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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 ".

Technical data


Schempp-Hirth ARCUS

TypeTwo seater glider
First flight2009
Nb. built 
CZ republic


EnginePBS TJ-100
TypeJet Engine
Unit thrust1100 N247 lbst

Arcus J

DesignDesert Aerospace
TypeJet glider
First flight   29.09.2016
Nb built>=2


Wingspan20,00 m 65.62 ft
Length8,73 m28.64 ft
Hight m ft
Wing area15,6 m²167.9 ft²
Aspect ratio 25,7 


Empty weight430 kg948 lb
Fuel and Oil lg US gal
Gross weight800 kg1764 lb
Max. loadkg/m²lb/sq ft


Vne - Max speep 280 km/h174 mph
Va - Manoeuvring Speed km/h kts
Climb rate solo3,2 m/s 630 ft/min
Climb rate dual2,7 m/s535 ft/mn
Service ceiling> 6 000 m> 20,000 ft
Range  kmmiles
Vs0 - Stalling Speed km/hmph
Take-off distance (15m) myds
Maximum glide ratio50