Desert Aerospace to sell sailplane fitted with retractable jet engine
The two most common methods of launching sailplanes (gliders) are by aerotow and by winch. In the recent years, the self-launching sailplanes have become quite popular with the pilots looking for that extra punch. The self-launching gliders fitted with engines have sufficient thrust and initial climb rate to take off without any assistance. Sailplanes equipped with small gasoline engines and electric motors are quite common now, but the good folks over at Desert Aerospace have taken the whole thing a step forth by fitting a retractable jet engine onto a sailplane. The New Mexico company has plans to start selling a hybrid sailplane very soon, which uses a 45 pound PBS TJ-100 jet engine that can deliver 240 pounds of thrust.
The engine has been fitted aboard the modified two-seat TST-14J sailplane. During take-off, the jet engine located behind the cockpit makes the glider to climb at more than 900 feet per minute, and when it hits a soaring altitude, it folds down inside the fuselage.
For now, there are no details related to the pricing, but they claim it to be cheaper than the current self-launching gliders available from the more expensive German manufacturers.