Video Courtesy FLS-Microjet and Justin Lewis
Video taped at Newport, OR
A father-son team in Lincoln County has struck gold on the Oregon coast as they’ve delivered their first personal-sized jet aircraft to a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot who is dazzling air show crowds from one end of the country to the other in the new FLS-Microject. Aircraft officianados and designers extraordinaire “Skeeter” Karnes and his son Richard have relentlessly pursued a uniquely crafted single seat aircraft that gives even the most seasoned pilots a thrill every time they pour on the gas, pull back on the stick and scream straight up through the clouds.
Inaugural purchaser of one of these aircraft, former Lcdr and now National Guard A-10 Warthog pilot Justin Lewis, spent the better part of last summer with Skeeter and Richard putting the finishing touches on this aircraft that is actually a kit that an owner must partially assemble his or herself under the watchful supervision of Skeeter and Richard.
The assembly site is “somewhere in Lincoln County,” a somewhat vague statement requested by Skeeter and Richard who don’t want people peekin’ and pokin’ around their operations.
Lewis and his microjet made its first flight at the Corvallis Airport. Later, further test flights and FAA certification runs were made at the Newport Airport. Then late last summer Justin packed up his “pocket rocket” (the wings and rear stabilizers unbolt) and packed it all into a small travel trailer and towed it to his home in Oklahoma where his wife (who is an FAA air traffic controller) and young children dwell. Lewis has traveled to a number of events showing off this new and fabulously fun new personal jet and recently wowed the crowd at the Copper State Air Show just south of Phoenix. Skeeter said interest in the aircraft by other aircraft owners was intense, not only there, but at several other air shows that Lewis flew the plane in aerobatic maneuvers high above the crowds.
Skeeter and Richard Karnes are likely to quickly outgrow their current digs which appear, off in the distance, like any other well weathered outbuilding. After learning that the FLS-Microjet was born and raised near the Yaquina River and grew its legs at the Newport Airport, Newport city officials say they intend to meet Skeeter and Richard and will try to convince them to move their manufacturing operations to the Newport Airport.
In the meantime Skeeter and Richard are finishing up another microjet, and preparing for its delivery and test flights. They also have a number of piston driven versions, with the prop in the back. But for those who yearn to feel the explosive push on their back, as they rocket straight up into the blue, the jet version is the only way to go. Sticker price: $189,500. They’re takin’ orders. 541-444-1343.