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.


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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 SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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