About Me
My adventure into RC sailplanes began with a visit to watch the East Tennessee Soaring Society in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the early 80’s. The club was primarily comprised of scientists and engineers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. All sailplanes were woodies back then. Every one carefully hand crafted.

I had been trying to learn to fly RC with glow engine planes since high school. When I first saw the E.T.S.S. club launching their sailplanes, I was impressed with the huge sky-high launches! However, I also thought the whole gliding thing was a little silly. Shoot them up in the sky, float them down for a couple of minutes? That sure is boring! Why would people enjoy flying sailplanes?

I had never heard of a thermal.

On another visit Ed and Eddie, a father and son team, launched and then watched as their Airtronics Aquila was caught in massive thermal and disappeared into the clouds. Eddie was yelling, “Dad I can’t get it to come down!” They opened the spoilers, they tried to fly it inverted. Nothing helped. It was gone.

In 2015, I attended the Nostalgia sailplane NATS at the AMA International Modeling Center in nearby Muncie, Indiana. I wanted to see the RC sailplane events because I still missed that aspect of RC flying. After watching all day, I told one of the competitors that I had sailplanes at home. He asked me why I didn’t bring them and fly? Well, I assumed you had to earn a position in the NATS like some of the other aeromodelling events. It turns out anyone, including me, could come fly at the sailplane NATS! I had been missing an opportunity! The next year, I came fully prepared with my Viking and my Sagitta 900! I didn’t do very well, and was certainly rusty, but I had a great time. I was flying sailplanes again!

It was about then I met Ray Hayes with Sky Bench and
learned about his kits and love for RC sailplanes. I
attended his annual Woodcrafters events in Muncie and
found out there were still many RC sailplane flyers who
loved woodies as much as I did! Ray’s event really brought a great group of people together. Many I now know.
Recently, I joined LOFT (League of Flight by Thermal) and I also built a classic Airtronics Olympic II.

Today, my kids are young adults and I’m looking forward to
spending more time building and soaring. Coincidentally
my Dad, Jack Black, owns a laser cutting business he
started when he retired. He bought top quality commercial
grade equipment and has been creating parts, pieces and
treasures for about 10 years now. He had been helping
Ray/Sky Bench some after the passing of Al Kartman who
had been doing Ray’s laser cutting for many years.

A little more background on me. When I graduated from
the University of Tennessee (Go Big Orange!) I worked full
time as a professional architectural model builder. It was an
amazing job, but long hours and patience. After I moved to Indiana, I became a full-time professional draftsman and then drafting supervisor for many years. For the last 20 years, I’ve continued to work in the architectural industry and am currently full time with one of Indiana’s oldest general construction firms. I work with owners and architects to get projects developed and built.

I also enjoy building scale RC wooden boats. My son got me into RC racing about 10 years ago as well. Still, traditional radio control sailplanes are still my first love in this hobby. There is nothing more majestic in flight or more beautiful to watch in my opinion. High aspect wings with transparent covering in the sky are the most amazing stained glass windows you will ever see. I truly find RC soaring to be somewhat of a religious experience... Just you, your aircraft and God’s beautiful sky.

Scott Black
AMA #137824

TThat is when I learned about thermals, “lift” and what makes soaring so amazing! And, it is also when I decided I had to get into the “glider guider” side of the RC hobby! Since then, I’ve been hooked on the amazing simplicity of the soaring concept and the challenge of accomplishment. Sailplanes are amazing aeronautical creations.​​​

My first RC sailplane was a Carl Goldberg Gentle Lady. It flew well off a high start, but I never learned to thermal it very well. Royes Salmon, the president of the East Tennessee Soaring Society suggested I build a better thermal sailplane. He suggested Tom William’s Craft-air Viking Mark 1. Royes himself flew a sailplane that was scratch built, but was a combination, he said, of the best design parts from the Viking and the Paragon. He could max out when the rest of out just hoped to find a little lift. Sadly, Royes is gone now. I’ve often wondered about where his amazing sailplanes wound up. Hopefully they hang in a dry, heated home where they may not fly, but still exist.

I flew in Oak Ridge, TN for 5 years. Marriage and moving to Indiana slowed my RC hobby a bit in the 90’s, but I did quickly get back into RC flying and building. Surprisingly, a flat area like Indianapolis didn’t have an RC sailplane club. So, I mostly few powered planes with a little bit soaring on the side. My wife Lisa and I started our family in Indiana and have been here ever since. We have three children.