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Jet-powered glider tested

TST-14J BonusJet two seat, self-launching sailplaneAlbuquerque-based Desert Aerospace has completed certification test flights of the TST-14J BonusJet two seat, self-launching sailplane. The BonusJet features a jet engine that can be retracted into the fuselage for high performance cross-country soaring.

The jet engine can be extended and restarted in flight. The start sequence is fully automatic, requiring only the flick of a switch by the pilot, reducing the cockpit workload during a critical ‘low-save’ situation while soaring. The BonusJet is a modification of the TST-14 Bonus glider manufactured by TeST Gliders (a division of Comp-Let), in the Czech Republic.

The TJ-100 jet engine is manufactured by PBS, also in the Czech Republic. The jet modification was designed and installed by Desert Aerospace in the United States.

“The jet engine makes perfect sense for a self-launching sailplane or other light aircraft. It is small, lightweight and simple. It is also glass-smooth when running, eliminating the component and airframe damage caused by engine vibration,” said Desert Aerospace test pilot Bob Carlton.

Desert Aerospace has developed several small jet-powered aircraft, including the Super Salto aerobatic jet sailplane in which Carlton flies airshow performances worldwide. Desert Aerospace intends to market the BonusJet as well as other jet sailplane conversions. The company represents PBS in the United States and is developing an extreme light jet (XLJ) kit airplane for the homebuilt market. The BonusJet will be on display at EAA AirVenture starting July 26.

Alton Marsh
Alton K. Marsh
Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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