Model Airplane News
May, 1957

Model Airplane News Cover for May, 1957 by Jo Kotula Great Lakes Trainer

Great Lakes Trainer
Model Airplane News Cover Art for May, 1957
by Jo Kotula
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In 1929, the Great Lakes Aircraft Company (GLAC) was formed in Cleveland, Ohio They built civilian biplanes, float planes, as well as biplane torpedo bombers but is best known for the enduring 2T biplane; also known as the Great Lakes Sport Trainer. It was designed and sold as a two-place, open cockpit biplane.

The original models had a wing span of 26 feet 8 inches and length of 20 feet 4 inches and the range was 375 miles. The sale price started out at $4,990 but as the depression came it was lowered to $3,985. The first four Sport Trainers built were of a rare straight-wing design, one of which was modified into a special racer. Because of problems recovering from flat spins, the top wing was swept back and that is what most people recognize first when looking at a Sport Trainer.

Great Lakes 2T-1A Sportster    Patent for tubing bending device, No. 1,886,082

Great Lakes 2T-1A Sportster
Patent for tubing bending device, No. 1,886,082
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For about 30 years, until the late 1960s, the Great Lakes Sport Trainer was the top American-made acrobatics plane. During the 1960s Harvey Swack of Cleveland, Ohio, obtained the rights to the Sport Trainer design and all the factory drawings and patents for it (such as the tubing bending device shown above) and then sold plans to homebuilders. There have been a great number homebuilt Great Lakes Sport Trainers built over the years, which kept interest in this old biplane alive. In 1973 Doug Champlin brought the Great Lakes back into production. With the exception of using modern materials, the general design was not changed. Here is the Cleveland Kit for this plane:

 Cleveland Kit for the Great Lakes 2T-1A Sportster

Cleveland Model of the Great Lakes 2T-1A Sportster
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You can buy the plans and patterns that will enable you to make this model right now. Click Here to go to the exact location on the Cleveland Website to get them.

Cleveland Site Location of plans for the Great Lakes 2T-1A Sportster   

Great Lakes 2T1-A "Sport Trainer" at the Cleveland Site

Here is a video of the Great Lakes Trainer in action:

Click Here for more information about the Great Lakes Trainer.

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