Lifting Body Rocket Glider Kit
The lifting body kit is styed after actual lifting bodies from the 1960’s. Instead of having normal winged surfaces which can over-heat during re-entry, these used the shape of the body to create sufficient lift to provide a controlled landing on a runway. Decent rate and angle were quite high, just like the space shuttle. These kits use a flat plate wing to simulate the body which gives them the look of the lifting body but a very light wing loading and easy to fly, gentle glide/landing characteristic.
This kit can be delivered with one of three body/fin options based on actual lifting bodies.
1)HL-10 styled body
2)X-24A styled body
3)X-20 styled body and wing tips
All three have the same wing planform, construction and CG just the body style/shape is different depending on what you prefer. Select the style when you order the kit.
Decals are available for both the X-24A style and HL-10 style, the X-20 prototype did not have any markings.
Please refer to the notes on items needed for completion and flying, then read the instructions completely before starting assembly. The assembly photos are for general reference but may not include every step in the manual.
CG location for rocket flight 11 7/8″ from the back or nozzle end of the motor mount tube, see the picture below..
(The electric flight adapter is not recommended for this model due to elevon/servo placement interfering with the propellor.)
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. This model has a very moderate glide and slow landing
speed. Read through the instructions, look at the photos and be sure you
understand the step before commiting to cutting or glue.
Lifting body Rocket glider instructions
Identify all pieces, the kit should contain:
1 lifting body wing taped together
2 Vertical stabs
Upper fuselage side view taped together
Lower fuselage side view taped together
Velcro(for battery and rx/bec attachment)
2 Rail buttons(2 washers, 2 collars, 2 screws, 2 plastic plugs) or 1 Launch lug and styrene strip
3M blenderm tape
1 Short and 2 long carbon wing spars.
Electric motor adapter
Notes before starting:
Reference to 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 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.
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.
These instructions are
valid for all three versions of the lifting body kit. Only the shapes of
the body and wing tips are different. The X-24A style and HL-10 Style
wingtips will angle outward slightly, the X-20 style are vertical.
- Unfold the
lifting body wing and glue the tape joints using CA+ and accelerator, make
sure it is flat.
- Test fit, then glue
the three spars in place in the slot on the bottom of the wing. Tape
over the spars with blenderm tape once the glue has set.
- Unfold the fuselage
side view top and glue it at the tape joint, tape the other side of the
joint when the glue has set.
- Unfold the fuselage
side view bottom and glue it at the tape joint. Apply blenderm tape
to the joint on the other side when the glue has set.
- Glue the fuselage
bottom side view piece(keel) in place, make sure it is straight and
centered and lined up with the front of the wing and the motor mount
cutout. Apply a fillet of CA+ to both sides. Note that
on the X-24 style and HL-10 style the more blunt rounded end is the front
of the keel, on the X-20 style the end with the longer tapered end is the
front. This isn’t critical, it’s just a visual thing, you can always
sand the front or rear to any shape you want after it is installed or if you
get it backwards.
- Flip the wing over
and lay one half on the edge of a table, using a weight to keep it in
- Test fit the top
side view fuselage into the top of the wing, be careful to not break
off the tabs, The foam compresses slightly so it is ok to press them in
place. Once aligned perpendicular to the wing and ensuring it
is straight with a straight edge, apply a bead of CA+ to both sides of the
- Test fit the motor
mount in place and glue with CA+. Make sure the rear of
the fin is straight and glued to the motor mount. Do not use
epoxy for this step, it is not needed and you don’t want extra weight at
the rear of the model.
- Test fit the
vertical stabilizer pieces. They should glue in place on both
wingtips and be even with the rear of the wing. The wing tips are
pre-sanded at an angle, the angle is not critical, as long as the wing
tips are approximately the same and angled out slightly. Make sure
the vertical stab is even with the bottom of the wing and glue in place
with CA+ on each side. Once dry sand the wing tip joint round on the
bottom and round the gusset on the top of the wing as you wish to give it
a pleasing shape.
- Install the launch
lug or rail buttons:
- Use the included
plastic plugs to mount the rail buttons. Make a starter hole with a
screwdriver or similar round tool that is slightly undersized, and push
the plastic plug into the keel. Try to keep it centered and
straight, put a bit of CA+ underneath the plastic head before you push it
all the way in. Use a screw, a plastic collar and a plastic washer
to complete the rail button guide. You’ll need to keep the collar
centered when assembling as the screw is slightly undersized for the hole
in the collar. Put the rail buttons about 10″ apart on the
keel. Install the wing guard nylon pieces in front of each rail
button. Make sure they are lined up with the rail buttons so that
they do not bind on the rail. These guards help prevent damage to
the rail buttons when landing on hard surfaces. If you land on grass
you may omit these.
