Oly II Testimonials

Some Oly II Testimonials:

From: Mike Rae
Date: Sunday, February 23, 2003

Mike and his Oly II (click to enlarge)

I just wanted to drop you a quick E-mail. I flew my new Oly 2 only 2 times today. The first Hi-start launch resulted in a 20 minute flight while other planes were struggling to find lift. The second launch resulted in a 45 minute flight that was perfect. The Oly signals lift better than any other sailplane I have ever flown. The only reason I landed was it was getting late and I had to leave or I might still be flying. :)

Just wanted to thank you again for a great kit.

From: Mark Nankivil
Date: Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Greetings Ray!

Here goes my testimonial......

I started flying an Olympic II back in '81 - it was the third sailplane I built after getting into the hobby in late '80. My rst bird was an Olympic 650 and the Olympic II seemed to be a logical next step up. How true that turned out to be!

I've had an Oly II in one form or another ready to fly every season since then and have always done well with it in contests - ther at the club or regional level. Heck, I even took a 3rd one year at the LSF NATS in F3J, the second time F3J was flown at the TS. I don't think I could do that again in today's environment but it sure was fun tweaking a few noses of those flying $1000 worth of sailplane at the time! With the advent of the RES/Nostlagia Class, the Oly II has found its contest pedigree extended for more ars to come.

My first Olympic II was pretty much stock from the box. The quality of the kit has alwys been excellent through the years and I lly expect Ray to continue that tradition. Some of the changes/modifications to the Oly II I've made over the years are as follows:

1. Eliminate the balance horn on the rudder and go with a straight hinge line all the way up the vertical fin. Less drag when erated and it also meets with Dave Thornburg's approval!

2. A bit more dihedral to improve circling. I've done it both in the center section and in the polyhedral breaks and the results ve been better circling characteristics in my opinion. Bob Gill passed this hint on to me back in my early days of flying.

3. Take a bit of decalage out of the stab/wing relationship. I do this by cutting approximately 1/8" down at the tail end of the fuselage cut out (for the stab saddle) and tapering the cut back to the original leading edge location. I find I get much better ndy weather penetration (less drag) and little to no loss in handling qualities.

4. I have increased the length of the center ply shear webs in the wing so they go out two extra bays on the front and one extra the back of the spars. I've felt that I can push it a bit more on launch by doing this and not worry about breaking the wing. I'm ither brutal nor soft with my winch launches yet I have never blown up a wing. Fingers remain crossed that I haven't jinxed myself by ying that!

5. Since it is a flat bottom airfoil, I decided to see what would happen if I simply fully sheeted the upper surface of the wing om the spar forward and used rib caps behind the spar to the trailing edge. I sliced 1/16" off of the bottom of each rib which fsets the 1/16" added in sheeting the upper surface. I've built and flown 2 Oly IIs since '90 with the wing done this way and have en very satisified with the results. The wing is a bit stronger for launches and penetration seems better - it is definitely an improvement over any open bay wing on a windy day. The Oly II mod I am presently flying is now on its 8th season and continues fly well plus it has outlasted a number of other fine models that have died for various reasons.

6. Make provisions for ballast - I have flown with 8 to 10 ounces of extra lead for the past 10 years, only removing it for solutely calm days.

In summary, I will always have an Oly II in my fleet of sailplanes ready to fly at a moment's notice. I have always felt mfortable flying the Oly II and consider it an "old" friend that I want to have around!

Good Health and Good Lift!! Mark Nankivil

By Tom Kallevang LSF V #103

What does Soaring mean to you? Does the sight of bright sunlight shining through wooden wings covered in transparent Mylar turn you on? Climbing out on the slightest hint of lift gets your heart beating? Turning lazy circles at cloud base is you cup of tea? If so, then the Oly II might be the plane for you.

This is a sailplane that can take you from a newbie builder/flyer up to advanced LSF levels and competition. At its simplest, the Oly II is a plane that will teach you the basics of building and covering a built-up airframe and then help you learn the basics of soaring flight off the slope, hi-start or winch. With its easy to build flat-bottomed airfoil, polyhedral wing and box fuselage, you will learn to fly with rudder, elevator and optional spoilers (yes, an RES legal design, from the days when RES was hi-tech).

The Oly II is an honest plane, signaling thermals by the lifting of a wingtip and a desire to climb. With a little ballast, the Oly II can penetrate (albeit slowly) upwind in a stiff breeze, or punch through some of that turbulence at your local hill. We've even hand chucked an Oly II into a gaggle of HLG's and taken it out.

