Sonex Aircraft officials report that the High Performance Aircraft Group debuted the SubSonex at this year’s Pylon Racing Seminar — also known as Rookie School — in June at Reno-Stead Airport in preparation for the upcoming National Championship Air Races. The SubSonex was flown by three-time Reno Gold champion Pete Zaccagnino.
“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,” said Pete. “I believe we got eight flights in and everyone loved it. It was a blast on the course.”
During the four-day event, the SubSonex participated in formation flights with as many different aircraft as time allowed. This included fingertip, echelon, cross-unders, pitch out rejoins and recoveries, Pete reports.
Due to runway construction at Stead airport, only Saturday and Sunday were available for track time during this year’s seminar. Very high winds prevented all flights on Saturday, so all time on the track had to be accomplished on Sunday.
“I did three flights on the track and everyone loved the SubSonex,” Pete said. “First time in history for this jet design to make flights on the Reno race course!”
Flights during the Rookie seminar were conducted on the Jet/Unlimited course, however, Sonex Aircraft and High Performance Aircraft Group 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, Sonex officials said.
Zaccagnino is flying SubSonex model JSX-2 factory prototype number 2, also known at the Sonex factory as “Sharkie,” for these racing and demonstration flights while JSX-2 factory prototype number 1 is on the airshow circuit for its third season performing day and night pyro aerobatic air shows around the nation by Bob Carlton of Vertigo Airshows.
The SubSonex Personal Jet, offered as a Quick Build aircraft kit, is powered by the PBS TJ-100 turbojet engine. Costs to purchase and complete a SubSonex kit start at $108,000, company officials report.
High Performance Aircraft Group, based in Park City, Utah is headed by aeronautical engineer and three-time world champion race pilot Pete Zaccagnino. Pete has flown throughout the world and performed specialized flight testing for various aircraft manufacturers in both civilian and military aircraft. He has over 22,000 flight hours in hundreds of aircraft types.
High Performance Aircraft Group specializes in flight testing, high performance aircraft training, global aircraft placement, aircraft management and acquisition. Pete will be racing in this year’s National Championship Air Races in the Jet Class and Sport Class.