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Sonex Testimonials

What People are Saying...


Subject Index
Flying Qualities
Waiex Flying Qualities
Xenos Motorglider
Plans
Workshops
Customer Support
Kit Packaging
New!!! Sonex Flying Stories

Flying Qualities:

  • Ed Kolano: EAA's Sport Aviation (Feb. 2002)
    Perhaps the best thing about flying the Sonex is its control feel and inital resulting response. Good control stick harmony, low forces, and exciting-but-predictable pitch response make the airplane feel like a little fighter. Small stick displacements are all you need to get that fun-rate response. It seems tailormade for an hour of after-work yanking and banking to purge those accumulated adrenal toxins...

    The Sonex can easily be dubbed the millennium grass-roots airplane. It's simple and easy to fly. It's an airplane for those who just want to fly- not travel to a business meeting, not break any speed records, not haul stuff- just fly. With the expected light-sport aircraft category on the horizon and the fact that the Sonex already meets the preliminary criteria, it should be a good candidate for VFR altitude therapy.

  • J.R. "Zoom" Campbell: Editor, Aero-News Network
    We finally flew the Sonex and came away impressed by the performance of this 120 hp 3300 Jabiru powered two seater. Its fairly neutral, stability wise; but the stall is docile and well directed while the ground handling (we flew the taildragger but haven't yet tried the trike) is quite obedient.

    The Sonex is also uncommonly fast... doing over 130 mph with only 15 inches of MP!!! All out, the Sonex does an easy 165-170 mph and settles into a really nice 140-150 mph cruise. Its NO slouch in the climb department either, and I have a feeling that the VFR Sunday flyers may have just found their bird. Its a real rip-snorter... and I had a heck of a good time with her... Best of all, its offered by a company run by a guy who has more raw sport aviation design experience than any ten others... John Monnett. More info to follow...

  • Dan Johnson: EAA, EXPERIMENTER
    Unwittingly, I made a comment to John Monnett comparing my initial impression of the Sonex to the Stewart S-51, a fact that made the genial Wisconsin designer smile broadly, I was recalling Floridian Jim Stewart's 454 Chevy engine and his nearly all-metal airplane which powerfully resonated the gutsy, macho noise of a big-block powerplant. When John firewalled the throttles, the Sonex/Jabiru combination also produced a satisfying, throaty roar.

    ...the Sonex is notable in providing a 4:1 speed range, the holy grail of exemplary aircraft design... (with a) stall down at 40 mph and a cruise of 170 mph, (the Sonex) liberally exceeds this 4:1 mark...

    Almost regardless of speed, Sonex was neutral in pitch... Even at lower speeds, the controls are quite sprightly. At faster speeds I felt the controls stiffen noticeably. John says this observation is correct and that it was done deliberately to make a better, easier flying environment when you are doing cross country work...

    Add the rich Monnett design history to practical engineering and out comes the Sonex, a homebuilt aircraft that will enjoy a growing fleet as it satisfies many interests in one affordable package.
  • Brian D. Robinson: Sonex #0141, Englewood, Colorado
    I finally got the ride of my life. I got to fly the Sonex! ...So you know my background and experience to judge, I am a commercial military pilot with approximately 2000 hours of rotor wing and 1000 hours of fixed wing. The helicopters that I've flown include the Hughes 300, the Bell Jet Ranger, the Bell Huey and Huey Cobra, and the Apache. My fixed wing experience includes the Cessna 172 and 182, the Piper Tomahawk (one flight for spin training) , the Grumman Yankee, the King Air, and I am currently flying the Metroliner (twin turboprop). Yes, I love my job.

    We took off (in the 3300 Jabiru-powered Sonex) from runway 31 at OSH. ...We were off the ground in about 500 feet with good acceleration... I would estimate roll rates in the neighborhood of 140 degrees per second. A power-off stall showed no tendency to drop a wing and good airframe shutter prior to the break...

    The airplane trims out and flies hands off. The break-out forces are stiff enough to keep a novice from over controlling. The controls are in fact beautifully balanced. The stability is out-right amazing for an airplane this size. There is very little adverse yaw. Just a touch of rudder is all you need. It was a pure delight to maneuver around the sky. ...I was very impressed with the airplane and am very happy with my decision to build it

  • Aero-news Network, news section, posted 6/13/00
    The first customer-built Sonex flew on Monday and Tuesday. (June 12th and 13th, 2000) Tony Spicer, the builder, piloted the little six-cylinder all-metal machine...

