Ethanol Rocket Racers Take to the Skies

Joanna Schroeder

The Rocket Racing League is taking back the skies. The five-year old league which has launched a campaign to become “NASCAR with rockets” is planning the final details on a demonstration of its X-Racer planes next week in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While these “rockets” will have a sleeker look and more crowd appeal, they will continue to run on the same fuel – ethanol. The demonstration is set for April 24 at the QuikTrip Air and Rocket Racing Show and this will be the first paying audience to see them fly since the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 2008.

X-Racers is the name of the rocket powered aircraft being designed to compete in the Rocket Racing League. The X-Racers are powered by a rocket engine that emits a long flame and a thunderous roar that can be felt and heard for miles. The current Mark-II and Mark-III X-Racer designs fly at a speed up to 250 miles per hour and these are the rockets that will be making an appearance at the show in Tulsa.

“We are building an interactive 21st-century entertainment company that combines the exhilaration of racing and the power of rockets, and the available 21st-century technology to make this a personal interactive experience,” said Peter Diamandis, the league’s co-founder and chairman of the board in MSNBC’s Cosmiclog.

In person will not be the only way to see the rockets in action. Eventually, the races will be broadcast on TV. Soon, you’ll even be able to race them yourself with an iPhone and iPod Touch app launching in May. In addition, a game will be available in June for the iPad.

In the meantime, watch the website for more information on upcoming appearances throughout the year. The aerial demonstations will vary from event to event as the league assesses safety and entertainment value but they anticipate that the real races will begin in late 2011.

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