The Design And Construction Of A Tribute To A Bomber Pilot

Decades ago, [wilmracer]’s grandfather was piloting a B-17 over the Rhine, and as it goes, aviation runs in families. Now, more than 70 years later [wilmracer] is deep, deep into remote controlled aircraft, and he’s building an exacting scale model of the B-17G his grandfather flew on his last bombing mission over Europe.

This is a scratch build, with the design taken directly from the plans and schematics of a B-17. [wilmracer] has already paid the money to go up in the preserved B-17 Aluminum Overcast to get a better idea of the layout, and now he’s deep into cutting foam and bending balsa sheets. The first part of the build was arguably the hardest, and the main landing gear was expertly constructed out of aluminum tube and linear servos. The horizontal stab follows traditional building techniques of foam and carefully sanded balsa sheets. The fuselage is impressive, with the formers built out of foam, and eventually covered in 1/16″ balsa and wrapped in fiberglass.

If you’re going to do a large-scale model airplane, that also means you’ve got to do detailing. That means steam gauges rendered in 3D printed parts. [wilmracer] is modeling the cockpit and the machine guns in 1:9 scale. This is going to be an awesome build, and yes, there will eventually be plans.

Of course, this isn’t the biggest small B-17 ever built. That record goes to the 1:3 scale Bally Bomber, a real, not remote controlled plane built over the course of two decades by [ Jack Bally]. This is a real plane with a 34 foot wingspan that weighs 1800 pounds. Yes, it flies, and it went to Oshkosh last summer. Remote control really is the way to go with something like this, though: you can appease the rivet counters, put more power on the props, and you don’t need to worry too much about pesky things like regulations and laws. We’re looking forward to see where this project goes, and to the sound of a great PLA overcast thundering over the treetops.

Bally’s Bomber – A 1/3rd Replica of a B-17G

bally bomber

One of our tipsters just sent us this fascinating story about The Bally Bomber, a single man’s huge undertaking that started back in 1999. It’s a 1/3rd scale version of the B-17G Bomber — and no, it’s not remote controlled, there will be a pilot.

Not familiar with the B-17G? What about its trade name? It’s called the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. This massive bomber was developed back in the 1930’s for the United States Army Air Corps as a combination between the Boeing 247 transport plane and the experimental Boeing XB-15 Bomber.

8680 of the B-17G model were built, but as of September 2011, only 13 of the entire B-17 family remain airworthy. The Bally Bomber is the only known scale replica, and looking through the progress photos it is an absolutely jaw-dropping project. It hasn’t been test flown yet, but they are getting painfully close to its maiden flight.

For more information, you can also check out their Facebook page which seems to be updated on a regular basis.

[Thanks Ryan!]