Aurora Clipper Rocket Glider Kit
The Aurora Clipper RC Rocket glider kit is a sleek fast looking design that is very easy to fly. It features a low mounted delta wing with dihedral, a plastic nose cone, 2″ white tubing for the body and depron wing and tail surfaces. It has a light wing loading giving it a very nice glide and easy/stable boost, and the dihedral helps keep it level unless you give it a turn command. Construction is very simple and takes about an hour and a half. Wing elevons are pre-hinged and spars are pre-installed. The body tube is pre-slotted for the tail surface and rail buttons are side mounted to avoid catching on the ground during landing. You will need two 10 gram type servos, two 12″-18″ servo extensions, a receiver, and a small 500mah single cell lipo battery. You will need a transmitter with delta or elevon mixing. Cut vinyl decal sets that will fit this model shown are available HERE . Specs: 37″ length, 22″ wingspan, 11.25 oz rtf, for 24mm E-6 single use or reloadable motors.
CG location for rocket flight: 13″ measured from the rear end of the main body tube assembly, this should be approx 1/2″ behind the joint between the two body tubes.
Please refer to the General Information Link above then read the instructions completely before starting assembly. The assembly photos are for general reference but may not include every step in the instructions. If you want hardcopy to work from, all you have to do is click/drag/select and copy all of the text below, open word and paste with “keep original format” and it looks exactly like it does online then you can print it.
Unpacking your kit:
The kits are packed to protect them in shipping, but the contents are fragile so unpack carefully. Carefully cut the tape holding the tubes in the box, then unwrap/lightly cut the plastic wrap to free the tubes, the spar may be packed in the tubes and the baggie with the little parts and nose cone will be in the tubes as well. Carefully cut the tape holding the cardboard wing protector in the box and carefully remove it, don’t pull hard or bend it. Then carefully cut the tape holding the cardboard top piece to the bottom. There may be some sticky tape holding the cardboard to the bottom cardboard piece, carefully peel it being sure not to bend anything. Once the top cardboard is free you can see the foam wing/tail parts, there are little fragile pieces in here, so unwrap carefully. It may be best to use an exacto to lightly cut the plastic wrap and carefully remove it without cutting into the foam. Make sure everything is free before you remove the pieces to avoid breaking anything. Kits contain one or two scrap pieces for repairs if you damage anything in construction or flight, just cut and patch in a spare piece of the foam if needed using foam safe CA+.
Welcome to the world of rocket boosted radio control gliders. This is not a model for a novice RC pilot, but anyone who is comfortable with RC flying of a medium speed model should be fine. Read through the instructions, look at the photos and be sure you understand the step before commiting to cutting or glue.
Aurora Clipper Rocket glider instructions
Identify all pieces, the kit should contain:
1 wing taped together
1 Nose Cone
1 vertical stabilizer
2 control horns w/pushrods
3 2.5″ long foam strips for centering the motor tube.
2 Body Tubes
2 21″ long foam wing reinforcing strips
Velcro(for battery and rx/bec attachment)
2 Rail buttons with t nuts/screws
Notes before starting:
Reference to glue, CA, or CA+ means foam safe CA+, normal CA+ will melt the foam! Normally you need to use accelerator to get the CA to set on the foam since there is nothing for it to soak into and activate.
You may use 220-320 grit sandpaper and a sanding block to slightly round the edges of the foam if you prefer that look. It will not markedly impact the flight performance either way. Be very careful and use a light touch, it is very easy to catch the foam on the edge of the paper and tear the foam. Do any sanding before assembly.
Epoxy is not needed in this model. Weight is critical and the model is designed for the thrust and flight loads. Weight in the rear end is bad and will require additional weight in the front of the model.
- Make a hole in the rear and front rail button locations marked on the side of the tubes to fit the t nuts. Insert the T nuts from the inside of the tube and install the T nuts, rail buttons and screws, don’t tighten them down really hard, just snug enough to not come out. On later kits these may be pre installed for you.
- Body Tubes. One tube will have a coupler glued in place. Glue the other tube onto the coupler, make sure the small arrow marks are aligned on the two tubes, that will ensure the wing marks are properly aligned.
- The wing will be unfolded and mounted on the bottom of the body tube. You want the rear of the body tube to overhang the edge of your table by about 12″ so that the wing tips won’t prevent the wing from making full contact with the body tube.
- Lightly sand the bottom fuselage wing line and apply a squiggle of glue about 1/2 wide to the body tube wing line, the wing joint, and 1/2″ on either side of the wing joint.
- Lay the wing upside down onto the body tube making sure the rear of the wing is 1/2″ from the rear end of the tube and the front and rear alignment lines are in line with the taped wing joint. You want to be sure the wing makes full contact with the body tube and is set before you continue. You can let the back half of the body tube overhang the edge of a table to allow the wing to hit the table edge around 2/3 of the way back from the table edge to help set the dihedral. The actual dihedral is not super critical, it should be around 2 to 2.75″ on each wingtip but the main thing is for the wing to make full contact with the body tube to have a solid joint.
