Start-up Hopes to Outfox VLJ Competitors

 - November 21, 2006, 6:10 AM

Tony Fox, the 84-year-old entrepreneur credited by those with long memories as being the father of the very light jet, this week sold the 1970s-era Foxjet design to start-up Millennium Aerospace of California. “My dream is to see the Foxjet flying during my lifetime…I’ve talked with 50 or 60 different prospective buyers recently, and I was convinced Millennium Aerospace has what it takes to get the Foxjet airborne,” said Fox. The six-seat, 1,400-nm Foxjet was shelved in the early 1980s when its Williams WR44-800 fanjet (the predecessor to the now-certified FJ44) was selected by the U.S. Air Force for an air-launched cruise missile and the government denied any nonmilitary use of the engine. Millennium now intends to refine some systems and will evaluate the current engine and avionics offerings for the revived aircraft. It plans to freeze the design by the end of the summer so a prototype can be built by year-end. Fox has agreed to serve as a consultant as the Foxjet moves toward certification.