Sonex’s blazing yellow Onex was on our cover this month—proclaiming “half the seats, twice the fun”—supported by a story written by longtime aviation journalist LeRoy Cook. “Back in mid-2010, Sonex Aircraft CEO Jeremy Monnett decided that the perfect answer to an imperfect economy would be a nice-flying little single-seat sport airplane that could get people into the air for relatively few dollars, and still offer the same or better performance than their flagship Sonex two-placer. Little did he know the Onex (pronounced One-X), as the 85% scaled-down Sonex was called, would chalk up 100 kit orders in the first year.”
After getting a checkout in the two-seat Sonex, Cook got his shot at the Onex. “Handling was well balanced, with the ailerons providing quick, but not overly sensitive response; we estimated the roll rate at 180°/second, enough to tempt us into a roll or two without breaking stride. The elevators are properly secondary in sensitivity; we flew with our arm on our leg, holding the stick low, and weren’t overshooting pitch targets with a too-light response.” He concluded: “So, the Onex evaluation reveals no surprises—straightforward handling, economical cruising and light aerobatic qualities if you don’t let the nose stay down too long. For the money, the Onex will deliver a lot of fighter-plane feel and fun flying on a tight budget.”
Amy Laboda penned an article comparing her Model 4 Kitfox with the then-current Model 7. It was clear then that a lot of development had taken place during the Kitfox’s long life. She summed up the experience like this: “So, do I want a Series 7? I can see the question in McBean’s smiling eyes after our flight. Silly man. I love my Little Bird. She was my husband’s first airplane project, built in a two-car garage. After 18 years of flying her, tweaking her capabilities with an engine change-out and new gear, we wouldn’t trade her for anything. McBean laughs. ‘Hey, our builders are the best sales tools that we could ever have. We know that builders need us, but we need the builders because no one can tell you better how great the product is in the real world.’ All true. All more reasons to love Little Bird. But if I had a little extra money and some time to kill…which raises the question, can you ever have too many aircraft?”
This issue also featured a helpful story defining common aeronautical buzzwords (by Ed Kolano), a look ahead to an avgas replacement (by Paul Bertorelli), a view of making your own interior (by Mike Manning) and a Dynon SkyView retrofit into a Glasair (by Gary Jones).
The June 2013 issue was notable for another reason: It was the first time we were fully under the influence of one Paul Dye. “While I was at NASA, I did some pretty futuristic things—launching humans into space, building a space station, and watching the world go by from the center seat in Mission Control, just as if I were sitting on the bridge of the Enterprise. Little did I know that when I joined KITPLANES®, I’d become involved in something even more remarkable: time travel.” He went on to explain the long lead times for print magazines and concluded his first column from the big chair with this: “While we’re talking about the team, let me point out that our contributors are what make this magazine happen—and those contributors are also our readers. I would like to invite and encourage everyone involved in the homebuilding world to share their ideas and stories with us. We all started out with a single article in the magazine, and I anticipate that the future growth of our team will come from someone who submits their own first article.” He wasn’t wrong.