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XF-48 White Knight

By Steve Lindeman


The XF-48 White Knight is my latest concept fighter for the U.S. Air Force. The finished build will be 36.5" long with a 2" diameter. It will have twin tails and twin air intakes. I'm going to build it with a 29mm MM (mostly for flying on Estes Pro Series E and F motors). Wings will be 1/8" plywood and NC is handmade as is canopy.

To help aid in the design I am using OpenRocket 15.03 for the sim work.

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Parts (2017-09-10 13:24:09)

Here is what I have so far.

XF-48 parts

XF-48 parts

XF-48 bottom view

XF-48 bottom view (air intakes are 1" dia.)

XF-48 top view

XF-48 top view (I don't like the canopy so will redo it)

The tails will be two modified Big Daddy fins that I have left over from when I built the 3D MD (3D Mega Daddy) as I used plywood for its fins. I used two of the Big Daddy fins on Ram Jam III so I still have two fins somewhere. Just need to find them or I'll have to cut new ones.

OK, before someone asks, the front part of the wings were made from 3/32" balsa and the covered with cardboard to make them 1/8". I did this because I didn't have enough plywood. Still debating on whether or not to add TTW tabs. Wish I had had enough plywood to cut the wings with them, but with a little extra work I can add them.

I just ordered some Kevlar online so as  soon as it arrives will start on the MM. In the meantime, back to the canopy rebuild and the search for the two missing tail fins. 

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Tails (2017-09-20 13:44:32)

So I couldn't find the missing tails so grabbed some leftover balsa and cut new ones.

Tail parts 

I then laid out some wax paper and filled the slots with Elmer's WoodFiller. After allowing some drying time I then sanded and paper coated them.

Slots filled

Tails papered

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Wings attached (2017-09-20 13:57:31)

I decided not to try and add fin tabs and just go ahead and glue them on. Glad I double lined the wing mount lines on the BT as the plywood had a slight warp that needed attention. 

Wings attached

After giving glue time to dry I went back over all fillets with another layer of glue. I then set the rocket up for the night.

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Air scoops, Tails, & Canopy (2017-09-20 14:24:25)

Next day I added the air scoops, tails and canopy.

Air scoop added

First of two scoops glued on

Both scoops on

Both scoops glued on

Tails added

After scoops were glued on the tails were next.

Canopy added

Trimmed canopy added

Canopy added

Canopy added

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Paint (2017-10-03 10:11:51)

Finally got her into the paint shop. First coat of primer applied. Time now to sand and go over everything before main coat.



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Decal layout for tails (2017-10-30 17:04:07)

The 5 designates this as my fifth scratch build design.

White Knight Decals

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Painting (2018-02-27 21:51:10)

Here it is end of February in Michigan and it hit 60 degrees out today. Well needless to say I managed to do some painting. Applied 2 coats of Rust-Oleum 2X Gloss White to body and NC. Left outside to air dry. Weather man says more snow for Thursday (3"-5") so won't get any more work done till spring, or at least till it warms up again.

White Knight top White Knight bottom White Knight NC & Chute

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Crash and Burn (2018-03-14 23:42:47)

Well I knew one day it was going to happen. The hard drive in my Dell laptop finally died. I'll sure miss that Dell along with my current rocket files. Bought a new "hp" laptop with Windows 10 and downloaded Open Rocket but this computer can't read the .jar files. May have to finish this build without it.  Sure is a drag losing that Open Rocket file.


Kahlil Holavarri (April 15, 2019)

I had the same problem with .jar files on my HP spectere, but I found a solution. You have to download the latest java off the java web site, then download OpenRocket, and open it by typing "java -jar OpenRocket-15.03.jar" into the command window (You can find this on the OpenRocket website under Packages and Source Code). If you try this and there are still error messages (I still had to go through some) You cn email me at


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Decals & Rail Buttons (2018-03-17 16:54:48)

Today I managed to get the decals and the rail buttons put on. Not quit warm enough to clear coat so will wait for warmer weather.

Decals & rail buttons on 

Decals and rail buttons added



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Maiden Flight (2018-06-17 19:47:37)

Maiden flight was on an Estes F15-6 and took place at M.I.S./Graves Farm Campground Brooklyn, MI on 06-16-18. Nice slow climb to around 400'. Rocket did about 5 or 6 barrel rolls on the way up. Parachute at apogee. Slow decent with no damage on recovery. Beautiful 1st flight.

XF-48 White Knight on the pad

XF-48 White Knight on the pad

 XF-48 White Knight recovery

XF-48 White Knight recovery

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