    All the control inputs were balanced-feeling and linear; and the machine looks like it's going to have a great "fun factor." Tony checked controls, trim, flaps; he tried some slow flight. He was pleasantly forced to remember to use his feet, as the little plane with the big engine kept reminding him of nearly-forgotten things like P-factor.

    John Monnett, the plane's designer, said, "with that six-cylinder Jabiru, Tony's Sonex has about the same power to weight [ratio] as a 180 Pitts," which means that the shiny silver bird's performance will be "spirited."...

    Tony was quite happy with his 54" diameter, 60-inch pitch Prince P-Tip prop. "It turns 2800 static rpm, and I have not a clue what it will get straight and level, in the air." Yet...

    As a flyer, "...it did everything that's advertised. It was very controllable. Did some more slow flight today (Tuesday), got it down to 50 mph clean, and I felt the beginnings of a burble, but no stall yet. Maybe later." (stalls at 40 mph)...

    Tony bought his plans [they still can be made from plans! --ed] in September, 1998. It was set #32... Tony is retired, which means he worked on the airplane a lot; he purchased only a few of the pre-formed parts -- windscreen, cowl, some welded and formed assemblies) -- so he spent a lot of time on the pretty little machine. Spicer's Sonex is a taildragger, and he opted for the dual stick and rudder pedal kit. (Brakes and throttle are left-side only.)

    ...He wanted to tell us about the company; and we wanted to know. "They are without a doubt, and our chapter has a lot of experience -- you won't find an outfit that is better to work with than the Monnetts... There is not a better set of plans on the face of the earth. Everything's corrected and perfect, and I mean perfect. I did not have a manual -- all the information was on the plans. I am extremely impressed with the plans and the service with the company.

  • Rich Kindig #0304 (note: Rich Kindig built the 16th Sonex Flown in August, 2001)
    The Sonex is my 4th completion so I have some experience. I think Sonex does a very good job of filling their intended (advertised) mission. It's easy to build, particularly if you buy the kit and available pre-fab items (took me 7 months from delivery to first flight). The plans are excellent in accuracy and detail. I've never seen any even close to their quality. Mind you I am an experienced builder and ANY airplane is a pretty big project, but factory support is great (as is the on-line help), and it's definately doable for normally apt builders.

    I have a 3300 on mine and it's a blast to fly, responsive but very easy, fun to "horse around", good visibility, goes fast and slow, easy to move arround in the hanger. It won't do 600 mile legs on a cross country like my Glassair, but it's not intended as a long X-country machine. I feel very confident flying in that airframe. Basically, I recommend it highly. There's no "perfect" airplane that does it all, but the Sonex is very good in it's niche.
Subject Index
Flying Qualities
Waiex Flying Qualities
Xenos Motorglider
Plans
Workshops
Customer Support
Kit Packaging
  • Jeffry Larson: SonexTalk Discussion Group member (posted 11/02/04) Jeffry ultimately purchased Sonex #0206 from builder Ray Haeussler.
    I begged a ride from Eric (Scheppers, Sonex #0250) on Sunday and he agreed to take me up.

    After a walkaround and actually touching the shiny "Red Devil", I hopped up on the wing and slid down inside. It's not big, but for a 5'9" x 170 lb guy it was comfortable. The Jab fired right up and we headed down the taxiway. I took off the headset to listen and could hear the tailwheel echo through the fuselage, but with the headset on it was like....hey an airplane.

    After the checklist, entered the runway and hit the juice. Did you ever see a Jack Russel terrier taking off across the floor in hot pursuit of a cat? The toe nails digging in and clawing for every bit of foothold while the tail end kind or cantered out to the side in the quest for more speed. The Sonex seemed to be the same way, just clawing to get free of the ground as quickly as possible. The tail came up and we were away. While I marveled at how smooth and how fast we were climbing (Remember I'm used to flying a Kitfox Lite), I finally looked over to see fast we were going. About that time Eric leveled off at 1500. Eric turned over the controls and said, "do whatever you want". I started turning left and right and he giggled that it was easy to see that I was Kitfox driver. I looked over to see the ball swapping sides rather quickly. Too much rudder. The more I took my feet of the pedals, the better turns became. Most turns up to 60+ degrees can be accomplished without any or very little rudder. Taking hands off in a 45-50 degree turn, she just kept on turning.

