Ben Harber's 9ft XB-70 Part 3 (It's nearly done!)

by FliteTest | January 23, 2018 | (8) Posted in Projects

This build, it seems, can be summed up in three words: power, prestige and mightiness. Ben's giant scale model airplane made from foamboard and other standard Flite Test building materials is nearing completion, and we're all very excited. 

The FT sponsored 9ft long project has really taken shape over the last couple of weeks meaning that he now has a fully assembled aircraft almost ready for its first test flights. It is with bated anticipation that we await! 

But until these initial tests are released on Ben's youtube channel, we will simply have to be patient. I have a feeling that it will be worth it. In the meantime, here is an update on the build progress up until now. 

Construction Continues

Looking into the belly of the Valkrie, with the wings not yet attached, it's clear to see the level of engineering that has gone into this creation. The six 70mm EDF units are neatly lined up with ESC cables routed along the walls of the inlet tubes.

These are the vertical stabilisers all ready to be attached to the aircraft. 

Here you can see the nest of wires passing over the wing as it is attached to the lower fuselage. Tape comes in handy here!

Upside down, the aircraft takes on an impressive shape - and slightly resembles a Star Destroyer. In any case, it looks mean. 

Looking down the intake, there's a lot of space. At Flite Fest, Ben better make sure he doesn't fire up the engines in the vicinity of any small mammals.  

Here are both wings attached. As you can see, these wires passing through will be cabled into the upper fuselage. 

Taxi Tests

After all of this rapid progress, Ben and his family took the XB-70 out for some initial test rolls around a suitably open area. From these videos, you really get a sense of the scale of this giant model. It's quite remarkable that this has been achieved, primarily, with simple Flite Test techniques and foam board! It makes you wonder what is possible. 

Next on the agenda was a high speed run to see how the Valkyrie would perform on take off.  Often it's a good idea to take steps; it means that you can 'tick off' potential problems, such as the landing gear failing, so that you don't have to worry about it as much when the maiden flight rolls around. 

Painting Progress

The next step was to paint the giant scale model. 

A tent was used as a paint shop to ensure that the whole house/garden didn't start to look like it had snowed. 

All in all, it took Ben five and a half cans of white paint!  

The paint just brings the whole shape together - the triangular intake, the curved upper fuselage and the landing gear covers. 

After the paint had dried, it was time to assemble the components to complete the airframe. 

Unfortunately, the paint had also dried to Ben who looked like he had aged 30 years. 

Next came the finer application of some black paint. 

The anti-glare paint was applied to the nose along with the window details. There's even a pitot tube.

The aircraft is undeniably an impressive sight from any angle, just like the real thing.  

As mentioned, we're all extremely excited about this project and eagerly await the next phase: flight testing. Keep up the good work Ben! 

Links to useful resources 

Forum thread for you to keep up to date

Article Part 1

Article Part 2

Wired Article on the Valkyrie


Article written by James Whomsley Editor

Instagram @jameswhomsley


Timwetzel on January 30, 2018
Awosme You gonna be at flitefest ohio??!!
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Ben Harber's 9ft XB-70 Part 3 (It's nearly done!)