High Performance RES and Nostalgia

List of Nostalgia Legal Sky Bench Kits

The 2m Lil Bird, Big Bird, and Sky Bird are now on their own page.
The Oly IIS and Oly III, are now on their own page.


Oly II box label
[Click image for closer view.]

Sky Bench is proud to announce the availability of the famed Original Airtronics Olympic II sailplane kit, better know as the OLY II. We are now producing this great flying and super durable Lee Renaud design.

Oly II in flight - in front of blue sky Oly II in flight - in front of clouds
Dave Garwood's photo's for his OLY ll kit review published in Flying Models magazine December 2004 issue.

The OLY II has been the best beginners R/C Sailplane for years and has taught thousands of r/c sailplane enthusiasts how to fly successfully. The OLY II will stay up on the slightest of thermal activity and produce long flights for the beginner, but don't be fooled into thinking it is only for beginners. The OLY II is still winning contests, Tom Kellevang flew his OLY to first place in the 2000 AMA/LSF Nostalgia NATS and the wind was fierce all day.

The kit was originally designed to build fast and now Sky Bench has improved on that with laser cut wing ribs that are stacked, and ready for immediate use with out needing to be punched out like a die cut kit. The fin is now a one piece laser cut part that saves building time and more importantly makes a much stronger tail section to better withstand a flip over landing. Both the stab and rudder also have laser cut parts to save building time and create more accurate and stronger flying surfaces. The fuse top and bottom are now laser cut and this will also save building time.

The wing leading edges are pre shaped and require minimal sanding, spoilers are optional, but installation is shown on the construction plan. All hardware to complete the model is furnished except the adhesives and covering materials. The 5/16" steel wing rod that joins the two wing halves is a competition level wing joiner.

Separate plans are furnished for the wings and the construction manual is illustrated with lots of photos to make building a snap.

Ron's Oly II

This was my second build after the Gentle Lady. The OLY II had its test flight this weekend and did great. 16 minutes off the winch with very little lift. Looking forward to building the Big Bird.


OLY II Construction Tips

Cool! Oly II Testimonials with Photos Cool!

New! New!Click here See Ed Whyte's OLY II Instructions.
New instructions for Sky Bench's revised OLY ll kit will be written and posted here when completed.

Technical Data
Wing Span: 99.9" Wing Area: 928 sq. in
Fuselage Length: 49" Radio System: 2 or 3 channel
Wing Loading: 5.5-6.0 oz./sq.ft. Airfoil: 10% thick flat bottom

Kit Price, $168.95

Bob Legue's Electric Conversion

.. Interior motor area dimensions ..
W: 1-3/8" H: 1-5/8" L: ADJ. 2-1/2" to 3-7/8"

Notice.......... January 2006

I have been continually striving to improve the OLY ll kit to improve the strength and the ease of assembly.

The kit now includes the Du Bro Laser push rod package and Du Bro metal clevises. This will improve the quality of the kit and make the building more enjoyable.

An electric motor mount former is also included in the OLY ll kits. Many builders use four wood triangles in the corners of the fuse to round the fuse down to match the spinner diameter.

Flight Battery and Servo Information:

I use a 4 cell, KR-1400-AE Ni-Cd Flight Battery pack from Batteries America, with a Hitec receiver protection rubber pad (1/8" thick) between the nose block and pack. This fits just right in my OLY ll. I have two quarters for added nose weight. I'm using the larger size Hitec HS 300 servos for rudder and elelvator.

GLASS RES winner, Kevin, age 14
14 year old wins first place in his first contest flying an "Oly II"

Oly 2 Fuse parts
Laser cut fuse parts. Snap lock parts totally reduces building time and the newly designed parts increase the fuse strength tremendously. Note the servo/switch tray and 1/64 plywood doublers, Lee Renaud would be proud of this kit.

Oly 2 tail parts
The stab tips and leading edge center splice part, elevators with control horn mounting holes, rudder top and bottom and fin are all laser cut for fast building time.

Covered Oly 2 tail parts
This is my completed parts. The bottom of the stab and bottom of the fin were left uncovered for gluing purposes.

Beginners tips: Flying R/C Sailplanes
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

Designs by Ed Slobod

Pierce Arrow, Pierce 970, Paragon, Paramount, Gemini and Ridge Rat.
Sky Bench has Exclusive Mfg. Kit Rights to the above designs. Watch for further information. Sky Bench currently is mfg. the Pierce 970, Paragon and Pierce Arrow.

Paragons and Pierce 970's
There are three Paragons and two Pierce 970 pictured.
Ed is displaying his red and yellow Paragon, Bill Nibley is launching.
Both designs are Nostalgia legal and are very easy to build and fly.


Pierce 970 Box Label.

Click here for larger picture.

Jack Smith and hist 970.
Jack Smith with his 970
LOFT field, Sept. 2015

Full Kit ...$189.95
Partial Kit ...$110.00
Pierce 970 Info Flyer
CARLOS ESCABAR'S PIERCE 970 build thread

Modified fin
This is how I moved the stab control horn inside the fin. I also cut some lightening holes. This takes more building time, you measure the reward.

Tail parts
Fuse parts

Click here for kit details.

My 970 fuse is going together fast and straight thanks to the fuse jig
Fuse longerons

Click here for text info.

Building the stab

Click here for more stab info.

Building the wing

Click here for more wing info.

Fin/Stab Tail parts Fin on fuse ready for stab
Beautiful symmetrical stab and fin. Stab ribs include building jig tabs for accurate and easy construction.

