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SubSonex Progress Update: February 7, 2014 - JSX-2 Nearing Completion; More Purchase and Training Options for Customers!
We are very proud and excited to have the SubSonex Personal Jet featured as the cover story in the January, 2014 issue of EAA Sport Aviation Magazine! The full article, written by SubSonex primary test pilot Bob Carlton, can be found on EAA's web site. This article presents the perfect opportunity to post our first major project update since AirVenture, 2013.
During AirVenture, we announced the availability of refundable $10,000 Kit Reservation Deposits to begin getting customers in line to order and take delivery of the second-generation JSX-2 variant of the SubSonex Personal Jet. We also announced a guaranteed price for the first ten deposit holders, and that the SubSonex would be offered in an Ultra-Quick Build Kit intended for Experimental Exhibition category airworthiness certification, allowing SubSonex customers to receive a premium kit with a very high degree of completion, and also giving them the freedom to contract for an unlimited amount of builder assist to finish the aircraft. The AirVenture 2013 announcement was greeted with a tremendous response, and several deposits were received during AirVenture, or shortly thereafter!
SubSonex proof-of-concept prototype JSX-1 was featured in the Sonex Aircraft display booth on AirVenture grounds again in 2013, and the aircraft was featured in flight demonstrations for the entire AirVenture crowd between airshow acts during two days of AirVenture. A cockpit mock-up of SubSonex JSX-2 was available in the AirVenture booth for people to try the new aircraft’s larger cockpit on for size, and customers touring our factory during AirVenture received an early glimpse of the SubSonex JSX-2 prototypes under construction. The entire report from AirVenture 2013 can be found in our News Archive.The SubSonex JSX-1 prototype was also recently exhibited at the ICAS (International Council of Air Shows) convention in Las Vegas as part of Bob Carlton's booth, Vertigo Airshows. In addition to promoting Bob’s Super Salto jet powered sailplane airshow performances, Bob began to lay the groundwork to book performances in SubSonex JSX-2 during the 2015 airshow season. Sonex founder and president John Monnett was also on-hand at the ICAS convention to talk to other airshow performers who may be interested in purchasing a SubSonex for use on the airshow circuit. With JSX-2's removable outboard wings, the aircraft combines the irresistible attraction of a jet act with over-the-road economy and convenience.
We are pleased to announce a new Experimental/Amateur-Built kit option for the SubSonex Personal Jet. While still only offered as a Quick Build Kit, the EAB version of the SubSonex will qualify under FAA "major portion" rules for homebuilt aircraft. This new kit option is primarily being offered to help those outside of the United States import and gain approval for the SubSonex in their home countries, with most countries offering a clear path for certification of homebuilt aircraft.
SubSonex JSX-2 Quick Build Kits for EAB construction will be offered at a $5,000 lower price, and will be an available option for all current and future deposit holders. Deposit holders will verify their choice between Experimental Exhibition vs. EAB versions of the SubSonex kit when responding to SubSonex Offer To Purchase Letters, to be distributed this spring.
The EAB version of the SubSonex Quick Build Kit will still ship very complete, with all the same supplied equipment as the Experimental Exhibition kit, however, EAB customers will have to build a few more parts of the aircraft themselves. This will include construction and installation of items such as the tail surfaces, control surfaces (ruddervators, ailerons, flaps) and windshield, much like the current Sonex, Waiex and Onex Quick Build Kits. A pending FAA National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET) audit will confirm the final list of tasks required for completion by the builder. Note that EAB builders will be restricted from contracting professional builder assistance to help complete their aircraft, as the EAB kit will ship very close to 49% complete. NKET audits from our current line of Sonex, Waiex and Onex Quick Build Kits can be found on our Aircraft Certification page.
The major difference between amateur-built and exhibition certification lies in who must construct the major portion of the aircraft. The choice of whether or not the customer wishes to hire a professional builder or shop to complete the aircraft will typically be the deciding factor. For customers outside the US, the certification requirements of amateur-built aircraft as opposed to experimental exhibition aircraft may be a deciding factor. All other differences are relatively minor. A downloadable Experimental Exhibition vs. EAB Summary has been prepared to help SubSonex customers make their decision.
Sonex Aircraft, LLC has teamed-up with Triton Trailers to become an official dealer! Triton’s high quality trailers are the perfect fit for transporting a SubSonex. We tested our first trailer from Triton with SubSonex JSX-1 to transport it to the ICAS show. With the JSX-2 design's wing center section main gear position, loading the new jet into the trailer will be incredibly simple, and will offer plenty of extra space inside the trailer for tools, luggage, etc. A Triton trailer will be offered as an available option for SubSonex kit orders with all necessary modifications to the trailer completed for easy loading and secure transport the SubSonex. Customers can even pick-up the SubSonex kit pre-packed in a Triton trailer from the Sonex factory as a tow-away package! Pricing details will be included in deposit holders' Offer to Purchase Letters.
