F O X J E T
The Foxjet 600 was unveiled in 1977, and did not proceed beyond the manufacturing of several marketing mockups and a few parts. The concept itself was very good, but the program failed for lack of "reality check" tools available to Tony Fox. The aircraft startup environment is unforgiving when the unique challenges are not properly identified. Lack of financing or - as a Foxjet assets sales document implies - lack of powerplant availability, were more a result of these shortcomings rather than a cause.
Many thanks to those who were involved directly or indirectly in this program and have provided me with unique material.
Donald Bordlemay, president of Aeronca, Tony Fox and Sam Williams sign a production deal on the FoxJet.
Bill Lear and Tony Fox discuss corporate aircraft of the future.
Original FoxJet marketing video:
Bill Lear and Tony Fox discussion video:
Foxjet Project Background (Verbatim from an assets sales document)
The Foxjet project was begun in the late 1970's with the objective of: 1) lowering the fuel cost for a corporate jet to about 9 cents a mile vs 48 cents a mile for similar aircraft (when jet fuel was about $.50 a gallon); 2) permit a corporate jet to be used at nearly 9,000 airports (even sod runways), instead of only about 900 for larger aircraft; and 3) sell for $500,000 - $700,000, or about one-half the cost of the competitors at that time.
Aeronca Inc. of Middletown, Ohio had contracted to build the Foxjet under FAA part 23, a single pilot, 5 passenger plane, designed to have two engines, and a cruising speed of about 400 mph, and a range of 1400-2200 statute miles. The engine to be used was the Williams Research WR44-800 fanjet--only 16 inches in diameter and 36 inches long, and which weighed about 240 pounds. The original design of the Foxjet was powered by the WR19-3.
Mr. Fox spent about $3,000,000 during the five years he was developing the program. He had a staff of 19 aviation engineering specialists, mechanics and metal fabricators developing engineering data, calculations, and following the FAA programs. They built wing, fuselage and tail jigs and four full size mock-ups. Various promotional materials, movies and literature were also created. About 50-60% of the engineering was completed, including all information on drop test on the landing gear, wing stress loads, fuselage pressurization, windshield test projections, seating arrangements and electrical harness layouts. Aeronca had started cutting metal.
Many advance orders and deposits totalling nealry $1,000,000 (which were later returned) were received by the end of 1982. The person who wanted the very first one was non other than Bill Lear--who had also put down a deposit--the designer and builder of the famous Learjet, who consulted with Mr. Fox on the project.
However, when the US Air Force began using a similar sized Williams Research turbofan jet for the Air Launched Cruise Missile, the US government decided not to give clearance to any non-military use. At that point, all development was stopped, and Mr. Fox went back to building commercial waste compactors, which has been his main product line since 1972.
When a comparable high bypass fanjet engine became again available, Mr Fox did not have the time of financial resources to supervise the completion of the Foxjet project.
Here is an excerpt from the Foxjet business plan regarding the air taxi operation:
FOXJET F600 (From an old copy of Jane's, but edited with more information). The prototype of this lightweight twin-turbofan transport was expected to fly in 1980 but never did. Firm orders for 73 aircraft, backed by deposits, were in hand in mid-1978, and Foxjet International envisaged eventual manufacture of 44 Foxjet F600s per month.
Engine development was then expected to uprate the present turbofan to 5.35 kN (1,200 lb st, with a subsequent refanned version rated at 6.24 kN (1,400 lb st).
NOTE: Thrust mentionned above is total thrust for both engines.
TYPE: Four/six-seat twin-turbofan transport. Wings: Cantilever low-wing monoplane. NACA 65 Series laminar flow section. Moderate leading-edge sweepback; straight trailing edge. All-metal fail-safe structure, primarily of light alloy. Electrically operated modified Fowler type single-slotted light alloy trailing-edge flaps. Manually operated ailerons. Hydraulically operated spoilers, forward of flaps, serve also as airbrakes. Trim tab in port aileron. Electrical anti-icing of each wing leading edge at root, optional pneumatic de-icing boots for remainder of leading edges.
The Foxjet wing had been designed for the Foxjet by Branson Aircraft Corporation.
