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« Video: Unmanned X-47B Makes First Carrier Landing - Very Successfully! | Main | Flitzer Homebuilt Biplane: The Perfect Boredom Fighter! »

Jack Bally's MANNED 1/3 Scale B-17 Nearly Ready To Fly!

Jack Bally's incredible 1/3 scale B-17 next to a Cessna 140! (photo: facebook)

 Some new pictures surfaced last evening on the Bally Bomber facebook page showing Jack Bally's incredbile 1/3 scale B-17 replica fully assembled and sitting next to a Cessna 140. Wow! The mind is really tied up in a knot trying to process what's seen there... it looks like a model but sooo big - but then it looks like a real B-17 but sooo much smaller!

 This project, coming to life in Dixon Illinois, has to rank as one of the most fascinating homebuilt aircraft projects of all time. It's the kind of idea that weird people like me dreram up but rarely does anyone actually follow though. With an estimated 20,000 hours of labor required to build this cute little beast, it's understanable why. With a 34ft 7in wingspan, estimated 1,800 pound weight and four 60hp engines for a total of 240hp, the Bally Bomber is just pure awesome! Be sure to check out the hundreds of pix from the build process along with additional info at

 The not-so-big cockpit really shows the overall scale!  (photo:

 The project was started back in 1999 and is just now nearing completion. The airframe is all scratch built (of course) and made out of aluminum. The main gear retracts just like the real B-17, and has proven to be the most complicated part of the project. The engines are the Hirth 3002 4-cylinder 2-stroke that usually have a reduction unit and make about 80hp. Jack chose this engine because of its size... it was small enough to fit inside a properly scaled nacelle. However, to make it fit properly, the reduction unit is removed which will bring the power down around 60hp each, with the engines spinning the 46.4" diameter props at about 3,300 rpm.

One of four 2-stroke Hirth 3002 (formerly F-30) engines  (photo:

 Even though the airplane looks finished, I noticed in a facebook comment last night that they say there's still some wiring, plumbing and detail work yet to complete. It would appear that the first flight is still off in the future a bit. Mostly that means that there's little hope of seeing the Bally Bomber at Oshkosh in a few weeks. There's little doubt in my mind that whenever this fabulous piece of work gets to Oshkosh, she'll be the Queen for the entire week!

 The accuracy in the scale shaping is simply fantastic!  (photo:

 The accuracy of the shapes and scaling look excellent on this project. I remember back in the 70's there were several scaled-down military one-of-a-kind replicas, but most all failed to get the profiles, proportions, or prop scaling correct... the Bally Bomber appears to be getting it done right. Bravo!

The amazing Bally Bomber is almost ready to fly!  (photo:

 Can you even imagine how cool it would be to see this 1/3 scale B-17 in the air! No doubt the videos of the first flight will be a huge internet sensation... stay tuned to the Bally Bomber facebook page for updates on the first flight... this might be as big a deal as the full-scale Mosquito last fall!


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Reader Comments (18)

That is absolutely awesome!

July 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I remember seeing a concept drawing of this type of project in the seventies in one of the flying magazines. I can't believe anybody actually did it! You're right about scale and shapes... it looks right. Can't wait to see her fly!

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Boze

Very Best Wishes for the first flight. What a blast!

July 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSpaceflightengineer

Please consider naming this B-17 "The Memphis Belle", the name of the first B-17 that completed 25 combat bombing missions over Germany in WWII, with Capt. Robert (Bobby) Morgan as 1st Pilot. He was from Asheville, N.C., my hometown, and I had the opportunity of meeting him and seeing him several times in the Asheville area, and this contact was what peaked my interest in becoming a USAF pilot in the Korean War. Fred

August 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFred C. Meekins

As a retired engineer of 50 years professional experience and the planner and builder of some rather extensive projects in my time, I can only barely begin to picture the knowledge, skill and drive that has gone into this fantastic project. I'm in absolute awe of Jack Bally who is truly a peerless master and wish him every success and tender my deepest, heartfelt congratulations for this magnificent accomplishment.

August 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBuz Chertok

Will he have to have multi-engine rating?

August 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPmann

How wonderful is this. Anyone who has build a model plane when they were young ,wishes that they could have built something like this to fly in for real. This is the ultimate for a home built project. All the best wish's for a successful flight.

August 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim Abbott

Because it's an experimental aircraft and doesn't carry a passenger, a multi-engine rating is not required.

August 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

One hell of a engineering success, I only build 1/5 scale hard enough what you guys have done goes into the record books. Can't wait for the first flight, wish I was there. Good luck all. Brilliant Job.

November 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Great success Jack
I have followed your progress
for several years. AWESOME.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Swinton. Rochelle

Great success Jack
I have followed your progress
for several years. AWESOME.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Swinton. Rochelle

Great success Jack
I have followed your progress
for several years. AWESOME.

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDennis Swinton. Rochelle

might you post when the fist flight is going to held?

September 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJack Gilbert

What a beauty. If it isn't flown. Pleas don't sell it. Donate it and get a tax break, The smith would help keep your accomplishment alive for future generations to see instead of someone crashing it .

October 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFred

Jack ,
It was a special honor for my wife and I to visit you late last year. Please drop us a line when you are going to test fly your scale B-17 . Hopefully weget get there for the historic event.
Happy new year,
Peace and all good,
Tom Yahnke Sr

January 1, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom Yahnke Sr

Though I fly just large multi-engine R/C types, I'd highly recommend some kind of electronic engine throttle synchronizer system tied to a master throttle. Such gadgets are available for R/C multis and simplify engine management tremendously.

March 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterStan Jonutis

I'd buy one if I could learn to fly haha

July 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Jones

Please be very very careful and take it slowly. Thousands of B-17s flew quite well, but a rescaling of size and power of this magnitude make this a totally different aircraft with possibly completely different flight characteristics.

July 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Bullmer

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