Rocket Racing League demos composite-framed rocket plane

The flight took place at EAA's AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.

The Rocket Racing League (New York, N.Y.) conducted the inaugural flight of its trademarked Rocket Racer aircraft on July 29, captivating hundreds of thousands of visitors at the EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The pilot, two-time NASA Shuttle commander Rick Searfoss, ignited the Rocket Racer’s engine and took to the skies above Oshkosh for 10-minute flight demonstrations that required only intermittent firing of the powerful engine (15 to 35 seconds of burn time) to perform aerobatic moves that included a 90° turn and several rolls. Additional flights took place on Aug. 1 and 2. The exhibitions were designed to give potential fans a sneak peek at what the organization’s proposed racing series will look like. The rocket-powered craft is based on a home-built, canard-design composite airframe kit produced by Velocity Inc. (Sebastian, Fla.) that is outfitted with an XCOR Aerospace LOX engine capable of 1,500 lb of thrust.

“We did it!” said Rocket Racing League founder and CEO Granger Whitelaw. “The three flights we conducted have shown the world what the future of racing and entertainment will look like.”

While the group has not yet advertised a race schedule, the events reportedly will be held at venues across the country, each featuring multiple races with as many as 10 Rocket Racers head to head in a four-lap, multiple elimination heat format on a 5-mile Formula One-like closed circuit “raceway in the sky.” The Rocket Racer pilot will view the raceway via in-panel and 3-D helmet displays. Fans in attendance will witness the racing action live and in real-time display on multiple large projection screens.

“We are looking forward to the next step of conducting our first exhibition races and displaying the amazing 3-D racetrack in the sky technology,” says Whitelaw.

For more information about the Rocket Racing League, visit