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Sonex Aircraft News Archive
July-August, 2007

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Airport User Fees: The Time to Weigh-In is Now!

Listen to an excellent Ultraflight Radio podcast interview with Earl Lawrence of EAA detailing why it is so important for your voice to be heard on the subject of airport user fees. Congress will be returning from their summer vacation on September 7, 2007, and for reasons Earl Lawrence discusses in this interview, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to begin final debate on the FAA Reauthorization Act. One version of the bill has user fees included and another version does not. Earl talks about how you can lend your voice to help assure that congress does the right thing. Representatives want your feedback. Check-out EAA's informational site for more information, including sample letters, links to addresses of your local representatives, videos and more!

Waiex First Flight: Steve Schmidt

Congratulations to Steve Schmidt of Owosso, Michigan, whose Jabiru 3300 powered, Tri-Gear Waiex (S/N W0054) flew for the first time on August 21. Gold Wings are on the way to Steve!

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Ontario Sonex Builders Hold 7th Annual BBQ

The 7th annual Sonex Ontario BBQ was a success with a small but enthusiastic group braving overcast skies and thundershowers for some burgers and serious Sonex talk. "Alas, no fly-ins this year but lots of parts, pictures ideas and builder networking," reported BBQ organizer Brian Heinmiller (Sonex S/N 134). "Amazing what we can all learn at a gathering like this. Also amazing how rapidly the kit-based projects are advancing. There are some gorgeous airplanes getting close to flying in this neck of the woods." Between showers the group did manage to get two more advanced builders up for their first Sonex flight experience, thanks to Brian and his Sonex. Pictured, L to R: James Neely, J. Davis, Brian Heinmiller, Lynn & Don Brazier, Michael Green (kneeling), Aarmel LeCunff, Fritz Deininger, Lach MacLean, Dave Bonnell.

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The Sonex Sport Acro banks sharply during initial aileron effectiveness evaluation.

Jeremy Monnett prepares to taxi-out for Sonex ST S/N 0007 first flight.

Two New Sonex Prototypes Take Flight

Sonex Aircraft, LLC flew two new factory prototype aircraft in the month of August. Sonex Sport Trainer S/N 0007 made its maiden flight on August 3 with Sonex CEO Jeremy Monnett at the controls. On August 9 the Sonex Sport Acro (Sonex S/N 0008) took to the sky for the first time with Sonex founder and President John Monnett behind the stick.

Both aircraft have been ready to fly since April, 2007, however FAA certification paperwork delays pushed airworthiness inspection on the aircraft out until just prior to EAA AirVenture 2007.

Both aircraft will be used for E-Flight Initiative testing of ethanol fuels and other efficiency enhancements. The Sport Acro will be put through the paces of IAC Primary and Sportsman class aerobatic routines as part of its flight test program to prove the aircraft's suitability for entry-level competition. On the August 9 Sport Acro test flight, John Monnett performed initial evaluations of the effectiveness of the aircraft's enlarged ailerons, rolling the aircraft at near-full-rate to high bank angles of less than 90 degrees. John landed with an ear-to-ear smile commenting, "It rolls like a Sonerai I!"

Stay tuned to and to the E-Flight Initiative home page for updates on E-Flight testing and the progress of the Sonex Sport Acro's aerobatics testing.

John Monnett dons his parachute as Jeremy Monnett performs a back-up pre-flight inspection of the Sonex Sport Acro.
  John Monnett gets acquainted with the Sport Acro’s roomy single-pilot cockpit. Although Sport Acro ailerons will be available for any Sonex or Waiex airframe, the purebred Sport Acro configuration for entry-level aerobatic competition will most likely utilize the single bucket seat and fuselage cross-tie bump-out parachute accommodation shown above, along with the enlarged single pilot rudder pedals pictured at left.

Sonex First Flight: Larry Tener

Congratulations to Larry Tener of Rose Hill, Kansas, whose AeroVee powered, Standard Gear Sonex (S/N 716) flew for the first time on August 12. "I am an EAA Tech Counselor, and want to say that this would be an excellent first project for anyone who wants to build an airplane," comments Larry. "One of the things the EAA charges us with is to insure whom ever is starting down the homebuilt road is that they successfully complete the project. The Sonex family of aircraft is so well planned and the kit so well manufactured, their chances of success are great. Thanks to the whole “family” at Sonex for a great airplane and a good building experience." Gold Wings are on the way to Larry!

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Sonex First Flight: Harold Schwab

Congratulations to Harold Schwab of Cornelius, North Carolina, whose AeroVee powered, Standard Gear Sonex (S/N 808) flew for the first time on August 12. "At the end of an enjoyable 2 and a half year build, our plans-built Sonex has flown," reported Harold. "The first flight went well with no handling problems at all. The Aerovee seems to supply plenty of power. Thanks to all the great folks at Sonex who have made this project possible." Gold Wings are on the way to Harold!

