View Full Version : Rocket Evo Handling

10-14-2007, 08:39 AM

I'm an new 100 Hour PPL, with no taildragger experience. How many hours of taildragger experience woud you consider neccessary to be safe in an Rocket?

Would you feel comfortable flying an Rocket out of an very well groomed 2300' Grass strip with trees at one end?

And for the really off the wall Question, has any ever put an Rocket on Skis? Or is the gear just not strong enough to take it?


Tom Martin
10-14-2007, 11:19 AM
Do water skies count?
http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/9348/wingvent021no3.th.jpg (http://img99.imageshack.us/my.php?image=wingvent021no3.jpg)

I have no idea how the plane would be with skies. Years ago I saw a picture of a RV 4 on skies. I certainly would not try it with my plane.

10-14-2007, 03:40 PM
are certainly not two terms to be mixed together in the same scentence.

You are asking a civilised question and I have never flown a Rocket but the RV has "gotten my attention" once or twice and I had 500 hours when I started flying it.

Add to that taildragger and a BIG engine and I would say I would be comfortable graduating to a Rocket now...I have 720 hours...Over 200 in the RV.

Maybe a Rocket driver can chime in but I personally would suggest the rocket is way to big of a step from where you are. and our insurance rates will reflect this.

just my Humble opinion.


10-14-2007, 08:09 PM
I just spoke to a guy w/o any tailwheel time who bought a 180 HP RV-7. His insurance company wants him to have 20 hours duel. That sounds about right.

10 hours for the endorsement and another 10 to be comfortable with various landings.

As for the skis, I have flown a J-3 on skis and I would think you would want to limit your speed to around 130 MPH to keep from ripping the skies off.

If one of those things came off in flight and hit the HS, you would be in a load of hurt.

Stephen Lindberg
10-15-2007, 12:00 AM

I'm an new 100 Hour PPL, with no taildragger experience. How many hours of taildragger experience woud you consider neccessary to be safe in an Rocket?

That depends entirely on you. In my experience it takes about eight to ten hours just to solo the average nose wheel pilot in a Cub. I haven't flown a Rocket but it probably requires a bunch more skill and judgment than a Cub to operate safely.

I think judgment is more important than skill. A pilot with only moderate skill but possesing the key components of good judgment, self knowledge and humility, is much safer than the converse. How do you acquire judgment? With experience. With only 100 hours you lack experience but you can get it. The skill will come with good instruction and practice.

If you are mature, conservative, willing to take your time, willing to pay for high quality instruction and LISTEN to and FOLLOW what you are taught, and if you have a mentor to keep an eye on you after you solo, then you might get by with as little as 25 hours IN TYPE, if you are a quick study. At that point you will have a license to learn and you can probably stay out of trouble. That is my best guess without knowing you, but based on many years of teaching experience. If you are cocky and impulsive like some people I have known that bought more airplane than they could handle then you could end up just like them, becoming one with your airplane, if you know what I mean.

Personally, I find it still takes me about 100 hours before I am fully proficient in a new airplane type. Why not buy a Super Cub or Citabria and fly it for 100 hours or so before you tackle this high performance machine? What is the rush? Not for nothing is it called a Rocket.

I would expect a Rocket to handle a 2300 foot grass strip without difficulty. But can you? It will take some serious time in type before you can do that safely on a routine basis. Good luck.

10-15-2007, 05:36 AM
Thank you all for the replies.

My thought would be that if I decided on an rocket, and assuming it takes an good 18 months to build it/get it built(I live in Canada:)) I could probably get an good 100-150 hours of tailwheel experience in before flying the Rocket, in something like an Citabria. The time would be spent focusing on Landings. I'm definitely not worried about getting an Rocket out of 2300'(100' wide), and it's low stall speed gives me comfort that it's approach speeds won't be that different than what I am used to (60 knots in an 172, I would guess an Citabria might actually be about the same or higher than the rocket). BTW what do people use for approach speeds on their rockets?

Would 100+ hours of tailwheel experience(either renting or buying) be enough assuming one is an responsible person?

10-15-2007, 06:02 AM
If you're interested in taking a jaunt around the patch in a tailwheel aircraft, or seeing some aircraft construction, I rent a SuperCub out of Brampton (CNC3) and am building an RV-7 in my garage in Mississauga. Drop me a line if you wish to check things out.

10-15-2007, 06:25 AM
2300' is not a problem for a Rocket, but you need to be sharp. I can get on or off any airstrip in less than a 1000' and my home airport is 2100' asphalt and narrow. However, if the grass is wet and you land with a little too much airspeed, things can go wrong.

As far as handling, they fly the same as an RV for the most part. Two big differences. One is on takeoff. When you push the "Go" lever forward, you better be on the right rudder because this thing will head off into the weeds fast if you are slow. Two is on landing. When you pull the power back, it will sink pretty fast. Rockets are a little heavier than RVs and all have constant speed props. It's easy to get too high a sink rate on final which usually results in some bounces, especially for the F1 Rockets which have a titanium gear.

There are a number of Rocket owners who had minimal tailwheel time when they flew. There's nothing inherently complicated or difficult about flying a Rocket, but it can kill you just like a Cub, RV, or Lear Jet can if you are unattentive.

10-17-2007, 07:50 AM
I'll chime in and agree with Randy's comments that anything can kill you. The Rocket is certainly capable of that. The stats prove it.

Morrisond's comment about the approach speed being similar to a C172 just isn't accurate though. The Rocket approaches are nothing like a Cessna. Please don't transition from the Cessna to the Rocket and expect good results. Particularly if landing over the trees at the end of that 2300' strip. The strip is plenty long, but you'll use it up plenty fast.