The top photo is my 2nd Pierce 970 I had way back in 1977. Hard to see, but I put flaps on this one. The airfoil is a thin flat bottom and was one of the best at lifting out in light lift. The Sky Bench kit includes half inch wide vertical balsa shear webbing between the 1/2" wide spars in the inner wing panels that will make a very strong wing. Carbon strips are not included. Ed Slobod is famous for his Paragon design, but I think when the Pierce 970 starts showing up at the flying fields, you fellas will see the light and want a 970 too. The flight speed envelop is much larger due to the thin wing. Back in 77, we didn't have carbon to beef up the wings and so the 970 was a bit fragile, but not anymore. This is a big sailplane with 120 inch wing span that is very easy to build and one of the great all time best Nostalgia performers.

Thanks to laser cutting, I have saved the builder a lot of construction time on this kit. The wing rib cap strips have been eliminated, the wing is set up for a single wing rod instead of two, the inner wing panels have 1/2" wide spars with precut vertical shear webs between the spars, the stab ribs do not require cutting in half like the original kit did, but still has a sysmetrical section and the stab control horn can be built attached to a stab root as shown on the plans or within the fin to reduce drag and protect it from breakage.

The fuse sides, top and bottom are laser cut for a fast build with tab and slot former construction to keep the fuse straight. 1/64" plywood doublers are used at the nose/wing joiner and at the fin junction. The fuse wing joiner area has been modfied to greatly increase the strength.

Alex Hall holding his P 970

Alex Hall and his Pierce 970
at the 2015 AMA Nats Nostalgia

John holding his P 970

John Boughton with his P 970. John has his balance point at 3 1/4" back from the leading edge and the tow hook is 2 1/2" back from L. E.

The plan show the balance point way forward of John's setting, but John kept pushing the CG rearward until the proper performance was achieved. Just looking at the plan, most everyone should know it is positioned on the plan too far forward. The P 970 has a low wing incidence and that requires a rearward CG location. I'm nearly finished building my P 970 and I'll start the CG at John's setting. Thanks John.

Alberto's P970 soaring in the clouds
Alberto's beautiful Pierce 970 flies in Venezuela skies

Alberto's P970 soaring in the clouds

I have found a good use for an Aluminum Cigar tube, it makes a great ballast holder, complete with screw cap. I use a brass tube filled with melted tire weights ( think green ) that easily slides in and out of the Aluminum ballast holder tube. The Aluminum tube is glued into the fuse at a downward angle and is centered length wise over the balance point.

P970 - close-up of the spoiler servos

View of spoiler servo wiring connectors epoxied to inside of fuse and wing at the same time to insure alignment.

Pierce 970 with a red tail

Steve Jaworski's February 2018 Pierce 970

Well the 970 flew today.

What a beautiful machine, no trim required, c/g and tow hook per John Boughtons recommendations were perfect. I will be moving the hook back as time goes on but for starters it was good. The ship turns beautifully with no hint of tip stall. I did, as always, put a touch of wash out into the tip panels.

The ejector pin joiner and spar system were rock solid as the launches became progressively stronger. The ship has a great appearance and visibility in the sky.

Thanks again for your help in getting me into it .

Best Regards , Steve Jaworski


Span 118" - Wing Area 1080 sq. in.
Wing Loading 6.4 oz/sq.ft. - Flying Weight 48 oz.

Paragon complete Kit .. $188.95


An Ed Slobod plane

Paragon Laser Cut Parts
Paragon Dihedral Brace
Kit now includes this newly designed Dihedral brace.
Reduces build time and strengthens the center wing joint.
Fuse parts for Paragon, Laser cut Wing parts for Paragon, Laser cut
Canopy and parts for Paragon Canopy glue

Brace part for Paragon

This is a very, very quick building kit. The fuse snaps together with dead on accuracy. And the wing is three piece for easy transporting and construction. No wing rod to install means QUICK CONSTRUCTION.

I am very glad I can bring this classic back to the flying fields and it is just in time for today's high interest in installing e power to our Sailplanes. There is plenty of room in the fuse for the motor and batteries with easy access.

Hi Ray, The Paragon kit arrived yesterday right on schedule. I'm very impressed with the quality of the cutting, the wood and the way the parts are organized. Also, the use of hardwood for stringers and spars for both the wing center section and tips as well as the cross-grained filler between the spars in the center section promises to make a much stronger wing than the original. Thanks again. Tom Ball AMA99767


Classic Pierce Arrow box

Another famous design by Ed Slobod. This was the forerunner of Ed's Paragon and has now become a popular conversion to Electric by adding three more ribs in each center wing panel to extend the wing to 91 inches.

This laser cut kit includes the six extra ribs.

Pierce Arrow specifications: 

  • Wing span: 76"

  • Wing area: 500 sq. in.

  • Weight: 26 oz.

24 oz. flying weight shown on Ed's construction plan. Extra six ribs adds 112.5 sq. in. wing area.

Partial Kit Only, Laser cut parts include:

Beautifully accurate laser cut wing ribs, plywood wing joiner braces, balsa tips and center section of stab and plywood canopy pieces.

Fuse sides, strip wood, spars and tail stick stock not included.

