|The SubSonex JSX-1 prototype. (photo by Marino Boric)
By James Wynbrandt
July 28, 2013 - Oshkosh-based kit-plane manufacturer Sonex Aircraft (Booth 622; North Aircraft Display area) announced production, pricing, and performance details of its SubSonex Personal Jet at its Wittman Field headquarters Sunday morning and began accepting refundable $10,000 deposits for the one-place aircraft.
Power comes from a 247-pound thrust TJ-100 turbojet engine from PBS Velka Bites of the Czech Republic. Preliminary performance specs for the SubSonex estimate a 1,200-foot takeoff distance, a never-exceed speed of 298 mph indicated airspeed, a 300-mile range with reserves, and a 59-mph stall speed in the landing configuration.
Certified in the experimental exhibition category, buyers will not have to build at least 51 percent of the aircraft as experimental aircraft require, and it will be offered in an Ultra-Quick Build Kit with a guaranteed price of $125,000 for the first 10 kit reservation deposit holders. The refundable deposit is subject to a $1,000 cancellation fee.
"The gestalt of the whole project is to be able to have a jet for the price of an LSA (light-sport aircraft)," Sonex Founder and President John Monnett said, adding, "Which would you rather have?"
SubSonex kits will ship with a pre-assembled fuselage (with canopy and windshield installed), wings, tail, and control surfaces. The "plug and play" TJ-100 engine features an integral ECU and includes instrumentation, throttle control, pre-wired harnesses, and installation components.
Avionics and paint are the only items not included.
At least one prospective buyer (who requested anonymity) signed a deposit agreement at the conclusion of the event.
Monnett first unveiled the SubSonex Personal Jet prototype at AirVenture 2009, the JSX-1 powered by a 150-pound thrust model aircraft engine.
"But that was just a pipe dream," Monnett said. "We didn't have a viable engine."
Retrofitted with the TJ-100, the JSX-1 first flew in 2011 and completed its flight test program in 2012. Sonex is currently constructing JSX-2 prototypes that feature a larger cabin, fully retractable landing gear, and a BRS ballistic parachute system. Deliveries of the first JSX-2 kits are expected in mid-2014, Monnett said.
Operating the SubSonex requires a private pilot certificate and, for those without a turbine rating, a letter of authorization from the FAA. Sonex has developed a T-Flight Transition Training Program to provide the necessary instruction to qualify for the LOA.
The JSX-1 prototype and JSX-2 cockpit mock-up will be on display at the Sonex booth. Additionally, the JSX-1 will be featured in flight demonstrations during AirVenture, flown by primary test pilot Bob Carlton. The company will be taking accepting kit reservation deposits throughout the show.
Bringing the SubSonex to market isn't the only news Monnett is making at AirVenture this year. He's also receiving EAA's Freedom of Flight Award and the Spirit of Flight Award sponsored by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.