SubSonex Program Headed for Redesign, Delays after Runway Incident
The TJ-100 is expected to generate 240 pounds of thrust.
Photos by Fareed Guyot
June 10, 2010 — Last week (June 4) Sonex Aircraft, LLC. announced that their SubSonex personal jet program will enter a thorough design review process after a series of what Sonex termed “high-speed taxi tests” revealed controllability issues as the aircraft reached takeoff speeds. Early reports from several media sources quoted a preliminary FAA accident report that the aircraft exited the runway on landing sustaining minor damage. Sources tell EAA that the aircraft never left the ground.
Sonex says the design review will result in an aircraft that is more controllable for the average recreational pilot. “The challenges we face with the SubSonex perfectly illustrate our reasoning for unveiling this project under the banner of the Hornets’ Nest Research and Development program,” Sonex Aircraft Founder and President John Monnett stated in the company’s latest issue of the Hornets’ Nest R&D Update e-mail newsletter. “The Sonex, Waiex and Xenos airframes, along with the current line of AeroConversions products offer impeccable performance, and no product will emerge from the Hornets’ Nest to become available for consumers without meeting the same stringent criteria.”
The SubSonex program was proceeding with good momentum as the integration of an upgraded engine (Czech-built TJ-100) went faster than expected. Monnett told EAA.org in December 2009, following the first successful engine run, that he hoped to begin flight testing in the spring.
The development setback for the SubSonex will likely move design work on the project to near the back of the line as Hornets’ Nest R&D has other pressing projects that have reached “critical phases” according to the newsletter.
“I am committed to seeing the SubSonex through, and am confident that we can be successful, however, it must take a back seat to other company priorities for now,” Monnett said. “The E-Flight Electric Aircraft and Onex Single-Place Aircraft programs are gaining a huge amount of momentum, and represent the largest potential for successful new Sonex and AeroConversions products in the near-term. These projects require our full attention and resources as we move forward with R&D.”