B-17 Flying Fortress - RC Groups
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Sep 17, 2010, 04:16 PM
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B-17 Flying Fortress

I'm fairly new to these "forum" things but after answering some questions regarding Ivan Pettigrew's Grumman Albatross plans and getting some positive responses I started a new blog for the scratch built B-17 I am building from an old set of Royal plans. I won't go into much detail now, but if there is any interest in this project I'll write a detailed diary with more photos to describe the build from scratch. At present, the fuselage and tail group (fibreglassed and ready for painting) weigh 22 ounces and the wing (servos and wiring installed) weighs 3 1/2 pounds. Total weight (with batteries) should be around 8 pounds. This model will be powered by four Himax 3510-1100 outrunner motors, four Castle Creations 45 Amp speed controllers. The wing loading will be around 22 ounces per square foot which in scale terms would be close to the real aircraft at its empty weight. Here are a few photos to get started.
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Sep 17, 2010, 05:16 PM
What's 3D?
trumps's Avatar
Looks great so far, what is the wingspan? I'm tagging along for the rest of the ride!

Sep 17, 2010, 08:19 PM
Oh no, not again!
jhspring's Avatar
Brian, looks lovely. I'd be delighted to see more of the build. Jeff
Sep 17, 2010, 08:19 PM
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Hi Craig,
The wingspan is 78 inches.
Sep 17, 2010, 08:22 PM
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CaptAhab's Avatar
Hi Brian, Great to see you posting here. Your Albatross was most impressive and hope you make many posts to share what you're doing. Look forward to seeing the B-17 come together !
Sep 17, 2010, 08:33 PM
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Hi Duane, Nice to hear from you again. I think I'll write up a "blow by blow" on this one. Hope all is well with you. Cheers, Brian
Sep 17, 2010, 08:59 PM
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CaptAhab's Avatar
Brian same here, all is well except for my pointer finger on my right hand. I was trimming the red strip for the fuselage on the Solent I'm building and it kinda got in the way of the single edge razor blade i was using. It doesnt really hurt but it bleeds constantly. I took off quit a bit on the side of my stupid finger and it's gonna take a while for this one to heal.
Seeing the steps you took to build this one should be intresting. You certainly do build well and it's a pleasure seeing the techniques you take to turn out such cool looking planes. I'll be watching with much intrest ! Someday I'd like to build one of the Wingspan 17's.
Sep 18, 2010, 12:16 AM
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Jugjock's Avatar
Hello, Brian:

Very impressive work! I for one am very interested in learning more about your construction techniques and design decisions. Any additional write-ups and photographs would be much appreciated.

I stopped work on my Dare B17 last October due to domestic chores. Thus, my special interest in your Royal inspired Fort. I'm particularly interested in your power system, and the details of the wiring and component placement. It looks like you've used some blue foam on the nacelles - yes?

Will she remain in an E or F configuration? Do you have a particular pane in mind for your painting and marking scheme?

Thanks for sharing.

Regards, Chris

PS - that's a very nice looking workshop!
Sep 18, 2010, 01:12 AM
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LukeZ's Avatar
Very nice shop indeed! Not everyone manages to fit a microwave in, good job! Probably just the thing to pop up a bit of popcorn during a long building session.

I'll also be interested to see any other details you care to share about this one. She looks beautiful.

Sep 18, 2010, 12:45 PM
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Jugjock's Avatar
Hello, Luke!
Hailing from Corvallis, I just had to take a look at your blog. My wife went to graduate school there back in the early 1970's, so there's a family attachment to that place.

Your blog and RC website are extremely well done. But after following your adventures with the Short Solent here on RCGroups, anything else would have been out of character for you.

For those who haven't visited that build thread, I highly recommend a visit, here.

Best regards, Chris

PS Brian, please forgive the off-topic hyjack.
Sep 18, 2010, 01:36 PM
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stacker's Avatar

B-17 looks super! I've seen some of the parts for the Royal B-17 for sale and been tempted to buy and scratch build similar to my B-24. I believe the scale would be about 1/16th. Parkflerplastics makes a bomber crew set for cheap that you might want to look at.

Keep up the super build ---Stacker
Sep 18, 2010, 04:49 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
From one scratch builder to another, nice B-17 project.

Mine had her first flight just 3 years ago, (12 Sept 2007), and still enjoys an outing to the flying site. As she was started some time before that, first flight was with brushed motors and nimh batteries, but a recent crash diet has her wearing brushless and lipos. The scales show she lost almost 2lbs.

Here's a link to my build thread, (actually to the last page as that has the latest info) -
B17 Love Hate relationship. Progress report

When you do get round to that first flight. and successful return home, I hope your smile is still as broad as mine is each time.
Sep 19, 2010, 02:37 AM
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LukeZ's Avatar
Hey Chris, yeah, those were the glory days, long past now! But through that thread is how I "met" Brian Milsom and many others who developed an interest in Ivan Pettigrew designs, and now it is also fun to watch them do other things like this present B-17. I knew from photos of Brian's Albatross that anything else he put his hands to would be worth watching.

Incidentally, my wife is in grad school presently at OSU herself, though we originally hail from Kansas so really our school loyalties are more towards Jayhawks than Beavers... In other connections, I'm a huge fan of the P-47 (your RCGroups namesake I presume?) and I have been tempted to design a large scale version in the style of Ivan, but saner thoughts, and lack of time, have prevented me thus far.

Ok Brian, see how far off things can get when you don't crack the whip??

By the way eflightray, your B-17 is really, really beautiful. I loved your video. I'm of the feeling that if you're going to do a plane like this, do it big. Big flies better. Brian, I know you said you might have blown it up to 90 inches if you were to do it over again, but even 78" will still be a very nice size.

Sep 19, 2010, 11:37 AM
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Hi Eflightray,
I looked at your video. Great job. What materials did you use to finish the B-17 and how did you make the vents on the upper wings? Cheers, Brian
Sep 19, 2010, 12:28 PM
Registered User
Hi Guys,
Ok! You've convinced me to carry on with this B-17 thread. I'll try to answer questions to individuals shortly. This project started after I realized what satisfaction one can get from "scratch building". I had almost always built kits in the past and the Albatross was my first serious effort at a scratch built model. Having flown for nearly 42 years as a bush pilot and airline pilot I have always had a fascination with the B-17 and after the success of the Albatross I decided to have a go at more engines and retracts. One of our club members had a set of plans from the Royal kit along with some of the plastic parts so this became the logical choice.
I started by having the plans copied so I could cut them up for templates. I then had a war with myself trying to decide whether to start with the wing of the fuselage. The fuselage and tail group won! I knew from looking at the plans that C.of G. was going to be an issue and the plans called for a lot of plywood that I needed to eliminate. The first issue was going to be the vertical fin. I also have a fetish with scale-like hinging so I just had to complicate things by designing my own hinges for the rudder. Initially, I tried to laminate the leading edge curvature of the fin with balsa and white glue but after it had hardened it was too heavy, so I scrapped that idea and used the plans instead. I started by making the vertical tail post and sanding in the curvature for the rudder. I eliminated the plywood "spline" from the plans and simply slot mounted the ribs into the vertical post, added the leading edge, and then skinned it with 3/32" balsa. The rudder itself was done with a balsa spline and strip ribs and sanded to shape. Then, lots of sanding!!!

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