The best bet for transitioning to a Rocket is to get as many hours as possible in as many taildragging RVs as possible. Even then, the extra weight and power of the Rockets demands your attention. But so do the RVs, that's why they're good for transition training.

10-17-2007, 10:41 AM
I did mention above that I would get 100-150 hours in Citabria's or some other taildraggers, and not go direct from 172s to an rocket if that is what I decide to go with.

Personally I hope they build the Rocket Lite, that would probably be an better one to start with, and it would be an lot prettier than an RV-8.

What do people use as the Final Approach Speed on an Rocket?

10-17-2007, 11:06 AM
It depends on runway length, surface, and amount of crosswind.

Typically I like to maintain 80 kts in the pattern to avoid any approach-to-landing stalls. Final is usually around 75 kts, over the numbers at 70 kts, then arrest the rate of descent while feeling for the the runway and dancing on the rudder pedals. I three-point or wheel land, whatever happens.

With a crosswind, I keep the speed up and wheel land.

If it's a short strip, I cross the end of the runway at about 65 kts.

My favorite is a 360 overhead approach at about 160 kts. Break over the runway, haul back on the throttle and stick and it slows to 90 kts real quick. Drop the flaps while I continue to circle down to the approach end of the runway and cross the numbers between 65 and 70 kts. It's a thing of beauty when executed correctly.

10-17-2007, 12:47 PM
Those are impressive numbers. Only 5 knots more than an 172 for short field landings, and about 2x the Cruise Speed:)

10-17-2007, 04:11 PM
Those are impressive numbers. Only 5 knots more than an 172 for short field landings, and about 2x the Cruise Speed:)

Sure it's only 5 knots difference between the 172 for short field landings, but you didn't ask Randy what his sink rate is at 65 knots? I can assure you it is not the C-172's gentle 500 fpm. It is probably more than double that - perhaps nearly triple.:eek:

Many folks often look at the numbers and get lulled into thinking - Gee, that's pretty slow, that doesn't sound too bad at all. That's only one component. Sure forward speed is slow, but wait till you see how fast that runway is coming up at you on final at that speed - not at all like that C-172. Things happen much faster in an RV and that's where skill and experience play a bigger part. Although I will admit that the sink rate is not nearly as bad as the small biplanes, still with a CS prop, flaps, the weight of a Rocket and shortened RV wings. Think brick. Just because it is above stall speed doesn't mean the vertical speed is anything like what you are used to.

Back to your original question about whether or not you could do this - the best advice that someone already gave is to know your limits and get the training in it and work hard. Work on your tailwheel training and experience while you are building and get yourself ready and you'll do fine. Citabria is OK, but a Super Decathlon with symmetrical airfoils (i.e. less lift) would be better for training. Then move onto Mike Seager or Alex DeDominics or Pierre - someone who will let you abuse their RV doing T/O's and landings. Then you can think about moving into a Rocket which requires a bit more skill than a regular RV to manage that power and weight with shorter wingy-thingies.

Aden Rich
10-19-2007, 09:24 AM
My dad has built about every RV there is except the 9,10. He now has a Rocket and loves it. He said it is actually easier to fly and land than the RV-3. Approach speeds need to be paid attention to but I've watched him turn off the runway in less than a 1000' with no problems. Now granted he has over 2000 hrs in tailwheels but it can be done with practice. Most of the Rocket guys will agree that you have to respect the plane and it's power. You can't just cobb the power on with no airspeed. You also have to watch power on stalls. It will go over on it's back with no airspeed. It also has a high sink rate with power off due to short wings and large prop so you have to carry power and speed. But so was my 180/hp CS RV-6. I could never trim for landing hands off, it would just nose dive. the C.G. was in range too. Other than the usual taildragger caveats, it's a nice plane. That's why the F4 Rocket Lite will be awesome.

10-19-2007, 09:37 AM
Sure it's only 5 knots difference between the 172 for short field landings, but you didn't ask Randy what his sink rate is at 65 knots? I can assure you it is not the C-172's gentle 500 fpm. It is probably more than double that - perhaps nearly triple.:eek:

You are absolutely correct. That's why I keep the speed up on final and don't try to slow to 65 until I'm in the flare. It sinks like the Titanic if you get too slow and then it's bouncy, bouncy, bouncy down the runway.

Same thing is true with the power on stalls. They are way too steep for my non-aerobatic liking.

10-23-2007, 10:33 AM
I have just transitioned into my F1 Evo Rocket. My insurance company required minimum 40 hours in tailwheel and 10 hours in the F1 Evo. I initially had 3 - 4 hours in the Micco sp26 and 3 - 4 hours in the Citabria. I then found RV6 instruction available in my area. I did 40 hours in the RV6 with around 180 landings. When I first started RV6 flying, I was all over the runway. I had a difficult time keeping my feet off the brakes. Once I got my feet off the brakes, it was a piece of cake. Within my first 2 - 3 hours in the F1 Evo I noticed that the aircraft tracked much straighter than the RV6 both on landing and takeoff. It was like night and day. I have just over 10 hours in the Evo with around 25 landings and already feel confident. The F1 Evo's landing gear has more spring than the RV6's so proper approach speed is critical when shooting for that perfect landing. The F1 Evo Rocket is absolutely incredible!!

mark manda
11-11-2007, 10:56 PM
I like 3500 ft min. although Woodlake at 2500 ft length was okay.

If able-- I aim nosedown for the numbers and maintain 85kts. on final until over the fence, then level over the numbers,feel for the runway and pull power. Always done a wheel landing.

25 hrs backseat dual and about 40hrs. front seat now.