A History of the beginning of RC Soaring

Articles Scrap Book


Dave Thornburg Sunbird Classic Event
Micheal Selig .. Past and Present Endeavors
Creator of the S series Airfoils and
Wood Crafters First Annual Soar-In (RCM)
2002 Model Aviation article on Ray's first Wood Crafters Soaring Reunion
Man on Man Contest Format by Dan Pruss
2005 Postal Fun Fly
Sagitta 900 Story - Ray's 1979 F3B Warm Up Contest
Ray's Great Lakes RC Soaring League
LOFT by Frank Wren and Ray Hayes
Soaring History by Chuck Anderson
My Favorite Model Builder Articles by Dave Thornburg
Krainock Does It Again by Ed Slobod. Jan 1975
Harris Hill Lift over Drag Club
SOAR by Ray Hayes
Memorial's to Dan Pruss by Tom Kellevang and Ray Hayes
Whirlwinds by Ray Hayes
Willoughby Enterprises
Dwight Holley ... F3B Worlds Champion 1981
The Passion for Building from Wood
Photos and info from Dedicated Builders
John Ellias sets new Cross Country Record
156 miles straight line.           August 2015
Click here to See INFO on RC Groups threads


Ken Bate's Merlyn 2018.

2018 AMA NATS NOSTALGIA EVENT, Ken Bates's entry, the MERLYN, his own design.
The ladies are L-R, Ruth Bates and Barb Robinson.

Ruth and Barb have supported their husbands hobby from the very beginning of RC Soaring. Travelled with them to many, many RC Soaring contests and timed most of their flights. Both have helped put on contests and Barb has spent many years working the AMA RC SOARING NATS. Barb was a huge part in the WINGS group, a National club for woman RC Soaring Pilots. Barb is also the Contest Director for her local Soaring club in Traverse City, Michigan. They have a great flying field and popular events.

Hats off to the ladies in RC Soaring.


Mark Smith and wife at North-Sout Meet

Mark Smith and his wife at a Very popular contest "North- South Meet" with his famous Windfree at the beginning of the kit being Manufactured and sold around the "World".


Nutter, Miller, Payne - USA F3B Team

Email comments by Larry Jolly:

Yes. It would be the victorious First USA F3B team in Pretoria South Africa 1977
L-R. Dale Nutter, Skip Miller, and LaMont Payne.

Sailplanes L-R. Grand Esprit, Aquila and Legionair 140
The Camera guys, L-R. Dave Thornburg and Dan Pruss


Jim Wiseman, Dave Thornburg, and Larry Jolly

L-R. Jim Wiseman - Dave Thornburg - Larry Jolly

Hats off to these R C Sailplane movers and shakers.


Barbara and her Cumulus


Last year the AMA put out a call for "Historically Significant Models" for the National Model Aviation Museum. It seemed to me that they might be interested in my wife, Barbara Henon's win at the 1972 LSF Tournament. I don't know how many women won a RC Soaring contest but I think, very few. Then Amy Pool won an F3J Tour, and was within a few points of making the F3J National Team - good for her! We communicated with the AMA museum and they were enthusiastic so I cleaned up the Cumulus, the box it came in, Barbara's Kraft transmitter and the two trophies - First Overall and Duration and shipped them off. We were told they would be on exhibit in the museum and a couple of pictures can be found on the AMA website. One of the pictures was taken after I'd tidied up the Cumulus, and it's attached.

Barbara and I are retired, and doing very well. We live just North of Seattle and while Barbara has taken up watercolor she hasn't touched a stick in years. I fly a little and have a New Years' Resolution to fly more and participate in my club's - SRAC (Snohomish Radio Aero Club), activities.

Best regards,
Richard Shilling

Barbara Henon was a member of the WINGS club, "Women In National Glider Soaring" , a group of talented women RC pilots that competed in National Soaring events. The Sailplane is a Graupner Cumulus that was the first mass produced ARF. It featured a glass fuse and foam core flying surfaces covered with balsa wood. The Cumulus was very popular and had a swept wing.

LSF 803


2016 Toledo Show
Skip Miller
Goes Drones Interview

Skip Miller proved to be one of the best RC Sailplane pilots starting in the Seventies. Skip competed in World events and was an Airtonic's Team Pilot. He has ventured into supplying Drone surveillance electric Sailplanes to customers around the World. Hats off to Skip.


Original Lil Bird kit

The first Sky Bench Kit, Lil'Bird, 1993. I designed the Lil Bird with a 54 inch wing span for slope soaring, the airfoil was close to RG 15, the wings were fully sheeted. I found a small slope site near my Michigan home and the Lil'Bird did well.

The word got out and I ended up hiring two people to produce Lil'Bird arf's and kits. But, the Lil'Bird was being used for hand launching by some customers and I knew it was not going to perform very well as a HL.

I redesigned it to the hand launch wing span, changed the name to Lil'Bird 2, changed the airfoil, root dimension, made other changes to reduce weight and make it stronger and this is how the Sky Bench kits got their start. Hand Launch competition was getting under way and the Lil'Bird 2 design proved to be a very good performer and very popular. The entire Bird Series evolved from the success of the Lil'Bird 2.


Great Model Aviation Magazine Covers and Seventies Soar Nats coverage and photos.



Sky Bench Aerotech 

Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46804