Action-packed year as Sonex celebrates 15th anniversary

OSHKOSH — During a packed press briefing on opening day of  AirVenture, officials from Sonex Aircraft reviewed several major news items, including the fact that company is now taking deposits for the SubSonex jet, special honors for company founder John Monnett, and the debut of a Sensenich propeller for AeroVee-powered aircraft.

“AirVenture 2013 is shaping-up to rank among the top of the list as one of the most significant and exciting shows in Sonex history for our ownership and staff, prospective and current customers alike,” said Sonex Aircraft General Manager Mark Schaible. “Our management team and staff have worked tremendously hard over the past 12 months to maximize the number of strategic goals we can bring to the table in 2013, and stars have aligned for Sonex Aircraft in many other respects this year.”

Among the news announced:

Kit reservation deposits are now being accepted for the SubSonex Personal Jet (pictured). $10,000 refundable deposits will be used to assign reservation numbers to prospective SubSonex customers on a first come, first served basis. A guaranteed price of $125,000 is being offered for the first 10 deposit holders, to include the SubSonex Ultra-Quick Build Kit along with the PBS TJ-100 turbojet engine with installation accessories. Kit deliveries are anticipated to begin mid-year 2014.

Sonex also recently announced the availability of Quick Build Kits for Sonex, Waiex and Onex models including pre-built fuselage and wing structures, along with an installed canopy. The Quick Build versions are available as a $10,000 upgrade. The Quick Build Kit has been audited by the FAA’s National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET) and offers construction services near the maximum percentages allowed under Experimental/Amateur-Built regulations, company officials said.

Sonex Aircraft is offering several show specials during AirVenture. The offers are available through Monday Aug. 12, and are extended to customers all-over the globe — whether they are attending AirVenture or not, company official said.

Aircraft Kit Discounts: All Complete Airframe Kits, Quick Build Kits, or “Kit Minus Tail” Sub-Kit packages ordered before the deadline will receive a $500 discount.

Customers ordering an AeroVee Engine Kit before the Aug. 12 deadline will receive the company’s Crankshaft/Prop Hub Assembly Service at no additional charge, a $295 value.

In other news, the company announced that Sonex Founder and President John Monnett will receive more recognition for his contributions to the EAA community during award presentations at AirVenture 2013: the EAA Freedom of Flight Award, and the SETP Spirit of Flight Award.

EAA’s Freedom of Flight Award is bestowed annually to an individual whose contributions to aviation closely mirror the integrity, entrepreneurship, and innovativeness of EAA members. The award will be presented Wednesday, July 31, at 8:30am in the Theater in the Woods on AirVenture grounds, kicking-off the EAA Annual Membership Meeting.

“EAA’s Freedom of Flight is the organization’s highest honor and represents the ideals and culture of the organization by sharing the spirit of aviation,” said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board. “John Monnett is a most deserving recipient because of his vision, his ingenuity, and his focus on welcoming more people into the world of flight. We are honored to welcome him to the list of those who have earned this award.”

The Spirit of Flight Award, sponsored by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, is presented annually to an EAA member who best exemplifies the spirit of research, development or flight test. The winner is nominated by EAA and is selected by SETP’s Board of Directors. This award will be presented during the annual Homebuilders Dinner on Thursday, Aug. 1 at 6 pm in the EAA AirVenture Museum Nature Center.

“The SETP Board of Directors is delighted to select John as this year’s Spirit of Flight Award recipient,” said SETP President Doug Benjamin. “He is an exceptional individual whose contributions to sport aviation are unparalleled. The values John has brought to the world of homebuilding, and in particular his work in the development and testing of the Sonerai family of aircraft and their many derivatives puts him in a class by himself. Our membership of more than 2,000 professional experimental test pilots shares those values, and we are pleased to congratulate John on this prestigious award.”

Monnett is a multi-thousand hour private pilot with glider and seaplane ratings, as well as turbine aircraft authorization for the SubSonex Personal Jet. He got his start in the homebuilt aircraft industry with the Sonerai I aircraft design in the early 1970s, and has the full line of Sonerai aircraft designs to his credit, along with the Monerai sailplane, Moni motorglider, world-record holding Monex racer, and the entire Sonex Aircraft product line. John is an inductee of the EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame and has received honors such as EAA’s August Raspet Award, the Oshkosh Key to the City award (awarded during AirVenture and traditionally reserved for legends in the aviation world), and many others.

In other news, Sonex launched the new T-Flight Transition Training program in May of this year, taking the initiative based upon industry-wide recommendations from the NTSB, FAA, EAA the Aircraft Kit Industry Association (AKIA), and others. Operating under a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA), Sonex offers transition training programs ranging from half-hour Basic Aircraft Familiarization flights, to multi-hour ground and dual instruction packages targeted to satisfy the most-common homebuilt aircraft insurance industry requirements while adequately preparing students for flight in their own Sonex Aircraft.

The T-Flight Transition Training Program has instructed 24 students since mid-May of this year, several of which have immediately gone-on to successfully accomplish first flight of their Sonex Aircraft projects, company officials said.

The syllabus used for the T-Flight Transition Training program is a collaboration between Sonex Aircraft and the newly-formed Sonex Builders and Pilots Foundation, a national type club for Sonex designs. The syllabus is available for download from the websites of both entities, in an effort to encourage more flight instructors with an interest in homebuilt aircraft to pursue LODA authorization, offering transition training services for the growing community of Sonex Aircraft pilots.

In other news, Sensenich Propeller introduced a new ground adjustable propeller designed specifically for AeroVee powered aircraft. This propeller use Sensenich’s same internal pressure molded system that has proved successful on so many Light-Sport Aircraft, company officials said.

The Sensenich/AeroVee Ground Adjustable Propeller is available from Sonex Aircraft for $1,750.

Lastly, officials noted that 2013 is a landmark year as the company marks the 15th anniversary of the Sonex design and the founding of Sonex Aircraft. Feb. 28 was the official start of the anniversary celebration, being the 15th anniversary of the first flight of the Sonex prototype in 1998. Sonex Aircraft  (originally established as Sonex-Ltd.) was established soon thereafter and sale of the first set of Sonex plans quickly followed in August 1998. they say,

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