Bally Bomber comes in for a landing

July 5, 2018

DIXON – The one-of-its-kind aircraft built by a Dixon Vietnam veteran will be on display at the Rochelle Municipal Airport on Saturday and will be featured later this month at the biggest aviation showcase in the nation.

The Bally Bomber is a one-third scale replica of the B-17G World War II bomber that 77-year-old Dixon native Jack Bally spent 17 years and 10 months building before its first take-off in November 2016.

People will be able to see the plane, named Obsession, at the all-day, fly-in drive-in Saturday at Rochelle Municipal Airport, 1201 E. Gurler Road.

“It is truly an amazing accomplishment and something special to see in person,” said Jenny Thompson, Rochelle’s marketing and public relations manager.

Bally started building planes in 1965, after serving as an Army specialist 4 from 1962 to 1964, during the Vietnam War; he took on the challenge to build a four-engine aircraft in 1999.

Bally earned his commercial pilot license and started flying in 1960, but he doesn’t fly the Bally Bomber. Its pilot is Richard Kosi, a longtime flier who works part time at the airport.

The home-built innovation has a wingspan of about 34 feet and is 25 feet long.

The bomber also will be highlighted all week at the annual Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture event in Oshkosh, the large-scale fly-in and convention that runs from July 23-29.

“Since there has been so much interest and anticipation nationwide, it is expected to be one of the most highly featured aircraft at Oshkosh this year,” Thompson said.

The all-day fly-in drive-in also will feature trike flights, skydiving, an Army vehicle display, and breakfast and lunch. Call 630-664-1892 for more information.

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