    I didn't find the pitch to be ANY concern, in fact it was quite easy to control up and down as well as side to side. We headed over to Lincoln to do some landings and I got to fly the pattern, all the way to about 100 or so feet. I couldn't belive how easy this bird flies. After a wheel landing, we came back around for a full stall landing which Eric absolutly greased. If I hadn't heard the sound of the tailwheel I wouldn't have known that we were on the ground yet. It's kind of magical to watch someone that is so comfortable and confident of his abilities and his machine. Everything was like a beautiful dance and was fun to watch.

    We climbed out to 2500 and Eric did some stalls. About 45 something, I could feel some burbling until the nose broke. It felt like it only dropped a foot before she was flying again. He kicked in a notch of flaps and she just kind of hung there, stall, fly, stall, fly, stall, fly, never seeming to drop more than a few feet the whole time. We leveled out and he trimmed back to about 80 and gave me the controls again. We discussed whether I would miss the "low 'n slow" of my Kitfox as I merrily turned left, right, round and round. Keep in mind that I have only 8 GA logged hours and approaching 100 Ultralight hours and I'm cranking around and chatting like I'm out for a sunday stroll. This is sooooo easy.

    Eric took over and added some more power till we got up near the next color on the speed thingy and cranked it around a couple of times. At times it looked like we were near 90 degrees and pulling some G's. Ok, that's enough for a weak stomach. We head back straight and level when Eric spots another plane headed our direction. After insuring that we are out of their path....can you say vrooooooom, he realizes it's a buddy. We slow down and wait for the 172 to catch up, then slow some more, then some more, then some more...and still we don't see them. Back on the throttle and a sharp turn to the left, we locate them and continue the turn to come up on their "7". Now I'm feeling a bit queesy so Eric heads back home. As we descended to the pattern we felt a slight couple of bumps...did I mention that there was a 20 mph wind, but other than that the entire flight felt like we were playing on a glassy lake.

    Another nice landing and we taxied back to the hanger. What a ride. Absolutly unfreaking believable. This is a hot rod that a rookie like me can feel very comfortable with.

    I got out and in my excitement forgot to pay for gas or anything, but I will take care of that shortly. Eric and his wife are the nicest people in the world and I can't thank them enough for their generosity and hospitality.

    Now where is my checkbook. Oh honey...guess what?

  • John Sorg, Sonex# 0130: Midland, MI
    "The sonex is excellent in crosswinds, I've landed in 15+kts of gusty crosswind with no more problem than a nosedragger. Don't think you'll find a better handling tailwheel plane on the ground. I had zero tailwheel experience, but found the transition pretty easy. IMO a great plane for a low time pilot."

Subject Index
Flying Qualities
Waiex Flying Qualities
Xenos Motorglider
Plans
Workshops
Customer Support
Kit Packaging

Waiex Flying Qualities:

  • Drew Waterworth, Waiex# 0024: Butte des Morts, WI
    “The plane flew great right off the bat. I usually tend to push the tail up on take-off, and on the first flight had to remind myself to not do this because I didn’t know how the Y-tail would react. As it turns-out, it doesn’t care."

    "I’ve pushed the tail up now, and you still have plenty of rudder control. I’ve also tested the aircraft in landing by making wheel landings and holding the tail off the ground as long as I can, and again, the plane doesn’t care. You still have complete control."

    "In the air, you’d never know the difference unless you turn around and look behind you. I haven’t flown it in really bumpy air yet, but have hit light turbulence and the tail doesn’t “dance” or do any other funky stuff. I’ve kicked rudder both ways and it will come back to neutral the same as a traditional tail."

    "I guess the short and skinny on it is that it flies exactly the same as the Sonex, wonderful.”

Subject Index
Flying Qualities
Waiex Flying Qualities
Xenos Motorglider
Plans
Workshops
Customer Support
Kit Packaging

Xenos Motorglider:

  • Kitplanes Magazine: excerpts from "Soaring with Sonex" (Kitplanes April, 2005) by Murry Rozansky
    "I think John Monnett and company have nailed it with this aircraft design."

    "I think the Xenos could be the J-3 Cub of the 21st century. Not the number flying, but in terms of cost and ease of construction for the homebuilder and good, honest handling qualities."

    "While the majority of potential LSA consumers might not be interested in a motorglider, I think a close examination of the Xenos will change their minds."

    "Taxiing was a piece of cake. The low c.g., low wings, light weight and direct steering make ground handling simple even to a newcomer. And takeoff was just as straightforward."

    "It felt so natural and comfortable that after only flying it for 10 or 12 minutes I was able to concentrate wholly on catching thermals."

    "My impression is that it would take an exceptionally dumb or determined pilot to get into stall/spin trouble with the Xenos."

