Friday, October 27, 2017

There's a Fine Line Between Hobby and Obsession

and Jack Bally crossed that line about 10 years ago.

Back in January of 1999, Jack Bally was having a few beers with friends and thinking of his next project.  Presumably it was because alcohol was involved that Jack decided to get a set of scaled plans for a B17 bomber from the RC hobby world and make it a plane that a human pilot would fly.  Jack bought a set of 1:9 scale plans and scaled them up to 1:3.  This video was made in 2016, and at one point in the video, Jack said he had been working on it 17 1/2 years.
Wing Span: 34 ft. 7 in.
Length: 25 ft.
Tail Height: 6 ft. 10 in.
Power Plant: 240hp
Fuel Capacity: 42 gal.
Empty Weight: 1800 lbs. (Est.)
Cruising Speed: 110 kts. (Est.)
Crew: 1
Number Built: 1
It was reported by the Experimental Aircraft Association that Jack's plane had its first flight on November 14, 2016, taking a short hop from his own small field to a local airport for more testing.  It was just three months after the previous video was shot.

I thought Pierre Scerri's model Ferrari 312 PB was the most amazing model I've ever seen.  I need to broaden my category of "most amazing model I've ever seen". 


  1. That is really an amazing feat of determination. I was intrigued to see if it had flown and did some scrolling through the Facebook page for the plane:

    I must admit that The videographers that have filmed the plane taxiing down the runway and taking off are absolutely horrible. If you scroll through the comments you’ll also see that other people have complained that there really isn’t any good shots of the airplane taking off and flying. It’s kind of odd. Supposedly they are going to have better film at some point. If you like take a look through the Facebook page and see what your thoughts are. Again it’s an amazing accomplishment to build something like that and a labor of love.

  2. As other commenters said, amazing.
    I would have liked to see more of the building process.

  3. Shades of "Flight of the Phoenix"! (Anybody remember that movie? The original is far better than the remake...)

  4. My personal aspiration was a scale USS Missouri, to the size where the main turret batteries were 12 ga. shotguns. Works out to about exactly 1/22 scale. (Bonus: the scaled range of which, at optimal elevation, is roughly equivalent. Serendipity Double Bonus: the scale 5" secondary armament would be exactly .22LR!)

    It gets you a canoe 40' long and 5' wide amidships, and I'll bet you could get 38 knots out of it.

    I would pay cash money to hear the verbal exchange the first time it was sighted by a military deck lookout who couldn't appreciate the perspective.

    At that size, doing it is definitely a retirement bucket list project.

    1. That's crossing the line between cool and unspeakably cool - if you make the guns RC-fired. Just blanks, of course. You'd have to be able to move the guns in azimuth and elevation, just like the real ones.

      Definitely a multi-year project, even if you're retired. I don't spend 8 hours a day on my projects, more like four, and I could use to layout things to be more time-efficient.