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Sonex First Flight: Alan Coubray

Congratulations to Alan Coubray of Howick, New Zealand, whose AeroVee powered Sonex (S/N 689) flew for the first time on August 7. "The plane and AeroVee engine all went very well," reports Alan. "The handling was predictable and a pleasure to fly. Thanks for a great kit." Gold Wings are on the way to Alan!

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AirVenture 2007 Another Great Show
for Sonex Aircraft, LLC

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007 came to a close last Sunday, July 29, marking the end of another extremely successful event for Sonex Aircraft, LLC. A total of 20 Sonex aircraft (13 customer-built, 7 factory-built Sonex Aircraft, LLC prototypes) were displayed at our July 22 Sonex Open House event and/or on the AirVenture show grounds. We'd like to thank the following folks for bringing their customer-built Sonex aircraft to these events: Kerry Fores, David Koelzer, Mike Singleton, Todd Agold, Drew Waterworth, Tony Lewis, Wayne Andrews, Wayne Daniels, Craig Jones, Chris Williams, Roger Nienberg, Gary Housewright, Ernest Timlin.

The July 22 Sonex Open House Fly-In was once again a fantastic event with close-to 200 folks in attendance throughout the day, talking to builders and staff, looking at Sonex aircraft of all types and touring the Sonex Aircraft, LLC facilities. As is tradition, the Open House event ended with a "mass taxi" arrival of all the factory and customer-built Sonex aircraft in attendance to the AirVenture show grounds homebuilt parking area and adjacent Sonex Aircraft and AeroConversions display booths.


Sonex Open House attendees admire customer-built aircraft and factory prototypes.

A large gaggle of Sonex aircraft prepare to mass-taxi from the Homecoming Fly-In to the AirVenture show grounds.

Craig Jones flew-in his Xenos, the first customer-built example to fly, to the Open House and displayed the aircraft at AirVenture. Craig and his Xenos will be featured in an upcoming issue of EAA's publications.


The buzz grew to an even greater high as Sonex unveiled the E-Flight Initiative in a formal press conference and forum. During the press conference on Tuesday morning in the center of AeroShell Square, Sonex Aircraft, LLC founder and President John Monnett announced the three major focuses of the E-Flight Initiative: Electric Power, Ethanol Fuels and Efficiency Enhancement technologies for existing and future Sonex and AeroConversions products. During the press conference, Sonex General Manager and CEO Jeremy Monnett uncowled the proof-of-concept electric-powered Waiex to the awe and excitement of the crowd and press representatives in attendance.

An informational E-Flight Initiative forum followed on Wednesday in the AirVenture Forums Plaza. The forum building was filled to standing-room-only capacity as John Monnett detailed the goals and challenges of the E-Flight Initiative. The proof-of-concept electric-powered Waiex and the E-Flight informational kiosk was moved from AeroShell Square to the Forums Plaza, where they were viewed by a steady stream of interested AirVenture attendees for the remainder of the show. For more information about the Sonex and AeroConversions E-Flight Initiative, see the official Press Release, and stay tuned for progress updates on the E-Flight web page:


Sonex and AeroConversions
had another great booth again this year, with large graphical displays and lots of yellow airplanes
(top, above and below).

The popular "Builder's Hangout" tent returned again this year and, in celebration of the new
E-Flight Initiative, a large corn banner helped separate us from the neighbors (above). Can you find Waldo, a.k.a. John Monnett lurking in the corn (below)?



The weather during the week of AirVenture was near-perfect and traffic through the Sonex and AeroConversions booth was very brisk. Sonex staff conducted several well-attended forums for Sonex and AeroConversions products, and the buzz and excitement about Sonex and AeroConversions could be felt around the entire AirVenture show grounds as our grass-roots movement in providing the most affordable, highest performing aircraft, engines and accessories continues to attract more builders and pilots.


Craig Jones, far left, holds court with his Xenos (above).


John Monnett formally unveils the details of the E-Flight Initiative.

The AirVenture press corps swarms the E-Flight electric aircraft for a closer look.

The E-Flight electric powerplant FWF installation.


The Sonex E-Flight R&D team presented an informational forum to a packed house on Wednesday.
The E-Flight electric Waiex and informational kiosk attracted much attention in the AirVenture Forums Plaza throughout the week.
The Sonex E-Flight Initiative commanded top headlines in most relavent daily aviation publications and web sites. John Monnett spoke about the Initiative in several interviews throughout the week, including an appearance on EAA Radio (above, left) and two local television stations (above, right).
This year's events also saw the debut of the biography "John Monnett: from Sonerai to Sonex", written by Sonex builder Jim Cunningham. Many copies of this book were sold at the Sonex Open House and AirVenture display booth, and both Jim Cunningham (pictured with John at right) and John Monnett were on-hand for signatures.  