    "If I could work out the details, I would be building a Xenos right now."

Sonex Aircraft Plans :

  • Charles Howard, Sonex #0099 , Vista, California
    "Your plans are the most complete and detailed aircraft plans I have ever used."

  • Marl Halbrook, Sonex #0117, Albany, Georgia
    "Got my plans. They are very good!! I've got a couple of other sets of plans and none of them come close to the quality of these..."

  • J. Davis, Sonex #0325, Komoka, Ontario, Canada
    "I must say how impressed I am with the quality/accuracy of the (Sonex) plans, which I know comes as no surprise to any Sonex builder. Its really nice to fabricate parts according to the plans and feel confident that they *will* all fit together properly."

Download Sample Plan Sheets:
Plan Layout Sheet (76 Kb PDF)
Electrical Example (156 Kb PDF)


 

Workshops:

  • Shaun Stamnes, Sonex #0827: Green Bay, WI
    I wanted to again thank everyone at Sonex for their efforts at the Workshop this past weekend. The professionalism and passion shown by your staff made me even more confident that I have made the right choice by going with Sonex.

  • Kip Anderson, Sonex #0809: Titusville, FL
    I just returned from the Sonex Workshop and it was a great experience. The thing that made it outstanding was the Monnett family and staff, they really made you feel welcome and part of the group. Even with over 70 people there they seemed to be everywhere, answering questions they have probably done a hundred times before. For me building the practice wing section was the most beneficial...

    If any one is on the fence about building, go to the Sonex Workshop, not only will get a good education but can see the stacks of precut and punched parts ready to be assembled into kits and shipped out. I am ready to rivet.

  • Jim Weber: Howard, OH
    "The building process explainations were great. Getting to see the planes in different stages of construction was helpful"

  • Frank Reed: MO
    "I greatly enjoyed the seminar and your "family, honest" approach. It's refreshing that people like you are here and interested in home builders like me."

  • Barry Sklar: Las Vegas, NV
    "The Seminar is a very worthwhile experience...instructional and inspirational, well worth the time, money, and effort to travel for..Thank you, your gang is a 1st class act. "

  • Dan Villiger, Sonex#0093: Columbus, IN
    "I found your hints from 20+ years of building experience most helpful."

  • John Koser, Sonex #0167: Bloomington, MN
    "This workshop was ideal!"

  • Curtis Chapin, Sonex #0155: Jackson, MI
    "John's (Monnett) Engine Evolution and Design overview presentations were worth the cost of the entire trip!"

  • Chris Smith, Sonex #0694: Palm Coast, FL
    "Please extend my appreciation to everyone at Sonex for the workshop and all you do for your customers. I recognize that much of your efforts are driven by the profit motive, and that is quite all right.  But your enthusiasm far exceeds that required for a successful business, and that is what makes your organization so special."

  • Bruce Watkins, Sonex #0885: Houston, TX
    "I'm actually quite surprised at the extent to which my first few fabricated parts are quite close to the plan specs, and I'm making more progress in just the first few evenings of work in fabricating those parts than I would have predicted.  I attribute this good progress to having attended the builders workshop, the outstanding plans, a good bandsaw, and the helpful responses of you and of other builders to my niggling little questions, these latter of which (the responses) encourage my confidence that I can get this done."

Find Out More about Sonex Workshops


Subject Index
Flying Qualities
Waiex Flying Qualities
Xenos Motorglider
Plans
Workshops
Customer Support
Kit Packaging

Customer Support:

  • Ken Irwin , Sonex #0514: Poplar Grove, IL
    [Sonex] customer service is superb!! I've called dozens of times & never had a hint of a problem! I've talked to Jeremy, Betty, John, Kerry,
    and Heather, and have never gotten anything but a "How can we help you response". Of course, I'm following the "rules". I'm building my Sonex EXACTLY per plans. Why not??

    I researched kits & companies for 4 years before ordering my Sonex. I'll have it flying REAL soon and I have NO regrets. I picked the right kit!!

    A great plane built from a great kit supported by great people.


Subject Index
Flying Qualities
Waiex Flying Qualities
Xenos Motorglider
Plans
Workshops
Customer Support
Kit Packaging

Kit Packaging:

  • Chris Smith, Sonex #0694: Palm Coast, FL
    "Please extend my thanks to your entire organization. I have never seen such complete and conscientious documentation and packing, and I have been involved with manufacturing organizations since 1973. Your packing is by far the best I have ever encountered."

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