyl decals. I gave her the short list of folks who made this review possible and suggested they also be included in the scheme. A few short days later, Callie sent me the bright yellow and black decals pictured below. And as usual, I love the result! It just POPS! Thanks Callie!

Now that the BD-5 has some appropriate clothes, we can mark the build as truly complete. Having said that ...

Lets FLY!!

Taking Off and Landing

A gearless plane has but two options to get it from the ground to the air. Option one requires a field of grass that is cut fairly short and even. The power system in this BD-5 has enough oomph that I am confident a ROG (rise off grass) style of takeoff could be accomplished. Lacking the proper field to attempt it however, I was left with option two ... the hand launch. The low wing configuration of the BD-5 precludes any overhanded means of tossing it. Conveniently, the overall shape and design of the fuselage just feels right for the grip of an underhanded toss. I launch with my left hand, so that my right hand can both hold the transmitter and keep a thumb on the aileron/elevator stick. The 650 watts of power served up by the Hoffman/Castle/Thunder Power combo makes the toss a total nonevent. Crank the throttle wide open and flip the little jet out in front of you. The BD-5 will go straight up if you like!

Landing the BD-5 is only marginally more difficult than the launch. I do notice an ever-so-slight tendency to overcontrol on the landing approach. I am sure it is due to the small amount of slop or backlash present in the elevator hinges. A little head wind seems to help eliminate the occasional porpoising I have experienced on final. I like to fly the downwind leg of the approach at 1/4 to 1/3 throttle, turning base as I pull the throttle back to a few clicks above the full off position. On final, the BD-5 will glide right in with little to no throttle. I have yet to see it exhibit any signs of dropping a wing but I try to make sure I am sliding across the grass before my speed ever gets too slow.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

While building the BD-5, I did toss around the idea of bashing a rudder into the model. It does not necessarily come out of the box configured for a rudder but adding one would not be very difficult. The easiest way to do it would involve mounting a sub-micro servo somewhere on the exterior of the fuselage so that the linkage to the rudder would be short and sweet. I ultimately decided to forego the rudder, so as to not spoil the relatively clean exterior lines of the BD-5. In spite of the fact that mine has no rudder, I was surprised to find it will still hold a remarkably good knife edge. All that is required is to go to wide open throttle, establish a shallow climb and then rotate into the knife edge position. The BD-5 will rocket along in this position for an amazingly long period of time before you have to roll back out.(See video below)

Add 650 watts of EDF goodness to a porky little airframe with aileron and elevator control only, and you can have a ton of fun! Rolls are quick albeit a little barrel-ish. Inverted flight is easy with a firm bit of down elevator. Loops can be as big as you want, as the vertical on the BD-5 is nearly unlimited. I have found that the BD-5 will slow quite nicely and is capable of cruising around at more sedate power settings too. The noise generated by the Hoffman/Alfa combination at wide open throttle is ever-so-satisfying. I think the inlets are actually a little undersized for the Alfa fan and Mightey Mite motor. The sound of the fan angrily gasping for more air on the inlet side combines with the roar of air being pushed out the exhaust to create a shriek that will both please the proud papa and pilot and anger those with no appreciation for such audio ecstasy!

I have used this power system in several other EDF projects and it is a sure recipe for absolute maximum power output in a 60mm class fan. Nothing beats the sound of an Alfa fan getting "on step"! And the Mightey Mite excels at pushing the Alfa into its sweet spot performance-wise.

Is this For a Beginner?

The BD-5 EDF is at best an intermediate plane. It moves out quickly with the large amount of power on tap and will sustain whatever orientation you place it in until you change it. It must be flown the entire flight, from the launch to the landing. It will get small fast but its chubby shape helps the pilot maintain good visual contact.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery



The Windrider BD-5 can be purchased in either EPS or EPP foam. It can be built as a slope flyer, a pusher jet or an EDF jet. The EDF version undoubtedly offers up the highest performance of any of the configurations. It handles the insane amount of power generated by the Hoffman Mighety Mite and Alfa 60/25 fan combo with no surprises or problems. The Thunder Power Pro Power 30C 1800mAh 4S packs I use in it are excellent for providing gobs of amps to the little Hoffman outrunner. If you want a smallish jet that has unique looks and builds fairly quickly, you will enjoy the Windrider BD-5.


