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Banana Hobby's B-17 Nine-O-Nine ARF With 79" Wingspan

My friend Dick Andersen and I bought the Banana Hobby Nine-O-Nine 79" wingspan B-17 together, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to write a mini review!

Splash

Introduction

Dick Andersen and I were partners on a previous WOW B-17 which I used as a test bed for GWS motors, servos, speed controllers and GWS propellers. It was a lot of fun working together, but alas that plane later crashed. When we saw this large B-17 at the Banana Hobby booth at the AMA we decided to team up once again. We ordered the Nine-O-Nine model B-17 on the Internet from Banana Hobby and got confirmation of our order that day, confirmation that it had shipped two days later, and a few days after that, it arrived in two large boxes. One box held the fuselage and the other held the two wings with motors installed. When we bought this we weren't planning to write a review and so I didn't take the usual pictures of all the parts pictures, but fortunately I did take a few pictures. Since it was not a "review product" it sat until we had time to assemble her together. While Dick went on vacation, I ordered some Lego figures to serve as our crew after seeing E-Zoner Bugman Jeff's B-17 with Lego crewmen in his Nine-O-Nine. Finally, this summer Dick and I had the time together to assembly and fly our Nine-O-Nine and she is a sweet flyer


Wingspan:79"
Weight:7 lbs 13 oz.
Length:57"
Servos:10 9g, 2 17g
Transmitter:Spektum DX7s 2.4GHz
Receiver:Spektrum 7010 7 channel
Battery:2 14.8 2200 LiPo packs
Receiver Battery:5-cell 1200 NiMH
Motor:4 brushless Kv750 motors
ESC:4 brushless 45Amp ESC with separate BEC
Available From:BananaHobby
Price:$300.00 (Look for RC Group Discounts & Sales)

Kit Contents

The Kit Contains

  • Foam fuselage with servos and 4 speed controllers and retractable tail wheel installed
  • Foam wing halves with servos, retractable landing gear, motors and landing light installed
  • Foam horizontal stabilizer with installed elevator and two elevator servos
  • Foam vertical stabilizer with hinged rudder and rudder servo installed
  • Control horns, control rods, servo cover plates and mounting hardware
  • Assorted and marked Y harness connectors
  • 4 wing mounting bolts
  • Cockpit cover, plastic clear nose and tail gunner sections
  • Plastic machine guns
  • Assorted hardware
  • Two tubes of glue
  • Instruction manual

Mike & Dick Supplied

  • Spektrum DX7s transmitter
  • Spektrum 7010 7 channel receiver
  • 1 short Y connector
  • 6 Lego crewmen
  • 2 Genesis Power 14.8 2200 LiPo battery packs
  • 1 five-cell NiMH 1200 mAh battery pack for the receiver/servos
  • Assorted screwdrivers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Regular pliers








Assembly

Wing

The wing halves came with the motors already installed along with flap and aileron servos. Dick and I had to secure the supplied control horns onto the flap and aileron control surfaces with two screws per control horn. We activated the aileron and flap servos by connecting them to the receiver. The servo arms came down 90 degrees, and we connected the supplied control rods between the servo arms and the control horns. With those properly installed, we installed the supplied servo covers over the servos and the servo arms/control rods for the wings. The landing gear was already installed, and the retracts were ready to plug into the receiver. Each wing half had a working bomb bay door that was servo controlled. The wings are connected with one long wooden wing rod made of plywood. We simply slid the wings onto the wing rod and centered the wing halves on the wing rod. Before securing the wing to the fuselage we connected the flap servos with a short Y connector I supplied and then into one end of the Y harness supplied for the flaps. The aileron servos and bomb bay servos were connected together with the supplied Y harnesses. The ailerons were #1, flaps were #6 and the bomb bay doors were #7. The landing gear Tri-harness was #5 but their servo leads were long enough that we connected them after the wing was mounted to the fuselage. The wing was mounted to the bottom of the fuselage with four supplied long bolts. We found a little glue in two of the nuts in the fuselage that Dick cleared out using the mounting bolt, but that was the only problem with the wing. The final step on the wing was securing the propellers onto the motors. We used a pair of regular pliers and needle nose pliers to hold the motor shaft and secure the prop nut in place. The decorative cover was then installed onto the nose of each motor.

Tail

We slid the horizontal stabilizer into the rear of the fuselage as it came in the kit. We ran the servo wires into the fuselage and into servo wire extensions. Dick mounted the elevator control horns, connected the supplied control rods after activating the elevator servos and then mounted the servo covers. The horizontal stabilizer was secured in place with a bolt and glue. We later discovered that the left elevator servo only worked intermittently. It was a reversed red servo, and we replaced it with a servo supplied by our friend Dan Anema who had some extra servos from a crashed plane. By carefully removing the servo and the tape covering the servo wire and cutting a hole from the inside of the fuselage at the tail wheel our repair is not noticed by others. (Banana Hobby would have sent a free replacement servo if we had contacted them; Dan did so for one of his planes.)

