Anyone building a Sonex?

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Nickathome

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I'm still narrowing down my choices in homebuilt aircraft. I'm getting my list refined further by considering many options. I've been looking at the Sonex website recently. Was wondering if anyone can convince me that maybe this is the way to go.

Pluses- Seems like a good choice from a dollar standpoint, kit seems very well thought out. Have read alot of good things about the company. Its all metal which is my no. 1 choice of materials. Engine isn't that expensive. Can be trailered. Tri- or tail dragger. Two place.

Negatives - Is about the ugliest plane I've ever seen. I just can't get over that hideous canopy and weird ass instrument panel. And the wimpy spinner leaves alot to be desired. The useful load isn't that great. Two big adults and you can't get off the ground unless you leave half your fuel behind.

Anyone building a Sonex? If so, what sold you to this kit and not another from another company?
 
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Mac790

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I'm still narrowing down my choices in homebuilt aircraft.
What are your other choices?
Negatives - Is about the ugliest plane I've ever seen.
Wow, I would say it's a really BIG negative, it might even overshadow positives. Personally I don't think that this plane is extremely ugly, I've seen worse, for example you could use some type of camouflage to cover it.:gig:
But if you think it's extremely ugly airplane, maybe it would be a good idea to look for something else, it's like marrying an ugly woman because she has some positives (like for example she cooks well, I'm not so desperate and can cook for myself, so I would rather chose prettier one).

Seb
 

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Nickathome

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So far my only other consideration is the RV-4, but that is probably at the most extreme end of the money spectrum for me. But, its a beautiful plane made by an extremely reputable company.

No, the appearance of the Sonex probably wouldn't stop me from buying it if I couldn't afford anything else, but its like the guy who buys the car off the lot because they have one in stock, then is plagued with regret over the style and color of it. If I'm going to plop down a large sum of money for an aircraft (or car) then it has to be what I want. I'm not saying I would discount a Sonex solely on its looks, as I did mention some of its pluses, but I need to be happy with the whole decision, and right now I just do not like the look of this plane.
 

bmcj

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So far my only other consideration is the RV-4, but that is probably at the most extreme end of the money spectrum for me. But, its a beautiful plane made by an extremely reputable company.

I've heard nothing but praise for the RV line. Since the RV-4 has been replaced by the RV-8, you can probably find some second-hand RV-4 kits out there for a good price that are either unstarted or partially built. Lot's of people start one plane, and then decide to go with a newer model, so some of those RV-4 builders may have moved on to an RV-6 (or RV-7 or RV-8 or RV-10... etc).

I would not buy a Sonex for myself, but that is just a matter of preference and not based on any negative reports (I am unaware of any strong negatives against the Sonex). I think the Sonex's strongest point is that it is reportedly a very quick build.

Now if you're talking Waiex, I kind of like the looks of that one! ;)

Bruce :)
 

Mac790

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you can probably find some second-hand RV-4 kits out there for a good price that are either unstarted or partially built.
I completely forgot about it, I just checked out Barnstormers, and there are some kits as usual. Just a few:
Search Results
Search Results
http://www.barnstormers.com/listing.php?mode=usersearch&user=90490
Rv-6 for example are usually very cheap
Search Results

In my opinion don't build aircraft which you don't like, special if you are going to use it for fun. You could use also auto conversion (Subaru, rotary, etc), to cut cost down. If you dream plane is RV-4 go for it, there are many ways, you don't need to buy a brand new kit from vans.

Seb
 

mcjon77

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Aug 5, 2008
Messages
205
I'm building a Sonex from plans right now. I chose it because:
1) I fit well in it. I am a big guy, and the sonex was the most comfortable plane to sit in alone (which is what 95% of my flights and 99% of my flight time will be). It is snug for me and a medium size guy, and I wouldn't even try will another really big guy. Then again, I am not building a plane to fly around a bunch of dudes.

2) It fit my mission. I wanted a good cruise speed, the option for LSA, aerobatics, and a second seat. The sonex gave me all of that.

