“The Radical Rocket is a ducted fan UAV designed and built in four weeks by Ex-RAF, Electronics Engineer Lee Molyneux in his garage during the lockdown.” according to Lee. His videos show his progress and that process is nothing less than more than amazing. Lee explains his Radical Rocket has a greater than 2:1 thrust to weight ratio and is theoretically capable of speeds in excess of 200mph, including directly up when moving in Z elevation. On his Facebook Page he explains that the Radical Rocket which he classifies as an aircraft that weighs 3.8kg and has a carbon reinforced nylon ducted fan, made up of 12 individual blades. It produces a thrust of 7.75kg, drawing over 120A at full throttle and 60A in the hover.
The Radical Rocket uses 4 x 3S Lithium batteries, it has an approximate flight duration of 7 minutes. It can be fitted with larger batteries to extend that flight time to 10 minutes. With recent advances in battery technology, this is anticipated to be greatly increased. It has has a lightweight alloy airframe, vacuum formed Polyethylene Terephthalate body panels and inlet duct, designed for maximum efficiency and to allow air to circulate and cool the individual avionics bays.
Lee goes on to say on his Facebook page post: “What makes the Radical Rocket different is it’s very large single ducted fan. This accelerates the air to high velocities making it capable of much higher speeds than most other types of drone. It also doesn’t have dangerously sharp spinning propeller blades that can get caught up, this makes it able to fly in to very tight spaces and through small gaps.”
“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to create a ‘lander’ type VTOL craft that I could control from a ground station. Send it up like a rocket to high altitudes to take aerial photos, then return it back to it’s landing pad. Many decades passed and that idea long forgotten. Having found myself twiddling my thumbs in lockdown due to Covid-19, I thought ‘I bet I could do that with a ducted fan’. So over 4 weeks, I came up with a concept, designed and built it in my garage. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out considering it’s my first attempt. I’d like to take it to an airfield once I get it fine tuned and see how fast it goes, then maybe scale it up, or do a gas turbine version.”