RES "Bird" Series

Mini Lil Bird

Wing span 50"   Wing area 259 sq in
Mini Kit price $79.95

Click here for e powered converted Hand Launch Kits

1998 Mid South Hand Launch Scores (click for full page)

Now Days, it is all about converting Woodys to "winch in the Nose", installing light weight electric motors for launching convenience. Actually, Electric conversion was going on in 1998, I had an electrified Big Bird then.

BTW ... When I came in 4th place in the above contest, I was 63 years old. Ray Hayes LSF 803

Lil Bird2

Click here for larger picture.

Cool! Cool! Mini Lil Bird
Wing span 50"     Wing area 259 sq in
Mini Kit price $79.95

Click here for e powered converted Hand Launch Kits

From: "Jeff Nibler" July 28, 2002

Hi Ray, I'm sure you're busy with the Nats and all, but I just had to share something quick with you that I'm sure will make you smile. Today at my club's Hand Launch Contest (PASS), I placed first out of 12 with my bone stock LilBird2.

I was the only javelin launch out there and was up against some stiff competition (such as an Xterminator Pro and some really good pilots). Just figured you'd get a kick out of that. I'm probably going to be ordering another one from you soon, as my wing is about 90% packing tape.


This e mail did make my day, Jeff has learned that with a good HL design and practice, the Lil Bird 2 is very competitive. Imagine the potential contest success Discus launching a Lil Bird 2. I'll find out at next years Wood Crafters 2003 HL event. This event will host woody HL designs only and launching can be by Javelin or Discus launching (sounds like the OLYMPICS). Maybe it is time for a beautiful Lil Bird 2 glass fuse.

Thanks for the e mail Jeff.

Ray Hayes

This all wood kit can be constructed very quickly because of the super accurate LASER CUT PARTS and Ray's design engineering that reduces construction time to a couple of weekends.

All parts are laser cut and the 1/32" balsa wing sheeting is pre cut. The fuse formers and sides are self aligning tab-slot design to further reduce building time and allow accurate construction. The rudder is tabbed and the stab is slotted to create a super strong and accurate assembly. Both rudder and stab only require sanding the edges round and can be glued with CA for FAST assembly. Plans are CAD drawn and all hardware is furnished including a tow hook.

Wing Span: 60"   Wing Area: 352 sq. in.
Airfoil: S3014
Flying Weight: 7 to 10 oz.   Wing loading: 3.5 oz or less

You won't believe it when you fly the LIL BIRD 2. It is a very attractive glider and looks fantastic in the air, but the superior flight performance is truly unexpected by all. The S3014 airfoil will float in the lightest of late evening lift or fly in very windy conditions extremely well allowing the LIL BIRD 2 to spec out down wind and return. The wing is very strong and can easily be launched from our world famous Mini Hi Start, plus the wing is not prone to tip stalling and it is built without tip washout to further simplify construction ease.

The Lil Bird 2 has been launched Discus style with good success. This is being done to an unaltered LB2 without beefing up the structure. The method is to have the right wing tip on the ground surface, holding the left wing tip with your right hand covering the D - Tube section and your thumb on the bottom spar, fingers on the top spar, start your spin gradually, raising your right arm / hand as it gains flying speed, release with an up ward flick of your wrist. This requires a preset on the rudder to conteract the roll during launch. Start this launching procedure by gradually increasing speed as you become accustomed to the style of launching.

You can modify an existing LB2 for Discus launching by cutting away some of the bottom wing sheeting where you are grasping the wing during launch and fill this area in with white foam.

What makes the LB2 performance so great ? Well, sailplanes are all about airfoil, but also plan form and flying weight and CG location. If you build the LB2 right out of the box you will be very happy with the performance, it will be superior to any other wood glider you have flown. Many of our LB2 customers have reordered second and third kits and asked what, if anything, could be done to kick the performance up another notch. The following is what I do to give the LB2 all the competitive edge it can muster.

I can build a LB2 to weigh 6.8 oz in the air, but have to add ballast when conditions get robust.

1. The wing is built stock with one coat of oil based Polyurethane on the sheeting surfaces that is immediately soaked off with Bounty paper towels to a point where the wood shows no signs of being wet (this is done to all surfaces). The open bay area is then covered with clear .0015 Mylar that weighs .0009236 oz. per sq. in. A 1000 sq. inches of this film weighs .9236 oz. Apply the film as you would any other heat shrink covering. The ease of applying this film is the best I have ever worked with and I use it on other fully sheeted larger sailplanes. Wings are attached with two nylon bolts.

2. The fuse weight is reduced by drilling one inch holes in the 1/64 plywood doubler. Drilling holes in the fuse formers. Running the antenna from the Rx forward to the nose block and back through a straw located in the center hole of formers F3, 4 and 5 and putting the excess between formers F2 and 3. Never let an antenna hang outside the sailplane. Cut the formers and bottom fuse sides to narrow the outside fuse width to one inch and height to 1- 7/8" at the forward wing bolt location to reduce drag.

3. Sand a taper into the elevator and stab to reduce weight and drag.

4. Four 110 Mah flight battery cells in tandem, micro servos and 555 Hitec Rx. The LB2 will balance with the flight battery located a half inch behind the nose block and the servos are in tandem behind the battery. Former one is omitted and the 1/8 sq. spruce rails are located from approx. one inch aft of Former 3 to 1 3/4" forward of the wings leading edge.