  • Versatile airframe with choices in both type of foam and power system
  • Small parts count translates into a quick build
  • Low wing configuration makes for an easy grip for hand launching
  • Included magnets make for simple and strong canopy retention
  • Plenty of room in cockpit for radio and power system components


  • "Wobble" in included metal elevator hinges makes for slop in flying elevator
  • Assembly instructions on the brief side
Last edited by Angela H; Jan 28, 2010 at 05:21 PM..
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Jan 28, 2010, 05:39 PM
][' ([]) ([]) [[_
warbirdace's Avatar
thats pretty bad a$$
Jan 28, 2010, 06:13 PM
Registered User
splitpilot's Avatar
That is so sweet!!!! where did you say you get it???
Jan 28, 2010, 06:23 PM
Bajora's Avatar
Check the specs box at the upper right of the review. It has a link to Windrider that you can click on.
Latest blog entry: 2017 Reno Air Races
Jan 28, 2010, 06:35 PM
hole digger
hole digger's Avatar
Great article Jon!
Jan 28, 2010, 09:39 PM
Registered User
CA'ed fingers's Avatar
So.... I have an issue with a flying field... basically, I fly off a frozen lake in winter, but it tends to thaw out in the summer. From the shape, any chance I could hand launch and then land her gently on water?
Jan 28, 2010, 09:49 PM
Bajora's Avatar
Well, I suppose anything is possible but you had better be able to land her right at your feet or close to the dock or wherever! I'd be a little worried to lose my electrnic goodies in a sinking BD5!

For anybody attending the 2010 AEF, I will have the BD5 there tomorrow and Saturday.
Latest blog entry: 2017 Reno Air Races
Jan 29, 2010, 01:29 AM
Registered User
she's a beaut Jon! I Love the size, and fit of the components. A little different and unique, reminds me of an me163. Good job! Can't wait to see it in person at the school.
Jan 29, 2010, 01:47 AM
another MONSTER ?
One Six Right's Avatar
Great review Jon!
Maybe I'll finally build a "fast" one.

You can get them at
Ming At Windrider is a great guy to deal with.

Last edited by One Six Right; Jan 29, 2010 at 02:29 AM. Reason: added link
Jan 29, 2010, 10:54 AM
Registered User
slcrcflyer's Avatar


Originally Posted by One Six Right
Great review Jon!
Maybe I'll finally build a "fast" one.

You can get them at
Ming At Windrider is a great guy to deal with.

How are those retracts working out for you? I ordered a BD-5 with hopes the new E-Flite electric retracts will fit, do you think they will?
Jan 29, 2010, 11:09 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Very nice Jon - a great little airplane for sure.....
Jan 29, 2010, 08:44 PM
another MONSTER ?
One Six Right's Avatar
Originally Posted by slcrcflyer
How are those retracts working out for you? I ordered a BD-5 with hopes the new E-Flite electric retracts will fit, do you think they will?
I'm not familiar with the E-flite electric ones. The first ones I tried were "IMAX" Micro brand, air retracts. Like they have at hobby city. They leaked like crazy where the fittings meet the cylinders and valve. Then I switched to the MAP micros. They are quality retracts, and worked great until I crashed the jet. (the retracts still work)
Hope that helps. Here's a few pics. It's all in the original Windrider BD5 thread.
Last edited by One Six Right; Jan 29, 2010 at 08:55 PM.
Jan 30, 2010, 11:13 PM
badpilotto's Avatar

As like every review you have completed, very well written and down to earth truth. You do not leave any guess work for the builder and your open and honest. I really enjoyed reading about this plane and watching you fly it. Super job and please keep writing for all of us to read. Great pics too.


Jan 31, 2010, 08:35 PM
Registered User
Waltjg's Avatar
John, thanks for a great report, this little guy has my eye, ever since I seen it on the pusher report. I've always loved the little BD5,, it is sooo cool.. And then I seen that power system you were droppin in!!! oh man,, I have the mmx setup in the little delta shark from hole digger, what a fantastic little setup, and yes it screams(sings to me!) Enjoy, I've gotta get one of these on order for myself.... w.
Feb 01, 2010, 04:16 PM
Proud member of AAA
Michael Johnson's Avatar
Sweet! I wish I could use my wild beast fan unit.

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