Partial Laser Original Kit NOW with fuse and tail parts
including plans and instructions: $89.95

Full view of Jerry Krainock's Pierce Arrow
Jerry Krainock's Pierce Arrow tail detail

Jerry Krainock's Modified Version
Partial laser Kit, with same Original Plan and Instructions
No Instructions for Modified Version

Partial Laser Modified Kit ............. $89.95

Jerry Krainock's Pierce Arrow fuse modification details
Jerry Krainock's Pierce Arrow fuse profile
Jerry Krainock's Pierce Arrow fuse orthoganal
Jerry Krainock's Pierce Arrow modifications compared to the stock design

Jerry Krainock, a great friend of Ed Slobod, sent pics of his February, 2018 build. Ed's daughter Ann created the Graphics.

Hello Ray

hopefully the picts of the PA came through. The model came out at 17.2 oz. which is almost 7 oz lighter than the plans call for. I made it a 2 piece wing for travel and storage purposes, and the stab is removable. To do the stab, I made the fuse longer behind the elevator so I could move the fin to the rear. I kept the chords of the Fin/rudeder the same but raised the top chord about 1.5 inches (approximately 20% bigger) to improve rudder response. Servo's are HS-55, Frsky 4 ch fasst receiver and 600MA Futabe receiver pack. I made the wing rubber band on used a fore/aft arrangement ala Paragon. As the equipment is so much smaller and I had to scratch build in any case, I recuced the height of the fuse by 5/8 and the width by 3/4 inch. The nose and tail moments are the same but the fuse is about 1" longer because of moving the fin. The rib set was excellent. Wood selection was firm and the spar slots tight. I used Harbor Freight files to clear out the ash and all spars were a tight fit.

So, thats it. It has been very cold here and my hands hate cold weather. I'll fly it in a couple of weeks.

Jerry Krainock

Designs by Ken Bates


Windlord and Ken Bates
Ken Bates assembling his Windlord at Wood Crafters

Superior Flying Wing performance designed by Ken Bates

Gordy Discovers Ken's Windlord.
Click here for Gordy's video and comments on flight performance.

Gene's Windlord front view
Gene North's electric version.
See power system details on the Electric Sailplane page.

Windlord for Electric or Winch

wing span 100"    area 1400 sq. in.

Semi Kit includes: Laser cut parts as shown in photos.

Partial kit ... $129.00
5/16" Wing rod - brass tubes ... $18.95

See Ken's build thread on RC Groups

Purchase plan #215 from AMA Plan Service

Windlord laser cut parts 1 Windlord laser cut parts 2

Windlord laser cut parts

Windlord built up wing

LA Johnson and his Windlord
Johnson's Windlord from the back
Johnson's Windlord from the side


Not a question. This is to let you know I “finally” finished the Windlord!!!

Have not taken a picture yet, and probably wont until I have test flown it. Am hoping for some decent weather this coming week.

Particulars on the airplane are: Finished ready to fly weight 65 1/2 oz!!! I noticed that in the original build article, the suggested ready to fly weight of the glider version was 55 to 70 oz, so I guess my finished weight with the added weight of the motor, and battery is not too bad!!!

Had problems with the original motor I installed in it (AXI 2820/12) It was an old motor, and I found it had thrown a magnet so it was out of balance!!! Replaced it with an AXI 2820/8, which is a much higher rpm motor, will probably replace it in the near future, but for right now, it will have to do!!! With a 10x6 folding prop, the 2820/8 motor, it pulls 55 amps so it is right at its max amp draw!!! With the AXI2820 series motors, and a 3S 2200 mAh lipo pack the cg came out dead on the suggested location. Have not put the final finish on the fuselage until after it is test flown and trimmed, just in case I have to add some ballast in the rear of the fuselage. Would like for the finished weight to have been a little lighter, but with that plywood box fuselage, I doubt there is any way to reduce the weight any more!!! If I build another one, I will probably substitute 1/4 balsa for the plywood!!! Used 4 HS82 servos in the wings, and one for the rudder. Covered the airplane with Ultracote “light” transparent purple and white. That saved quite a bit of weight since it only weighs 3.5 grams / sq ft!!

Any how, hope you get your lazier cutting straightened out soon.



Click here for larger picture.

Ken Bates' Merlyn

Ken Bate's Merlyn 2018.

Wing Span ... 155"   Wing Area ... 2100 sq. in.
Offered with S3014 airfoil that requires fuse modification by builder to install wing rods OR Original flat bottom airfoil.

Full KIT PRICE...$269.95  SH...$27.95......NOT AVAILABLE

Includes: two 5/16" dia. wing joiner rods and brass tubes, fuse needs modification from plan to install above two rods, fuse is cut according to plan. Refer to plan, builder's choice on wing rods installation. Large single wing rod not yet available from Sky Bench. See Ray's build pages 1-2, page 3, and page 4 for photo clarification.

Plans and instructions not included

Order construction plan #354 and build instructions from AMA Plan Service (web) or (email).

Partial Kit
Includes Laser Cut parts only
$169.95 ... SH ... $29.95

Order construction plan #354 and build instructions
from AMA Plan Service (web) or (email).

Changes Made by Sky Bench

Click here for larger picture.

Merlyn saddle parts Merlyn formers
Merlyn stab crank parts Merlyn fuse side parts
Merlyn fuse side aft parts Merlyn fuse side joint parts
Merlyn ribs with the Aguila airfoil
Aguila flat bottom Airfoil
Merlyn ribs with the Selig S 3014 airfoil
Selig S 3014 Airfoil

Ken Bate's Merlyn Building Instructions

Chet and his Merlyn

Chet's Merlyn against a tree

Hi Ray,

Just put my ordre in the mail for your Cloud Bound 4 full kit. I plan to motorize it just like I did the Merlyn. I've attached some Merlyn pictures and a short video of its maiden takeoff from the dolly (Quick-Time). The Merlyn flys extremely well which makes this ol' (84) man very happy.