SubSonex JSX-2 Prototype Progress Since AirVenture 2013:
Although visitors to the Sonex factory saw what appeared to be a nearly completed SubSonex JSX-2 prototype in our shop, with most all exposed aircraft skins riveted or cleco'd in-place, there was still a tremendous amount of final design and prototyping work to be done inside the aircraft, which has been our focus since the show:
It's important to note that all of this design and prototyping work is being conducted in lock-step with engineering and CAD drafting activities. Parts and installation modifications or redesigns are immediately transferred to 2D and solid CAD rendering files as an active part of the design and prototyping process in order to ensure production part accuracy and a quick transition from the prototyping process to production of the finalized design with fewer part production errors and drawing revisions for the new aircraft. With the addition of engineering and drafting offices to the Sonex Aircraft Hornets' Nest R&D Center and the hiring of an additional full-time mechanical engineer/CAD draftsman to the Sonex Aircraft staff, the prototyping/engineering/drafting and documentation process has taken on a truly collaborative team approach that has become the standard for all future Sonex Aircraft design and engineering projects.
When will JSX-2 Fly?
With design and prototyping activities closing-in on the final detail phases of systems installations, we anticipate coming very close to original targets for first flight of JSX-2, anticipated for the March/April, 2014 time frame (weather permitting). The SubSonex design team is working very hard to achieve this goal, with tasks such as avionics installation, fuel system plumbing and canopy installation remaining.
What comes next?
Most of the critical flight testing activities for the SubSonex design have already been completed using the proof-of-concept JSX-1 prototype aircraft, therefore, successful completion of the first few hours of flight test with JSX-2 will represent a major benchmark in the program. At this phase, Sonex Aircraft, LLC will issue Offer to Purchase Letters to SubSonex deposit holders offering them the opportunity to turn their $10,000 Kit Reservation Deposits into firm orders, and production planning and preparation will be in full-swing. JSX-2 flight testing will still be in-progress at this time, with the focus on envelope expansion and the measurement of finalized performance numbers. Assuming first flight of the first JSX-2 prototype in March/April, the following schedule of activities will also be very-much on schedule, with Offer to Purchase Letters anticipated at the end of the first quarter or very beginning of Q2, 2014 and first kit deliveries estimated to occur late summer, 2014.
Significant work has been completed in recent months to establish a clear path to LOA (Letter of Authorization) qualification for prospective SubSonex pilots. SubSonex JSX-1 has been stationed at the home base of program test pilot Bob Carlton in Albuquerque, NM as Bob has been utilizing the aircraft in what will likely be the final round of flights for the proof-of-concept airframe. Via a simple solo check flight, Bob has obtained a permanent LOA for the SubSonex line of aircraft (applicable to both JSX-1 and JSX-2 variants of the design) based upon his cumulative hours of experience in the aircraft.
More significantly, Bob has obtained approval for a PBS TJ-100 turbojet engine systems training program using his two-place TJ-100 powered BonusJet sailplane. Now any prospective pilot looking to learn the flight operations of the TJ-100 engine may train with Bob in the BonusJet with no requirement to hold a Glider pilot certificate. This development is important, as it will serve to greatly simplify the requirements for pilots to obtain a SubSonex LOA.
What Will You Need to Obtain a SubSonex LOA?
That question is now easier to answer in light of the BonusJet systems training approval mentioned above, however, the process still involves a personal, and sometimes subjective conversation regarding your flight experience with the geographically responsible FSDO where the aircraft is based. The minimum qualifications needed will likely include:
Standardization of LOA Process:
In order to reduce the amount of potential subjectivity between FSDO offices in the LOA process for SubSonex pilots, Sonex Aircraft LLC will be petitioning the Flight Standards Service office of the FAA, General and Commercial Division (AFS-800), Airmen Certification and Training Branch to define a standardized set of requirements to obtain LOA's for the SubSonex line of aircraft. Important contacts were made at AFS-800 during AirVenture 2013, and we are hopeful based-upon those conversations that a standardized requirement can be issued.
At this time, we have nearly sold all ten SubSonex Kit Reservation Deposits at the guaranteed price of USD $125,000 ($120,000 for EAB kit offering) offered during AirVenture 2013. In light of the new EAB kit option, we will be extending this price for all new $10,000 Kit Reservation Deposits placed by March 31, 2014! Orders placed after March 31st will receive the full-retail kit price: USD $135,000 ($130,000 for EAB kit offering). This new pricing structure is our current estimate of retail price based upon the aircraft’s estimated final bill of materials.
Get your SubSonex Merchandise Today!
SubSonex T-Shirts are available in various sizes from the Sonex Web Store for $12. Build a model or plan your paint scheme using our SubSonex JSX-2 3-View Print, available as a full-size 24”x36” plan sheet for $10.
A New SubSonex Flying Movie!
Bob Carlton narrates a shake-down flight of the proof-of-concept SubSonex JSX-1 prototype, in preparation for AirVenture 2013. See the simple operation of the PBS TJ-100 engine, along with the flying qualities of JSX-1 first-hand!