- Apply some glue into the wing/body tube joint to make sure is is secure, then apply some glue to the long foam strips, on the wide flat surface. Insert this into the wing/fuse joint to add extra gluing surface. DO NOT PUSH IT IN to hard, it will cause the body tube to rotate, you just want it to go into the joint. Repeat on the other side, then apply a fillet of glue to the foam where it hits the body tube and the wing to add extra gluing surface.
- Test fit the vertical tail into the slot and make sure it fits. Make sure the tail is straight with no warps, bend carefully by hand to straighten it if needed. Glue into the slot using foam safe CA+ making sure the tail is perpendicular to the wing and is straight.
- Glue the foam centering strips on the motor mount tube. The strips glue onto the tube flush with the front of the tube, the front of the motor mount has the motor hook taped and glued. You will glue two strips on either side and one on the bottom using the marks on the tube. See picture for clarification.
- Test fit the motor mount, If you need to sand the tabs glued on the motor tube so that it fits under the vertical fin tab, do so carefully till it will insert fully and is recessed about 1/2″ from the rear of the body tube. Glue the motor mount into the rear of the model. Make sure you glue the tube so that the glued/taped end of the hook is forward.
- Glue each control horn in place on the bottom of the control surface using the pre made holes. The control horn holes should be pointing toward the front of the model. Repeat on the other side.
- Put some CA on the top of the control surface where the horn prongs stick through, this locks it in place
The basic construction is now complete.
Note: Your radio needs to be configured for Delta mixing, this means that the servo arms will move the same direction during elevator stick movement and opposite for aileron stick movement. Connect your servos to the receiver one in the aileron connection and one on the elevator connection and apply power. Use a servo arm at least 9/16” long and with holes small enough that there won’t be slop with the pushrod wire when installed. I use the hole furthest out on the servo arm, to maximize movement. On some servos there are a long two-ended servo arm, you can trim off one end if needed to get sufficient length. Zero out any trim settings on the transmitter. The model once the motor has burned out is nose heavy and flying wings lose pitch authority when nose heavy so you want as much up elevator travel for trim/flare as possible.
- Connect a servo to each pushrod. If the pushrod is too tight, you can use twist an exacto knife in the servo arm hole to make it larger, but be careful and do not make it too large. Once connected, tape each servo in place so that the control surfaces are centered. Flip the model right side up and look at it from the rear. Moving the transmitter stick back(up elevator) should move both elevons up. Moving the transmitter stick to the right should move the right elevon up and the left elevon down. If you can’t get the servo reversing to give you the right polarity try swapping aileron/elevator inputs to the receiver or turning the servos over and swapping the servo arms to the other side of the output shaft. If that is correct, continue.
- Flip the model upside down and supported. The servos may be attached to the model using double back servo mounting tape(not included) or by directly gluing the servo to the wing with CA+ or a small amount of epoxy. Double back servo tape can loosen over time and with exposure to heat, I prefer to glue the servo in place. With the radio still on, put a small amount of glue on the servo, being careful not to get any near the output shaft. And set it in place on the model keeping the control surface centered. Do the same to the other side. Make sure the glue is set before continuing. The servo and pushrod should be at 90 degrees to the hinge line so that it moves easily and fully. The z bends in the pushrods are made with a tool but they may not align perfectly depending on servo placements, you can use a needle nose pliers to make little adjustments to the bend angle if needed. Dihedral in the wing should prevent the servo arms from making contact with the ground before the bottom of the wing does on landing.
- Flip the model back right side up. Make sure the control surfaces are centered, use trims if needed. Now measure the control surface movement. Full elevator movement should be 1” in each direction, aileron movement should be 1/2″ in either direction. Since the model will be nose heavy, extra elevon movement helps to give sufficient authority during glide.
- If you have a flap/elevator mix you can program up elevator to a switch setting. The model needs approximately 1/4” of up elevon during glide. If you can’t set the up elevator trim to a switch on your radio you’ll have to manually put in boost and glide trim which is hard to do while flying the model.
- Attach a 16-18″ servo extension to each servo.You just need to be able to route the wire to the front of the tube to attach it to the receiver.
- Make a 1/8″ wide by 1/2″ long slot in the bottom of the wing/fuselage in the center and pass the wires through to the inside and toward the front. I then taped over that with packing tape to hold the wires in place. See photo for more clarity.
- Attach the servo wires to the receiver and make sure they are going the right direction. Tape down the servo wires to the wing and tape over the slot in the body tube.
- Use the included Velcro to attach the receiver 2″ from the front of the body tube at the top(or enough to allow the wires to clear the shoulder of the nose cone). This allows you to be able to remove and replace the receiver if needed for repairs or for removing the servo wires. I attached the battery inside nose cone on the shoulder.
- Insert your heaviest loaded rocket motor into the motor mount
- Support the model upside down at the balance point indicated for boost. Glue pieces of the included lead weight in the nose or tail as needed to balance it. Do not try to fly the model with it balancing it behind this point. The adage is, a nose heavy model flies poorly, a tail heavy model flies once.
- Use a black sharpie to add panel lines if desired
- Re-install the receiver and battery
Flying: See the General Information link at the top for flying instructions. Be ready on the first few flights to keep the model straight till you have the trims set perfectly for boost and glide.