Woodward, Okla. —
FLYING MICROJET BOTH FUN AND FUNCTIONAL
Lewis has flown everything from fighter jets like the F-14D Tomcat, to huge airborne command posts like the Boeing E-6B Mercury, to training jets like the T-45 Goshawks, but according to him nothing feels quite like flying the microjet.
"It's difficult to describe the smile on my face when I fly the FLS Microjet," he said. "When I go flying, its like I'm strapping myself on the end of a tiny rocket and unlike anything else I've ever flown, I truly feel like it's an extension of my body. I feel like I have wings and an whole lot of power. It's an amazing feeling."
But for Lewis flying the microjet isn't just about the enjoyment of the experience. He is also helping to improve the plane.
"The first microjet originally designed around the early 1970s was called the BD-5J," Lewis said. "It was a public sensation, people said to themselves ' Wow, this thing's high performance, easy to build, and easy to fly.' It was also made famous by its appearance in the James Bond film 'Octopussy.' The problem was it wasn't any of the things it was supposed to be. It was actually hard to build from the kit, expensive because of the time and difficulty of the construction, and a little tricky to fly."
Since its release in 1970 however, the microjet has been drastically upgraded. Using current building techniques, Lewis said the jet's design features have greatly improved, increasing the its reliability and decreasing the pilot's workload.
"I teamed up with BD-Micro Technologies Inc in Oregon, they've essentially become the expert in BD-5J's and provided support to anyone who wanted to build one from a kit," he said.
In return, Lewis said he is helping to improve the plane by providing feedback to the company on how it feels to fly their FLS Microjet.
"Through the years I've worked with them flying the jet and providing pilot input, the engineers took my advice into consideration, and now we're just starting to get the FLS Microjet on the flight circuit," he said.