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Sonex Pilot Touches-Down in All Lower-48 United States;
Perhaps First Ever Operating as Sport Pilot

July 25, 2008, Oshkosh, WI

On July 21, 2008 Sonex builder and pilot Phil Simon touched-down at the Cecil County Airport in
Maryland, marking the 48th state in which Simon has landed in his AeroVee powered, tricycle gear Sonex. Simon landed in all of the lower-48 United States while operating as a Sport Pilot, being perhaps the first to complete this journey under the new regulations in a fixed-wing Light Sport Aircraft!

Simon tackled this remarkable achievement by flying three separate cross-country trips over the span of three summers. His first trip in August of 2006 covered 10 states. The second trip in September and October of 2007 covered 32 states, and completion of the 48-state tour came in the recently completed 12-state, 11-day trip. A full account of all three stages of Simon’s incredible journey can be found on Sonex Aircraft, LLC’s “Flying Stories” web site at:

On Thursday, July 23, Phil Simon arrived at Sonex Aircraft, LLC facilities on Wittman Regional Airport, in preparation to have his aircraft featured in the EAA Affordable Flying Center during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008. Simon will be giving two forum presentations in the Affordable Flying Center, four times throughout the week of AirVenture: “Flying to All Lower 48 States in a $30,000, 700 lb. Sonex” to be held Monday, July 28th at 10:00 am, and again on Wednesday, July 30 at 1:00 pm; “How I built my Sonex for only $15,000 (is an airplane partnership right for you?)” to be held Tuesday, July 29 at 11:30 am, and again on Thursday, July 31 at 10:00 am.

“Flying to all the lower 48 states has been something I have wanted to do for a long time,” Comments Simon. “I spent 32 years looking down at the country side from 35,000' and when I retired I decided that I wanted to see it from 1,000' AGL. My Sonex is the perfect aircraft to do this- I only burn 4 GPH and the visibility is great. I have a wing leveler installed and engage it and look outside at the sights. It is a fairly large undertaking to fly to all the lower 48 states. It certainly can be done more efficiently than the way I did it in three flights. In my case I did in a flight of 2,100 miles + 6,800 miles + 5,200 miles for a total of 14,100 miles, and around 28 days of flying. It requires a lot of pre-planning and a lot of charts. I think it would have been almost impossible without GPS, at least the way I flew cutting between and under various airspaces. All in all, it turned out to be a real adventure and a most enjoyable undertaking.”

“Sonex Aircraft congratulates Phil on this outstanding achievement,” said Jeremy Monnett, Sonex Aircraft, LLC CEO and General Manager. “Phil and building partner Jerry have been great ambassadors for the Sonex, proving that it is a practical cross-country flying machine and showing what kind of great accomplishments can be yours if you put your mind to it. Phil and Jerry embody what the grass-roots growth of the Sonex is all about. We look forward to hearing about many more flight adventures from the rapidly growing fleet of Sonex Aircraft.”

Based in San Rafael, CA, Phil Simon is a retired ATP-rated airline captain with 32 years of airline service and experience flying from the left-seats of B-737, B-757, B-767 and B-777 aircraft. Since retirement, Simon let his medical certificate expire and is now operating as a Sport Pilot. Simon and build partner Jerry Bassler, built Sonex serial number 492, achieving first flight of the aircraft in February of 2006.

"Our Sonex is the perfect airplane," writes Simon. "Lots of fun to do basic aerobatics in (loops and rolls) and enjoyable to fly cross country in. The little AeroVee engine is bullet proof... Building the Sonex and the AeroVee were two of the most rewarding things I have ever done."

Sonex Aircraft, LLC is a rising star in the experimental kit aircraft industry, providing a series of Sport Pilot eligible kit aircraft and producing 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 product development 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


Phil Simon’s Flight Logs can be found at:

Phil Simon’s Affordable Flying Center forum schedule, along with the entire Sonex Aircraft forum
schedule for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 can be found at:

Information about the EAA Affordable Flying Center can be found at:


Phil Simon rests by his Sonex at the Sonex Aircraft
Factory in Oshkosh after 14 days of flying.
Download High Resolution (300 dpi, 3.1mb JPEG file)


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