Northrop HL-10

The Northrop HL -10 was a U.S. experimental aircraft based on the support hull concept. She was the third of a series of wing- less experimental aircraft that were tested 1963-1975. Other machines were:

  • NASA M2 -F1 (1963 )
  • The Northrop M2 -F2 (1968 )
  • The Northrop M2 -F3 (1970).

The letters H and L stood by for horizontal landing (horizontal landing ) and the number 10 for the tenth concept of the Langley Research Center of NASA. With these machines could be shown that wing and unpowered aircraft can be safely controlled and landed targeted at a defined location. Further, the high speed performance of supporting body aircraft was investigated.

After the successful test of the M2 -F1, NASA asked the company Northrop with the construction of two additional Lifting Bodies ( the HL -10 and M2 -F2 ) that should be but now made ​​of metal construction and so weighed a multiple of its predecessor. In contrast to the other lifting bodies in this series, the HL- 10 had a delta -shaped structure. The machine was completed in late 1965 and delivered in January 1966 to NASA. To use the machine was brought by a B- 52 bomber at an altitude of about 13,000 meters and notched at about 720 km / h. The machine is then lit her rocket engine, which had a fuel supply system for an internal time of about 100 seconds. The first flight ( even without drive ) took place on December 22, 1966 instead of the pilot Bruce Peterson, with ( as well as other lifting bodies) showed control problems. This could be fixed by changing the shape of the three rowing. Overall, the HL -10 flew 37 times, the last 26 flights with the risk of their rocket engine. She reached it a top speed of Mach 1.86 (February 18, 1970 Peter Hoag driving) and an altitude of about 27,500 meters (February 27, 1970 Bill Dana at the helm ). Her last flight took place on 17 July 1970. Today, the machine in the NASA flight test center at Edwards Air Force Base ( California) is issued.


  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 6.45 m
  • Wingspan: 4.15 m
  • Height: 2.92 m
  • Wing area: 14.9 m²
  • Mass: 2397 kg
  • Take off weight: 2721-4540 kg ( max. 1604 kg fuel)
  • Drive: 1 x rocket engine XLR -11 with four nozzles and 36 kN thrust
  • Maximum speed: 1976 km / h
  • Range: 72 km
  • Largest reached altitude: 27,524 m


  • FLiEGERREVUE 3/2008, p.58 -61, 'Lifting Bodies and Lunar Trainer "
  • HL -10 at NASA