Mark Schaible, long-time Sonex employee and general manager purchased the assets of Sonex Aircraft, LLC and Sonex Aerospace, LLC and will continue operations as owner and president of the newly formed Sonex, LLC.
The Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based kit aircraft, engine, accessories and unmanned aircraft manufacturer is retaining all of the current staff and will seamlessly continue the operations founded by John Monnett in 1998, including fulfillment of all current orders. Monnett will stay-on as a lifetime emeritus advisor as-part of a new Sonex Advisory Board.
“John Monnett is a legendary name in the aviation industry, so I am very humbled and excited to have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of his achievements and continue to shape the Sonex legacy into the next generation,” remarks Schaible. “This would not be possible without our talented, dedicated staff that really makes our company work. All of us are looking forward to forging ahead in support our great line-up of existing products and to bring new products to market, while striving for continual improvement of our products and processes.”
Long-time Sonex employee and controller/customer service manager/HR manager Heather Zahner will move up to the general manager position for the organization. Zahner, Schaible, and technical support manager and Kitplanes Magazine columnist Kerry Fores each have nearly two decades of experience with Sonex, creating a solid connection to the company’s history. In addition to Monnett, the new Sonex Advisory Board includes original Sonex design partner and Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow Pete Buck, well-known EAA and Sonex alumnus and Sonerai builder Joe Norris, Chilton, WI machine shop owner, Sonex supplier and AirVenture aircraft judging chairman Dave Juckem, and Chad Feucht, a retired Air Force F-16, F-22 and operational test pilot, former Lockheed-Martin and Boeing employee who currently owns and operates a wealth management practice in neighboring Fond du Lac, WI.
“Establishing Sonex Aircraft, Sonex Aerospace and AeroConversions as innovative, affordable performance brands to serve the sport aircraft community has always been my goal,” Monnett said. “Going forward, the very experienced Sonex, LLC team is dedicated to maintaining and growing these high standards of service and innovation for existing and future customers.”
Sonex will continue to serve both the piston and turbine experimental aircraft markets with its current products. In addition, new products and development priorities include:
- The JSX-2T two-seat SubSonex Personal Jet, scheduled to debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022.
- The Sonex High Wing being unveiled at AirVenture 2023.
- Additional support for the installation of Rotax 912-series engines, including the Rotax 912iS with a factory installation in-progress that will be the basis for the installation in the EAA AirVenture 2022 One Week Wonder.
- Expanded support for UL Power’s line of 4-cylinder engines and Jabiru engines.
- Advancements in Sonex’s line of AeroConversions products, while closely monitoring the engine market for other new products that may become good candidates to power Sonex aircraft as they develop and prove reliability.
“Future strength for Sonex will come from innovation and diversity within our product line, as we see great things on the horizon,” Schaible said.
The AeroConversions product line will continue to offer the AeroVee and AeroVee Turbo engine kits along with the AeroInjector and the current line of AeroConversions accessories. Sonex will also seek opportunities to improve and add features to its line of VW-based engine conversions while expanding the line of AeroConversions accessories available to experimental aircraft projects of all brands and types.
Additional diversity will come from Sonex Aerospace, which has been converted from a separate company to become the third major product line of Sonex LLC. This will focus on the rapidly growing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) market as well as other aerospace industry product and service opportunities.
“While our traditional market is stronger than it has been for many years, there is no question that the UAS market is growing exponentially and will continue to do so,” Schaible said.
Sonex was selected in 2015 to develop and build the Teros Group 4/5 UAS because of the company’s reputation in the homebuilt aircraft marketplace. The Xenos Motorglider-based UAS has also evolved and matured tremendously, and Sonex is continuing work with Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation (NASC) to bring the Teros and other UAS systems to full-scale production for government and commercial customers.
For more information: sonexaircraft.com.