It’s that magical time of year again when we trim the trees, decorate our front lawns, and start making lists of what might be nice to receive as a gift over the holiday season. But when it comes to pilots and lovers of all things aviation, those lists tend to get a little longer because aviation aficionados love trinkets.
From the requisite "remove before flight" key chains, to models of their favorite planes, to aviator sunglasses, the flying crowd has no shortage of aviation-themed merchandise to fawn over. But what to give a pilot who has stockpiles of aviation gear already in their possession? Sonex Aircraft has the perfect answer...a jet!
Sonex Aircraft Company has become very well known and respected in the aviation industry for their homebuilt kits of lightweight, metal, low-wing aircraft including the Sonex, Waiex, Xenos, and Onex. However, a few years ago they broke new ground by offering a homebuilt microjet, the SubSonex.
A PBS TJ-100 Turbojet Engine, manufactured by PBS Velká Bíteš in Czechoslovakia, powers the high-performance aircraft and the specs are pretty impressive. The SubSonex gets rolling with 247 pounds of takeoff thrust, 40 gallons of fuel and a single pilot. The jet cruises at 240 knots true airspeed with a useful load of 500 pounds and a range of 480 stature miles, the SubSonex isn’t really about these mundane details...it is all about the fun of flying your own personal jet. The SubSonex delivers with full aerobatic capabilities (+6 G and -3 G load factor) delivering unlimited smiles.
So how does one transition to being a jet pilot on an aircraft that requires FAA authorization to fly? You might think this task to be a mountain of red tape to wade through, especially on a single-seat aircraft with no place for an instructor! But Sonex has gone to great lengths to make sure anyone who builds a SubSonex can get flying as soon as the plane is completed.
If a pilot has jet experience the transition is quite easy. If, however, a pilot has no time in jet aircraft they can qualify in the SubSonex through a program at Desert Aerospace in New Mexico. Desert Aerospace is owned by Bob Carlton, an early adopter of the PBS engine having installed it on his Salto aerobatic glider. Bob had flown the glider in airshows for several years and was a natural to help Sonex demonstrate the abilities of the SubSonex jet. He was instrumental in developing a transition protocol to help new SubSonex pilots receive their Letter of Authorization (LOA) to fly the aircraft. And when it comes to the SubSonex, Bob knows what he’s talking about as he has been their demo pilot and the man at the controls if you have been fortunate enough to see the SubSonex fly at an airshow...day or night!
This package is available direct from Sonex for $42,000 and is sure to keep the pilot in your family occupied for several months while they assemble their very own jet. The PBS power plant is offered through Sonex for an additional $55,900 but can be added as the plane is close to being completed.
There are several extras available on the SubSonex as well. Items such as an aircraft parachute recovery system from BRS, an oxygen system, leather upholstery with a heated seat and different instrument packages are all add-ons available on the SubSonex.
While the purchase of a new airplane, even in kit form, is certainly not an inexpensive proposition, helping that special pilot in your life make their jet-fueled dreams come true would certainly make this one holiday season to remember!