This is a wooden airframe, and it should be built with wood glue. The desire to build quickly with CA's is hard to overcome, but if you build this plane with Titebond and slow cure epoxy (where necessary), you will be rewarded with a light but strong plane that will last you for years to come. You don't need to "improve" the structure with a lot of expensive carbon and Kevlar to make a strong plane. You might even find yourself recovering the plane from time to time as you wear out the Monokote (or your favorite iron-on film).

The Oly II has been a favorite of many pilots undertaking the League of Silent Flight (LSF) achievement program. Fellow Level V Jim McCarthy used an Oly II for his Level V 2 hour thermal and 8 hour slope duration tasks. An Oly II recently helped me complete my Level V contest wins.

In the summer of 1999, I was at the LSF Nats in Muncie, Indiana, and had taken delivery of an Oly II destined for a friend of mine in Chicago. She had had the plane built and test flown three times in Texas before it was packed away for the trip to Chicago via Muncie. I found myself entered in Nostalgia but I had not had a chance to complete my Challenger, so I decided to use the Oly II. After a crystal change, range check and a few hand glides, I felt ready to go. The morning dawned breezy with the promise of stiffer winds to come. Since the plane had been built and flown in Dallas, Texas, I reasoned that a 10-15 mph wind would fall within the plane's envelope. A quick CG check and I broke out the cordless drill and my smallest lead slug (11 ounces) for my F3B Eagle, marked and drilled a hole in the Oly's fuselage, bolted the lead in and put on a couple of extra rubber bands. In the first round, I may have been the only Nostalgia plane to penetrate upwind of the turnarounds. The extra weight gave the Oly an added measure of stability and its effective spoilers let me nail a number of the landings. When the dust settled, I found that the Oly and I had flown to 1st place and I had my second Level V win.

In October of 1999, I was planning to go the Cincinnati Soaring Society Pumpkin Fly in Ohio. They were going to be running both Unlimited and RES. I again borrowed the same Oly II I had used at the Nats, and took a 3rd and 1st in RES at the Pumpkin Fly. These scores combined with my Unlimited scores for the weekend secured my 1st place overall at the contest and my last Level V win.

I had begun Level V in the 1970's when RES was the cat's meow, and had returned to "my roots" flying an RES plane to finish my Level V contest wins. I'd come full circle.

That's what the Oly II is all about, a well rounded design. Try one, you'll be happy to have one in your quiver.

Hi Ray!

I told you that you have to really want to go fly gliders to go jungle flying down here. If you use an infrequently mowed hay field to fly, a golf cart is just the ticket. Its faster than winding a winch and you can use it to retrieve those way-out there landings. The OLY ll that Dale is launching is Circa 1988 and has taught at least 3 people to fly. It's getting a reputation as being bullet proof. Just this year its hit 2 fences, 1 spectator, 1 weathervane/birdhouse-on-a-stick, and who knows how many bad landings. I personally saw it top a 2 ft chunk out of the top of a maple tree and nose straight in from about 40 ft. It split the Monokote in a few places and bent the wing rod, but that was it. By the way, when I built it, I used carpenter's glue (the yellow aliphatic resin stuff) tacked with CA; man, does that work. You can imagine the looks we get from auto drivers when we are riding down the road to the flying field in the golf cart.


Richard Curry
South Carolina

From: Tom Gressman
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001
Subject: Olympic II

The Oly II brings back fond memories of soaring from the '70's. The Oly II was a robust ship that helped me discover the contest spot landing and riding out a thermal from off the deck. I punched into my first cumulus cloud with the Oly. When I got home that day, I called the FAA weather and found that the cloud base was 2000 AGL! Many of us then found that adding ballast helped penetration and at the same time did not significantly increase the sink rate. In the 1970's the OLY II was a hot contest ship in Wisconsin and Illinois. It is wonderful to see Skybench Aerotech bring back, what I consider, to be a true classic design.

Tom Gressman/Denver

I have been building and flying model airplanes for over six decades, from two-cent solid models to helicopters, and just about every thing in between. For the past three decades my attention has been primarily devoted to sailplanes, flying for just the fun of it, competition, and scale. Arguably, you might say I have a fair knowledge on the subject of sailplanes, all though I am not an expert. Being an expert is not a requirement in determining what you like to build and fly. The Oly II, designed by Lee Renaud, is definitely fun to build and fun to fly, and can be a winner in competition. My Oly II that I built in 1977, won standard class in the 1977 Canadian Nationals, flown by Ray Hayes, and is still flying. It is my opinion, the Oly II is still the best sailplane to build and fly, if you are a beginner or you just want to go out and have a relaxed time chasing thermals.

These comments were not asked for, nor paid for, I just feel it is the right thing to say.

Gordon Pearson
Past President LSF
Past President MRCS
Past Director NSS
AMA 6240
LSF 410

Back to the Oly II on the Nostalgia page




Sky Bench Aerotech 

Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46804