Top Gun Free Flight Projects

Top Gun Free Flight Projects

As we mentioned a little while ago, the 2016 Top Gun event in Lakeland, FL will be including a serious free flight rubber power airplane class. Of course these lightweight stick and tissue airplanes will have to be scale and the competition is open to all event participants. There are some basic rules but Frank Tiano is always thinking big so, the major rule is monoplanes have to have a minimum wing span of 36 inch , and biplanes can have a span no less than 24 inches. There is no maximum span.

Already there have been several excellent projects started and the guy managing this event is Leo Bechtold, along with the help of TG Judge Bob Curry. Kits as well as plans built designs are all allowable and the entrants are starting to sending to send in photos of their builds. Check it out!
Carl Layden Avro Lancaster


Scratch Design, 1/25 scale 48″ span, current weight 4.5oz targeting AUW 9oz. Wingloading will be about 4.4 oz/ft^2. Wings & stab are plug in to make travel easier. This time it’s all in CAD too. Finish will be traditional dope & tissue.



Rich Uravitch Globe Swift


New enlarged new 36″ Globe Swift. Based on Rich’s smaller model from last year. Scratch designed


Leo Bechtold’s Stinson 108


40″ Stinson 108 ready for cover with Polyspan and dope. As an excuse of needing a back-up model Leo also  just ordered a Pat Tritle 53″ Luscome Silvaire kit.


Gerry Yarrish’s Fokker Triplane

image (5)

Built from a modified Pat Tritle RC park flyer kit, the triplane has a 25.5 inch span and is being covered with Coverite Microlite. It is a copy of Gerry’s 1/3-scale Triplane from Balsa USA which he will be flying in the Pro-Am Sportsman Class.


Scale spoked wheels are also on the agenda!


Balsa cowling with classic face and mustache from Cole Palen’s Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome triplane. Paint is Master Modeler enamel, and the custom made decals are from Cal Graphics

Bob Curry’s S.E.5A Scout


Bob’s model is being built from a Guillow’s SE5 kit.



So please stay tuned to the MAN website, we will be adding more Free Flight project builds as time goes by. This promises to be the best rubber powered scale competition in years!

Updated: January 22, 2016 — 1:53 PM


  1. Abolutely love this topic, brings back my youth memories of building!

    1. Thanks Peter. Many of us older guys who fly scale also love the older free flight stuff. It never really goes away!

  2. Where do you buy the kits ? I would love to start on a new project.

    1. Hi Patrick, a good place to start is:

  3. I started building stick models when I was about 6 and have loved the challenge ever since. I am now 76 and a looking forward to my next model build.

  4. thank you just getting in to this so thank you

  5. In a manner of speaking, all the projects shown are……..ARF’s!

  6. Thanks a million for the exposure, Gerry! This effort is a rejuvenation of, and tribute to Dave Platt’s Top Gun sub-event that he organized in the first years of Top Gun. I compiled a Sources page on the FTE web site giving many current suppliers. Orders can also be placed directly to Pat Tritle and many of his designed are candidates for conversion back to rubber power. Anyone involved in Top Gun in any way is invited to participate. This is a simple duration event with Craftsmanship prizes to 3 places. The full description is on the FTE page in the Top Gun section or my email,

  7. Beautiful workmanship. It is still out there in spite of the invasion of ARF’s and electric/foam. Would appreciate sources for the hard to find. Joe

  8. Great story Gerry.

    I fell so in love with pinning sticks in place with Ambroid or white/yellow wood glue back in the early/mid-70’s 🙂
    It was kind of slow but as you saw it take shape you really had a sense of pride–making something beautiful and functional with a razor-saw, block sander, wax paper, pins and glue.

    What a wonderful hobby! About anyone into the hobby is like an old school-mate eager to help. I just ran across the term ‘die-crushed’ the other day. I’d never heard it before but how appropriate for some of the kits back then!

    Awesome hobby!!

  9. Truly enjoyed the photos of stick jobs.. I did notice that it seems no one used ambroid cement any longer. Used to spend a lot of idle time chewing that stuff off my fingers.

    1. Great comment David! Personally, I preferred Testors Formula B for the taste. Who knows where I would be today if I were listening more to teachers in grammar school rather than chewing glue off my fingers and drawing airfoils on my note books! Ambroid just seemed a little bitter. Thank God for the memories! Starting a 36″ Uravich Swift soon. That will make 3 to cover and finish by TG.

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