We connected the rudder servo with the receiver up in the wing saddle and activated the servo. I connected the control horn and control rod and covered the servo with the supplied servo plate. The vertical stabilizer was secured in place with the supplied glue. I glued one of my Lego figures in place as the tail gunner and glued the tail gunner housing in place on the back top of the fuselage under the rudder. The last item was installing the control arm on the servo that is used to steer the tail wheel.

Fuselage

Besides the tail gunner mentioned above, I installed a pilot and co-pilot into our B-17 in the pilot's compartment and a navigator and two gunners in the nose. With the crew installed, I secured the clear nose piece in place with the supplied glue and glued the cover over the cockpit. The last step was gluing on the 50 caliper machine guns beside the nose and into the fuselage sides behind the wing. Besides installing the tail pieces, the radio installation and installing the flight battery packs were the only other tasks for the fuselage. We installed our flight packs in the nose of the fuselage and had to trim a little foam from the wooden deck inside the fuselage. To that deck we installed Velcro to secure our twin battery packs. Dick bought the two recommended Genesis Power battery packs at 14.8V and 2200mAh each. We secured the packs to the deck with Velcro and did not use the supplied straps.

Radio Installation

I installed the receiver near the back of the cockpit area using Velcro on the receiver and the main wooden platform and Velcro on the foam side of the fuselage for the satellite receiver. The throttle uses a Y-connector that connects all four speed controllers to the receiver. The ailerons are marked #1, and I plugged the #1 Y-harness into channel two which is ailerons on my receiver. The elevator extension connected both elevator servos into channel #3 and the rudder connector connected both the rudder servo and the steering servo for the tail wheel went into #4. The connector for the landing gear was numbered 5, and it has three female sockets to handle the tail retract and the two wing retracts. The flaps are connected using the channel six harness. I used a short Y connector for the flaps as their wires are very short. Per the instructions, channel six is used to connect both the flaps and the BEC to supply power from one of the two motor batteries. This is a separate BEC as shown in the picture below. I used the BEC when setting up the controls but not for actual flying. Dick supplied a 5-cell 1200mAh NiMH battery to power the receiver, landing gear and servos. We installed the receiver battery in the front of the cockpit just behind the motor batteries. The battery plugs into a separate battery connector on the receiver. Channel 7 has another Y-harness and it connects the two bomb bay doors which can be opened and closed in flight. We have not yet worked out what we will drop as there is limited space between the doors and the main wooden platform in the fuselage. There are spaces in the sides of the platform for the wires from the wing to come through to connect up the motors to the ESCs and the servos to the receiver.

The bomb bay doors don't open all the way with the standard servo arms so Dick will find some longer control arms for the servos so that the doors will fully open.

The motors are powered in pairs by the batteries, with one motor from each wing side per battery pack. If one pack fails we should still have two motors operating one on each wing half. Motors 1,3 and 4 connected to their responding ESCs by matching the three colors to each other. Motor 2 ran in reverse when connected that way so we plugged it in red to black and black to red with the middle wire remaining the same. The power from the four motors seems very even but we have not done any testing other than flying. There is a landing light on each wing half in the front leading edge of the wing. There are no other navigation lights on the plane. The lights each have a red/black wire combo, and they plug into matching connectors from the speed controllers. The LEDs are powered by the flight pack batteries.

Completion

The instructions give control throws for the ailerons, rudder, elevator and flaps. I left that up to Dick, and he programmed in Dual Rate as well. As for the C/G, we went with a balance point about 5 1/2 inches back from the wing's leading edge as measured right next to the fuselage.

Flying

Taking Off and Landing

The video below shows the initial takeoff and at 3/4s throttle she was climbing excessively per our initial set up. I put in some down trim and Dick later in the flight added a little left rudder trim but otherwise she flew fine. Our friend Dan Anema has the Memphis Belle B-17 which has a 79" wingspan and looks to be the same as our plane but with a different color scheme. Dan applied full throttle for his takeoff and she leaped into the air after a very short run as he flies her. Landings are made with power on but slowly slowing down while descending. So far with all takeoffs and landings basically into the wind, the landings and takeoffs have been uneventful. I like to use slow acceleration for more scalelike takeoffs and longer landings with more scalelike roll outs.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Dan has shown us that the plane can do both a loop and a roll. He also flies his with bursts of full throttle which is very much faster than scale. He can give the Mustangs a run for their money. Dick and I try to fly ours in a more scalelike manner. We've done no loops or rolls so far, and don't plan to. Flying her in a scalelike fashion is very special performance for me, and that is what I will be striving for with my stick time. The plane's flaps work but really aren't needed unless you are landing in a really small field. The plane can be flown slower with the flaps (which are split flaps, not see as flaps from above) down as they do supply more lift. There is limited clearance and space in the bomb bay but the doors can be remotely opened and closed so objects can be dropped from the plane. To fully open the bomb bay doors, longer servo arms then those that came with the kit are needed. Dropping objects and planning for the drift of the objects can be a lot of fun and a real challenge from altitude on a windy day. It helped make me appreciate the problems faced by the crews in the war.

