If Murphy's Latest Doesn't Make You Grin...
Is it a Baby Beaver? A Nano-Norseman? No, the plane that shares
that ruggedly Canadian heritage, stout construction, and
round-engine attitude is a Radial Rebel -- the latest bit of sky
candy from the confectioners at Chilliwack, BC's Murphy Aircraft
It's nothing but the proven and popular Murphy Rebel 2-seat bush
plane repowered with the proven and popular Rotec
2800, a 110-hp, seven-cylinder radial engine from
Australia, which is the first commercially successful new radial
engine introduced in over 50 years.
Murphy defines the Rebel as, "A fun flying, two seat STOL
aircraft capable of operating from wheels, floats or skis featuring
all metal construction, pre-formed and pre-punched parts making for
easy, straightforward construction."
Murphy has hinted at such a plane in the past, in response to a
tidal wave of customer interest. The engine that is an
intergenerational blend of 1930s concept and ultramodern CNC
manufacturing has been winning adherents on the North American side
of the Pacific, and Murphy's customers are perfectly in tune with
that ethic of classic visual appeal wedded to modern performance
Indeed, the photos here are from 2004; the bare engine on a bare
fuselage from the springtime (Aero-News file photos) and the
cowled, nearly complete Radial Rebel in front of the mighty Moose
for scale from AirVenture 2004 (Murphy's photos). We begged for a
picture of the complete plane, but they told us that they won't
give up its secret new paint job till AirVenture. Hmmmm... sounds
like a challenge for our News-Spies.
Despite the plane's brute-strength visual appeal, the engine
doesn't alter the Rebel's performance when compared to the usual
Rebel engines, the Lycoming O-235 and the Rotax 912-series. It's in
about the same weight and horsepower class as the O-235. "It's
basically a visual upgrade for classic airplane lovers," designer
Darryl Murphy admits.
If you love the style of the mighty Murphy Moose in it's radial
(360 HP M-14P) configuration, but don't need its staggering
load-carrying ability (or want to deal with its equally prodigious
fuel burn), the Radial Rebel, which looks like a Moose calf or
maybe yearling, is your ticket.
"Now customers can have that 'Moose look' in a smaller,
more-affordable airplane," Murphy said in a company statement.
Like all Murphy bush aircraft, including the new Yukon, the
Radial Rebel is built from riveted sheet aluminum and offered as a
51% compliant kit. Like the O-235 and Rotax powered Rebels, it
should be legal for American pilots to fly on a Sport Pilot license
or using Sport Pilot privileges.
All previous Murphy designs have offered some advantage in
performance, construction, or something, over previous ones. Why
offer a plane which differs only in style from the current
The customers made him do it, Murphy explains. "So many
customers inquired about this engine that I simply had to offer it
as an option. If a builder wants that classic radial look, he will
have a factory-developed design, with the installation and flight
testing proven by the factory."
Some customers had already been retrofitting Rotec R2800s to
Rebels, even as the company was studying the installation. But they
didn't have Darryl Murphy's intimate knowledge of the design,
experience, or talented engineering and R&D staff and
consultants. Like many designers, Darryl Murphy encourages builders
to stick close to the kit instructions for the best chance of
successful completion. "It's no fun as a kit builder, to have to
design a major system," Murphy says. "That's my job."
"Additionally, I'm always concerned that our customers get good
results, and if we design it, we can be confident offering it." If
some builder botches an amateur engine installation, his tale of
woe might be perceived, however unfairly, as reflecting on Murphy
You can see the Radial Rebel, and it's slick new paint job,
Darryl Murphy promises, at Airventure in Oshkosh in -- yikes! --
next month. The company is already handling customer orders for the
Radial Rebel kit.