OSHKOSH, Wis. — Sonex Aircraft reports several milestones in the SubSonex Personal Jet program during the month of February: The first SubSonex kit shipped from the Sonex factory; four new SubSonex model JSX-2 pilots were minted in Moriarty, N.M.; and Bob Carlton received his Low-Level Statement of Aerobatic Competency (SAC) card for the SubSonex in-preparation for the 2015 airshow season.
On Feb. 12, the first SubSonex kit left Sonex Aircraft headquarters in Oshkosh, destined for customer Redge Greenberg of Durango, Colorado. The Ultra-Quick Build Kit was transported in the optionally available Triton TC 167 enclosed trailer by Sonex staff to Greenberg’s home.
This is the first in a series of seven kit deliveries included in the first kit production run, and marks the conclusion of a six-month effort to bring JSX-2 from prototype aircraft to a fully-developed quick build kit product, according to company officials.
“I hold commercial glider, helicopter and single engine land licenses, accumulating 4,500+ hours in numerous aircraft,” writes Greenberg, “but I never got the chance to fly a jet. I first saw the prototype of the SubSonex at Oshkosh, and followed the development for over a year. When Sonex offered the jet as a kit, I was first in line. Like my RV-8, the SubSonex is aerobatic, but the Sonex company also included a ballistic parachute for extra safety. I’m looking forward to finishing my SubSonex soon and adding jet capability to my aviation skills.”
This week, two more kits will be delivered to customers in Ontario, Canada, and Pennsylvania, with kit deliveries to Missouri, Kentucky, and Oklahoma to follow next week. The seventh kit will be delivered to New South Wales, Australia, via ocean container.
Orders are now being accepted for the second run of SubSonex Quick Build Kit production, to commence in August, company officials noted.
During the weekend of Feb. 1, four new pilots became qualified to fly the SubSonex JSX-2. Sonex Aircraft President John Monnett and Sonex CEO Jeremy Monnett travelled to Moriarty, N.M., to join Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) Bob O’Haver and BonusJet flight instructor Billy Hill in making their first flights in SubSonex JSX-2 and subsequent qualifying flights for SubSonex permanent Letters of Authorization (LOA).
Moriarty Airport, home of SubSonex chief test pilot and airshow performer Bob Carlton, is also the base of Carlton’s BonusJet training program through his company, Desert Aerospace. SubSonex customers can obtain dual instruction in the jet-powered TST-14 Bonus sailplane, dubbed the “BonusJet,” using the same PBS TJ-100 turbojet systems used in the SubSonex to contribute toward their SubSonex LOAs.
On Saturday, all four pilots made their first flights of SubSonex JSX-2, all four with diverse flying backgrounds from highly-experienced jet pilots O’Haver and Hill, to JSX-1 qualified pilot John Monnett, to piston Sonex pilot Jeremy Monnett, who recently completed the BonusJet training program.
The weekend’s flying concluded on Sunday, with permanent LOA check rides for O’Haver (administered by another visiting DPE), and checkrides for John and Jeremy Monnett, with a check ride for Billy Hill taking place later in the week.
Because it is a single-place aircraft, SubSonex permanent LOA check rides are administered by observation from the ground via radio contact from the DPE with a GoPro video camera mount on-board to document the flight and review the demonstrated maneuvers.
“This is EASY to fly,” remarks Jeremy Monnett on-camera after his first flight, joking to Bob Carlton, “sorry to burst your ego, Bob!” as Carlton was no longer the only SubSonex JSX-2 qualified pilot by the end of the day.
Carlton has been practicing a new airshow routine in SubSonex JSX-2 for the 2015 season, with performances already scheduled at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 and the 2015 Rocky Mountain Air Show with more show dates pending.
The routine includes maneuvers such as tail slides (usually taboo in a jet), hammerheads and tight turns inside the typical piston aircraft airshow box. Carlton has been practicing the show extensively over the past month, and obtained his Low-Level Statement of Aerobatic Competency (SAC) card for the SubSonex on Feb. 12 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Two more videos were released featuring Bob’s airshow practice in the SubSonex: One with
multicam video showing Bob’s practice in Moriarty, the other showing footage of his low-level practice in Tucson.
SubSonex JSX-2 is a refined version of the original proof-of-concept aircraft, JSX-1. It is powered by the PBS TJ-100 engine, producing 247 pounds of thrust. The new jet features a larger cockpit, a larger instrument panel, fully retractable landing gear, a BRS full-aircraft recovery parachute, higher fuel capacity in a rotationally molded cross-linked polyethylene fuel cell, and removable wings. Sold only as a Quick Build Kit, the SubSonex includes almost everything required to fly with the exception of avionics and paint, company officials note.
Available options include MGL iEFIS touchscreen avionics, a Mountain High oxygen system, Aveo PowerBurst LED position and strobe lighting, heated leather upholstery, cabin heat, and a Triton TC 167 enclosed trailer modified to transport the SubSonex.