Ray's October 2011 Fall Newsletter

Welcome to Skybench

I hope you all had a great summer and enjoyed flying your Sky Bench kits. I had some stick time on Greg's WF-XL and looking forward to finishing mine. The first kit offering will be an aileron and flaps version. Watch my web site for the available announcement date.

I appreciate the patience my customers have while waiting for their kit orders to arrive. I'm a one man show and spend all my time in the shop, away from the phone. Telephone tag doesn't work for me, please send an email, I try to answer them every morning.

Please read my web site for building information.

Many builders are installing electric motors in every kit I have. And I am too. Here is my to be installed list:

2M Lil'Bird, Big Bird, OLY lll

They will have the limiter switch so I can enter ALES contests. I'll keep you posted in the next newsletter, I fly all year including the winter months, so I should have a report between now and Christmas.

About the new kits coming:

I'm waiting for the arrival of a few laser parts for the Paragon and OLY ll SX and then I can begin shipping. Sounds simple and quick ... right ... well not in this business. I'll predict the laser parts will arrive in two to three weeks ( Nov 14th). I have waited about four - five weeks for Sunbirds and some other kit parts, that are due Oct 28th. My laser cutter is also a one man show and when the unexpected happens to us, like illness and death in the families, including the passing of my 12 year old dog, things just stop, families first.

I have orders for both kits and a notification list, so when the kits do become available, there will be none for immediate delivery. I have had a back order situation for several years on my kit line, almost never have kits on the shelf, almost impossible. and now it is the building season. The worst part is, some customers wait till near Spring before they order their Winter Build kit.

Great Idea from Bill Hoelcher of Ohio
for all the ALES flyers, it could be very ... very helpful in locating a lost ALES sailplane. Congratulations Bill.

On 10/26/2011 12:36 PM, Bill Hoelcher wrote:

In my case it would have been useless since the Radian crash destroyed the speed control unit but under normal modest crash or off field landing, all of our ALES airplanes that are equiped with an altitude limiter also have a useful onboard locating device:

Just blip your motor very momentarily to start the altitude limiter circuit and it will go through a series of loud audible beeps that can be heard several hundred feet.

I got to thinking about that when I arrived home Sunday and tested my theory. The model was placed in the front yard and I walked about 200 feet from the plane. The throttle was then just slightly cracked momentarily with a very quick blip so as not to overload the motor or speed control. The ALES unit then went into a series of load beeps.

It worked like a charm and was clearly audible from extreame distances of about 200 with my less than perfect hearing.

Keep it in mind and try it if needed, don't be like me and think of it after you get home......

It could really be handy in corn or bean fields when you have followed that weak thermal just a little too far downwind.

Good lift,


On Thu, 10/27/11, Ray Hayes wrote:
Hi Bill,

Is it OK if I use your email on my web site (just your writing), this could be very helpful to other ALES fans.

Sky Bench


On 10/27/2011 9:52 AM, Bill Hoelcher wrote:
Hi Ray,

Sure go ahead, my main reason for the post was to help others in the future. Since we have the equipment, why not use it when needed. If you can do anthing to get the word out, that would be great!!!

Thats what this hobby should be about, having fun and sharing ideas with others.

Just be sure that you caution to only use a quick BLIP to a very low throttle position and then immediatly off, otherwise, a longer duration or to a higher throttle level may damage components due to high amp draw when the prop is restricted from turning by ground contact.

Hope to fly with you soon,
Best Wishes, Bill

Bill Halstead's Challenger with lights Bill Halstead and his Challenger at dusk Bill Halstead's Challenger set up for Night Flying. This has to be a lot of fun, thanks for the pics Bill.

Joe Arnold's 2m lil bird

Hi Ray,

I built one of your 2m lil birds a few years ago and have really enjoyed it. What a great little plane! It has spent all of it's flying time on several beautiful slopes in the San Francisco Bay Area. It seems to me to be completely at home in this environment, even in strong wind. It has also held up very well to some fairly rough treatment. I taped a little casio camera to the fuselage one day and got some nice video at a beautiful flying spot on the coast. It's a bit long as I didn't bother editing it but here's a link if you're interested:
[YouTube Video Link]

Joe Arnold

Thanks Joe, your video is great, makes me feel like I'm flying in the Lil'Bird........ Ray.

Ray Hayes... January 2012 ...

Sky Bench shipped a lot of kits to builders around the world for this years building season in the Northern hemisphere. Winter build orders start arriving in August and I want to send a big thank you and let you know I really appreciate your patience while waiting for you order to arrive.

Wood is in my veins by way of my Mothers side of the family. My talented Grandfather was a cabinet maker in the South Bend, IN. Singer Sewing Machine Company and my Uncle Lenny started me on my first kit build when I was six. So, building is something I am tuned into and I try my best to deliver a quality kit that meets my standards. Let's keep the art of building our own alive and well.

Many have traded the pleasure and satisfaction of building sailplanes for sitting in front of their computers.

My web pages are constantly changing with updates and new photos, reload each time you visit to see the new postings.

I now have a framed Windlord thanks to a good flying buddy that traded his time and talents to build it in exchange for a kit. I am going to cover it to make it look like a Bald Eagle. Should make a good e powered and provide a lot of flying fun.

I'm shipping Paragons to the fellas on the waiting list. Watch your email for availability and price. Will post price on web after I get through the waiting list. Next will be the OLY ll SX

E power conversion is the rage with Sky Bench kits, I think it will help make sailplanes more popular. For those inclined to attend or hold E power contests, the ALES limiter switch is a bonanza. See my "LINKS" page for the limiter switch source.

The price of Balsa Wood has gone up considerably and will probably continue to rise. I sort through every piece of sheet and stick balsa and spruce I receive. Throwing out the bad stuff and sorting by application. One of the process's I use on sheet stock is holding each piece up to a light to see the grain pattern throughout. ..... Kit quality starts with quality wood.

What happened to the WF-XL ???

Here is the answer: First, you should know that if my Doctor said to me, Ray, you have just enough time left in your life to have one more flight ... it would be a hard choice, but it would be a 99" Windfree. I grew up on Mark Smith's Windfree, Mark and Otto Heithecker were my RC Soaring hero's back in the day of the SOAR NATS.

The WF-XL will perform way above the little Windfree, I have flown the only existing WF-XL and so I know the performance difference. It is Night and day.

The hang up is the joiner system, thin wing roots require a bent joiner rod or some other approach. Until I test fly the three different approaches I have in mind, I will not put the kit on the market. I don't want to mess the kit design up. After the OLY ll SX is ready for shipping, the WF-XL will be next.

Back to the joy of mfg and building Woodys.

Ray Hayes ...... LSF 803

More News will be added to this October - Fall Newsletter ... check back for up dates.

Woodys Forever

Old newsletters:

Ray Hayes LSF 803


Sky Bench, Ft Wayne, IN 46804

E Mail: skybenchone@gmail.com