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Viperjet MKII: The Personal Fighter Jet

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  1. Viperjet MKII
    The Personal Fighter Jet

    Designed for corporate CEOs, lawyers, physicians and other professionals who want cross-country,
    aerobatic and fighter-style performance in a single aircraft, this kit-built executive jet sets a new
    standard for performance, appearance and comfort in a in kit plane.

    by Shauna Robinson
    Brothers Dan and Scott Hanchette founded the ViperFan project in 1996 as piston engine, propeller driven pusher. As the light micro-jet market began to spool-up, the Hanchette brothers chose turbojet propulsion instead, replacing the original Continental flat-6 with a Turbomeca Marboré engine. In traditional fighter-jet form, it is a swept wing, tandem seat fuselage with outboard intakes and a retractable tricycle undercarriage. Unlike its military counterpart, it is constructed of composite materials and de-weaponized for civilian use.

    The original Viperjet prototype took to the air in October 1999, making it's public debut at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Airshow in the year 2000, but the high fuel consumption of the Turbomeca engine coupled with a lack of power conducive to the airframe's capability and appearance resulted in an engine swap to the General Electric T58 turboshaft engine with the power turbine removed; turning it into a turbojet. While it produced better results, it did not meet the requirements of the Hanchette brothers. Eventually, they selected the General Electric J85. This turbojet engine produced much greater thrust than previous powerplants.
  2. With the new engine and redesigned the aircraft, the new ViperJet was designated the MKII. Slightly larger, it featured a pressurized cabin, nearly three times the fuel capacity, a stronger undercarriage and optional tip tanks. The MKII prototype first flew in June 2005 and Viper Aircraft offered replacement MKII parts to customers who had purchased the original kit versions.
  3. the Viperjet wasn't an overnight success. The brothers began designing the Viperfan, their first plane, in the mid-1980s. Composites weren't common at that time, so designing took several years while waiting for the right materials. In 1996, they began tooling up for the prototype, founding Viper Aircraft Corporation and hiring Composites Universal Group in Scappoose, OR to make the molds and parts. It would be three and a half years later that paper drawings finally evolved into a flyable aircraft.
  4. The first Viperjets had a maximum range of 750 to 1,000 miles with 260 to 330 gallons of fuel; a takeoff roll of 1,000 to 1,500 feet—rotating at 85 kts—and a landing distance of 2,500 feet. Despite its speed and power, its stability makes it easy for a Bonanza or Mooney pilot to transition to flying the jet. Unlike a Bonanza, which takes three or four minutes to get from 10,000 to 15,000 feet, the Viperjet covers that distance in 30 seconds due to GE's J85, the civilian model of its successful CJ610, with 2,850 pounds of rated thrust. The Viperjet has a stall speed of 77 knots and an amazing sub-Mach of 488 knots.
  5. The ViperJet has a luxury cockpit with custom-contoured side panels, accented with layered Brazilian burl wood. Adjustable front and rear seats are covered in Italian leather. Also, the two-place cabin is a climate-controlled environment for more comfort. A key feature of the executive version is top-of-the-line avionics, providing twin glass screens and integrated flight systems by OP Technologies. If the passenger tires of seeing spectacular views through the new tint glass canopy, movies can be viewed on the custom-designed entertainment system.

    The team at Viper has accumulated over 400 hours of flight time on the first ViperJet, and it is a pleasure to fly!” according to Charlie Johnson, the former President/CEO Cessna Aircraft. The ViperJet project is currently on hold, however Viper aircraft sales reached 23 planes. It is unclear if the company will resume manufacturing, but one of the completed kits are being offered here...

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