Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Worlds First Homebuilt Jet Aircraft?

<--- Non-homemade Panther Jet

According to a newspaper in Queensland, Australia,

"John Gross has flown into the history books in his homemade jet plane. After seven years building the three-quarter-scale Grumann Panther in his backyard shed, John took to the skies this month at the Kingaroy Aerodrome.

"It is Australia's first home-build jet and the first light jet plane built by an individual in the world. It is equipped with an ex-US Navy engine rebuilt by John, who also designed and built the body and installed all navigational equipment, despite having no formal qualifications. "

Homemade Panther Jet --->

The article contiunes:
"On Saturday, April 1, John made 3,000ft before taking the plane to 10,000ft on Sunday. "Saturday was pretty exciting stuff and it was breaking new ground as it were so I was flying by instinct," John said. "The jet engine just wants to keep going. I swear I could hear it screaming with joy as it climbed."

I wonder if the newspaper reporter's claim as this being the "first light jet plane built by an individual" is true? Seems to me I've heard of other people building jets previously.

Mr. Gross chose to use the Grumman Panther jet as his guide. The Grumman Panther is an old model of jet fighter and one with a long history. The F9F Panther was a single-seat, single-engine, carrier-based, jet fighter used by the US Navy and Marine Corps during the Korean War. The Panther joined the fleet in 1949 and that year also became the first jet aircraft flown by the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team.


Norwood Matt said...

Bill, whether or not Mr. Gross is the first, I don't really care. This is simply fantastic work. My hat is off to him, waaaay off.

Norwood Matt said...

Bill, whether or not Mr. Gross is the first, I don't really care. This is simply fantastic work. My hat is off to him, waaaay off.

Brenda said...

You are right. Bede Aircraft made the BD-5J many years ago. Here is a link with some pics (scroll down)

Brenda said...

OOps - forgot the link.

gemini said...

Bede Aircraft were a corporation , john Gross designed and built everything singlehandedly.

Chancellorscar said...

Post up the blueprints for this someday.

Anonymous said...

There have been quite a few homebuilt jets both before and after the Bede 5. The term homebuilt is one of those not so universally defined words. In the USA and many other countries the term "homebuilt aircraft" is an official FAA term. Homebuilt in this context means that the plane was not built as a commercial product and that it meets certain specific requirments. By the FAA's definition the BD-5s (there were a fair number built by both individuals and BD Aircraft) are all homebuilts. The BD-10 and it's follow on Perigen Falcon, are also homebuilts.

I have seen a homebuilt that used a single GE CJ610 (very common jet engine used in a bunch of commercial and military aircraft, including the Lear Jet 23 - 29 series, mounted over the fuselage. There was a homebuilt passenger jet that used two converted turboshafts from a Huey. There are presently a couple of kit jets that use various small business jet engines. There was the Cri-Cri jet that used model jet engines, and several jets that used the TRS-18 engine used in the BD-5 jets.

I think it was very much of a stretch to say that the scale panther was the first jet homebuilt, but it is still a huge accomplishment, especially for someone without any formal aerospace education.