Foxjet Now a Historic Lawn Ornament
The original prototype mock-up of the Foxjet sits on Lyle Anderson’s lawn in Princeton, Minnesota. The jet has also been lawn candy for a car dealership and a motorcycle parts business. Courtesy: Richard Anderson
Always be very careful when you refuel a marketing mockup! Courtesy: Luc van bavel design
The 570 lbst WR19-3 on the left, the 700 lbst WR19-10 on the right. Courtesy: Luc van bavel design
May13, 2010 — It’s not clear if Lyle Anderson, of Princeton, Minnesota, eschews garden gnomes, concrete deer or plastic flamingos; but there must be a good reason why a rare business jet that never flew is parked on his front lawn. In the late 1970s Tony Fox, a waste compactor manufacturer in Minneapolis, began to develop the Foxjet 600 in an effort to lower the cost of private jet travel and open it up to smaller airports including grass runways.
Orders and deposits were received for 73 of the single-pilot, five-passenger aircraft, including Bill Lear who was an early investor and wanted the very first aircraft off the line. Engineering and testing proceeded, a factory was located in Ohio, and Williams Research was signed to provide the powerplant. The WR44-800 turbofan engine had a16-inch diameter and was only 36 inches long. An earlier model, the WR19-3, was the first engine slated for the aircraft and several pictures show it was light enough for Fox to carry the engine on his shoulder.
The prototype that eventually ended up in Anderson’s yard spent some time as an ornament at a suburban Minneapolis car dealership, then at a used motorcycle business south of Minneapolis before Anderson purchased and moved it to Princeton. He sold his hangar not too long ago and had to clean it out, which meant the only place to put the airframe was his front lawn. It’s been there for a about a month and will soon leave, as EAA Chapter 1360 in Princeton has requested to use it in the upcoming Rum River Festival parade. The jet will then be towed to the Princeton airport.
It turns out that Tony Fox was well known in speed circles before he started the FoxJet project. In 1976 he paired up with rocket specialist Ky Michaelson to challenge the land speed record in a rocket car as part of the Bicentennial celebrations. The rocket was never lit, but the car and its launcher vehicle was just sold at a recent Barrett-Jackson auction.
For a comprehensive history of the Foxjet visit Luc van bavel design,site that features more pictures.
FoxJet Marketing video courtesy: Luc van bavel design