After taking on a bet it couldn’t be done while drinking beers with his buddies, Jack Bally started building a flyable, 1/3 scale B-17 Flying Fortress. 

The ideal format in black and white for this replica.

The one-third scale model B-17 was displayed at AirVenture, and is certified by the FAA in the Experimental category.

A direct comparison in size

Named Obsession, but best known as the Bally Bomber, it took 17 years and 40,000 man-hours to get into the air and eventually to Oshkosh in 2018. Thousands of EAA members followed its progress for years.

“The Bally Bomber embodies the spirit of homebuilt innovation and creativity,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs.

Richard Kosi, is the Bally Bomber’s test pilot and made nearly 60 visits over 13 years to Jack’s build as an EAA technical counselor.

A scaled-down B-17 Flying Fortress is a unique attention-grabber, and Richard pointed out that any homebuilt with four engines is pretty rare in its own right, saying further that flying the Bally Bomber isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Jack Bally with the Bally Bomber

“This is just a lot of fun,” Richard said. “It’s a challenge, a big challenge. It’s underpowered a little bit but it flies. It’s between fair and good on flight characteristics. But what do you expect, it is what it is.”

Bally Bomber only takes one crew member.

The aircraft is powered by four Hirth F30S, 4-cylinder engines producing 60 horsepower each turning GSC Systems custom wood propellers with metal hubs.

Jack Bally passed away Sunday, June 21, 2020 at Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon, Ill. Jack Bally was an ATP, SESEA, Pilot with over 16,000 hrs, of which 3000 hrs were in tail wheel. He was type rated in the BAE-146, F-27, SA-227, plus also a CFI and a LSRM for S-LSA, WS, and E-LSA aircraft, and acted as an EAA Technical Counselor.

Jack Bally


Wing Span: 34 ft. 7 in.

Length: 25 ft.

Tail Height: 6 ft. 10 in.

Power Plant: Total 240hp

Fuel Capacity: 42 gal.

Empty Weight: 1800 lbs. (Est.)

Cruising Speed: 110 kts. (Est.)

Crew: 1

The Bally Bomber is a one-off aircraft that you really will not find anywhere else.

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