LIL BIRD 2 KIT PRICE ........................................... $99.95
Ray's Mini Hi Start for up to 2 M ............ $39.95

TV video - Ray's Great Lakes League

Lil'Bird 2 launching at school (Click for Full Picture)
(Click for Full Picture)

This photo taken June, 2015 at a nearby school.
I'm still flying my hand launch Lil Bird 2 using
a Sky Bench Mini Hi Start. 33 minutes was my
Best flight of this very cloudy morning. Ray

Lil'Bird 2 in the grass
Gerald's Lil'Bird 2, June 26, 2010

2M Lil Bird

Click here for larger picture.


All copyrights reserved.

Narrowed fuse, Click here for larger picture.
May 2008, my new 2M Lil Bird with a nylon bolt on wing. Maneuvers like a hand launch size sailplane and zoom launches very well. I can launch the 2M Lil Bird with the new Sky Bench Mini Hi Start in small fields and school playgrounds.
Wing bolt down closeup, Click here for larger picture.
Ray's bolt down system.

Click here for larger picture.


sm_elec_2m_lb.jpg (25738 bytes)

Steve Martinez's Electrified 2ME Lil Bird

This is the first 2m Lil Bird to have an electric motor installed. Steve reports that it flies extremely well and has a 45 degree climb angle on a Graupner geared Speed 400 swinging an 11/8 folder on 8 cells.
Click here for Electric Sailplanes.


Gloria and Sams 2m lil Bird

Max Mills photo of his 2M Lil Bird

2ME Lil Bird Kit Price.............$149.95

Specifications: Wing Span: 78", Area: 636 sq. in., Wing Loading: 5.2 oz., R/C: 2ch. Full Size or Micro to reduce weight, Laser cut parts - CAD plans, Quality hand picked pre-cut wing sheeting. Includes wood parts for bolt on wing option or two piece wing.

Designed by Ray Hayes, 29REH

This is a 2 meter version of our famous hand launch Lil Bird 2 kit and 100" Big Bird kit. The success of this series has been the exceptional flight performance that features an airfoil that does not have wing tip stall tendencies. This Bird series of kits will float very well in late afternoon calm air or fly with complete control in turbulent windy conditions. All my Birds are highly competitive in contests and can be launched from a hi start or electric winch. The high performance airfoil is very much at home on slopes even on windy days. Hand launch enthusiasts will enjoy flying the 2M LIL BIRD from school yards.

The Bird series are designed to last. The nose blocks are sandwiched between the fuse sides for extra strength instead of just glued on to the front former. Fuse doublers of 1/64 plywood add tremendous strength and durability. Spruce rails are used to reinforce the wing saddle area. Tab/slot fuse parts are used for accurate and easy construction. The 2M LIL BIRD wing has a no compromise dihedral bracing system of 1/16" plywood laser cut parts on both sides of the inner panels extra strong 1/8 x 3/8 spruce spars. Wood parts are furnished to build the optional bolt-on or two-piece wing. This is a high quality kit and not compromised to increase sellers profit. A good example is the wing has d-tube construction using hand selected 1/16" balsa wing sheeting to add strength and durability to the wing. The wing will not flutter during launching and will survive rough landings and zoom launching. The stab/elevator and fin/rudder are laser cut balsa to simplify construction.

One of the famous features of the BIRD series is the ability to turn in exceptionally tight circles. This feature allows the pilot to maximize flight times by specking out from low and tiny thermals. The BIRD series do not have washout in the wing tips, thus a higher performance level is reached by not compromising the airfoil. The flight performance from the extremely light wing loading combined with a great versatile airfoil will amaze you. Illustrated instructions are included, plus you can find updated construction photos and tips on our "Assembly Tips" page.

UP-DATE 7-2013

All the wing Laser Cut plywood spar braces included in the kit can be installed when hard launching, zoom launching or aerobatics are performed.

If you are installing an electric motor, only the plywood spar braces shown on the construction plan need to be used to have an adequately strong wing. Eliminating the other center dihedral plywood spar braces will save weight and building time. The wing will still be very strong regardless if you build a one or two piece wing.

Installing electric motors in Sky Bench Woody kits has become very popular due to the availability of current light weight motors and Li-Po batteries. A good place to start the motor thrust line setting is 2 degrees down and zero off set. The amount of thrust ( watts ) your motor, prop size/pitch and battery produce, plus your flying style preferences will determine the final thrust line settings.

Sky Bench has sold hundreds of 2M Lil Birds, everyone has been delighted with the flight performance.

Woodys Forever

This is a great kit for beginners or experts.
It is a winner, enjoy it!