This is the power set up Chet installed in his Merlyn:
The Merlyn uses an Axi 4130/20, 18 x 9 folding prop with 6s 3200 Li-polys.

Ken Bate's Merlyn Building Instructions

Richard Robbins and his E- Merlyn
Richard Robbins and his newly completed electric powered Merlyn

U-TUBE videos of Richard Robbins E Merlyn

Inside Richard Robbins' E- Merlyn

This is the Motor equipment Richard is using:
Prop: 18x6
Motor: Power 60
ESC: Hobby King 60 A
Battery: 2280Mah 5 cell
Peak current 67 amps 1178 Watts
Weight: 9# 14oz
2000Mah 4 cell nimh for the receiver and servos.

Bob Barger of Elkhart, IN with his EP Merlyn
Bob Barger has been flying Merlyn's for years. This one is launched by an electric motor.

Ken Bates with his Merlyn
Ken Bates with his Merlyn at the Wood Crafters 2018 Reunion, AMA Muncie, IN flying field.


Click here for larger picture. Click here for larger picture.
Click here for larger picture. Click here for larger picture.
1978 F3B Team Selection Finals, Pennsacola, Florida.

The famous Legionair series of sailplanes designed by Cecil Haga are now available as a Partial kit. Cecil's son Bill has given exclusive rights to Sky Bench to kit the whole series of Legionairs. Cecil designed several versions of the Legionairs, 2M, 100", 132",140" and the Shuttle in 2M and 100". The Legionairs were very popular and well know and exceptional performers. The airfoil was designed to handle the Texas high winds with a low wing loading which will allow today's rc pilot to penetrate and search for lift far from the confines of the flying field and still thermal out in light air.

A special thanks goes to Bill Haga, Jack Womack, Bill Maserang, Jim Ealy, and Jim Deck for their help in this project.

Building tips and parts change notification

Legionair 132 in the raw - frontview Legionair 132 in the raw - rearview
Legionair 132 covered


You asked me to send you a picture when I had built my Legionaire 132. I attach a couple of it albeit as yet uncovered. When I finish it off (should be in about a week's time) I will send you a couple more pics - do with any or all of them whatever you may wish. I also recently came across a photo of me taken in the mid 70's with my original Legionaire 132 - I will include that also in the next email just for interest. I also found it slightly confusing to built to a plan which did not fully represent the variant you have (very sensibly) kitted. As such to help my friend who has yet to start to his 140 version, I typed up some expanded building notes as I went along. These I also attach in case they are of any use or interest to you. Obviously no-one builds models of this type without a fair bit of prior experience so, by and large, such notes are probably redundant for most builders. However as they now exist you are welcome to a copy. In passing the kit was excellent - the key features of the fuselage pod and canopy being a vast improvement on the original and the oher key feature of the laser cut ribs also being a perfect fit. The carbon wing spar should make for a pretty strong wing able to stand brutality on launch and the fuselage boom (of bigger dia carbon) is clearly going to be a vast improvement on the original 1/2" alloy boom which flexed at high speed and was susceptible to "permanent set" type damage. In short - thanks for the nice kit, it made up very easily.

Best wishes, Robin Sleight

Robin Sleight's Legionaire Notes

Click here for larger picture.
Jack Womack's Legionair 100

Parts for Legionair.

Fuse/Boom joint
Fiber glass pod and carbon boom

Partial Kit to build 100" or 132" or 140" versions

Partial Kit includes:

Plans (state which wing span), laser cut parts and Fiberglass Pod

With Carbon reinforcement strips.......... $188.00.  SH ..$29.00

Your choice of original airfoil with hole for tube spar or notches for 1/8-3/8 spars.

OR .........

Choose the S-3014 airfoil with hole for tube spar or notches for 1/8-3/8 spars.

You will need the Fuse Tail Boom and Wing tubes. I do not stock them.


Click here for larger picture.
(Otto launching his Challenger
at the 1974 Soar Nats)

Click here for larger picture.
(Otto Heithecker with Jim Vanderzyl's
Challenger, Wood Crafters 2002)

Click here for larger picture. Click here for larger picture.
Gary Bussell and his beautiful Challenger at LOFT field 1975 (?).
Look closely and see the chute coming off the tow hook due to a tow line break.

Designed by Otto Heithecker in the early seventies, it was the best then and thanks to laser cutting, is the very best nostalgia sailplane kit available today. The 145" wing span and the 70% of span flaps give this design modern day performance. This is a very stable design capable of flying in 35 mph winds or floating like a butterfly. 

Requires 3 to 5 function R/C. All parts are laser cut and is a builders dream come true. Includes original construction article.

Challenger kit Specifications
Wing Area: 1242 sq in Wing Loading: 9.97 oz
Clark Y airfoil Weight: 86 oz
Special features: A programable radio turns this design into an unlimited woody. The extra long flaps can be come ailerons or flaps or flaperons with coupling to the stab for precise landing control.

KING OF NOSTALGIA........................$238.95 

Click here for Assembly tips and photos

Scully's Challenger

2015 Toledo Show

R/C Sailplane
First Place

Link to 2016 Toledo Show

Congratulations Tom Scully
You are a Master Builder
Sky Bench

2015 NOS Nats Challenger

Tom Scully at the 2015 AMA NATS
Doug Pike with his OLY ll

Dave Beach holding his Challenger

Dave Beach, 2015 AMA Nats Nostaglia

Peter and his Challenger

Pete Schlitzkus is eagerly waiting to fly his Challenger in the 2010 AMA Nats Nostalgia event. I am definitely eager to see Pete's work of art, looks beautiful.

