Something Doesn’t Look Right


Look ma’ no eyebrow cooling holes!

The electric Xenos project rolls on, and forces one to rethink what we hold to be conventional. Most air-cooled horizontally opposed airplane engines need cooling air coming in on either side of the prop spinner to cool the cylinders. The electric motor is slung underneath the prop shaft, so there needed to be a hole there to bring air in, and the standard inlets were superfluous, so through the magic of fiberglass, they’re gone! A little foam, a little glass, a touch of micro and some primer the magic rolls on!

For those following the project, we still have to build an internal cooling duct for the motor (sort of a plenum or baffles) and install the hinges to hold the two cowl halves together. But like everything, we can’t install the lower hinge until we know how it ends, and we don’t know that until we build an inlet lip, and we don’t know that until the plenum is mounted… one thing always leads to another.

And Sonex might need a mold update for their cowling—at least for those thinking about going electric!

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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.


  1. Thanks you sir for sharing such cute details of the project.
    I’m with EAA 406 in Bremerton, following in your footsteps building a e-Xenos.
    I know I’m a newbie to KITPLANES but I feel this electric powertrain revolution could be a big deal especially for operating costs and maintenance/overhaul constraints on E-AB aviation. Electric is comparatively so cheap and simple !
    With sincere regards.
    Thanks for the inspiration and keep on trucking !


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