Bill Eckles and his Lil Bird

Hi Ray,
Another note to let you know how much I love my Li'l Bird! Again, I was out alone at the bluff at the Torrey Glider Port and flying her in the late afternoon gentle on-shore. She just responds so nicely to all my controls and flies so nicely, she's almost aerobatic! As well, she recovers so easily from dives and loops and even rolls with some encouragement making my sense of power overwhelming after the paragliders have gone home and there are no other glider pilots on the scene. Thanks for a great plane! I love it. Yes, I still love Oly III, but this one is really special.
As you suggested, I laminated 1/16" CF to 1/16" spars on the center wing panels. I made the fuse at the former #4 width (nearly squeezed out my four/square battery by mistake) and toughened up the frame all around. She's still light, but penetrates well and pretty much screams if I put the nose down and make a "speed run" through the bowl! Do come visit some time. I'd love to fly with you! We're adding a 2m woody class to the monthly contests and I'm looking forward to added competition as well as peace and contentment.
Bill Eckles
San Diego

Mark Higginbotham and his Big Bird and 2m Lil Bird

Here are a few photo's of my Lil Bird and Big Bird. Both are absolutely amazing performers. They are each covered in white and transparent orange Topflite monokote. The Lil Bird weighs 27oz. with 2 micro servos. The Big Bird came out at 40oz. I did not include the spoilers.( I regularly fly it in a space of about 300ft.x300ft.) In the Big Bird I did install standard servos. I like the movement of the controls with a full size servo. In calm air my Lil Bird will go about 80yds. on a hand toss and the Big Bird gets about 105yds. Very impressive. Thermalling each of them is nearly effortless. They indicate lift very well and are both well mannered. There is absolutely NO tip stall tendency. I even have the rudder of the Big Bird set at a higher than recommended throw so that it turns like the Lil Bird. Even when I come in to land I can hold a 60 degree bank turn down to eye level before rolling out for my pattern and never worry about tip stall. The balance of control, stability and maneuverability puts a huge smile on my face every time I fly them. My Lil Bird is balanced at 41% MAC and I have flown the Big Bird back to 46% MAC but it has to be a faily light day with it trimmed slow enough that it remains stable. With the Big Bird at 41% MAC it has a much wider speed range where it remains stable. I launch both of them with a 300' high-start. You have a top quality kit. My Lil Bird took about 2 weeks to build. The Big Bird only took 11 days from the box to first test flight! Keep up the good work Ray. Your kits are worth every penny. I absolutely love my Birds.

Many Thanks
Mark Higginbotham
Texarkana, TX

Gerald getting his 2m Lil Bird ready
Gerald getting his 2M Lil'Bird ready 11-01-09
Gerald's 2m Lil Bird
Gerald's 2M Lil'Bird 11-01-09

Mike's First Hand Catch!

Mike and his flying buddy Ed are surly enjoying life. Mike is an electric power enthusiast, Ed launches his 2m Lil Bird from a winch. Thanks for the photos.

2m Lil Bird handcatch 1
2m Lil Bird handcatch 2
2m Lil Bird handcatch 3

Hi Ray;

I want you to know I've logged dozens of hours on my 2m Lil' Bird. It really love's the thermals that live in the desert surrounding Tucson.

This is my first, and so far only, glider catch. You can tell by my face, I'm really concentrating.

Ed Julia and I fly our Birds a couple times each week. They're the best flying planes ever!

I'll be ordering a BB-XL soon. I can't wait to see what a set of flaps will do.

Your fan;
Mike Caffrey

Paul Hart's 2m Lil Bird

Paul Hart and his 2m Lil Bird
Paul launching his 2m Lil Bird
Brian Agnew taking a turn flying Paul's 2M Lil Bird

Hi Ray,

I just wanted to pass along a few photos of my completed 2m Lil Bird. With a few pointers from Brian I'm very pleased with the build and finish, hope you like the colors. We took it to the field this morning and after a few glide tests sent it aloft on the high start with Brian on the sticks. A little tweak here and there and it was up in the morning sun looking pretty solid. You may also recognize Tom Gressmen, another of your fans, local flier and supporter of this mornings effort.

Thanks again and looking forward to the Mini Lil Bird project.


Keith Schmitt and 2m Lil Bird Keith Schmitt's 2m Lil Bird

Hi ray,
Just wanted to let you know I am hooked and plan on building many more. This is my first glider and it is just plain awesome. I have learning to do but the 2M Lil Bird is the perfect start. I built it exactly as the plans say and it weighs an excellent 22 oz. I stained it with golden oak Minwax and then cleared it with 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic water base finish then just covered the open areas. I now can't wait to build a SkyBird, and an electric Big Bird XL. Thanks for an excellently designed glider. The pic with me is located on a hill with good potential in Bemus Point, New York, Lake Chautauqua in the back ground.

Keith Schmitt

danwilliams.jpg (48,623 bytes)

Well Ray here's a picture of me and my 2MLB. The gang at the field started calling it the Pretty Bird instead of Little Bird. I came out at 22 oz (guess it was over kill on the air brushing I did) with no weight added to the nose, But it fly's much better up here in Denver area with 3oz added over the tow hook. First day was dismal at best 18 min was the best I could do but today it was the worst I could do. The best flight was 48 and change. I am really impressed how flat it will turn or stand on a wing tip in a hot core, Then my practice landings were average 85~90 and this is the first day. I cant wait until I learn how to fly this 2MLB. So my next question is what is going on with the Sky Bird... Started the LB2 last night, Wing is finished and will build the Fuse tonight and I can't wait to start the Big Bird!!! What can I say I am sold. In fact I have four other people that are going to get Birds from you very soon after flying mine.

