Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105)


Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Great Lakes Trainer. Radio control (or free flight) scale model biplane.

Quote: "Famous biplane of Lindy's Era returns as a great R/C flyer - even without radio she's a fine free flighter. Great Lakes Trainer, by William C Northrop.

This Great Lakes Sport Trainer was designed and first built in 1929 by the Great Lakes Aviation Corp. Though production continued for only four years, enough were turned out to make it still possible to come across one from time to time. Probably modelers have done more to preserve the memory of this pleasing little bipe than any individual or group.

Our R/C model presented here is a tolerant, stable, relaxing flyer that can be flown practically free flight with only an occasional tap on the transmitter button to remind it to stick around. Speaking of free flight, this is a good answer to the F/F flying scale situation. Reduce some wood sizes, spread out the ribs a little, bolt on a hot .049 or a warm .065 or .074 and you're all set.

If your interest is up to the boiling point, roll up your sleeves or call in your coolies and get to work on the fuselage. This is built in conventional manner (I'm showing my age, I guess this isn't conventional any more) with 1/4 sq longerons, 1/4 sq and 1/8 x 1/4 uprights and diagonals.

The liner of 1/16 thick plywood is added (contact cement works best here) before sides are joined. Bulkhead at B, cross braces at C, top cross brace at D, and a temporary cross brace at bottom D are used to start the assembly of fuselage sides. Allow this much to dry, watching alignment, before pulling ends together and inserting remaining cross pieces.

Add formers C through H. Be sure the smaller E-1 former is toward the tail. Stringers are next. Turtle-deck stringers which butt against E should be rock-hard 1/16 x to resist pull of covering material. Sides stringers are 1/16 x 3/16, tapering to 1/16 x 1/8 at 'B' and 1/16 sq at 'G.'

Cut cabane struts from 1/8 plywood. Form 1/16 wire struts and wing supports, bind and solder using ply struts as spacing guides. Now glue the ply struts to the wire cage and bind together with nylon or silk. Key the strut as-sembly to the body by cutting notches out of the ply liners. Leading edge of cabane assembly butts against bulkhead 'B'; 1/4 in balsa blocks fill in around struts to tie unit securely to body.

Forward decking of 1/16 balsa can now be put in place. I used 6 in wide stock and covered 'B' to 'E' in two sheets with a joint at 'D'. Contact cement did this without using one pin. Glue maple motor mounts and 'B' battery floor in place, using care to get exact alignment of mounts.

Before building up nose out 1/2 in sheet stock, mount motor in order to check clearances. Mounting system shown, us-ing aluminum tabs, allows minute changes of side thrust. Cut outline of nose block 'A' from solid or laminated stock, hollow out to clear needle valve, exhaust, fuel line, etc., then glue in place. Side and bottom blocks can now be added. A good strong glue for this pur-pose is Fullers or Elmers white glue. They dry clear, a little slower maybe, but rock hard. Cut another block to serve as removable hatch in top of nose. Notch to fit down over bulkhead between tank and 'B' batteries and hollow out to clear tank. Glue blocks inside front for hatch to rest on. Now nose can be carved to final shape while holding hatch in place using only your expendable fingers..."

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Supplementary file notes



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Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - model pic

  • (oz10105)
    Great Lakes Trainer
    by Bill Northrop
    from American Modeler
    June 1958 
    40in span
    Scale IC R/C Biplane
    all formers complete :)
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 25/05/2018
    Filesize: 697KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: theshadow

  • Great_Lakes_Sport_Trainer | help
    see Wikipedia | search Outerzone

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Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - pic 003.jpg
Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - pic 004.jpg
Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - pic 005.jpg
Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - pic 006.jpg
Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - pic 007.jpg
Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - pic 008.jpg
Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105) by Bill Northrop from American Modeler 1958 - pic 009.jpg

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User comments

Hi Steve, At a recent auction for the estate of a deceased club member, one of the models up for sale was this Great Lakes which looked to be a very old. I did some research and have determined that is the model Bill Northrop published in the June 1958 issue of American Modeler. It was very dirty but I was able to clean it up fairly well, the original nylon covering is still in good shape after 62 years. Rather than restoring the model, I am preserving it in its original condition. Since the rudder and wing struts are missing, I'll fabricate replacements. Enjoy the photos [pics 005-009].
Best Regards, Mike Denest, President, Vintage Radio Control Society h
Mike Denest, VRCS - 22/07/2020
Re-published/re-printed 20 years later by Bill Northrop's own Model Buider magazine. So Mike... you say you're not going to restore it, just make replacements of the missing parts. By that I understand its gonna be display only? If so, that is too bad, because that thing just begs for something like a Veco .19 up front (R/C Carb) and 2 channel rig to fly on E & R. A .19 might be a bit bigger than the intended engine, but would give backup power for the increased winds of "modern" Mother Earth. You would also have to patch the holes on the wing covering, of course.
RC Yeager - 26/07/2020
Yup, it's a display airplane. At some point in its life, someone tried to cut the elevators away from the stabilizer with little success by not being able to cut a straight line. I'll have to wick some thin CA glue in the cut to secure it. The lower left wing has already been repaired, you can see the patch in the left rear quarter picture. Structurally the airplane is in great shape as is the nylon covering but due to its age, my concern is the glue joints holding true from engine vibration and flight stresses. Additionally, the horizontal stab has developed some warps that would be difficult to remove.
Mike Denest - 27/07/2020
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  • Great Lakes Trainer (oz10105)
  • Plan File Filesize: 697KB Filename: Great_Lakes_Trainer_40in_oz10105_2.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 1090KB Filename: Great_Lakes_Trainer_40in_oz10105_article.pdf
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