Freshman Trainer (oz10389)


Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Freshman Trainer. Radio control sport trainer. Wingspan 48 in, wing area 504 sq in. For .29 to .40 engines.

Quote: (ad copy) "Attention: All R/C Freshmen Students. Report to your nearest Top Flite dealer. Top Elite knows how confused and overwhelming it can be for the new R/C enthusiast - you can get in over your head in no time at all. That's why we've made our newest R/C just for you, the beginner. It's called the 'Freshman Trainer.'

Easy to Build. The Freshman is a snap to build. An all balsa wood kit, with precision die-cut and machine finished parts, plus simple, easy to follow, step-by-step instruction booklet that make assembly easy even if this is your very first R/C model. With reduced building time, you'll be in the air faster.

Easy to Fly. The Freshman is a gentle slow flying, very stable yet responsive R/C airplane. It's perfect for the beginner because it 'forgives' easily. It gives you time to think and react while learning.

Soloing a Snap. Top Flite's new Freshman Trainer can be flown with 3 or 4 channels out of the smallest field and needs very little room for take-off and landing. Yet. the Freshman is rugged enough to take the flying knocks from almost any surface and can even be hand launched if necessary.

Calling all new R/C students - get your plane flying today. The Freshman Trainer, the newest R/C in the air - from Top Flite. "

Quote (from review): "There was a full size plan sheet, decal sheet, and a 23-page, fully illustrated construction manual that covers virtually every detail involved in putting the Freshman together.

Assembly of the Freshman was pretty rapid and pretty easy. This was due to the outstanding construction manual and the fact that little time had to be expended in cutting, sanding. or shaving of parts to get them to fit. Although we assembled our Freshman in strict accord with the manual, construction can be speeded up somewhat by building the wing and fuselage simultaneously. This is feasible because the plan sheet is only required for wing assembly.

Speaking of wings, this is the only place where we ad libbed - we substituted 1 in chord conventionally shaped ailerons for the 3/4 in chord triangular shaped ailerons provided in the kit. After having observed that another Freshman equipped wilh stock ailerons gave very, very poor response to aileron commands, we felt the change to the larger ailerons was desirable, if not mandatory.

Anyhow, after a couple of weeks of sneaking a few hours here and a few hours there, our Freshman was eventually completed. We covered ours with white Super MonoKote and then gussied her up a bit with red and blue Scotch brand plastic color tape edged with Pro silver trim tape. The end result - a pretty good looking airplane, not quite as pretty as the one portrayed on the kit box but, nonetheless, not bad at all.

Although antsy to fly our Freshman, Mother Nature intervened and grounded us with three continuous days of lousy weather. Eventually though, along came a fairly decent day, 10-15 miles per hour wind, partial overcast and fairly mild temperature; so to the field we went. Since we had some misgivings about the ability of our McCoy .35 to haul the Freshman, we ran a few fast taxi tests. Well, that .35 made the Freshman accelerate like a dragster. We believe that a good .25 would fly the Freshman with no trouble at all.

We then taxied her to the edge of the field, turned her into the wind. started advancing the throttle, and at about half throttle, she lifted off and headed for the clouds. Once we had her at a comfortable altitude, we tried hands-off flight: just a shade of down elevator trim and she was all set. Although fairly gusty upstairs, the Freshman flew just great - did everything we asked of her. About the only things we didn't try were spins, snap rolls, and knife edges; we figured we'd try those at some later date.

After some four or five minutes of tooling around, we closed the throttle to a fast idle and entered the pattern. Before turning onto final, we closed the throttle and headed her for the landing area. Over the fence she came at a fast walk. We then eased in a little more back pressure on the stick and let her settle in on the main gear with hardly a thump; landing roll 'bout 10-15 feet.

Our reaction to the first flight? A perfect first ship for the beginner and a real fun airplane for the more experienced. Also, if our Freshman is any criterion, then the Freshman is due to become one of the most highly regarded trainers of all time."

Quote: "Sending the following attachments: Plans, Build Manual, Build Manual Amendments, Decal Sheet, RCM Review. I have recently purchased an unbuilt kit with the aim of constructing it at some point. I will be in a position to provide further scans of the fuselage formers and any other detail that is not available off the plans at this time.This kit builds a lot quicker than I had originally budgeted… literally over a few days! The attachment shows a complete parts tracing from a pristine unbuilt Top Flite RC20 kit. Here's a link describing the model aircraft in question: Thanks, Kim"

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Supplementary file notes

Formers, hand-traced.
Manual, 23 pages complete.
Manual revision, 1 page.
Review (from RCM).


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Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - model pic

  • (oz10389)
    Freshman Trainer
    by Sid Axelrod
    from Top Flite (ref:RC-20)
    48in span
    IC R/C Kit
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
  • Submitted: 19/08/2018
    Filesize: 926KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: KimNutley
    Downloads: 1562

Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - pic 003.jpg
Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - pic 004.jpg
Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - pic 005.jpg
Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - pic 006.jpg
Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - pic 007.jpg
Freshman Trainer (oz10389) by Sid Axelrod 1977 - pic 008.jpg

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User comments

Boy do I remember this one. I was asked to test fly a Freshman for Dale (Cowboy) Leonard as his first airplane, a bad decision as it turned out. It was small, fast and heavy. The 40 K&B didn't help with the weight problem, and the tiny ailerons just didn't work. Trimmed out and flying at high speed, it actually did pretty well, but totally beyond a beginner's ability, it flew more like a Quickie 500 but not as well. Landings were something else, arriving a lot faster than any other trainer such as a Falcon 56 or Eagle 63. I'm sure any accomplished modeler could eventually get it to fly better, but it was too much for Dale. Later, he did very well with an Ugly Stik. The one thing Top Flite did well was write the ad copy, pushing the Freshman as the second coming of the Ugly Stik. And it wasn't all that easy to build either, with the hard-to-fit hatch and attached canopy over the wing. I never saw another one after Cowboy's experience, because it damn sure ain't no trainer.
DougSmith - 30/08/2018
I always like the looks of the Freshman Trainer, my dad built one back in 1977 when the kit was released. In it's stock form it's not a good flyer. I decided to build one and with a few simple changes it flies terrific.
Biggest problem to resolve is the roll rate. The stock ailerons are shaped stock that is barely 3/4" wide, most change them out. I will use 5/16" x 1" stock for the ailerons. The kit has some good wood, and the plans are a little fragile but still usable.
Plans call for 3.5” of dihedral, which is more than what’s required. I went with 1” under each tip which works great and keeps the original look.
Enlarged the rudder and elevator width by 1/2"
John Bergsmith - 22/06/2023
Hello, Here are some pics of the Freshman Trainer that I recently built [main pic, 006-008] that you can add to your page. Thanks,
John Bergsmith - 23/06/2023
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Download File(s):
  • Freshman Trainer (oz10389)
  • Plan File Filesize: 926KB Filename: Freshman_RC_48in_oz10389.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 276KB Filename: Freshman_RC_48in_oz10389_decals.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 1125KB Filename: Freshman_RC_48in_oz10389_formers.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 2727KB Filename: Freshman_RC_48in_oz10389_manual.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 202KB Filename: Freshman_RC_48in_oz10389_manual_revision.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 1911KB Filename: Freshman_RC_48in_oz10389_review_RCM.pdf
  • help with downloads


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