Last night I was flying the 2MLB on a slope that had only a whisper of a wind, and no one else was up so I thought I would hand toss out and practice some landings but I was staying up 15 min at a time, and the locals were POed that they could not stay up, in fact the rest of them got quite a few walks down the hill thinking that they also could stay up with me!!!

Dr. Dan Williams
Bad roads bring good people and good roads bring bad people.

eagan.jpg (33376 bytes)

Hi Ray,

Finished my 2M Lil Bird  yesterday. It weighs 21 oz ready to fly,  and as you said would happen, I didn't need any nose lead. It's set up exactly as your web site suggests. 

I did put 3/8" x .007 CF inside the four aft fuselage sides and also in the inner wing panel trailing edges.  It's covered with Ultracoat lightweight white with Ultra-coat transparent violet on the bottom of the wing and stab (it looks great with the sun behind it). I also built  a small compartment over the C.G. for two 3 oz bags of shot.

As soon as it was done I headed to a local yard for some hand launches and as expected, it floated around very nicely without ballast. Today I was at our club field for some winch launches and I did use 3 oz  of ballast.  I was amazed how high the Bird got on launch and how well it penetrates.  I think I'll just leave the ballast in it unless it's a no wind day, but more flying will sort that out .  It's pretty much a "no brainer" finding lift because the plane really tell you when it's in even the lightest lift.

You've got another winner.

Bob Eagan

Garvey2m.JPG (9319 bytes)

Mark Garvey sent this photo of his 2M Lil Bird and in his letter said, 

"I absolutely love this model.  It is difficult for me to go into it without going for huge exaggerations, but it is simply an excellent model to build and fly.  Building is simple due to laser cut parts, and once built, it is an absolute delight to fly"

lynn2mlilbird.jpg (52,619 bytes)

Lynn Stubblefield sent this photo of his 2M Lil Bird and an email that said, 

"Hello Ray. I've been intending to send you an email, since August, telling you just how well my Two Meter Bird flies. I should have installed spoilers just about sums it up. Also, I would like to be placed on your email list for Sky Bird notices or anything else that is interesting to sailplane pilots. Thanks for an easy building kit that turns into a great flying plane. Best regards, Lynn Stubblefield, Nashville, TN"

RAY: Lynn's photo is about the best one so far to show the overall planform of the 2M lil Bird. Lots of wing area, inner wing panel longer than outer panel and D-Tube construction for airfoil accuracy and wing strength. Kit is designed for simple, fast construction, but with great flight performance for beginners or experts.

Lil Bird Wing on a table.

Alex Janssen sent this photo of his 2M Lil Bird wing with his unusual weightings and an email that said, 

" Ray. Using plastics bags with shots surely is nice, but having no workshop and my wife being so kind to let me use "her" kitchen, I used whatever was available.

Your Lil Bird kit has been easy and straightforward to build. I build a one pice wing and are not sure about using elastic bands or plastic bolts as hold downs. Any suggestions? "

Tommy Westlin and his 2m Lil Bird.

Hi Ray,

here is a picture I promised (a long time ago...). Sorry for the delay!

The picture was taken last Sunday here at Tampere, Finland. I had been flying at (upon!) the local lake. Wonderful day, -7 degrees Celsius. Wind about 5 m/s. Needed all that winter gear.

Took the plane up with a high-start. Best flight was 6 min 40 sec, not bad. My LilBird is quite light, should have made some ballast for it. Maybe next time.

Picture was taken by my wife. This is quite small sized, can have it bigger if needed.

Have a nice spring.

Tommy Westlin


Big Bird

100" wing span
BIG BIRD KIT ... $189.95

Big Bird Construction Manual

Read Ray Hayes' article for insight into the mysterious ways of spoilers.

Click here for larger picture.
Ray Hayes and his Big Bird placed 3rd at the AMA RES NATS event, July, 2001

Big Bird overhead (click to enlarge)
Click here for in flight photos of this beautiful Woody Big Bird.

Click here for larger picture.

Ray gives 'em the Bird

My first Big Bird, I still remember the thrill and satisfaction of how well my new design flew right off the building board.
Ray Hayes
LSF 803

Toledo MSL contest 2001

Toledo MSL Contest 2001
L-R, top, Richard Albin, Ray Hayes,
bottom, Doug Adams and Tom Gates
with their Big Birds and 2M Lil Birds.

Gene Pastori and his Big Bird

Gene Pastori with his Big Bird, a very special long time flying buddy.

The Sky Bench Bird series is not to be confused with the Bird of Time. Close observation of the Big Bird will reveal the stab is fixed, not an all flying stab, and the wing plan form is very different and so is the all important airfoil. The inner wing panels are longer and the outer panels are shorter. Also, the wings mount to the sides of the Big Bird fuse. See our ASSEMBLY TIPS for construction photos and optional ballast hatch.

Big Bird parts Big Bird parts Big Bird parts Big Bird parts Big Bird parts Big Bird parts Big Bird parts
Click on cameras for photos of Big Bird laser cut parts.


  • Wing Span 100 in.

  • Wing Area 820 sq. in.

  • Airfoil S3014 

  • Wing Loading 7.5 oz. per sq. ft.

