Monnett Finally Lives His SubSonex Dreams

By Scott Spangler on October 10th, 2011

John Monnett has been dreaming about a homebuilt jet since the 1980s, so one can only imagine the barely controlled eagerness that filled him with the first flight of the SubSonex. And one can only imagine the internal debate between making that flight himself or turning it over to someone like, Bob Carleton, right, who has the necessary flight experience and, perhaps more important, experience with the PBS TJ-100 engine, which powers Carleton’s Super Salto Jet Sailplane.

But Monnett is the consummate professional, and safety always trumps decades of jet fueled desire. Carlton made the first flight on August 10, and explored the flight envelop from stalls to more than 200 knots true airspeed. Monnett climbed into the SubSonex for his first flight on August 25, and he has built his experience and confidence in the design since then. One happy revelation is that the TJ-100’s fuel economy has been better than expected. As the testing program moves forward, the Hornets’ Nest R&D team has replaced the nose wheel with a retractable unit to improve yaw stability in cruise (and an increase in cruise speed, too!).

A design study for the second SubSonex prototype is underway. Its goals are a larger cockpit, a sleeker nose, and (maybe) a removable wing for easier transport and storage. But the real question is this: As it flies now, how does the SubSonex compare to decades of jet propelled daydreams?

“Doesn’t everyone who has dreamed want one of these? Flying the jet is a hoot! It is like flying a sailplane only a lot faster,” John said. “So far, it has exceeded my expectations. It is, remarkably, very stable and comfortable at lower speeds and gets even better as you ramp up. Looking at the stoic cockpit videos doesn’t give the impression I am having a good time. I can’t think of any other aircraft I’ve flown that is this much fun! Beneath that old man’s skin is a kid again!”

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One Response to “Monnett Finally Lives His SubSonex Dreams”

  1. A320 Type Rating Says:

    John Monnett is really a seasoned professional who exposed his attitude like a professional and took this wise decision. It is really appreciative that the Sonex Aircraft built by him is a home made one with several features like a professional aircraft.

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