In the first video below Dick didn't go more than 3/4s throttle but she was still flying very fast. Towards the end of the video she is flown a little slower but she handled great throughout. Dan's plane is on the second video, and I caught video of a roll and some high speed passes.

Is This For a Beginner?

No! Learn to fly a trainer plane and advance to being an intermediate pilot before considering flying the B-17. She is not a hard plane for an experienced pilot to fly.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

(Double click on picture to see an enlarged version of the picture.)
















There are two different videos posted below and each comes in two formats. The second format for each video is on You Tube. The first video is Dick flying the maiden flight of our Nine-O-Nine and the second video is Dan flying his Memphis Bell.

Downloads

Downloads

Conclusion

We had one servo as mentioned above that proved to work intermittently. We were able to replace that servo with an extra that Dan had on hand but we know that Banana Hobby would have shipped us a free replacement as They have done so for another club member when he had a bad servo earlier this year. Other than that servo problem the plane was easy to assembly, looks and flies great. Unfortunately, she is so large we have to take the wing off to transport her to and from the field but she isn't a difficult assembly at the field as all wires are numbered for ease of assembly.

Our club members are starting to build up our own Eighth Air Force. We have two of these 79" wingspan B-17s and a third club member has ordered and received the 79" wingspan Silver colored Fuddy Duddy. Dick and I love the way our Nine-O-Nine looks both on the ground and in the air. She can fly way faster then scale but flies fairly scalelike slightly above 1/2 throttle without being sluggish but we haven't tried to fly her too slowly thus far. Dick and I really enjoy this plane and we're glad she went together in just two relaxed assembly sessions so we can fly her the rest of the summer and at our club's warbird event this fall.

My thanks to Dick Andersen my co-owner on this self-funded review and to Dan Anema for flying his Memphis Belle for this review and supplying a servo for our bird. Now Dick and I just need to figure out what we will drop from the bomb bay on our next mission.

Pluses

  • Very affordable considering the size and components
  • Quick assembly
  • Breaks down for transportation
  • Has plenty of power
  • Flies great

Minuses

  • One elevator servo had to be replaced
  • To big to keep assembled and transport in our vehicles
Last edited by Angela H; Aug 03, 2012 at 05:41 AM..

Discussion

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Old Aug 03, 2012, 08:43 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
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This space reserved by author.
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Rhombic's Avatar
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Thanks

Thank You for the BH B-17 Nine-O-Nine review and videos.
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 11:00 AM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
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Nice review, this really takes me back to when I got to climb inside the real "Nine-O-Nine" a number of years ago. It's a beautiful plane, and you can't beat the look of one flying towards you!

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Old Aug 03, 2012, 12:01 PM
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Kurt's Avatar
United States, TX, Houston
Joined Sep 2003
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Thanks for the review.
Did you check the cg before flight?

FYI - there is an in dept discussion on CG (and also motor wiring with respect to prop direction/electronics failure, ESC requirements etc) in this review of the same model:
http://z8rc.blogspot.com/2012/04/ban...-fortress.html
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 03:07 PM
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Bill Glover's Avatar
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Looks good, but what's with the 'solid' (B-29 style) top turret?
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Old Aug 03, 2012, 04:05 PM
Arrowhead
Joined Dec 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Glover View Post
Looks good, but what's with the 'solid' (B-29 style) top turret?
It's actually a very happy R2-D2. Or maybe a Dalek.

Overall, the plane looks good. Not crazy about the engine cowls, but not really bothered by them. That turret though... I'd have to replace it with something that at least looks close to "right". And I'm not big on modding like that.

Thanks for the review!
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt View Post
Thanks for the review.
Did you check the cg before flight?

FYI - there is an in dept discussion on CG (and also motor wiring with respect to prop direction/electronics failure, ESC requirements etc) in this review of the same model:
http://z8rc.blogspot.com/2012/04/ban...-fortress.html
Banana Hobbies
You're lucky only one servo didn't work LOL!

Bill Davenport
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 04:22 PM
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Miskatonic's Avatar
United States, VT, Burlington
Joined Feb 2008
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I've simply come to expect and accept that most low cost, discount, chinese r/c airplanes are going to have some defects right out of the gate. I read the reviews, buy the additional servos ahead of time, then inspect the plane when it comes. Very rarely do I ever get a plane that meets my standards. I'm used to bolstering hinges, replacing servos, adjusting linkages, hot glue/epoxying parts from the start. Its the age we live in I guess. As a consequence, my planes fly better than stock. As a general rule; replace the elevator servo with a known quality servo, no matter what the model or how new it is. If the other servos fail, you should at least be able to fly it back.
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badbill View Post
Banana Hobbies
You're lucky only one servo didn't work LOL!