  • Flying weight with spoilers 42 oz. 

  • Ballast up to 54 oz.

  • Requires two to three channel radio

Big Bird is a scaled up version of my highly successful Lil Bird 2 hand launch kit. This design is an extremely easy sailplane to build and fly as the Lil Bird 2 and 2M Lil Bird kits are. The plans are drawn in CAD and all parts are laser cut for dead on accuracy. Laser cut parts include: wing ribs, plywood dihedral braces and root caps, wing tip panel rear trailing edges, fuse sides and 1/64" plywood doublers both slotted to receive tabbed plywood fuse formers, top and bottom of fuse, stab with slots to receive tabbed fin, elevator and rudder with pre cut holes to mount control horns easily, 1/64" plywood rudder doublers. Building doesn't get any easier and quicker than this. Build the wing, fuse and round the corners on the stab/ elevator and fin/rudder and your finished.

The wing is two piece with a Sky Bench 5-1/16" OD hardened steel joiner rod. The wing spar is designed to zoom launch without fear of breaking and pre cut D-Tube wing sheeting is used for airfoil accuracy and strength. The wings do not flutter. Our Bird series wings are built without washout and do not have tip stall tendencies even for the beginner. Twisting a wing tip ( washout ) compromises the wings flight performance.

Click on 'ASSEMBLY TIPS' in our menu for construction photos.

Big Bird is great for slow flying in the late afternoon when the wind has died down and thermals are weakening, just pull the nose up with some up trim and watch it float and float and float. Thanks to the airfoil, Big Bird will also fly fast, even without ballast. Just put in a little down trim and it will really move. Ballast is not needed until the winds reach 20 - 25 MPH.

Big Bird is an excellent choice for the popular RES (rudder-elevator-spoiler) class or any thermal duration contest. It will out zoom launch and out perform any other built up kit. This is not a high production over priced cheap sailplane kit, we don't design our kits to price compete with the cheapies sold by others. The Bird series kits are the very best quality and performance wood construction kits available.

Click here for larger picture.

Jim Schaffer's Big Bird, waiting for it's first flight. Jim used a servo in each wing to activate the spoilers as shown on the plans.

Click here for larger picture.

Dennis Brackett and his Big Bird. A hi start, chair, Big Bird, and one of the worlds best soaring sites equals hours of relaxation, thanks for sharing Dennis.

Dan launching his Big Bird


Here's a resend of one of the pictures I sent a couple weeks ago. The attached is the maiden launch of my Big Bird. A fifteen minute plus flight and needed only minimal trimming.

By the way, I am ready to order one of the new "Mini Lil'Bird E" when it is available.

Dan Lavender

Big Bird in the hand
Big Bird in the grass

Wynton Tavill, Cape Town, South Africa sent these photos of his beautiful Big Bird held by his friend. His next project is an electric powered Big Bird XL.

Here's a message we received recently:

Hi Ray,

Okay, I'm convinced. Now Drop every thing you are doing and get the Skybird in the box. I just had another super day of flying my Bigbird today, (being retired as some advantages). I have logged a total of 3.5 hours on my last two flights. This Bird has as much adversion to the ground as I have, it just doesn't want to come down! There is another member of our club that would also like some info on Skybird so please keep us up to date.

Thanks again,
Richard "Gil" Gilliland

Here's another message we received recently:

Big Bird through the roof
Big Bird in roof - nose Big Bird in roof - top

Ray, are you going to show pictures or supply sketches of your flap modification to the Sky Bird wing? I am contemplating building one.

Sold my Big Bird after many hours of flying and one almost serious mishap. It was back in the air 10 minutes later with no damage. Hard to believe. The new owner is a beginner with sailplanes and is having a ball with the Big Bird.


Subject: Big Bird No Banana!

Straight Big Bird

Hi Ray. My new Big Bird is under construction.


Straight as an arrow, no banana!

Thanks for the Photo Larry,
I hope your wings build straight and true also. Ray

Finished Straight Big Bird
Larry's completed Big Bird XL

John Root's winter Big Bird

Here is a picture of the Big Bird that I completed as a winter project in March.

The plane is a beautiful flyer. It penetrates well in 10 to 15 mph wind and is sensitive to thermals. The following are some modified construction details:
* Monokote finish--Chrome Monokote on the tail feathers and wing tips.
* Tow Hook System--Used 1/2 of an Airtronic rail centered at the CG
* Fabricated a tow hook from a common nail cut to about 1 1/4", then bent 90 degrees. Thread one end to 6-32 thread. This gives a much stronger tow hook that is infinitly adjustableat least plus or minus1/2" from center CG.
* Spoilers--mounted 1" closer to the trailing edge. Operated by 2 JR 55 servos. Electrical connections using Deans connectors joining at the fuse. This system is superior to operating the spoilers with a cord attached to a servo in the fuse.
* Wing mounting--Held to the fuse by spring tension. This eliminates taping and untaping the wing to the fuse

The all up wgt is 44 1/2 oz. It is one of the few planes I have built that was not tail heavy.

Best regards, John D Root

Dave Mumford's Big Bird and child


Just finished the Big Bird and Wanted to show you a picture of it. I am so pleased with it. Came out at 38 Oz. I used Ultracote Lite and carbon fiber push rods to keep tail light. No weight added to balance! Came out perfect on CG by just adjusting servo and Rx location.

