Type club established for Sonex aircraft

A national type club, the Sonex Builders & Pilots Foundation, has been established for the Sonex line of aircraft.

In alignment with NTSB recommendations for the improvement of Experimental/Amateur-Built aircraft safety, the Sonex Builders & Pilots Foundation was founded as a type club to promote safety and education in building and operating Sonex aircraft, according to officials with Sonex Aircraft.

The first order of business was the release of a Sonex Aircraft Transition Training Syllabus as a joint publication of Sonex Aircraft and the Sonex Builders & Pilots Foundation. The syllabus will be utilized in the new Sonex T-Flight Transition Training Program, and is available for download from both Sonex and the SBPF.

“There have been a core group of Sonex builders/owners who have expressed a desire over the past few months to grow the Sonex community across the nation,” writes Foundation President Robbie Culver. “What started as one-on-one discussions about bringing more groups together, growing a community, promoting safety, education and transition training, has now morphed into an informed coalition of individuals who are interested in building a national Sonex type club. One glance at the current conversation in the experimental aviation community shows an increased emphasis on many of the topics we have as goals.”

“We are excited that a group of Sonex builders have responded so positively to the challenges facing homebuilt aviation by forming a national type club in support of their fellow builders and pilots,” remarked Sonex Aircraft General Manager Mark Schaible. “The goals and philosophies of the foundation’s leaders are in perfect harmony with those of Sonex Aircraft, and we look forward to the enhanced level of builder support that can sometimes only be fully embraced when coming from one’s peers. The timing was perfect for the foundation’s first project, a syllabus for transition training in the Sonex line of aircraft, as we were in the process of writing our own syllabus for the new T-Flight program. Combining the two documents into a joint publication allowed us to take advantage of the best of both efforts, and was a natural fit. In addition to factory transition training offered by the Sonex T-Flight program, our hope is that this syllabus, along with increased efforts by the FAA, the insurance industry, and organizations such as EAA and the Aircraft Kit Industry Association (AKIA) will encourage more CFIs with an interest in homebuilt aircraft to pursue FAA Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) to offer transition training in Sonex designs, as well as other homebuilt types.”

The Sonex Builders & Pilots Foundation is also aimed at helping to further support and spotlight the numerous pre-existing regional builders groups that have formed around the country, organizers note. These groups already provide a tremendous amount of peer support and camaraderie, while holding a large number of grass-roots fly-in events throughout the year. Some events are celebrating 10 and 11-year anniversaries in 2013 and are attracting hundreds of current and potential Sonex Aircraft builders.

“We do not wish to take over, compete with, or in any way direct any established group, regional organization, or association such as the American Sonex Association (ASA), Florida Sonex Association, etc.,” said Culver. “Instead, we want to encourage and grow the Sonex community by promoting already established regional groups and their events, and help to connect those interested in building/flying a Sonex with local builders/owners.”

The Sonex Builders & Pilots Foundation has applied for 501(c)(3) non-profit organization status, he added.

For more information: SonexFoundation.com

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