F1 Rocket and F4 Raider NEWS UPDATES

11-30-17: I spoke with Mark Frederick about the empennage kits. He and Brian Rodgers are putting together the first 2 new empennage kits down at Mark’s shop in Taylor, TX. Mark reports that the parts are of superb quality,  perfectly formed, and are going together easier than previous kits.

Brian is helping with the construction manual also. As soon as the manual rough drafts become available, we’ll start getting that info out to the builders.

11-30-17: Van’s Aircraft announced recently that they are curtailing production of the RV-3,4, and 6 kits.  This includes the RV-4 wing subkit that contains the parts that can be used to produce a Sport wing for your F1 or F4.

We strongly advise anyone who is contemplating an F1 project to order an RV-4 wing kit, and possibly some other small parts, from Van’s before the end of 2017. Refer to the Van’s website for more details on their ordering requirements.

Stuff to include or omit from RV-4 kits

Further thoughts on wing kits: Although Van’s is curtailing production of their RV-4 parts, please consider that we have all of the old Czech tooling to produce the Sport wing. We haven’t pursued this option (yet) because Van’s current pricing is certainly less than what we’d have to charge for virtually the same wing kit. This is simply due to our relatively low volume, start up costs, and the simple fact that Van’s has very low prices.

Nonetheless, we have the capability and if wing kits do become hard to get, we’ll step up and produce a batch if needed. This would require some financial commitment from interested builders.

Enough said. This topic shouldn’t be a huge concern to anyone at this point. However, if you’re on the fence, buy a Van’s RV-4 wing kit and related parts NOW. They’ll never be available at a lower price! Besides, you can always sell them later.

11-29-17: OMG…. there’s a lot to round up even after the majority of the empennage parts are in-house. The remaining items for the hardware should be here today or tomorrow.  The big boxes are partly packed, after lining them with some foam insulation boards to help prevent the shipping monkeys from doing damage.

11-29-17: Here’s an example of one of the small parts that we’re making here: flange bearings.

Flange bearing
Finished flange bearings

They start out as aluminum rod, a few things happen, then they look like this:

Once the shells are finished, we press in 2 stainless steel bearings, then roll the edge to seal them in permanently. Pretty neat, eh?

11-6-17: Still waiting on the shipping boxes to arrive. Since the new empennage skins are smaller due to the separate leading edge, we decided to order smaller, yet taller, shipping boxes to better protect the contents. Anyway, we plan to start shipping as soon as the boxes arrive!

10-18-2017 empennage kit are here: We just opened the crate with the empennage parts. They look great! Perfectly formed and straight as an arrow.

Next we’ll get them sorted, add hardware and fiberglass, and then pack them for shipping.  We’re excited!

The boss lady approves.

 

F1 Rocket and F4 Raider tail kits

 

Stacks of skins

10-3-2017 empennage kit status: We just received a few photos from Aircorps Aviation, the Minnesota company that stamps our parts, showing the current empennage status. Things are going well and the stamped parts should be here soon.  Of course, we still have to sort them, pack them, add hardware, add fiberglass parts, add some form of instructions… which are being written… and get all of the shipping documents prepared. Things are gonna be busy around here!!

New F1/F4 empennage parts - various ribs and spars
New F1/F4 empennage parts – various ribs and spars
New F1/F4 empennage parts - various ribs and spars
New F1/F4 empennage parts – various ribs and spars
New F1/F4 empennage parts - leading edge skins
New F1/F4 empennage parts – leading edge skins
New F1/F4 empennage parts - main skins
New F1/F4 empennage parts – main skins

9-30-2017 misc. new stuff – gear leg/axle socket clamps: We needed a way to reliably set the toe-in/toe-out of the main gear wheels. Previously, it was recommended to do this early in construction by setting up what had worked for others and drilling the axle sockets to the gear legs on the bench. This didn’t work reliably.

So, we created these gear leg/axle socket clamps with a drill guide and alignment tab.  The clamps are designed to hold the gear sockets in place while normal weight is on the plane. Put the plane on greased plates to allow the wheels freedom to move to their natural position. Check and adjust the alignment until you get the alignment desired, normally zero toe in/out.  Once you get the alignment perfect, then drill the axle socket bolts through the gear legs. In theory, this should work every time, although it admittedly is a bit of work. However, a bit of work is better than a LOT of work, which is what is required if you mess up the alignment and have to fix it!

More info: We will provide instructions, but here are a few more details. For the Rockets, we shoot for a plane weight of 1600 pounds +/-  which simulates an average load. Align the wheels with the tail down.  A 6′ piece of angle is a good straightedge.  Get two. Clamp them to the brake discs. Drop strings as required to confirm the alignment. Nothing complicated. It just requires some thought and a bit of work.
F1 or F4 Gear leg clamp for setting wheel alignment
F1 or F4 Gear leg clamp for setting wheel alignment
F1 or F4 Gear leg clamp for setting wheel alignment
F1 or F4 Gear leg clamp for setting wheel alignment

9-14-2017 misc. new stuff: We recently received the F4 Raider 4 cylinder engine mount back from the fab shop. This mount is very similar to the engine mount on Brad Hood’s F4. It maintains the prop in the same position as the standard 6 cylinder Lycoming F1 Rockets. This maintains the great looks of the plane and also keeps the CG where it needs to be.