Congratulations to Pete and his truely beautiful Challenger, finishing in 3rd place at the AMA Nats Nostalgia event, July, 2010.

Hats off to Pete for his First Place in the 2011 AMA NATS Nostalgia event with his Beautiful Challenger

The AMA Nostalgia event is a great place for woody sailplane enthusiasts to meet and share their love for building and flying Woodys. This one day event has remained popular and attracts contestants from all four corners. Come fly with us...

Jim Vanderzyl Challenger
Jim Vanderzyl going for the gold at Wood Crafters 2002.
(Photo by Bill Rakozy)



Tom's Challenger

The photo by Jim Bacus says it all. Tom won first place at the 2002 Toledo Show "Best Sailplane" category with this beauty and the great decal on the fuse maybe available from Tom.

Ray Hayes Challenger
Ray Hayes and his Challenger placed 2nd in the AMA Nostalgia NATS event, July 2001.

Ray Hayes Challenger
This is my new Challenger under construction to replace the red and white one above, I applied 1/64 plywood on the outside and inside of the forward section, gives additional strength and will have clear Polyurethane applied for a great natural wood look. The first fuse was sheeted with 1/16 balsa on the forward section and entirely covered with Aero Span. Ray

Challenger for WC 04
Doug Adams of Michigan with his Winter Project headed for WC 04.

Barney and Challenger
Barney Lipold and his brand new Challenger, 1997.

Otto getting a Challenger kit
Otto receiving a Sky Bench Challenger kit
L-R: Ray Hayes, Otto Heithecker, Barney Lipold, Bud Manning.
Barney's Challenger was donated to the AMA Museum, but has not been displayed.

Jack Alten of Oregon should be very proud of his beautiful Challenger. Thanks for the photo Jack.

Gressman's Challenger
Tom Gressman and his Challenger

Forbe's Challenger
Forbe's Challenger on tow
Forbe's Challenger flaps and spoilers
Terry Forbes's Challenger in sunny Florida.

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

Geoff Norris Challenger and Oly III
Geoff Norris shared this pic of his Challenger and Oly lll,
both with electric motors installed.
His next build is the Merlyn. Geoff lives in Australia.


The Challenge 3d Render

The Challenge plans - profile

The Challenge plans - top

The Challenge front render

The Challenge info

The Challenge in white with blue wings

The Challenge framed from the back right side

The Challenge framed from the back


USES EPPLER 193 airfoil

Available as a Partial kit with plans.. $149.95

Designed by Otto Heithecker, similar to his famous Challenger, but using the E 193, an Airfoil with a wider speed range than Otto's Clark Y Challenger. Build it with flaps or add Ailerons shown on the plans. No building instructions available, Otto's Challenger kit instructions are included.

Ken Hazen and his The Challenge
Ken Hazen and his "The Challenge"

inspired by the
Winfree logo

WF-XL KIT ... Full kit ... $199.95
Partial Kit ... $139.95

Wing span 116" Wing area 780 sq in. Airfoil S3014

Plan drawn for RES plus optional flaps and ailerons.
Fuse width at Electric Motor area ... 1-1/8"

Now taking orders for kit with straight 1/4" diameter Injector heat treated steel core pin wing rod version. SUITABLE FOR CONVERSTION TO ELECTRIC POWERED SAILPLANE, SLOPE SOARING, OR LIGHT FOOT WINCH LAUNCHING.

This version of the WF-XL is best suited for conversion to Electric motor, light footed winch and Hi-Start launching.

Electric motors installed in RC Sailplanes has swept the world of Woody builders. The attached electric motor offers a high degree of convenience and ease to launching and finding a flying field suitable for flying safely.

The straight wing rod is 1/4" diameter. The wing dihedral is set by 2" under each Rib # 12. See Wing Construction Tips on my Sky Bench web site for tips on how to install the brass tubes and rod.

The plan is drawn showing flaps and ailerons, but materials are not furnished. See Frank Wren's on line WF-XL instructions with great photos for flap construction. CLICK HERE FOR FRANK'S INSTRUCTIONS AND PHOTOS.

Due to the wing's in board panel length, the flaps can be used as flaperons, just like the Challengers wings. Flaps can prevent electric motor and prop landing damage and provide a wider envelope of flying speed

Wing span 116"  Wing area 780 sq in.   Airfoil S3014

Plan drawn for RES plus optional flaps and ailerons.
Easily powered by electric

Framed WF - XL side
Sneak peak at Ray's Proto WF - XL showing the dihedral set up at 2" under Rib #12.

Framed WF - XL top
Framed WF - XL perspective
WF - XL tail action
The different angles will give the knowledgeable viewer a better understanding of the changes I made.

Greg Smith's WF - XL
Greg Smith's WF - XL.
The holes in the fuse, stab and wing are added by Greg.

Finished WF - XL
Greg's beautifully finished WF-XL

WF - XL fuse sides
One of Frank Wren's construction photos, he is producing the instructions for the WF - XL kit.

WF - XL fuse sides parts - front WF - XL fuse sides parts - front

WF - XL wing assembly
WF - XL bulkheads
WF - XL full set of parts

Hi Ray I just finished the Windfree XL. Thanks for an excellent kit, by far the nicest woodie kit I have ever built.

