After almost 50 years in the kit aircraft industry, Sonex Founder and President John Monnett has announced his retirement from Sonex Aircraft, effective June 2, 2018.
“I am retiring from Sonex Aircraft but not forsaking my passion for aviation,” he said. “I will continue to contribute where I can into the future, but will be leaving day to day operations in the very capable hands of my staff.”
Monnett continues to own the experimental aircraft and engine company, but opportunities for alternative ownership lie in its future, he said, noting he invites offers from qualified individuals and/or companies who are interested in buying the company or in assisting Sonex Aircraft with the transition to an employee-ownership succession plan.
“Current and prospective customers can rest-assured, however, that Sonex Aircraft is still going strong,” said General Manager Mark Schaible. “In the midst of its most successful period in recent years, Sonex Aircraft has a full order book of kits, including several new customer-owned SubSonex Personal Jet Quick Build Kits, along with many additional delivery commitments for traditional kits and sub-kits, and many traditional and Quick Build kits already delivered this year to date.”
In addition, Sonex Aerospace has been contracted by Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation (NASC) to build two additional Teros UAS in 2018, he said. The Teros Group 4 UAS is derived from the Xenos Motorglider, and offers Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS capabilities to government and civilian customers, Schaible explained.
Monnett’s roots in experimental aircraft date back to 1968 when, as a young school teacher, he began building a highly-modified Midget Mustang project and was first introduced to legendary aircraft designer and builder Steve Wittman, laying the groundwork for a long friendship with Wittman and the development of Formula Vee racer Sonerai I, John’s first design.
The Sonerai eventually launched John into business, and he has many designs to his credit, including several iterations of the Sonerai design, the Monerai sailplane, Moni motorglider, the world-record-holding Monex racer and the complete line of Sonex Aircraft models.
John is an inductee into the EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame, is a two-time winner of the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award, has received the EAA Freedom of Flight Award, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots Spirit of Flight Award, the Oshkosh Wisconsin Key to the City award, and many more distinctive honors throughout his career.
Those interested in learning more can read his biography, “John Monnett: from Sonerai to Sonex” written by Sonex builder Jim Cunningham and available for purchase from Sonex Aircraft.