As always, the week was punctuated by the Sonex Aircraft hangar party on Friday evening. Sonex builders, friends and members of the EAA and local communities were invited to celebrate another great Oshkosh air show. Musical entertainment was provided by local band "The Great Garbanzos", Salmon Davis Junior made another appearance this year, and a great time was had by all. Sonex builder Wayne Daniels also held his annual "pre-party" on Thursday evening at his "7th Heaven" hangar and house on Wittman Regional Airport.

Sonex Aircraft, LLC wishes to extend a heart-felt "Thank You" to all of the builders and supporters who helped make this year's Open House Fly-In, AirVenture exhibit and E-Flight Initiative unveiling an outstanding success!

Sonex First Flight: Uthai Khewraxawong

Congratulations to Uthai Khewraxawong of Bangkok, Thailand, whose second Sonex, an AeroVee powered, Tri-Gear Sonex (S/N 939) flew for the first time on July 30. Another set of Gold Wings are on the way to Uthai!

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Sonex E-Flight Initiative Unveiled

Sonex Aircraft, LLC and AeroConversions products unveiled today the E-Flight Initiative at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007. At a press conference kicked-off by EAA President Tom Poberezny, Sonex founder John Monnett outlined the multi-faceted E-Flight Initative's goals of researching Electric Power, Ethanol Fuels and Efficiency Enhancement. A proof-of-concept electric powered Waiex aircraft was also unveiled during the press conference.

A forum will be held on Wedensday, July 25 at 11:30am at the EAA AirVenture forum building #11. For more details, read the Press Release!

Sonex First Flight: Chris Williams

Congratulations to Chris Williams of Hobart, Indiana, whose AeroVee powered, Standard Gear Sonex (S/N 732) flew for the first time on July 20th.

Gold wings are on their way to Chris!

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Sonex Builders Gather at Arlington

Sonex Aircraft builders held their 3rd Annual Sonex BBQ at the Arlington Fly-In on July 14.

Allan Fisher (Sonex S/N 58 and S/N 277) showed-off his completed Sonex and handed-out Sonex and AeroConversions literature to interested fly-in attendees, with much help from Dave Webber. Our thanks goes to Allan, Dave and the rest of the Sonex builder community for continuing to spread the word about Sonex Aircraft! The Sonex builder community is truly a grass-roots sport aviation movement.

See the Sonex Aircraft Builders' Events Calendar

John Monnett Biography Published

A new biography about Sonex Aircraft, LLC founder and President “John Monnett: from Sonerai to Sonex” has been released, and signed copies will be available for sale at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007 in the Sonex and AeroConversions display: North Aircraft Display area, Booth 464. The book will also be available at the Sonex Open House event, July 22.

Written by Sonex builder Jim Cunningham, “John Monnett: from Sonerai to Sonex” is the story of a kit plane designer, innovator, air racer, world record holder, EAA Hall of Famer, and his many airplanes. While pursuing his own aviation interests, Monnett inspired and enabled thousands of others to build and fly affordable aircraft. From the Sonerai, sketched at his kitchen table, to pioneering engine conversions, to the Sonex's simple construction methods and outstanding performance, John Monnett is a flag-bearer for grassroots aviation. The book covers all of his aircraft designs. His ingenuity and successes with simplifying airplane design has helped make owning an airplane affordable for decades. Author Jim Cunningham has done a wonderful job of detailing the technical aspects of the airplanes in harmony with highlighting the efforts of many others who worked with Monnett, including his wife, Betty, and long-time friend and collaborator, Pete Buck.

Find Out More, read the Sonex Press Release!

Sonex First Flight: Richard Grayson

Congratulations to Richard Grayson of Alpharetta, Georgia, whose AeroVee powered, Tri-Gear Sonex (S/N 583) flew for the first time today.

"For those wondering about low time pilots flying the Sonex, I received my Sport Pilot Certificate last month," comments Richard. "I trained in an Evektor Sportstar LSA and didn't have any problems transitioning to the Sonex. If anything, the Sonex felt smoother -- I've heard others say 'it handles like it's on rails' -- now I know what they mean." Gold wings are on their way to Richard!

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Sonex First Flight: Ron Hensley

Congratulations to Ron Hensley of Fort Wayne, Indiana, whose AeroVee powered, Tri-Gear Sonex (S/N 585) flew for the first time on July 4. "The first flight went very well with no problems except for the usual pilot adjustments after flying a Cessna 172," reports Ron. "I am looking forward to the 40 hr. flight test time. I'm a member of EAA Chapter 2, and my Technical Counselor was Lowell Farrand. Thanks to everyone for all your help on this project." Gold wings are on their way to Ron!

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AirVenture Forum Schedule Published

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007 is fast approaching and Sonex Aircraft, LLC has finalized and published the forum schedule for Sonex and AeroConversions presentations in the AirVenture forums plaza. The complete schedule can be found on the Sonex Events Page. Sonex also announced today an AirVenture press conference and forum to unveil the new Sonex and AeroConversions E-Flight Initiative.


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