The Radacraft story.

The Radacraft started its development about twenty seven years ago, not as Radacraft, but as the hobby of just another little boy. Mr. Chris Holloway is the inventor of the Radacraft concept, which he named after his best friend and greatest supporter, his wife, Rada.

Chris has always liked to characterize himself as "a nutty inventor" with no formal qualification in any form of engineering, his work has never been bounded by convention with an attitude of "why not" rather than "it can't be done". His design style has always been to learn by experience and draw on whatever code served to cure a problem. Although self taught he holds a deep respect for the engineering professionals that have become an integral part of the Radacraft solution, in Chris' own words " I'm great at coming up with the abstract solutions but these guys have got to make them work, without them we could be to heavy or to light, to weak or to strong and not know until something went wrong".

The whole thing started when he (Chris) was just a young teenager, like most, he had a passion for model Aircraft, but also what made them work and why they reacted certain ways. The most puzzling was, why, when a craft came close to the surface, did it change its flight path and seem to "float" for a while before touchdown.

How Chris thought it should be.

How it really is.

 

How real aircraft avoid the float of ground effect in landing.

This phenomenon intrigued him as it was obvious that the planes would go further if they were close to the ground, also if he did something wrong at the controls the model had less distance to fall and so damage was less in a crash, an important point when you buy your own models. This strange behavior seemed to be in nearly all models, so he started building craft that were better suited to operating close to the ground. A Spitfire was the first, although it was in standard form and did not perform very well and the handling was difficult. Numerous variations of Cessna, Piper and Beechcraft were tried and the discovery was made that low wing craft "floated" more than high wing. A much larger wing was fitted to a Beechcraft and it made quite an improvement.

An artists impression of Chris' Beechcraft.

Thinking that he had invented a variation on a Hovercraft he even tried putting fans in the wings and end plates to reduce the air losses to the direction of flow only. This all worked but was very complex and unreliable, several variations were tried with varying levels of success.

The next problem to be solved was wing strike, every time he tried to turn the plane would roll and a wing would hit the ground. The only way to avoid it seemed to be to climb before turning, then settling back after the turn. Chris didn't like this idea so he came up with a way that the craft could stay close and turn flat (this is one of the major advantages of the current Radacraft designs)

Chris emphasizes that all of this work prior to the Radacraft was just a "boy with his toys" and there was no consideration of any commercial applications, apart from, as all kids do, dreaming of Special forces using them to insert commandos to get the bad guys.

As the years rolled on the hobby became just a conversation piece, placed behind the priorities of a young family.

With his own kids in there teens Chris renewed his passion for aircraft and started flying, first with friends then taking lessons himself. At this time he was introduced to ground effect, and it was explained how an aircraft can go further for less power in this area. It suddenly dawned on him that this was exactly what he had built as a child, and the fuel efficiency was the commercial reason to develop it. So why had no one developed craft to do just that? (in fact they had but no one knew about them, see What else is there).

Chris finally had the reason he needed to start developing his toy into a commercial reality, his wife Rada also supported his vision and the Radacraft G-35 project began.


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