I want to add a ballast tube in the fuse. Would you add ballast at 4, 8 or 12oz? On light days would you just fly without any ballast?

Thanks for a well designed kit and excellent balsa selection.

Dave Mumford
Bountiful, Utah



I use a 12oz ballast, my Bird series make excellent electric powered gliders, the weight doesn't bother them.

Learn to fly the Bird with stab trim adjustment. Before adding ballast, add two clicks of down trim, this usually takes care of 10 to 15 mph winds. Takes flight time to catch on to all the Bird can do with just stab trim changes.

You won't need to add ballast on light days, learn the trim settings and fly and fly and fly in all kinds of wind conditions to lean the Bird. Enjoy.

Ray Hayes
Home of Wood Crafters

Tony Stamp, Bill May's Birds

Mr. Ray Hayes,

I though you might like a picture of our Bird family. Little Birds, Big Birds, one newly finished extended wing Big Bird and one old crow. We finished the extended wing bird this morning and tested it on an anemic high start this afternoon. On the first flight, we got about 300 feet off the high start and landed 12 minutes later because of an approaching storm. Bill May was flying as well as being in 7th heaven. Wow! What a sailplane.

Now, if Bill will just stay out of the cornfield he will be competitive at the Nats.

Tony Stamp
Dunlap, TN

Big Bird is outstanding with an electric motor installation. Among the many choices of motors available today, one of the good performers for the Big Bird and Big Bird XL is an AXI 2820/10 Outrunner with a Jeti "Advance Plus" 40 amp Brushless Controller. Plans show electric installation for a Speed 600 type motor and spoilers.


Big Bird RES Nats 3rd place trophy

My old Big Bird and I are still collecting contest trophies, it is a great flying sailplane, Ray.

Trophy winners at NATS RES
2006 AMA NATS RES Winners

Watch out for 2007, there will be more Sky Bench woodys in the mix.

Big Bird in Flight, AMA RES '06
Ray Hayes and his Big Bird, AMA RES '06

AMA 2006 RES

write up by Don Richmond

It was a really fine day for 3-function Soaring. The sky was a bit gloomy in the early hours, but the clouds gave way to some sunshine midday. There was something for everyone as the wind velocity remained roughly 10 mph or less. In almost every flight group there were the haves and the have-nots. A correct quick decision immediately off the winch and you could be up and away while your opponents were struggling to get the 10-minute task time. You know you did it wrong when all of your flight group has landed and there is one pilot still looking upward. A few of these resulted in some flight-group members earning only a few hundred points.

Ray Hayes did a magnificent job of piloting his Big Bird to third place. His model is built up construction using balsa wood, spruce, and MonoKote. A far technological reach from the prevalent almost-ready-to-fly models.

Everyone enjoyed watching Ray as his fine model turned in a great performance.

-Don Richmond

Big Bird XL

110" wing span

BIG BIRD XL KIT...$199.95

Framed Big Bird XL
Joshua's framed Big Bird XL, built with flaps.

Joshua's Big Bird XL on tow
Joshua's Big Bird XL covered and on tow.
Great photo's by Joshua's friend Mr. Chris Duren.

Joshua's Big Bird XL flying overhead

I recently finished a BBXL. I love the way it flies, and I'm currently debating a second one (standard 100") with an electric fuselage. I'm also thinking about making it Full House or Flapped. I haven't really decided yet. Joshua.

Joshua, Your Big Bird XL Looks Great, thanks for the photos. Ray

Tom Tock and his Bigger Bird and Big Bird XL
Tom Tock, one of the great woody enthusiasts pictured with his Bigger Bird, a combination of OLY lll and Big Bird and his favorite flyer, the Big Bird XL. They both have glass fuses from Tom's closet. Tom placed 4th in the 2008 RES AMA Soaring Nats with his Big Bird XL.

Big Bird XL
Rick McKenney
Seattle WA

Construction is identical to the Big Bird with the exception of two more bays in each wing panel. The added wing span will offer the Bird Series builder another great flyer for either an electric powered or thermal duration RC sailplane.

The XL can easily be built with flaps for great landing control and a larger speed envelope. Most pilots over use the flaps and never realizes the full potential flaps have to improve flight times. To increase the cruise speed, move the flaps up approx. 1/16 to 1/18. To increase the climb rate, drop the flaps about the same amount. Also, 1/16 of down flap combined with one or two trim notches of down elevator can produce great results in weak lift. You may also set the flaps up as flapereons with 1/16 down position and appox. 3/8 up coupled to the rudder.

Big Bird XL REF

Hay Ray,
few more pics for the records. Big Bird XL REF.
after about 6 flights, I've already dialed CG back to your recommended spot. Flaps are awesome, I love them, dialed in rather quick with about 20%elev comp, makes that nice swish sound as I turn them off right before landing and the plane comes in flat.



Sky Bird ready to paint and cover Sky Bird covered leanding against a bush

Wing Span: 132", Wing Area: 1340, Airfoil: S3014
RES version. Wing loading: 8 oz. per sq. ft., Weight: 70 oz.

