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First Customer-Built Waiex Takes to the Air

March 13, 2006, Oshkosh, WI

On a crisp January afternoon, another milestone was reached for Sonex Aircraft, LLC as the first customer-built Waiex sport plane took to the skies for the first time. Drew Waterworth of Butte des Morts, WI flew Waiex SN 24 on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI. Waterworth’s Waiex is a Standard Gear version powered by the AeroConversions AeroVee 80hp engine.

This milestone is not only significant as the first customer-built example of a new aircraft model, but it is doubly significant because it is the first customer-built Sonex aircraft with a “Y” tail. The Y-tail is a Sonex Aircraft, LLC improvement on the V-tail configuration, sporting a “stub rudder” below the rudder-vators, transforming the V-tail into a “Y” shape. The Y-tail design greatly improves V-tail flight characteristics. So much so that the only difference between a traditional-tailed Sonex and a Y-tailed Waiex is that of aesthetics.

Although Sonex Aircraft designers and factory pilots, as well as independent test pilots and aviation journalists have been singing the praises of the Y-tail’s handling qualities in both the Waiex and the Xenos sport motorglider, Sonex Aircraft, LLC is extremely excited to have a customer-built Y-tail aircraft in the field. “The plane flew great right off the bat,” explains Drew Waterworth. “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,” Waterworth continued. “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.”

Waterworth completed and flew his Waiex just over one year after taking delivery of the Complete Airframe Kit in early 2005. “The plans are great,” says Waterworth. “Everything you need to know is in there. Easy to read, easy to follow once you get the hang of them.” Waterworth continued to give high praise to the Sonex Aircraft Complete Airframe Kit, “I can’t say enough about the kit. Everything just seems to magically fit together like it’s supposed to. No jigs or fixtures either.”

A 5,000-hour commercial pilot with multiple ratings, Waterworth has previously owned a Sonerai 2, and a used Sonex, and has upgraded both aircraft with the AeroVee engine. “This is my third AeroVee and I am always impressed with the reliability and ease of construction. I’ve never had a problem with any of them once tuned,” explains Waterworth.

As of this writing, Drew Waterworth has approximately 10 hours on his new Waiex, and although the aircraft is at first flying “green” with no paint, Waterworth plans to apply a highly customized paint scheme and is anxious to show-off Waiex #24 at AirVenture Oshkosh, 2006.

Sonex Aircraft, LLC is a rising star in the experimental kit aircraft industry, providing a series of Sport Pilot eligible kit aircraft along with the AeroConversions line of products which include the AeroVee engine, AeroCarb and ancillary aviation products. Sonex Aircraft’s Sonex and Waiex sport planes, and the Xenos sport motorglider offer outstanding performance in an easy to build, easy to fly kit package that can be purchased and completed with full technical support at an unrivaled price. Sonex and AeroConversions continue to invest heavily in developing new products. Our team is committed to providing simple, elegant and low-cost solutions for sport flying. Simply put, Sonex Aircraft and AeroConversions products provide the best performance per dollar. Check us out at


Mark Schaible
Sonex Aircraft, LLC
Phone: (920) 231-8297
Fax:      (920) 426-8333


Drew Waterworth in Waiex #24 on final approach.
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Waiex #24 taxiing to the Sonex Factory after flight.
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Drew Waterworth in Waiex #24.
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Waiex #24 in front of Sonex hangar.
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