Loki the SubSonex Jet is a Free Bird!

My ever-vigilant neighbor caught the official end to my Phase 1 test period on "Loki," the little jet, this morning as I made a pass to "check altimeter calibration" (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it...) and then pulled up for the landing pattern. With that pass, I finished the prescribed 40 hour test period, but had actually completed the test program about ten hours before - yet these are still experimental aircraft and there are things I'll be looking in to, and will be collecting data for some time to come. Officially however, the airplane is now free to roam outside of the original test area (which was admittedly pretty large) and can be taken anywhere... like Southern California, or even Wisconsin! Continue reading "Loki the SubSonex Jet is a Free Bird!"

Thirty Hours

Selfies at 17,500' don't show a whole lot of skin, and also don't show just how cold your toes can get up there!

As I rolled the SubSonex to a stop in front of my hangar this morning, the mighty TJ-100 spooling down and going in to its cooling cycle, I noted two milestones on my kneeboard. The first - I have accumulated 30 hours of flight time on the little jet. The second - I finished the final test card in the series from the EAA Flight Test Manual. Now "finished" is, of course, a relative term. There are a few tests that I will probably repeat to see if I can do them with more precision. And there are a few that got severely edited because, well - the manual wasn't written with a jet in mind! There are all sorts of strike-outs in my records, things like recording CHTs, EGTs, Oil Pressures and Temps - they are simply not applicable in the case of this machine. Continue reading "Thirty Hours"

Keep it Covered

SubSonex canopy cover

Although our airplanes mostly live indoors, it is not uncommon to tie them down outside when we're on the road. Although a good canopy cover can be expensive, I have cut and fit enough canopies to know that I'd rather not do it again if I don't have to - and a few hundred dollars to take REALLY good care of the canopy (and protect the interior and avionics of the aircraft) is a good investment for me. So the little jet was going to need a cover - and I went to my usual supplier, Bruce's Aircraft Covers to see if they had a pattern. The answer was... maybe. They had engine plugs of the SubSonex, but the first canopy cover they sent was clearly for a two-place Sonex, and not the SubSonex, but they were quick to acknowledge the mistake, and ready and willing to proceed with making one that fit perfectly. The process was fairly simple, and surprisingly quick. Continue reading "Keep it Covered"

Yup... It Flies!

The little jet actually does just what it is supposed to do - and it looks good doing it!

We've now made three flights in the airplane I am calling "Loki" (The trickster from the Nordic sagas), and each one has been interesting. It had ben over three years since I last flew a Subsonex, and since there really is no way to get current other than to fly one, it was interesting to get re-acquainted with the flying qualities. On our first flight, we discovered that we need to re-rig the ruddervators to provide more "down" elevator, so we kept that flight short. The second and third flights proved that we got that right, and that the airplane is going to be fun, fun, fun! Continue reading "Yup... It Flies!"

Paul Dye's SubSonex N958PD: Successful First Flight

N958PD first flight
N958PD first flight

SubSonex Serial #21 (N958PD) made its first flight out of the Dayton Valley Airpark in Nevada on the 24th of March, 2019. Winter kept trying to hang on in the Sierra Nevada mountains, but the weather smiled on us, I had a great crew that made themselves available on short notice, and we got "Loki" off the ground for the first time. Thanks to all, and especially chase pilot extraordinaire Bob Mills, and my wife, Louise Hose, who acted as the airborne test conductor. Continue reading "Paul Dye's SubSonex N958PD: Successful First Flight"

It's a Plane!

Gerry Rose of the Reno FSDO with Paul Dye and his SubSonex jet

There's a new jet in town - N958PD, the Subsonex kit formerly known as "the project" received its airworthiness certificate today after a thorough inspection by Inspector Gerry Rose of the Reno FSDO, thereby officially becoming an airplane. It was a pleasure working with Gerry, who exemplifies an attitude of civil service that I wish would be copied by everyone that works for the public. He did not only a great inspection of the airframe for me (finding a couple of hardware nits that we all had missed), but his preparation of the paperwork was top notch. He worked hard to make sure that we had all of the possible permissions we could get in our Operating Limitations, and a test area large enough to give us numerous landing areas for the jet in our desolate part of the world. And although that test area includes the restricted areas servicing NAS Fallon, we think we'll stay well clear of the Top Gun students based there - we might be a jet, but we don't have the armament... Continue reading "It's a Plane!"