- If you have an older kit with styrene strips and one piece rail buttons follow the below instructions:Use CA+ to glue the styrene strip on the bottom of the bottom side view fuselage piece, centered between the two black lines. Have the dots facing up. This will reinforce the bottom of the fuse where the rail buttons will mount. Drill a small starter hole for each rail button screw in the styrene about an inch from each end(the dots mark approx. location) and screw in your rail buttons.
- If you will be landing on a rough surface, you may install the wing guard nylon pieces in front of and behind the rail buttons, glue this into the foam, not the styrene strip. Make sure they are lined up with the rail buttons and that they do not bind on the rail.
- If using a launch
lug, glue it to the middle of the styrene strip using CA, then
glue the assembly to the side of the keel of the model Just make sure the
rod will clear the motor mount and any electronics.
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. Center the servo output arm by removing the screw and pulling the output arm off and re-installing it as close to center as possible and re-install the screw. Use a servo arm with approx. 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. Zero out any trim settings on the transmitter. With the model upside down and supported, lay a servo on each side near the control surface. You want the servo wire to be pointing toward the front of the model and the servo output shaft to be facing each wing tip and the servo arms pointed up. When you move the elevator stick back(up elevator) both servo arms should move toward the rear of the model(will push the control surface up). When you move the aileron stick to the right, the right servo arm should move toward the rear of the model(up elevon) and the left servo should move away from the rear of the model(down elevon). If you can’t get the servo reversing to give you the right polarity try swapping aileron/elevator inputs to the receiver. (On my model which uses a spektrum 4 or 6 ch receiver and DX7 radio, after centering the servos using sub-trim, the left wing servo goes to aileron channel, and right wing servo to elevator. Aileron and Elevator servo direction is ^ on the radio. I use 100% servo travel, but then set aileron dual rate at 100% and elevator dual rate at 125%. I set the flap/elevator mix to the flap switch at up 74 for glide. And 0 for boost) You can set your dual rate to have lower settings but use the settings here for the first flight.
Once you have the servos moving the right way, you can proceed
- Install a pushrod in the outermost hole of each control surface control horn. The pushrod should toward the fuselage side of the control horn. You may need to twist the wire back and forth to get it to go into the hole, it should be snug and slop free. It may be necessary to rotate the pushrod end to drill the hole large enough to fit, be careful not to puncture your finger. Be careful to support the control horn so that you do not break the glue joint in the control surface. It is snug but it will fit with patience.
- Install the
other end of the pushrod to the servo output arm, again making sure the
servo wire is toward the fuselage side of the model. If the wire 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 elevens up. Moving the transmitter stick to the right should
move the right elevon up and the left elevon down. If that is
- 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.
- 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 ½” to ¾” in each direction. Aileron
movement should be about 70% of the elevator movement. With modern
radios you can typically set these movements. 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 1/8” of up elevon during glide. Boost
will use completely neutral elevon settings. If you can’t set the up
elevator to a switch on your radio you’ll have to manually put in glide
trim which is hard to do while flying the model.
- Once complete you
can tape the servo wires to the wing using the blenderm tape. Use
the included Velcro to attach the receiver and battery to the model as far
forward as practical. This allows you to be able to remove and
replace the receiver if needed for repairs or for painting..
- Insert your
heaviest loaded rocket motor into the motor mount
- Support the model
at the balance point indicated for boost. I use two pencils with the
eraser pointed up and held in place with a small hand vice. Place
the model upside down on the pencil erasers on the balance point indicated
in the kit spec sheet.
- 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.
- If you paint the
model, make sure you test it on scrap foam first.
- If you are going to
paint the model, you can remove the receiver/bec and mask off the servos
and Velcro strips on the model. Make sure no paint will get on the
servo output arm. Make sure to test the paint on a scrap piece first
to ensure it won’t melt the foam. I use Model Master(testors) or
testors small rattle cans for painting directly on the foam. Model
master flat black is perfect.
- Use a black
sharpie to add panel lines if desired.
- Re-install the receiver and battery
Flying: See the Instruction/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.