Pictures attached, yours to use as you please. I will be posting a build log on the RC groups forum.

Finished weight 44 OZ includes 3 OZ nose weight. The fuse & fin were scalloped to save 11 grams which saved about an ounce of nose weight. CST tapered CF spar caps used, .060"-.014 top & .030"- .014 bottom. Full sized servos & regular Monokote used.

I'm sure if I was targeting weight I could have easily saved 5-8 oz but why bother? Your wood selection & laser cutting is excellent.

I didn't replace a single piece of kit wood.

I really appreciate your design mods. They are pretty much everything I would have done to the original design.

Tim Stone

WF - XL Fuse ready to cover
WF - XL L wing finished perspective
WF - XL Left wing finished rear perspective

Ray's WF-XL building tips!

Plan drawn by Ray Hayes for Sky Bench
All rights reserved

Frank Wren's Building instructions link for a Spoileron Version that could be flaps instead. Builder could also add ailerons. His wing dihedral set up is very flat, should make an excellent sloper with the S 3014 airfoil.

[Also available without pictures in MS Word Format]

Here are the pictures that go with the build instructions, if you use the MS Word format.
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Fuse Sides Stab


Greg Smith's Winfree.jpg (104788 bytes)
Greg Smith at Wood Crafters 2003
Click here for larger picture. R/C Modeler's Winfree cover(216977 bytes)
Ray with his new Windfree at Spring Break, April 2003, getting ready for Wood Crafters 2003
"One Of A Kind Event"

The cover of R/C Modeler
showing the Windfree.
You can find links to the entire article at our Links page.

  Click here for larger picture.

Mark Smith with Windfree

  Click here for picture of whole plane.
My Windfree sporting two new decals on the wings and soon it will have smaller Windfree decals for the fin or fuse sides. Decals also available for the Windward.

Specifications: wing span: 100", wing area: 555 sq. in.

Click here for larger picture.Requires 2ch radio or if you want spoilers we stock the Hitec 3G ss 3 ch. complete radio system with two HS-80 servos and an inexpensive micro servo for the spoilers.

Would our line of Nostalgia and RES sailplane kits be complete without a Hobby Hanger Windfree? No way, this is a timeless design with great looks and fantastic flight performance.
Click here for larger picture.
The airfoil is a flat bottom E 387 and will work light lift extremely well or with a couple ounces of ballast will fly in gusty turbulent windy conditions.

It is perfect for those evening Flying sessions when the lift is very light and the fading sun glitters on this beautiful glider. The wings have D-tube construction that is necessary for an accurate airfoil and a strong wing. The wood selection in the kit is very good and light. The average weight is 25 to 30 oz. and easy to build.

Mark Smith made the Windfree famous in the seventies winning major contests all over the USA.

I cut my R/C soaring teeth on the Windfree in the early seventies. The modifications I made to it were narrowing the fuse and reducing the fuse height as maybe noticed in the photo of my current red Windfree, sometimes I would sheet the top of the wings (I probably built at least ten of the Windfrees back then).

My current Windfree weighs 23 1/2 oz.. A sharp leading edge on the inboard 2/3 of the wing produces excellent results for working very light lift. Years ago, I discovered how to fly upside down in thermals with the Windfree for added kicks.

The best looking Windfree I had was all white with red monokote on the bottom of the wings and stab. Enjoy. 

Sky Bench Windfree Kit using original Airfoil. ..... $134.95
Sky Bench Windfree Kit using S 3014 Airfoil. ..... $
Next up, S 3014 Airfoil version. (11-17-2018)

Ray Hayes LSF 803 NSS 029

Windfree Box


Click here for larger picture.
A modern Windward

(Kitted with permission
from Mark Smith)

Original Windward clip

Correction to an old misprint, this is Rod Smith, not Ron, he is Mark Smith's farther. This was their start in the model kit manufacturing business.1971 photo, second annual Nationals Soaring Event that became known as The SOAR Nats. Click here or on photo for larger pic and magazine text.

Dan Pruss, John Nielson and SOAR crew hosted seven consecutive events, 1970 thru 1976.

Wing Span: 72 in., Wing Area: 532 sq. in., Weight: 24 oz.

Partial Kit Laser Parts only ... $68.00
Includes plans and instructions

Wing Span: 72 in., Wing Area: 532 sq. in., Weight: 24 oz.

The Windward won the first Chicago Soar Nats in 1971 and the 1971 Western R/C Soaring Championships and is still a very good performer today. The Windward design lead to the 100" Windfree kit designed by Mark Smith and both models flew exceptionally well, the Windward kit is extremely easy to construct. The rudder and elevator are pre shaped sheet balsa wood, laser cut wing ribs, and many other laser cut parts, and original Mark's Models kit plans and instructions. The wing dihedral joint and spars are beefed up for today's strong electric winches. Rudder and elevator control only, however, spoilers and ailerons are an easy builder option.

Designed for high performance slope and thermal soaring, the Windward is easy to fly and an ideal trainer. Enjoy.

Ray: I have seen the Windward fly and always wanted one, now, at last I can enjoy building and flying a Windward. I will also build one with a geared Speed 400 and narrow the fuse.

