Dropping in (and getting Airborne) at Sonex


Whenever I find myself in Oshkosh in the "off-season" for EAA meetings and vents, I try and drop in on our friends at Sonex to see what's going on. OK - I'll be honest, I drop in to see what they might have that I can go fly! Today I was hosted by Joe Norris, and get a twofer – we got the chance to be the first person other than Joe to fly the new "B-Model" Waiex and he threw in the opportunity to fly the One-X as well! I had tried to fly the One-X once before, but radio problems prevented us from talking to Oshkosh Tower, so the flight was scrubbed. Turned out to be a loose antenna, and that had long-since been fixed, so nothing stood in my way. The weather was gorgeous, with reasonable winds coming straight down runway 27, sunny skies, and mid-50 temperatures – a perfect November day in the Midwest.

The new B Model features a wider cabin, a more reclined seating position, and a larger panel for the goodies that many pilots want. It will support a number of different engine choices, with the factory prototype currently sporting a turbo-charged Aerovee capable of about 100 horsepower. It flew nicely with Joe and myself on-board – light and responsive as you’d expect with a Sonex design. The wider firewall and cowling will provide room for engines larger than those traditionally found in Sonex products, and we expect that experimenters will use their creativity. Watch for a full flight review in an upcoming issue of Kitplanes.

The One-X has ben around for a few years now, and many are finished and/or under construction. The little single-seater is plenty roomy for larger pilots, and I needed cushions added to put me in a good flying position. Kitplanes covered the One-X in detail a few years back, but this was my first chance to fly the nimble little critter – it begged for a few aerobatic maneuvers, and I obliged with a few aileron and barrel rolls to satisfy its demands. The normally-aspirated Aerovee gave it sufficient power for simple maneuvers, and the very light controls needed only a finger touch here and there to guide it through the air. Yup – this is a fun single seater for anyone looking at a budget build.

I saw John Monnett’s personal Subsonex sitting there just looking like it wanted to fly as well... but the Sonex founder apparently had the good sense to take the keys home with him when he heard I was coming to town.


Paul Dye

Paul Dye, Kitplanes® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the space shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and a Subsonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor, and Flight Advisor, as well as a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

2 Replies to “Dropping in (and getting Airborne) at Sonex”

  1. Dear Paul,
    I love kitplanes and only wish I had fully kitted the Baby Lakes aircraft when the preferences, for airplanes
    like ours, were still popular to build. I'm sorry people today do not have the opportunity to see and fly those wonderful aircraft. I still like single place aerobatic airplanes!

    Harvey Swack
    The Great Lakes Guru

  2. Mr. Dye

    I've read your Kitplanes "Build it Better" several times and I enjoy each time. The content of the paper applies to just about any occupation and/or project. I I loved flying.

    My dad was the base commander (Vichy Mo.). My dad was pilot and so was my Uncle. I was selling sodas (10 cents) to the pilots when they came into the hanger - it was really hot.. This was during the Korean conflict. In that hanger was a yellow Cub that my Dad allowed the owner to store on base. I remember when he ask me if I would like ride in it. My first flight was when I was 8 years old. I thought I was in heaven when I took the stick.

    I joined the Air Force in 60 and retired in 64. I was a radio repairman in the Security squadrons from Japan, Korea and Germany. I loved the work After I left the air force I started saving money and went to college off and on an to obtained my BS in Chemical Engineering and went to work immediately I became a private pilot shortly thereafter. I still remember my instructor name. Steve Bobeck just like I've never forgot my USAF serial number af18603244.

    I retired as a professional engineer about ten years ago. Most of my life was as a senior manager in Indiana's Health department and the Department Of Environmental Management. I helped establish the environmental department. I loved my work. I think I became a good speaker, managed my staff properly and became the head or a number of professional organizations. Was recognized for my staffs work by a couple of Governors. My goal in life was to do the best I can do and remember all the people your working for and why.

    I'm sorry this is lengthy but I love to talk or write.

    Bob Hilton

    Please don't post this is just a talk for Paul Dye

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