Sonex Takes Orders for ‘The Lowest Cost Jet Trainer Ever’

An artist rendering of a completed SubSonex JSX-2T. [Courtesy: Sonex]

Kit-built aircraft maker Sonex LLC said it is accepting deposits for its SubSonex JSX-2T, a two-place amateur-built personal jet.

The new airplane is a development of the single-seat SubSonex JSX-2 that has been flying since 2014, and is meant in part to serve as a trainer for that model and other jets. Indeed, the company says it designed the JSX-2T to be “the lowest cost jet trainer ever.”

Like other models in the line of Sonex aircraft dating to the late 1990s, the latest Sonex jet highlights the continuing evolution and increasing sophistication of modern, experimental amateur-built, or E-AB. Compared with notable earlier homebuilt models like the 1930s Pietenpol Air Camper, which used a Ford Model A car engine, and the Volkswagen-powered 1960s Evans VP-1 Volksplane, many of today’s E-AB’s look and feel more like factory-built, certificated aircraft.

The JSX-2T prototype taking-shape in the Hornets’ Nest R&D Center. [Courtesy: Sonex]

Sonex says it is building the JSX-2T prototype and will display the aircraft at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, which officially gets underway July 25. The company says it plans to begin flight testing this fall and to begin producing the kits during the second quarter of 2023. Deliveries of kits to customers are slated to begin during the fall or winter of 2023.

Sonex should gain some overall marketing momentum from AirVenture’s One Week Wonder project, which this year features a Sonex Waiex that amateur builders plan to complete during the weeklong gathering. Attendees at the show will get to take part in the construction process by taking turns installing rivets on the airplane.

JSX-2T has side-by-side seating, a 21.8-foot wingspan, and uses the same PBS TJ-100 turbojet as the single-seat version. Sonex says it expects the airplane to have wing loading and handling characteristics similar to the single-seater.

The deposit amount to reserve a kit is $15,000 and Sonex says the estimated cost of building the kit, which includes the engine, avionics, and interior upholstery, is under $155,000, compared with about $130,000 for the single-seater. The company says it will charge a $1,500 fee to customers who cancel their reservations.

This Looks Familiar

The Sonex is a v-tail with a single jet engine mounted atop its rear fuselage, a design that draws comparisons with the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet even though the two are quite different, one being an experimental kit aircraft and the other is a type-certificated aircraft.

Here is a look at some of the ways the two aircraft compare:

AttributeSonex JSX-2TCirrus SF50 Vision
Wingspan21.8 feet38.7 feet
Cruising speed174+ knots305 knots
Maximum range360 miles1,275 miles
Seating capacity27
Useful load880 lbs.2,490 lbs.
Stall speed56 knots67 knots
Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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