Windard fuse parts Windard wing parts Windard tail parts

Pictured above are the laser cut parts for the Sky Bench Windward kit. One of the areas I work on when I redo old kit designs like this Windward, the OLY ll and other kits to come, is try hard to reduce the parts count which means quicker building time for you and me. Some important changes I made to the Windward is moving the spar back to the high point of the airfoil. This requires wider wing sheeting stock, but improves the wing strength and the airfoil. The trailing edge was changed from built up 1/16 sheet to Trailing Edge stock which is also more costly than the original kit, but sure reduces building time. The original kit didn't have a fuse former, it does now. I substituted some balsa fuse parts for plywood parts plus changed the wing dihedral braces to improve strength in critical areas. Remember, they used 6 volt winches when the original kit was introduced. The wing tip parts are laser cut according to the plan as well the center rib angle template is included.

All Laser cut wood parts, original construction plans, instructions are included. I hope you builders will reduce the width of the fuse, especially from the wings leading edge (that is where the new former is located) forward to the nose block. The wide nose section on the original was due to the large size of radio equipment back then.

Windard by Bill Batzloff

Hi Ray,
Thought you might like to see how the Windward kit I purchased from you turned out. You may recall I was in AZ when I ordered the kit and have since moved to TX. It was quite hot and humid when I got here so it gave me something to do while I was staying cool indoors. Most of my tools are in storage yet so kind of hacked it out by hand but it did not seem to ham the way it fly's. For its test flight I hand tossed it from a green down a fairway on the golf course here and was starting to wonder if there was going to be enough course. It sailed along about 250 yards before landing. It is going to be a good one. Bill Batzloff PS thinking about the Lil Bird next. Bill Batzloff

Windard and Pete and Son

Hi Ray,

Just wanted to say Happy New Year and send you a couple of photos of the Windward kit my 5-year old son and I just finished. I've been away from models for quite a while, and wanted to introduce my son to the joys of building and flying gliders, something I loved when I was a kid. Anyway, the Windward was the perfect kit for that! We built it with no mods to the plans. Wings are covered with traditional silk and dope and the fuselage/tail is covered with Silkspan and dope. Initial test glides were perfect, she really floats! Looking forward to getting it on a high-start as soon as the weather cooperates. We already have one of your Oly II's waiting to get built as well. Anyway, thanks for being a great source for the kits we all love and remember.

Best Wishes,

Pete Brown

Hats off to you Pete, I hope your son Henry will have a great time learning his Dad's modeling skills.

Mark's Windard in the grass Mark's Windard on the hill

Hi, Ray.

Back in 2001, I emailed you to order a Windward kit. I remember relating that my previous model had lasted 17 years, until I strained it through an oak tree. The Windward has been a favorite of mine since the early 1970s, and I promised to send you a photo when I completed my latest. Well, one thing led to another and the plans languished in my "to-build" file until last year. I finally managed to sit down and knock out my third Windward and flew it this past March, on the local hill I've been using for almost 40 years (I think my friends and I spent most of our teenage years up there!). Anyway, I'm enclosing a couple of pics taken right after the maiden flights. As you can see, I built up the horizontal stabilizer and put lightening holes everywhere else. This one weighs around 22 oz., with standard Futaba 3004 servos and a 600-milliamp pack up front. Since I was flying alone, and it was a gusty afternoon, I couldn't get any flight shots, but I hope you enjoy these.

Mark Shipley
Thousand Oaks, CA


Click here for larger picture.
Terry Koplan's Viking
Click here for more info.
Dale Leggett and his
Sky Bench Viking
  • Wing Span: 118"
  • Wing Area: 1200 sq. in.
  • Flying Weight: Mark I 52 oz., Mark II 54 oz.
  • Wing Loading: Mark I 6-1/4 oz., Mark II 6 1/2 oz.
  • Airfoil: Mark I 11-1/2% Flat Bottom, Mark II 12% Semi-Symmetrical

The Viking was an extremely popular kit design back in the days of NOSTALGIA and today it will qualify for both RES and NOSTALGIA CLASSES. Introduced in May, 1978 by Tom Williams of Craft - Air, the Viking and line of Windrifters dominated the r/c soaring scene in the early years.

Terry Koplan of California flew a Viking in the 1978 FAI Team Finals, Pensacola, Fl., to 2nd place beating out the Aquila Grandes, Grand Esprits, Aquilas, Paragons, Legionairs, others, and I'm sure he still has one or two of these beauties still flyable [see below]. This is still one of the best "Floaters"

A couple of the main reasons for the designs success was the large wing area and light wing loading. The wing proved to be very strong and should have no problems with todays 12V winches, back in the good ol'e days, we used 6 volt winch batteries and smaller test tow line. Sky Bench includes some tips and parts to strengthen the fuse weak spots, just in front of the fin and wing.

Features we are proud to present in this kit are the laser cut fuse parts with TAB-SLOT construction for quick accurate building and superbly laser cut wing ribs that will make this kit a joy to build. The kit is furnished with all hardware, wood, original construction plans and instructions. Two Sky Bench Case Hardened Tool Steel Wing Rods, 5/16" diameter, are furnished.

I know you will be delighted with the flight performance and ease of building this design and I can't wait to have mine completed and in the air. Enjoy!

Beautifully Laser Cut Viking kit, Mark I or Mark II
Available as a partial kit and Full Kit

Full Kit - Includes Wing Rods ...........$198.95

Partial Kit parts, Instructions and Plans ... $129.95

Both Wing Rods and Brass tubes kit ...... $29.95

Viking MK I Build Thread by Kevin Laurion
June 23, 2009

Click here for larger picture.

