It was my first takeoff in the Radial Rocket. Even though I was easing the power in while compensating with rudder pressure, acceleration was impressive. As the tail came up and I added the rest of the remaining 360 available horsepower, acceleration turned from impressive to awesome! About six or seven seconds following the first application of power, the Radial Rocket was airborne and headed upstairs in a big hurry. Good thing they had chosen to mount the switch for the electric flaps on the throttle handle, because takeoff flaps had to be retracted shortly after lift-off to prevent exceeding the 140 mph maximum flap speed. I knew immediately that this new airplane was going to be fun!
The Radial Rocket is a new kit aircraft designed, produced, and marketed by New Century Aerosport, Inc., located at the New Century Air Center (KIXD) (on the southwest edge of the Kansas City Metro area). The Radial Rocket seats two in tandem and features fixed tailwheel landing gear, sliding bubble canopy, and forward and aft baggage areas both accessible through external doors. The majority of the airframe components consist of pre-molded composite sandwich panels comprised of E-glass face plies bonded to both sides of a honeycomb core. These parts are vacuum-bagged and cured at high temperatures in an oven, producing strong, durable airframe components. For increased strength, carbon fiber materials are used in key locations such as main spar caps and fuselage longerons. The comprehensive Radial Rocket airframe kit includes pre-welded engine mount and landing gear components, as well as hardware items (bolts, nuts, bearings, washers, control tubes, cables, etc.) required for assembly. Also included are canopy and windshield, tires, tubes, brakes, tailwheel, electric flap motor, and a 3-axis electric trim system.
Power for the Radial Rocket is supplied by the M-14P 360-horsepower radial engine. This geared, supercharged, nine-cylinder powerplant turns a 98 inch diameter, 3-blade constant speed prop, producing plenty of thrust going uphill at 3500+ feet per minute is no problem for the Radial Rocket! Even more “oomph” is available with the “PF” version of the M-14, rated at 400 Horsepower.
The Radial Rocket was designed primarily for the purpose of having fun with a Radial engine, and that includes aerobatics, which are easily flown due to well-balanced stick forces and excellent roll rates. Push-pull tubes are used for aileron and elevator actuation, yielding precise control authority. Add 230 mph cruise speeds, 1000+ mile range and ample baggage storage capability, and the Radial Rocket also serves as a great cross-country traveler. The cockpit is spacious and features superb visibility through the one-piece canopy. The combination of fixed windshield and sliding canopy allow plenty of ventilation for ground operations. The Radial Rocket is a taildragger with excellent ground handling manners. Widely space main gears work with a long wheelbase to provide a very stable platform. A steerable tailwheel and large, effective rudder confer plenty of directional authority for takeoff and landing.
Airframe kit prices begin at $48,850, with a fast build option available. For more info contact New Century Aerosport, Inc., 30 Leawood Drive, New Century, KS 66031, or phone 913-390-8900. More information is also available on their web site, radialrocket.com.