The Sky Bird will absolutely delight you, both in the ease of construction and it's superb flying performance. After many test flights in various weather conditions I can say the final version is an absolute winner and suggest using a five cell Rx battery because you are going to be up a long time.

A novice pilot will be able to have very long flights and land it easily. This is a gentle flying big RES sailplane that is very responsive to rudder without dropping a wing tip. You can horse it around like it is a hand launch to stay in the smallest thermal and you will marvel at the extremely flat glide that will allow you to cover large areas looking for lift.

The wing ribs are laser cut and not attached to a carrier that requires the builder to cut out the rib, which in my opinion is nothing more than a glorified die crunch rib. Some Mfg. like to offer their kits this way because it saves them time in handling the parts, but in reality, when you cut the rib from a carrier it invariably distorts the shape of the part due to the grain of the wood your trying to cut.

The Sky Bench Bird Series kits have a very good reputation in flight performance and kit quality, all hardware is included, if you want something extra special to build and fly then one of the Bird Series kits will work for you. One of the delights of building wood kits is they are easily modified by the builder and many builders have taken up adding flaps to my Bird Series and I'm sure this will happen to the Sky Bird as well and probably ailerons too.

E-Powered Notice: The rear wing rod is not used if you install an Electric Motor. Kit is $10.00 less if shipped without rear wing rod and brass tubes.

Click here for larger picture. Click here for larger picture.
Sky Bird wing construction ribs and step 1.

Click here for larger picture.
Sky Bird wing construction step 2.

Click here for larger picture.
I like small spoiler blades, but the kit includes four bay spoiler blades. I'm building another wing with flaps which I think will be superior in glide path control. The kit will include the material for flaps, but the builder will cut the ribs.

Click here for larger picture.
Stabilizer-elevator - plywood mounting laser parts

Click here for larger picture.
Fin-rudder laser parts. Note tabs on bottom of fin, they Correspond to the slots in the stab to provide perfect alignment, super strength and very quick construction.

Bill's Sky Bird
Bill Grenoble's Flapped Sky Bird. Thanks for the pic.
If you are going to add the weight of servos in the wings for spoilers, you might as well get the maximum performance from the Bird series by using flaps instead of spoilers. Flaps coupled to the elevator with a programable radio can make landing much more accurate and adding 1/16" down flap in super light lift turns the Bird series into butterflies. Add 1/8" up flap and you will increase the speed for penetration in windy conditions.

Uncovered Sky Bird
Sky Bird ready for covering.

Sky Bird kit ... $238.95

E-mail skybenchone@gmail.com for
international shipping cost of wood fuse kit.

E-Powered Notice:
The rear wing rod is not used if you install an Electric Motor.
Kit is $10.00 less if shipped without rear wing rod and brass tubes.


Click here for Wood Fuse Instructions

Electric Power for the Sky Bird

Roman's Skybird front
Roman's Skybird back
Roman and his Skybird

Roman's Sky Bird ready for it's maiden flight. Beautiful!

Scott and his Sky Bird
Ron's Sky Bird motor

Flying is great here in Oregon, really cold today but you asked me last fall about my skybird and I thought I would send a few photos of the gliderdrive motor. The one in the skybird is a 3558-4.6 840 kv and is 830 watts @ 45 amps, 60 amp controller, It will speck out in about 20 seconds with a 16x8 carbon fiber prop and I run a 3s 1300 Aspeck 45/90 battery. I am going to run a little different motor in the olympic 3 you are sending me, it will have a sk3 3542-1250 755 watts @54 amps, 60 amp controller with a carbonfiber 15x8 prop. My oly 2 has a sk3 3536 -1200 505 watts @ 45 amps also with 1300 aspeck battery, and 40 amp controller and 12x8 carbonfiber prop. Also notice the rubber band holds the prop in after throttle shut down.

Best wishes, Ronald Folck

Scott and Sky Bird Where the e goes

Hi Ray,

I built the Sky Bird first as a pure sailplane, but decided quickly that I would wanted to fly it a lot so I decided to add the motor. The only thing I would have done differently would have been to shape the nose to fit the spinner better.

The power is: Great planes Ammo 28-45-3600 motor and matching planetary gearbox, an 80amp Hobbyking ESC, a 14x8 folding prop, and a 3 cell 2200mah lipo battery. Performance is spectacular with this setup and it balances with no added weight. If anyone has questions about this setup I'd be happy to visit with them.

Thanks again for a great airplane and if you ever find yourself near central Nebraska, let me know, I'd love to buy you lunch.

Scott Sarnes

Sky Birds at Toledo

Ray, This is a picture from the fall of last year of Skybirds built by Weak Signal members.

Thought you might like it for the WEB site.

The owners are:
Black/Red Skybird belongs to Paul Fillmore,
Orange/White Skybird belongs to Dale Rupert,
White/Yellow Skybird belongs to Tom Como,
Red/Yellow Skybird belongs to Ron Kuyoth,
Yellow/Purple Skybird belongs to Ric Lane, and
White/Blue Skybird belongs to Bill Pandi.

In the background is Dave Leach talking over thermal strageties with Dick Peebles.

Thanks again for designing a fine sailplane.

