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Desert Aerospace LLC (Moriarty, NM, USA)

The Arcus-J is a Schempp-Hirth Arcus M sailplane with a retractable PBS TJ-100 jet engine. As for the BonusJet, this conversion into a motor-glider was carried out by Desert AerospaceBob carlton made the first flight on September 29, 2016.

A memorable flight

On October 14, 2016, an interesting flight was made : Launching from Inyokern (CA) at sunrise, Dennis Tito (Arcus-J owner) and designer/copilot Bob Carlton powered up to 8,000 MSL and found the wave. Over eight hours and 1,175 km later, they landed after the first significant long soaring flight in a jet-powered sailplane. This first ‘real’ long soaring flight demonstrated the jet sailplane’s ability to optimize soaring conditions.

As Bob wrote after this flight : " It confirms the advantages of a simple, reliable, low drag (~38:1 with engine extended) engine system that can be started at high altitude after hours of cold-soaking, and run fast enough to push through the winds ".

Arcus M General characteristics

Capacity185 kg   (407) water ballast
Length8.73 m(28.64 ft in)
Wingspan20.00 m(65.62 ft in)
Wing area15.6 m2(167.9 ft2)
Aspect ratio25.7
Empty weight430 kg(948 lb)
Gross weight800 kg(1764 lb)
Maximum speed  280 km/h(174 mph)
Maximum glide ratio  50
Rate of sink0.56 m/s(110 ft/min)

Arcus-J Test Flight Statistics

Field elevation 6200 '
Best climb speed80 - 95 knots
Altitude reached17,500 '
Service ceiling >20,000 '
Climb rate solo (DA 7500')              630 ft/min
Climb rate dual (DA 8000') 535 ft/min