Terry Koplan and his twenty two year old Viking, still going strong. This photo was taken July 2001, This is the same Viking Terry flew to 2nd place in the 1978 FAI Soaring Team Finals.

Viking plans Sky Bench changes - Click for larger view
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Is this a Sky Bench assembly line? It is the 2001 Leesville, High School Aero Space program students putting together a whole bunch of Sky Bench Viking kits. Last year they built and flew the 2M Lil Bird kits.

Ray's Viking under construction

Click for larger view
Click for larger view Click for larger view

Test flight was April 1st resulting in a 45 min. test hop (no Aril fools here). What a great bird. Why didn't I fly one of these in the late '70's? CG was at trailing edge and this NOS will come back up wind when the flat bottom designs leave you short of home base.
Very pleased Ray.
Tom Gressman

Here is my latest - my Viking. Thought you should see it before I crash it!!. I hope not! It sure is pretty, I think.


Windrifter and Cal Posthuma

Cal Posthuma and his brand new Sky Bench Windrifter built from our partial kit.


Partial Kit as shown with
plans and building instructions ... $88.95


Windrifter Partial Kit parts

Image of Windrifter parts list

Windrifter 100" now available as a partial kit, click here to go our Partial Kit page. See a Photo of the laser cut Windrifter parts, vastly improved engineering from original kit produced years ago that includes tabbed formers and slotted fuse sides with 1/64 plywood doublers.


Durning the summer between flying, repairs and fishing I managed to put together your Windrifter partial kit. After I installed a capture tow hook I decided I needed another electric sailplane. Pictures show the finished product, as you can see I used up all of my scraps of covering material. My wife said it would make a nice quilt. If the wind lets down this pm I will do a test fly. I have never met a Windrifter (SD100) that didn't fly well so it shouldn't be any problem.

John Lusk

Larger Thermal Queen in flight

Carl Lorber's Thermal Queen

144" wing span Eppler 385 airfoil
Nothing floats as good as this one.

Laser cut plywood and balsa Wood Parts and PLANS ...

Partial kit includes: Construction plans, Wing, Stab and Rudder ribs, Fuse formers and Crutch, Plywood wing dihedral braces and 1/64 Plywood fuse side Doublers.

Carl's construction article appeared in the November 1970 issue of Flying Models magazine. The laser cut wing ribs have been modified from two bottom spars to two top and two bottom spars, this allows the builder to fill between the spars with vertical balsa shear webs and shear webs on the sides of the spars. I built a Thermal Queen in the early seventies and will build another one from this Sky Bench kit. Watch for my construction photos.

Fly the Queen after dinner, it will go up in the slightest of rising air. Building this kit is simple for me, but I have over sixty years of building experience and don't need instructions to build any woody sailplane. If you're an instruction word by word, step by step builder and haven't learned how to "read" a construction plan, forget this kit.

Thermal Queen Instructions
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

Bruce launching his Thermal Queen
Bruce's Thermal Queen flying overhead

Carl Lorber never had this in mind when he designed his great flying Thermal Queen. Installing e power in RC Sailplanes is very, very popular these day's. Bruce built his TQ from a Sky Bench kit and reports the design is a real floater.


Carl Lorber with his Prancer

Standing with Carl is Dwight Hartman, original mfg. of the fiberglass fuse mold.

Parts Don Harris and his Gulf Coaster

Bill Suter's Gulf Coaster
Gulf Coaster

Ray's Gulf Coaster Building Tips

Don Harris has been flying his Gulf Coaster in the Nostalgia event for several years with great success. Don built his GC from scratch.

Now you can have this great flying old timer from an easy to build laser cut kit with an accurate Clark Y airfoil.

Partial Laser cut kit, parts shown in above Photo
Wing span 108" ......... Easy to convert to Electric

Kit Price ........................................ $ 98.95
Steel Wing Rod and Brass Tubes.... $ 18.50
5/16" Ejector Pin ...the best.

Purchase Plans and Instructions from Air Age

>> NOTICE <<
Changes to the laser cut kit parts
from the parts shown on the PLAN:

Spar notches in ribs are 1/8 x 3/8" and 1/8 x 1/4" instead of 1/4 square.

Re-designed Plywood Polyhedral joint braces that fit on front side of spars.

Wing ribs are cut to require wider ( 1-15/16" ) T.E.
Cut T.E. sheet stock 1-15/16" wide.

Plan shows two 3/16" piano wire wing rods.
One 5/16" Ejector Pin will handle Zooom launching without bending.
Ribs are not cut for any wing rods.

Ray Lauching his Gulf Coaster
Ray launching his Gulf Coaster

Don's success in the Nat's Nostalgia events with his Gulf Coaster was the motivation to kit the design. The Clark Y is a very competitive airfoil to use in Nostalgia designs, I flew mine in the very high wind conditions at the 2010 AMA Nostalgia Nats with 9 oz. of ballast and finished 4th even after losing 1000 points for missing the landing box. Kits available from Sky Bench finished 2nd thru 7th at the 2010 Nostalgia Nats, a very enjoyable event regardless of where you place.

Ray's Gulf Coaster on its maiden flight at LOFT Field, 6/23/08
Ray's Gulf Coaster, Maiden Flight, LOFT Field, 6-23-08

Placed fourth in the 2010 AMA NATS Nostalgia, so what is the big deal about that ? Considering I had a zero flight, the Gulf Coaster did very well. Don Harris also had a zero score with his Gulf Coaster and finished 7th. Don and I love to compete with with this design. Ray LSF 803




Sky Bench Aerotech 

Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46804