F4 Raider 4 cylinder engine mount
F4 Raider 4 cylinder engine mount

Our fiberglass guy came up with a sweet, pressure recovery type tailwheel pant. It’s designed to work with the Screaming Eagle tailwheel fork that many of the Rockets and RVs are already using.

He’s also working on a small fairing to streamline the shaft housing just above the pant.  More on that later..

Pressure recovery tailwheel pant
Pressure recovery tailwheel pant… in normal trailing position.
Pressure recovery tailwheel pant
Pressure recovery tailwheel pant.. fully swiveled backwards… plenty of clearance.

9-13-2017 empennage kit status: We are pleased to share a photo update from the empennage shop. The VS is shown, clecoed together, during the trial fitting process. Things are moving along nicely and October deliveries still look like a strong possibility.

Team Rocket VS skeleton
Team Rocket VS skeleton

 

9-13-2017 QB fuselage kit status: We need to clarify a few things. We are NOT offering QB kits directly through Team Rocket… yet! What we’re offering are the parts for a hired gun shop (see the entry below) to build a QB kit for you. They would take our stamped parts, add a few pieces of angle aluminum, and the skins, and produce the QB fuselage for you.

Currently, that would be about $6500 for our fuselage parts, plus their labor (which you negotiate), plus a few skins and angles. Prices are subject to change as we add new parts!

Just as a rough guideline, you might expect to pay a hired gun shop at least $5710 for their labor, which is how much one popular kit vendor charges to go from a SB fuselage kit to a QB fuselage kit.

Another rough guideline would be to add $2-3K for misc. skins and angles.

So, that’s $6500 parts + $6000 +/- labor + $3000 skins = $15500 for a QB fuselage.  Throw in shipping, unexpected snafus, etc… and surely a QB fuselage for $20K is a completely realistic estimate. Maybe less!

Other kit parts: 

1) tail kits: you can convert an RV-4 tail as the HRII guys have done for years, or an RV-8 tail, or just build one of our new F1 tail kits which should be ready to ship around Oct. 1, or close to it.  (The first batch is sold out now -VF)

The new tail kits are externally the same as the previous F1 tail kits, but the blue shaded areas (see photo) have been modified for greater stiffness to provide a better margin of safety in case of overspeed.
2) finishing kits: The sliding canopy kit is available now for $3600 to $4000 depending on tint and other options. All other fiberglass parts are available now. Wingtips are about $500.  Other fiberglass prices are similar to the competition, so I’m not going to list them all here. Most are listed in our products page anyway.

3) Engine mounts ($1800) are available now, including Ti gear legs. (About $3150 for legs)  The EM/legs are the single priciest part of our kit, but they are well proven, lightweight, and have been quite trouble free, particularly when compared to other popular, crack-prone systems out there.

As you can see, the prices are competitive with other popular kits, but those other kits don’t produce a ROCKET!!! Choose wisely!

8-3-2017 QB fuselage status: We are also pleased to announce that we have worked out details with several U.S. based “hired guns” who can assemble a QB fuselage for you! Contact Vince for current details. Visit our Builder’s Assistance webpage for more information.

The one shown below is going together at RVbuilders in Peyton, CO.  It belongs to Ron Patterson.

Patterson F4 Raider frame
Patterson F4 Raider frame

Nearly completed QB fuselage!

8-3-17 New stub spar carry through bulkheads

Yeah, it’s purple. It really stands out at the Oshkosh booth!  Yours will be silver.

This stub spar carry through bulkhead is produced by Loyd Remus to allow RV-8 type wings to be used on the 4 cylinder Raiders. We don’t recommend it for larger 6 cylinder engines. We also recommend abiding by RV-8 VNe and gross weights if you choose to use this type of wing on your kit.

The standard F1 and F4 wings have the traditional spar carry through bulkhead for RV-4 type spars that splice together in the middle of the fuselage.

Contact Loyd Remus at RVbuilders for more details.

8-3-17 New empennage kits in production!

Good morning fellow Rocket/Raider enthusiasts,

Mark and I have made several tweaks to the old Rocket empennage. We think these will be solid improvements that increase the margin of safety and hopefully minimize the chance of bad things happening in case of an accidental overspeed.

Please note: The VNe does NOT change. It is and will remain at 275mph (239knots) TRUE airspeed for Rockets (Sport or Evo wing). Raiders using an RV wing of any type should observe Van’s recommended VNe.

