Sonex Testing Market for Jet-powered Sportplane

 - July 28, 2009, 10:57 AM

Sonex Aircraft brought what might be the only new jet-powered aircraft to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.–a research-and-development project intended to evaluate market reception for a small jet airplane kit. The aerobatic “Subsonex” will be powered by a 200-pound-thrust turbine engine, according to Sonex’s Mark Schaible, and should offer one hour of endurance, with a stall speed of 40 mph, 300-mph Vne, 240-mph cruise and 2,000-fpm climb (after burning off about half the fuel load), all for a kit price of $40,000 to $50,000. “We’re not too concerned with endurance,” he said. “It's made for getting up and putting a smile on your face.” For now, Sonex is evaluating demand for the tiny jet. “We have no idea if we’ll ever offer it to the market,” he said. The company still needs to find a viable engine as the Heward Microjets engine installed on the prototype displayed at AirVenture is out of production. While Sonex plans to fly the prototype using the Heward engine that is installed forward of the V tail, the flight will have to wait for Sonex engineers to design an electronic fuel control unit. The Subsonex is one of the projects in Sonex’s Hornet’s Nest R&D division.