I'm running behind getting some cool info up on some of the exciting racers planning to fly low - go fast - turn left at the 2011 Reno Air Races: September 14-18. One of the racers that has me drooling for the amazing sounds of the Russian M-14 radial is the all composite Radial Rocket RG. Now I don't expect the airplane to wind up with any trophies, but honestly I don't even care... just hearing this beast is gonna be worth the trip! Check out the short cell phone video below to get a really good feel for how the M-14 makes every flat engine from Lycoming or Continental sound like a loser : )
The reality is that the Sport class was won in 2010 by Jeff LaVelle in a Glasair III running a tic over 339 mph. The Radial Rocket RG posts a Vne of 280 mph. So, unless the guys from Kansas have gone hog wild making some serious airframe mods, the Rocket will be more entertainment than hardcore competitor. But for my money, I don't think anything else in the Sport Class will provide this awesome level of entertainment. I just love round engine airplanes that sit the pilot on the centerline! The only thing that could make the Radial Rocket RG any better would be a taildragger version. If you're up on your RR info you know that the fixed gear version is a taildragger but the RG is a trike. You can learn more about why in my extensive post of the RR from late last year.
If I had a box of gold buried in the backyard I'd be digging it up about now to buy me a Radial Rocket kit. Glasair's and Lancair's are really nice, but tandem seating and an affordable (and perfect sounding) M-14 on the nose get the nod from me every time.
More Reno preview info coming soon...