Tom Como

Morris kneeling with his Sky Bird
Morris launching his Sky Bird
Morris's Sky Bird in the flowers

Hi Ray,

Finished the Sky Bird last Monday and took it out for it's maiden flights today. We had 5-8mph winds from the North and clearing skies with the temps in the high 50's. We gave her a hand toss and it needed no adjustments. Put it on the winch and it went up almost hands off. Decided to adjust CG a little and added another ounce of lead in the nose. Ended up taking half of that out. Total added weight is 9 oz and that makes the over all weight 72-73 ounces with both wing rods. This SB has 90 degree flaps, bottom hinged, (used two Airtronics 141's servos)that will act as ailerons when the proper switch is activated. That works well but really used as a back up to the rudder which does and excellent job on it's own. I have down elevator mixed with the flaps and that really makes for a controlled landing. Out of 7-8 flight I was able to land it in front of me most of the time. No skegs on this one. Touch downs are usually slow enough not to need them. A couple pictures are attached.

Thanks for a great design.
PS We had plenty of thermals this morning!!!

Sky Bird on launch in Clovis

Jack Womack, Clovis, NM, launching his Sky Bird December, 2006. It's 52 degrees here in Ft Wayne, Indiana and the grass is still very green. :-)

Tom Tock getting 4th
Big Bird XL and Tom Tock

Tom Tock receiving 4th place trophy at 2008 AMA - LSF NATS RES event with his Big Bird XL.

Tom modified the stab to an all flying stab and used a fiber glass fuse from another plane

Congratulations Tom, you're a heck of a competitor.

Doug Pike and his Sky Bird

Doug Pike and his Sky Bird
4th Place RES, AMA NATS, 09
Doug placed 9th with his Sky Bird
Top placing Woody

Doug Pike RES Woody

Ed Wilson, LSF VP, presents the annual 2011 LSF - Nats Top Placing RES Woody award to Doug Pike sponsored by MM. Doug flew his Sky Bird at this years RES Nats for the third year in a row. Congratulations Doug.

Doug Pike and his Sky Bird

2012 AMA Nats RES contest photo, Doug Pike and his Sky Bird. Photo by Jack Iafret. Doug was top Woody pilot again, 7th place.


2013 AMA Nats RES contest.
Doug Pike placed 4th with his Sky Bird
and was top Woody pilot again.

Joe Welch and his Sky Bird

Joe Welch and his Sky Bird in beautiful Texas

Corky and his two birds

Ray, here is a picture of me with the 2m Little Bird and Skybird. Both were completed this winter. I built the LB first and found this to be very beneficial prior to the Skybird project. I have always wanted to build a large sailplane with flaps and spoilers. The Skybird has flaperons and spoilers which you can see in the picture. I installed a DX7 Radio. I limit the aileron movement and mix in the rudder. With the flip of a switch the flaps are coupled with the spoilers or they have 3 positions via the flap switch. I had a very successful day yesterday flying the LB for the first time. I am thrilled with the way the LB flies. Its very light, has a wide speed range, and turns nice and tight. I hand tossed the Skybird a couple of times and hope to fly it this week. Corky

Per Carlin and his Skybird
Per Carlin's Skybird being prepped

Hello Ray

After a long time in the workshop are my SkyBird finally in the air.

I took some extra time to finilize this bird as I would like to try out a new covering method. My Skybird is covered with Sig Koverall and doped with waterbased PU-lacquer and painted with waterbased paint. This allowed me to make all the work inhouse. I normally has to be outside when working woth dope due to the odor of the solvents.

This Skybird is also equipped with flaps instead of spoilers. I more or less used the trailing edge as flap and just installed an extra spar to hinge it on. I'm not sure it flaps are improving the descend rate, but they definitely makes the glider more stabel on final and a also deploy them 3-4mm down during first stage in the high-start.

Best Regards
/Per Carlin

Poh Khaw and his Skybird

Harold Jacson wrote:

If you were not flying today, you missed an epic event. Poh Khaw flew his new Skybird (Kit from Skybench) It is a beautiful plane and it flies very well. The very first flight, it spec'ed out and it was not even trimmed. He spent the next 90 minutes flying and trimming. At the end of the session, you could see every bump the plane hit. It responds very well to conditions and is easy to read. A beautiful plane that flies well and looks very gentle. Lands well with and without the use of spoilers. Well done Poh!

Poh Khaw responds:

What can I say? It's the pilot that counts! Jokes aside, I'm very pleased with the way it performs. Certainly indicates lift well and very forgiving. Winches well, even downwind. Well worth the time spent on the building board. Enjoyed putting it together. Excellent design by Ray Hayes and definitely a keeper.

I can honestly say that I have not had a sailplane fly so well and trim out that fast on it's maiden

Thank you Harold Jackson and Bill Jenkins for your advice and support. Thank you Ray Hayes and Doug Pike (Spiker).

Poh Khaw

Fritz's Skybird


Hi Ray,

I'm not even close to an expert builder, but I just had to have a Sky Bird. There were a few stumbles along the way - things are not perfectly straight and I was afraid it would be too heavy. In spite of that, this thing flew exactly as you and all your other testimonials described, WHAT A BLAST! Flies fast or slow and thermals like crazy - better than anything I have flown.

Thank you, I couldn't be happier! Photo attached...





Sky Bench Aerotech 

Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46804