The Space Traders Flight Training Manual

From Elite Wiki
Ian Bell's own copy

The Space Traders Flight Training Manual was the original 64 page Instruction Manual. It was created by Robert Holdstock, Ian Bell & David Braben for the very first game, Classic Elite.


One iconic illustration that appeared in The Space Traders Flight Training Manual which later inspired Aegidian's Python Class Cruiser. Art by unknown artist.

1 Introductory Data

Interior of a Cobra Mk III
Your rating as a combateer

2 Navigation and Flying

Flying and navigational controls
Leaving the space station
Making for your target world
Travelling to other galaxies
Docking procedure

3 Interplanetary Travel

In-flight combat
Controls and tactics
Likely enemies
Equipping the Cobra Mk III
Weaponry and non-combative equipment
How to buy the equipment for your ship

4 Intergalactic Trading

How to trade
Advice to traders
Alternatives to Trading
Bounty hunting
Asteroid Mining
Free Space Cargo
Illegal Trading

5 Political Profile of the Universe

Consequences for Trade (not all political states are detailed here)
Corporate States
Anarchy Planets
Alien races (not all are detailed here - eg reptiloids)

6 Observer's Guide to Ships in Service

Asp Mk II
Boa Class Cruiser
Cobra Mk I
Cobra Mk III
Moray Starboat
Orbit Shuttles
Sidewinder Scout Ship
Thargoid Invasion Ships (with remote controlled fighters)
Viper (Police Ship)
Worm class Landing Craft

7 Pilot's Log

(for recording your own trades and kills)


Holdstock's version of the Instruction Manual was a great innovation. It was written for newly-qualified pilots, not for teenage players of a computer game. And it made references to all sorts of things not part of the game itself. Generation ships. Deep space dredgers. Other versions of the four in-game lasers. Government bodies and other publications. In effect, it became a major source of Lore for those who bought the entire boxed game and read all the contents. It was a major factor in creating the immersion which engulfed so many of the original players.

Well worth reading!


  • Lore Collection (Classic Elite) includes the relevant oxz's from the Expansions Manager to help transform Oolite into a lore-laden Elite (but see the wiki page for details of unincluded oxp's)

External links