F1 Rocket F4 Raider New empennage
F1 Rocket, or F4 Raider new empennage

The changes are shown in blue. As you can see, there are more ribs in the VS and HS. This should help resist any tendency to “oil-can”. The forward spars are widened to accept a separate formed leading edge. Several of the spar doublers are being tweaked also. The rudder spar has a new doubler near the top, and a gusset to better support the counterbalance arm. Finally, the trim tab servo is being moved outboard to align with the longest area of the trim tab chord, which should simplify attachment and strengthen the tab arm. Skins will be pre-punched. Hardware and rivets are included. Lead for the counterbalance weights is not included at this time.

All modifications are subject to change as we work through the production.  We expect the first “proof” kits to be here in our shop in about 6-8 weeks (around Oct. 1, 2017), with initial deliveries to follow soon afterward. As with any new production, schedules may change, or some parts may be delayed. This is nothing unusual, but if you’re expecting a complete kit next week, do us all a favor and re-read this paragraph.

Contact Vince directly for more details with an email to vince@f1aircraft.com

Escrow options are available. We work with Tammi Bear at AIC Title company. Tammi can escrow your purchase until your kit is ready for delivery. Escrow fees are not included in the purchase price. Tammi’s contact info is here:  Tammi Bear   tel:  800.288.2519   tbear@aictitle.com

 


Update: Brad Hood took home a well deserved Grand Champion kit built Gold Lindy at Airventure 2017!
7-13-17 Brad Hood’s F4 Rocket II leaving the paint shop. Wow!

Simply stunning.

Breathtaking.

Brad Hood's F4 Rocket II
Brad Hood’s F4 Rocket II

Brad chose Evoke Aviation in Gadsden, AL  with expert painter Jonathon McCormick to apply Plane Schemer’s eye-popping design. Brad says “My editorial is that Jonathon produced the most perfect paint job I’ve ever seen! And I’m the most finicky critic around!”

All I can say is that I can’t wait to see it at the Team Rocket display area at Airventure 2017.   We’ll be in space 652, up on the north end of the display area, across from the homebuilt camping and near the Van’s Aircraft’s tent.

6-26-17 Ron Patterson’s new construction F4 Raider project

Patterson F4 Raider frame
Patterson F4 Raider frame
Patterson F4 Raider frame
Patterson F4 Raider frame 1

Ron Patterson’s F4 Raider project is under construction. Ron is being assisted by Loyd Remus. Ron has his wing and tail finished already and this beast should be flying soon!

6-22-17:  New production parts. These parts are re-stamped after heat treatment to produce smooth, flat, non-warped parts that are ready to install with little or no additional work required. Not everyone does it this way, but we do!!

New U.S. production parts
New U.S. production parts
new F1 Rocket bulkheads
More new F1 Rocket bulkheads
New F1 Rocket floor ribs
New F1 Rocket floor ribs
New F1 Rocket firewall
New F1 Rocket firewall – prepunched too!

6-22-17: I just spoke to the guys in the shop regarding the tail kits and Oshkosh. It’s gonna be tight, but we expect to have the first NEW production tail kit at Oshkosh 2017. This is BIG news!! More on this as new info becomes available. (Well, we missed Oshkosh, but the kits are in production now! 9-13-17)

6-21-17: As you know, Team Rocket, http://www.f1aircraft.com/meet-the-team/ , has been working toward restarting F1 Rocket parts production. We’re well along in the process and moving forward continually.

You may know from visiting our website at www.f1aircraft.com that we now have partial fuselage kits that include all of the difficult to make bulkheads and other formed parts.   Canopy kits, fiberglass parts, engine mounts and gear legs are all available too.

Obviously, right now we’re talking about slow building your aircraft from parts. However, we’re also in early negotiations regarding having complete quick build fuselages available. More on that as it develops.

We’re also working on several NEW options, including:

4 cylinder engine mount,

new round inlet cowling,

a brand NEW tapered wing option!  We’re very early in this process, but it’s on the drawing board!

NEWS! We are having tail kits built right now. We hope to have them, or at least a prototype, by Oshkosh. I can’t make promises just yet, but that’s the plan!

We’re extremely excited to announce that Brad Hood’s brand new RV-8/Rocket hybrid will be in our display area at Oshkosh.

Brad Hood's F4 Rocket II
Brad Hood’s F4 Rocket II
F4 Rocket II engine installation
F4 Rocket II engine installation

Brad reports:

 My F-4 is flying and currently in the paint shop. I named it: F-4 Rocket II. F-4 for 4 cylinder. It is not a Raider due to its unique construction. (It has RV-8 wings and tail.) I do plan to have it at OSH to compete.

 It flies absolutely perfectly. Looks like a Rocket and flies like an RV-8. No CG issues at all. In fact, it came out up next to the forward limit with full fuel and pilot only. I couldn’t be happier with it!  Performance is like an IO-360 RV-8 or better.

 The concept is verified!

Brad

Brad has a Lycoming IO-360 in his machine. It is currently in the paint shop getting ready for the big show. Brad’s plane utilized RV-8 wings and tail, Rocket fuselage, and the 4 cylinder Lycoming.

I hope to see you at Oshkosh!  We’ll be down near the Van’s tent on the north end of the display area.  As always, feel free to contact us with questions.

Thanks,

Vince