Bill Davenport
AMA 28141
eh I've found Banana to have acceptable customer service. ESC was DOA on my P-51, after putting in a online help ticket spoke to a really helpful guy Jacky who gave me some things to try, then sent out a new one when we confirmed it was beyond help.

Like Miska said there are smart precautions to take with any of these cheap foamies. Even Parkzone products have issues, at least with FMS/Blitz/Dynam you get better foam and a ton more cool details, for less money.

Have a read at what a PITA the so-called "Bind and Fly" PZ Albatros (more expensive than the B-17, with about 1/6 the complexity!) is to build:
http://z8rc.blogspot.com/2012/06/fre...build-and.html
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Old Aug 04, 2012, 07:01 PM
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Kurt,
Let's see your BBB link on Parkzone, like the one I posted for BH above. There's a difference between having one out of a hundred products that a few people don't like, and loosing your BBB accreditation. Try and get the product service and Warranty from BH (LOL!). Fuggeddaboutit.

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Old Aug 04, 2012, 09:33 PM
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Kurt's Avatar
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Bill,

First, the BBB is a scam. They're a lot like the mafia in that they strong arm businesses for "donations" or else.

With 350 complaints logged against Banana Hobby on BBB why do you think they have a "D-" rating, and not an "F"?
Really, a D-?
Could it be because BBB is trying to force Banana to become a "BBB Member"?

It's funny, I've read that about BH having their BBB "Accreditation" "revoked" somewhere else, but the site makes no mention of it. Google takes me to a RCG thread, with the following reason given for the it being "revoked":

375 complaint(s) filed against business
Failure to respond to 6 complaint(s) filed against business

So 6 unresolved out of 375, and the BBB revokes their "accreditation"?
I bet BH refused to pay the BBB any more money. Good for them.

Considering the thousands and thousands of transactions BH does and the nature of the products (complicated, delicate planes/helis/electronics) the number of complaints isn't at all out of line.

Did you read through any of the complaints Bill?
I did, and many are BS.
Guy complains that his plane took 2 weeks to arrive, after he orders it on a Friday night. And it was missing a control horn (which he probably lost), and a servo y-harness was bad. Many of them are complaints about having to pay postage to send the item back (Terms are on the website for anyone who cares to check).
A good percentage of the complaints are ticky tack stuff.

All I can speak from is my experience, and Banana Hobby has been prompt to address the few issues I've had with their products.

Horizon Hobby's service is top notch, no doubt about it. I own and enjoy many of their products, and have made use of their customer service quite a few times as well. I'm just done paying twice the price for a product with less features. I will, however, be making many more purchases from BH.

best regards,
Kurt

PS: the AMA is a scam as well
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Old Aug 05, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Sorry Kurt, I won't argue because the facts speak for themselves. 350 people complained before BH was dropped accreditation, their would be thousands now if they hadn't been dropped. Come on, have you noticed you are the only protagonist? Yeah right, everything is a conspiracy.. LOL...

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Old Aug 05, 2012, 01:34 PM
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Kurt's Avatar
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Bill your point about potentially thousands of complaints if they hadn't been "dropped" is false. There were 2 complaints just last month (both questionable).
Take a look at how many complaints Amazon has....
There's no conspiracy that I know of, just good old fashioned extortion.

Great thing about America - you're free to pay more for less with Horizon if you wish.
cheers!
Kurt

PS had 5 excellent flights with my BH/FMS Mustang yesterday. Great plane, even if it cost $100+ more like the PZ equivalent.
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Old Aug 06, 2012, 05:06 PM
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OK Mike, I'll try and get this thread back on topic and away from the BH bashing.

I enjoyed your review and I've had my eye on this series of Flying Fortresses for a while now. I think you may have pushed me over the edge (dang your hide!) cause these birds look great in the air!

I noticed that you stated the motors were wired in pairs and that one motor from each wing was paired with the same motor from the other wing. I guess that means that the inner two motors were paired and the outer two motors were paired. By pairing the motors like this, if one battery went to LVCO the plane would still fly straight ahead and would just seem to lose power. This seems like a reasonable setup.

On my twin motor planes I like to set up differential throttle to help with ground handling and rudder response when airborne. My question is, are the individual motor wires and ESC connections and RX leads accessible so that you could rewire them for differential throttle operation? To maintain the motor pairing on the batteries, maybe seperating just the outer motor servo leads and taking them to seperate throttle channels might be an answer.

McD
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