Dave Bally, your fellow Corvair Builder, from an EAA family.


Today in Homebuilding circles, there was a lot of excitement, because word came that one of the most anticipated Homebuilts in 20 years, Jack Bally’s 1/3 scale, scratch build B-17G is very nearly complete, and had all four engines running now.  One of the reasons I have followed the project closely is because Jack’s nephew, Dave Bally, is a fellow Corvair builder, and a great contributor to our efforts to support Corvair builders. I have not yet met Jack in person, but if he is anything like his nephew, it is easy to understand why the man has friends far and wide.


Dave is the guy who is the first person to show up when we arrive at Oshkosh or Midwestern Corvair Colleges.  Just when you are exhausted from travel, he is full of energy to set up; When you discover the critical piece you left at home, Dave has already figured a way around needing it or fabricated a replacement; When you are tense, Dave is calm, and in no time at all he is setting the pace unloading, unpacking and applying his dry sense of humor to the moment, always making it much better. He always does this, he never lets you know he is coming, he is just there. He actually is the relentlessly positive person I pretend to be.  He is the embodiment of everything I like about EAA people.



Above, Dave and Grace at Oshkosh 2016. The place looks bare because it is after the show. Not only did Dave help us set up, he also came by after it was over and ‘helped’ us take down the tent and pack everything in the trailer. I have ‘helped’ in quotes because he actually did the lions share of the effective work.


If you were at any recent Oshkosh, or at this years Zenith Open House or last years Corvair College #34, Dave was at all of these events, pitching in to make each of them better for Corvair builders. At College #34, both Dan Weseman and I agreed that it was Dave, who showed up and assisted builders breaking down cores and getting them going, who was our critical volunteer assistant. Keep in mind that Dave didn’t even bring any of his own engine to the College, he just drove a couple of hundred miles each way to assist other builders.


EAA - Homebuilders HQ's photo.


Above is Jack Bally, Dave’s uncle with his scale B-17G. Yes, that is a single seat experimental aircraft. you can read more at this site: http://www.theballybomber.com/



After the crew of volunteers helped us set up the day before Oshkosh 2016, we went out to a very posh restaurant called Jansen’s in the old district of Oshkosh. From the outside it looks like any other brew hall in town, but inside it is pure class, and the food is outstanding. From the left, Dave Bally, John “Nungesser” Schmidt, and Grace.



OK, here is the photo you I can share since Jack Pelton, Chairman of the EAA has already signed my Major Achievement Award. That is Grace, myself, and ‘Outlaw Kitfox’ builder Mike Maury. The Three of us and Dave and John headed out to dinner together.  When we got to Janson’s, there was only one table left. Since we were all wearing aviation shirts (and a little underdressed for Janson’s), the waitress knew were we in town for Airventure. The local people don’t call it that, nor Oshkosh, they universally refer to it as “EAA”.  She walked right up to us and said “Are you from EAA?” which we replied “Yes.” She lead us right to the only table, which was marked ‘Reserved’. I was exhausted and thought it was very nice they reserved a table for any people attending Airventure.


Right after we ordered dinner, In walks Jack Pelton, head of the EAA. (He is the guy in the blue polo shirt in the background above) Even with my dulled brain, I quickly understand that our waitress was actually asking if we were from EAA headquarters, the people who actually reserved the table, not asking us if we were attending Airventure. and we had just taken Mr. Pelton’s table, which lead to the slightly childish picture above. A moment later we told our waitress we were more than willing to share it. To his credit, Jack Pelton didn’t raise the slightest fuss, nor complain to the staff, nor did he try to pull rank. He just pulled up a place at the bar and ate dinner with some friends. While I have previously been critical of the upper management of EAA, a number of trusted friends who work at headquarters everyday have assured me that Pelton is actually the right guy to head EAA at this time, just as Paul Poberezny was the right man to be the founder of the association.  I can be opinionated, but I will always listen to rational people who have more first hand experience than I do.




About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to Dave Bally, your fellow Corvair Builder, from an EAA family.

  1. Sarah Ashmore says:

    It will certainly be interesting to see that scale B-17 fly even if the sound will not be quite right. I have not seen anything on where he got his inspiration from but I have to wonder if it was not an issue of Air Progress from back in the early 70’s. They had a series of fantasy articles and one was the B-17 scaled down to single pilot size using 4 VW’s for power. If it was indeed the inspiration I hope nobody ever took their other scale aircraft project seriously, the King Kong Cub, a J-3 scaled up to 3 times original size. Other fun topics were a look at “What if ATC had been Defending Pearl Harbor” and a newly mandated aircraft safety device, the Total Warning Indicator Transmitter (TWIT), which served as an annoying back seat pilot throughout the representative flight.

    It is good to see that EAB category is alive and well with unique designs and ambitious projects carried out to completion.

  2. Howard Horner says:

    I have not laughed so hard for a long time. What a photo. On a serious note though, I thought of a wonderful parallel: The manner in which you and Grace always have a prime seat reserved at the builder’s table and offer the same gracious service to all of us that show up, not just to the experienced, elite, recognized, or wealthy. Thank you both for spending yourselves on builders and experimental aviation.

    As for he sound of the Bomber… I wonder if it will carry a decent PA system to blast out those big radial vibrations?? 🙂 What a beautiful creation!!! Amazing!

    • Sarah Ashmore says:

      There is actually a scale P-51 design by some European company that does come with a sound system to playback “Appropriate” sounds while the engine is running. When you consider that none of those scale fighters came anywhere close in performance to the real thing I say why even bother, it is all show. Now the B-17 has a chance of realistic performance but I hope he does not get to try engine out performance on a real takeoff.

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