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B.B.'s Gigantic Russian Bear Bomber
BB WeberB.B. Weber seems to have quite an affinity for 4-engine bombers; he has several B-17s in his hangar, promotes B-17 fly-ins and has even named his personal flying area "Bomber Field." But three years ago, B.B.'s fascination with these gigantic flyers took on a whole new dimension: that's when he began construction of his 1/10-scale Russian TU-95 "Bear" Intercontinental Nuclear Bomber.

Built from a Don Smith plan, B.B.'s TU-95 has a wingspan of 21 feet, 6 inches and is 18 feet, 7 inches long. It certainly isn't something you could easily slip in the back of your van and take to the flying field! From the ground to the tip of the fin, the model measures 4 feet, 3 inches. The wing area of this giant is 4,636 square inches, and it has an all-up weight of 90 pounds, which means it has a wing loading of 45 ounces per square foot-not bad, given the model's size. B.B. built his TU-95 entirely from balsa, ply and fiberglass.

Four Saito 1.82ci 4-stroke engines power this TU-95, and each engine has its own electric starter and glow driver. Because the engine nacelles were a bit too small to house large fuel tanks, each nacelle contains two smaller tanks that nearly equal the size of a s large one. This is a neat trick to remember.

tu95 viewsA model of this size requires special hardware that can't be purchased at the local hobby shop, so most of it had to be custom made. Tru-Turn took care of the uniquely shaped spinners; the landing gear was custom-built by Robart; and air brakes and eight wheels came from Brookside Machine. The special hardware problem becomes monumental and costly on an airplane of this size.

Before each flight, B.B. ensures that his bomber is airworthy. He double-checks the status of all 16 batteries, makes sure the retracts are operating properly, performs a visual inspection of all the control surfaces and pushrods and, of course, fills the fuel tanks.

It requires both a pilot and a copilot to fly the TU-95. Using two Futaba transmitters, the pilot controls the four flight functions and the flaps while the copilot operates the electric starters, the retracts and the retract-wheel doors. It's a somewhat cumbersome system, but it works. The TU-95 also requires three receivers: two for the flight control with redundancy and the third for the copilot.

So, what's it like to fly the TU-95? According to B.B., it flies steady with no bad habits and is very docile. As you would expect, it isn't terribly responsive, but it is extremely impressive, both on the ground and in the air. Three years in the making, this model is a tribute to the ambition and diligence of B.B. Weber - the dedicated modeler who saw it through to its completion.
     
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