Initial tests completed on 'personal jet' kitplane

July 16, 2014

Experimental kit aircraft maker Sonex announced completing "a very successful series of initial flight tests" of the SubSonex JSX-2, a personal jet that the Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based company plans to offer to the public for deliveries in 2015.

Tests completed July 10 evaluated the single-seat airplane’s systems, flight controls, gear, and handling at moderately high speeds. "Its flight characteristics can be summed up in two words, fast and smooth," said test pilot Bob Carlton. "She handles great and climbs well."

After the tests, additional flights were conducted on July 11 at Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport to prepare for demonstration fly-bys during EAA AirVenture, which starts July 28.

"The Wittman control tower staff was very helpful and accommodating to the special requirements of these flights," said Sonex Aircraft CEO Jeremy Monnett.

Videos recorded the action as Carlton—an airshow performer known for aerobatic routines flown in a jet-powered motorglider—put the SubSonex through its paces that began with taxiing and engine runs, and continued with landing gear retraction, flight at higher speeds, and even a few barrel rolls. The aircraft is powered by an approximately 250-pound thrust, Czech-built PBS TJ-100-engine.

Retracting the gear resulted in significant noise reduction and quick acceleration, Sonex said. "The feeling is glass smooth," said Carlton.

Describing testing of maximum continuous power to investigate cruise performance at 3,000 feet, "the air is perfectly calm and she flies like she’s on rails," he added.

Stalls were "well-mannered" and presented "plenty of warning—in fact, the stall took considerable work to induce."

The SX-2 uses the same engine as the prototype JSX-1. The JSX-2 features a larger cabin, more spacious instrument panel, and "fully retractable landing gear, a BRS full-aircraft recovery parachute, higher fuel capacity in a rotationally molded cross-linked polyethylene fuel cell, easily removable wings, and a more sculpted and aesthetically pleasing nose section," said John Monnett, Sonex Aircraft’s founder and president, and the designer of the SubSonex.

After performance data are analyzed and published, depositors who put up $10,000 for an early place in line will be offered the opportunity to give firm orders for 2014 kit production, the company said. (A guaranteed introductory price of $125,000 was extended to the first 10 depositors.)

Once the early movers have weighed in, the general public will be able to place orders for deliveries in 2015. The SubSonex will be sold as a quick-build kit that includes "almost everything required to fly with the exception of avionics and paint," the announcement said.

Sonex works toward the goal of "low-cost sport flying" through its lines of sport airplanes, motorgliders, and the AeroConversions line of ancillary aviation products.

Test pilot Bob Carlton taxis back to the Sonex ramp after first flight of SubSonex Personal Jet model JSX-2.