Potchefstroom brothers continue aviation development with launch of new glider
Following in the tradition of brothers making their mark in the aviation industry, Potchefstroom brothers Professor Attie Jonker and Uys Jonker have launched a new addition to the domestic glider industry – the JS3.
Introduced earlier this year to domestic and international markets, the JS3 features improved technology, such as aerodynamics, control systems, dashboard and a brand new set of wings that are 6 m shorter than those of the JS1 – an earlier, larger glider model.
To date, more than 100 JS1s have been sold internationally.
In the past ten years, the Jonker brothers have also been making waves in the domestic aviation sector with their designs and development made into glider aircraft, otherwise known as sailplanes.
Professor Jonker, who is also a senior lecturer at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Potchefstroom campus, recently carried out the maiden flight in the JS3. He says it was an “amazing experience”, adding that his “wildest expectations” were exceeded by the new glider. “The handling was phenomenal, and before I knew it, I was sitting on top of the world in a super sailplane that I helped design.”
Conducting the second test flight, sibling Uys says, “I knew we built a fine sailplane, but I was still pleasantly surprised. The JS3 is by far the best 15 m class sailplane that I have ever flown.”
The JS3 weighs 266 kg and can reach a speed of 290 km/h in the right circumstances.
Jonker Sailplanes co-owner Dr Johan Bosman (also a lecturer at NWU’s Mechanical Engineering Department) was responsible for the aerodynamics of the new sailplane. He says that after almost five years’ research, a PhD study and 15 engineers collaborating on the new design for a period of ten months, the JS3 is finally a “winning recipe”.
Jonker Sailplanes exports about 90% of its gliders.
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