SubSonex Prototype Jet JSX-1 Makes First Flight


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SubSonex Prototype Jet JSX-1 Makes First Flight

By Eddy Metcalf

August 11, 2011 - Sonex Aircraft, announce that the SubSonex jet aircraft prototype, JSX-1, made its maiden flight on Wednesday at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI. The SubSonex was piloted by air show performer and owner of Desert Aerospace LLC, Bob Carlton. 

The flight lasted approximately 14 minutes and focused on exploring the low-end of the aircraft's speed envelope, including stalls, and a low approach in the landing configuration.

"It?s an exciting day for Sonex," said SubSonex designer and Sonex Aircraft, LLC President John Monnett. "We have a test flight plan to expand the envelope of the aircraft, and we'll see where the project takes us from here." 

"It was great - flies like an airplane,? Carlton said after the flight. ?The faster I went, the better it felt." Carlton was selected to fly the aircraft based on his vast experience pioneering light jet aircraft. Bob Carlton is best known for his air show performances with the Super Salto jet sailplane, and is the developer of the Bonus Jet two-seat glider. The engines used on Carlton's aircraft are the same as that used on the SubSonex: The PBS TJ-100. 

The TJ 100 is single-shaft engine with single-stage radial compressor, annular combustion chamber, single-stage axial turbine, and stationary exhaust jet. In the compressor intake there is a brushless starter generator, which enables the starting from the board network and power generating in course of the engine operation. 

The intake air is compressed in the radial compressor wheel, proceeds through radial and axial diffuser into the combustion chamber, where it is mixed with fuel sprayed by several fuel nozzles. Combustion gases arising in fuel burning in the combustion chamber expand through the single-stage axial turbine and exhaust jet into the atmosphere. The rotor of the engine is mounted on 2 ball bearings lubricated with pressure oil.

The SubSonex has been a personal dream of Sonex Founder and EAA Hall-of-Fame designer John Monnett's for a long time. The goal is to provide a robust yet inexpensive performance turbine-powered aircraft for the recreational pilot. Those with a need for speed are naturally attracted to this beautiful design. According to John, it will be as close as you can get to strapping on a jet pack and going for a ride while still flying in an airplane.


Like all other aircraft in its family, the SubSonex was designed from the ground up for its specific mission. It shares no common parts with the rest of the family of aircraft, but it is very similar in its construction. It also has removable wings for transportation and storage, just like the rest of the Sonex Family. 

The biggest challenge that faced this project was its engine. Jet Engine Development in the size we require for the SubSonex has come from two areas. Model Jet Turbine designers who have scaled up their designs and established military and commercial Jet Turbine manufacturers who have scaled down their designs or modified engines designed for other uses, like Auxillary Power Units (APU's) on aircraft and helicopters. 

Sonex Aircraft, LLC is a leader in the experimental kit aircraft industry, providing a series of Sport Pilot eligible kit aircraft and producing the AeroConversions line of products which include the AeroVee engine, AeroInjector and ancillary aviation products.


Sonex Aircraft?s Sonex and Waiex sport planes, and the Xenos sport motorglider offer outstanding performance in an easy to build, easy to fly kit package that can be purchased and completed with full technical support at an unrivaled price.

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