Known as the Foxjet Super-Flow wing, this could be modified easily to supercritical form when required by future power increase, and was claimed to improve stability and low-speed control. Performance was generally improved by these changes.
Fuselage: Semi-monocoque light alloy fail-safe structure of circular cross-section. Light alloy honeycomb pressure bulkheads and baggage deck.
Tail - Unit: Cantilever multi-spar light alloy structure with swept vertical and horizontal surfaces. Variable-incidence tailplane mounted approximately midway up fin. Manually operated control surfaces, with tab in rudder, Leading edges fitted with de-icing system.
Landing Gear: HydraulicaIly -retractable tricycle type, manufactured by Wiebel Tool Company, with twin wheels on each unit. Main units retract inward, nose unit aft. Manually operated emergency hydraulic system. Oleo-pneumatic shock absorbers. Main wheels have low-pressure tires size 5.00-5. Hydraulically steerable nosewheel unit, with water-chine tire size 11 x 4.00-5. Hydraulic disc brakes on main wheels.
Power Plant: Two 3.78 kN (850 lb st) Williams Research WR44-800 turbofan engines, pod-mounted one each side of rear fuselage. Integral wing fuel tanks, total capacity 825 liters (218 US gallons). Engine inlet anti-icing system.
Accommodation: Pilot and three to five passengers, in pairs, Dual controls optional. Four standard seats have fore and aft, vertical, and recline adjustment. Seat belts for all seats; pilot's also has shoulder harness. Two-piece door (upward-hinged portion, and downward-hinged portion with integral steps) on portside forward of wing. Emergency exit on starboard side Accommodation air-conditioned and pressurized. Birdproof wind screen with pneumatic system for rain removal, defogging and defrosting. Equipment access door on port side of nose. Baggage hold aft of cabin.
Systems: Pressurization system with max differential of 0.59 bars (8.5 lb/sq in), providing a cabin altitude of 2.440 m (8,000 ft) to 12,500m (41,000 ft). Electrical system. Hydraulic system, with hydraulic backup. Pneumatic system. Oxygen system.
Avionics and Equipment: Standard avionics include dual nav/com, autopilot/flight director, ADF, DME and transponder. Weather radar optional. Standard equipment Includes full blind-flying instrumentation, sun visors, interior lighting, navigation lights, dual landing lights, taxi light, and three strobe lights. Optional equipment includes electrically powered one-man towing system, stowed on board.
|Span||28 ft 6 in||8.69 m|
|Length||31 ft 2 in||9.50 m|
|Height||10ft 6 in||3.2 m|
|Fuselage diameter||4ft 7in||1.40 m|
|Tailplane span||13ft 4in||4.06 m|
|Cabin length||12ft 0 in||3.66 m|
|Wing area||125 sqft||11.61 m2|
|Max. take-off weight||4550 lb||2064 kg|
|Empty weight||2408 lb||1092 kg|
|Fuel weight||1418 lb||652 kg|
|Max. wing loading||36.4 lb/sq ft||177.8 kg/m2|
|Total take-off thrust||850 lb||3.78 kN|
|Thrust loading||2.68 lb/lb||273 kg/kN|
|Max. cruise speed SL (FL360)||356 kts||659 km/h|
|Best cruise speed (FL360)||286 kts||529 km/h|
|Stall speed (power off, flaps down) (VSC)||74 kts||137 km/h|
|TAKE-OFF (ISA, SL)|
|Ground roll||1600 ft||488 m|
|Obstacle clearance 15m / 50ft||2700 ft||823 m|
|LANDING (ISA, SL)|
|Obstacle clearance 15m / 50ft||1860 ft||567 m|
|Ground roll||980 ft||299 m|
|CLIMB AND ALTITUDE|
|Sea level||3400 ft/min||1035 m/min|
|Engine out (SL)||1000 ft/min||305 m/min|
|Service ceiling (FAR limit is 25000ft)||41000 ft||12500 m|
|Time to climb to 11000 m / 36000 ft||22 min|
|Range at best cruise (45 min res.)||955 nm||1768 km|
|Maximum range||1215 nm||2253 km|
Source: Jane's All the World Aircraft 80-81. Thank you Hayden.
Last update : 27JAN05
Last update : 27JAN05