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SubSonex jet to race in RenoSubSonex jet to race in Reno

Sport aircraft manufacturer Sonex Aircraft announced that its SubSonex Personal Jet has been approved to race at the 2018 National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, in September.

The SubSonex JSX-2 "Sharkie" on the Reno race course piloted by three-time Reno Gold champion Pete Zaccagnino. Photo by Curtis Noble, courtesy of Sonex Aircraft.

The SubSonex flew during the racing event’s Pylon Racing Seminar—the so-called Rookie School—June 7 through 10 at Reno/Stead airport.

“The SubSonex was taken through various flight scenarios by three-time Reno Gold champion Pete Zaccagnino and exceeded performance expectations,” Sonex Aircraft said in a news release.

“The plane has been approved for racing, and now we have to get to work in preparation for training enough pilots to create a new race,” Zaccagnino said. “I believe we got eight flights in and everyone loved it. It was a blast on the course.”

The jet, which is powered by a PBS TJ-100 turbojet engine, flew “in formation flights with as many different aircraft as time allowed,” and also three times on the race course June 10 with Zaccagnino at the controls, as the jet made its first appearance on the Reno course. Airport construction followed by high winds on June 9 made the course unavailable for the first three days of Rookie School. The seminar is a required event for new pilots or aircraft in the races.

Although the Rookie School flights were conducted on the Jet/Unlimited course, Sonex, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Zaccagnino’s company, High Performance Aircraft Group of Park City, Utah, “are hoping to gain approval for future testing and exhibition racing on the shorter courses, designed for aircraft closer to the SubSonex’s speed envelope and level of maneuverability,” the announcement said.

High Performance Aircraft Group will showcase the SubSonex Personal Jet at aviation events to be announced.

Zaccagnino’s aircraft for the racing and demonstrations is SubSonex model JSX-2, factory prototype No. 2, also called "Sharkie" at the Sonex factory.

JSX-2 factory prototype No. 1 is spending its third season on the airshow circuit, piloted in day and night pyrotechnic aerobatic airshows by Vertigo Airshows' Bob Carlton.

Sonex Aircraft offers the SubSonex Personal Jet as a Quick Build aircraft kit. The airframe kit plus engine is priced under $100,000. The cost to purchase and complete a SubSonex kit starts at $108,000, the company said.

Topics: Air Racing

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