Desert Aerospace modifies TST-14J

Pulling traditional Sailplane to an altitude before taking glide is a thing of past. Now a bunch of creative minds have given boost to self-launching gliders by adding retractable jet engine which is located right behind the cockpit. The initiative was taken by Desert Aerospace, a small New Mexico company, which aims to build an alternative to the expensive self-launching German gliders by combining a high-performance glider and a small jet engine, designed for use in unmanned aerial vehicles.

For that purpose the, Desert Aerospace has modified a two-seat TST-14J sailplane to fit a 45 pound PBS TJ-100 jet engine that weighs merely 45 pounds and produces 240 pounds of thrust. The tiny engine allows the glider to climb at more than 900 feet per minute, however; at the soaring altitude, the engine folds down inside the fuselage and retractable doors provide an aerodynamic covering.
The jet engine has a fuel consumption of 20 gallons per hour and is currently under testing. The Desert Aerospace hasn’t revealed the test data or the pricing details either but it assures that it’ll be cheaper than the current self-launching gliders. 


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