Hello from soggy Central Texas....
I was in Burnett Texas for the annual
BlueBonnet Airshow. First the Bad news, The airshow rained out, and Howard Pardue flipped his Wildcat.
The good news is, Howard only got a scratch on the head, the airplane damage is as little as could be expected for a roll over, and I GOT TO FLY THE EVO ROCKET!
Mark Fredrick was at there with the Falcon Flight and they performed the opening, and pretty much closing ceremonies. It started raining while Falcon Flight was flying during the national anthem and poured the rest of the afternoon.
In the Morning after begging, pleading, groveling, and general sucking up on my part, Mark offered to let me fly the new wing. What a machine!!!!!
Marcel Dassault said, "For an airplane to fly well, it must look good." Well the EVO Rocket is off to a good start, the new wing looks great on the airplane. It has much better lines than the traditional Rocket which, I think, "looks" like the wing is too short. I have always thought the RV-3 had the best lines in the RV- series and thought the Rocket looked better than that when viewed on the ground. All the RV's look like Cherokees that were designed for ease of construction when they fly over, and the standard Rocket wing looks too short. Well when the EVO Rocket is observed flying over, it looks GREAT. Mr. Daussault would approve.
Let me be clear, I have only flown Marks old Rocket one time, and I was impressed, but I do not have enough recent experience to directly compare them.
The new wing has a Laminar Flow airfoil like the Mustang, and I expected it to fly much more like it. Somewhat true....
The RV's when compared to a fighter, fly much more like the Corsair than the Mustang, they have big fat, fairly lightly loaded wings. The Mustang, and the EVO have a thinner wing with the fattest part of the wing back at about 50% chord instead of about 30% on the RV/Rocket. For all your benefit, I wish Kevin Horton had flown it, so he could tell you better what it is going on.
The launch is, well, like a Rocket... It really scoots. The climb rate is, well, like a Rocket.... The pointy kind I mean. The Rocket needs a little more right rudder than an RV, just think of it like an RV with a 10 knot crosswind.
I did not collect any data and we were flying under a fairly low ceiling. The airplane does not fly like an RV. It flys very nicely, just very different. Mark is still working with control ratios but if he sells it just like it is now, it will be fine. This airplane has a longer stick than his other Rocket and so the ailerons require more stick displacement and that yeilds less aileron displacement, but a similar roll rate I would suppose.
The stalls are straight forward, again I did not collect data, the airplane breaks cleanly, with any power on at all the nose up attitude is very high. Both clean and dirty stalls are similar. In steep turns the airplane really holds energy! I did a 3.5 G turn at 25/25 and it just hung in there. My recollection is that the Std Rocket payed off some energy when loaded up.
I am sure that the new wing will like altitude better than the short wing because of aspect ratio and it should really show dramatic cruise speed improvement at high altitude.
I tried flying the airplane holding the stick about 3 inches down from the top and I liked it better, the control forces are fine. The ailerons require more displacement than the elevator which is, I think, requires a little less movement with this wing than the standard. It is not goosey in pitch at all, and the pressures are good, it just doesn't take much movement.
Also, the airplane "Points" better than the standard RV, that is, if you point the nose at something on the ground, the RV with tend to accelerate and pitch up, this airplane will stay on the point with little effort, what that says is the airplane has less airspeed/trim stability, but it does not seem to be noticeable flying VFR. It might be more noticeable IFR?
The airplane has lots of lift, it is easy in the pattern, at 80 kts, the pitch attitude is good with the flaps down and it lands like an RV. The titanium gear has more spring in it than steel and it will bounce easily. I did not 3 point it, but based on the stalls I did and what Mark said, a full stall 3 point would have the gear pretty far in the air when the T/W touched.
So, I had a Real Big "Rocket Grin" when I landed. I am certain the performance will be better because of the aspect ratio. Standard Rockets would not want to dogfight this airplane, because they would get waxed. The airplane should LOVE
altitude and benefit greatly from cruising at higher altitudes. This airplane is, with out a doubt, the best looking RV deriviative ever!!! And, as true to Mr Dassault, the airplane flies well, not as good as an RV-4, but almost nothing does. Having said that no one would be dissatisfied with it's handling, and Mark is still tweaking the control ratios. The real question is, if I were ordering, which would I order? No Question, The EVO wing.
Just about the time I think I might be satisfied with someone's cast off Rocket,
Mark comes up with something new..... I hate you Mark Fredrick!!! ;-)
Doug "I wanna Rocket(with an EVO wing)" Rozendaal