3) it fit my budget. I looked at several other planes but then I had a "reality check" as the folks at Sonex Ltd call it. The reality was that I could not afford to spend $80K+ on an aircraft. Also taking out a loan was not a good idea. I personally know of multiple folks who got loans for their homebuilts or LSAs that wound up having to sell their aircraft before they even put 50 or 100 hours on it. Not me. I wan't to own an operate an aircraft I can afford. The plans building option has been a godsend. I buy materials as the funds become available and am saving a significant amount over the kit.

4) It had a great reputation. Both the designer and the aircraft are well respected by the folks whose opinion I respect.

5) It was a good project for a beginner. Lots of folks with no experience have built these planes from scratch. The plans are considered the best in the business. There is a workshop that covers the necessary skills needed to build the aircraft. Also, since the company is in Oshkosh, Wisconsin they are only a 3.5 hour drive away, incase I REALLY need help.

The biggest thing pushing me away from the design was the look. I absolutely detest the look of the yellow trigear models. Then I saw the polished tailweel versions and fell in love. The polished tailwheel Sonex and Waiex look downright sexy to me.

If you really don't like the looks of the plane DON'T BUILD IT. No point spending hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours building a plane you ultimately are not satisfied with. You would be better of buying the RV 4 kit. The RV-4 kit doesn't cost that much more money, plus you can find used O-320 engines for a good price. In the end, the plane will cost a little more than an aerovee powered Sonex, but it will take longer to build (probably 2-2.5x as long), so you will have more time to save up the money. Heck, if you really search for a cheap, but used, engine, you may wind up spending only $5-10K more for your RV4.

The RV4 held no appeal to me, so I never considered it. Pick what YOU want.
 

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antero

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Dec 8, 2009
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Centennial, CO
I am building a taildragger Waiex (#142). Looks were not high on my priority list, i am pretty young and am on a budget, and the plane fit that budget very well. It seamed easy to build and was a good choice for a first project.

I honestly do think that the Sonex / Waiex taildraggers are pretty darn good looking. Not the sexiest out there, but definitely good looking. I think they look awkward (esp the Waiex) on tricycle gear, but thats just my opinion.

I am committed to this project, happy with my choice, and love what i am doing... i suggest you find something to build that will make you feel the same way. If looks are an important factor and you don't like the sonex.. definitely find something else
 

Horsepower

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Oct 17, 2009
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St. Maries, Idaho USA
Im building a Super Skyraider because of the low and slow flying that I will be doing.If I were going to build a plane for more of a cross country and not worried about short field takeoffs then my next plane would be a Sonex.I wasnt sure about the looks at first and the more I looked at it the neater it got.I even ordered their info packet and was quite impressed.You get a high performance airplane for the cost of some ultralights and a cruise higher than most certified aircraft.The VW motors have proven themselfs to be airworthy.The Sonex gives you a pretty good bang for the buck.
 

zk-jkw

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Apr 20, 2009
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NZ
google "cleanex sonex" and you will find a custom cowling the way the sonex should have been! Unfortunately it appears the factory version has a universal cowling to fit all engine types.
 

Barnie

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Apr 8, 2011
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Whitehorse Yukon Canada
I am building a Waiex Taildragger #37 I haven't progressed to far because of lifes interuptions.
I have always felt it was a good looking aircraft. It is simple and basic which I like and for that reason I am going with the VW engine.
I went to oskosh and saw the aircraft and did thier metal work program. It was all worthwhile and sold me

Barnie
 

billyvray

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Aug 17, 2005
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Newnan, GA
That's one nice aircraft. I've watched all your videos and they show the plane's capabilities well. Very good job!
 

parkert51

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Mar 24, 2011
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303
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Golconda, Il, usa
The Sonex line does have some bad angles but, they are very functional and affordable.

No one has called mine ugly...at least to my face...:)View attachment 11875
I do wonder what some were thinking with the color choices......lol

I helped a friend build a sonex, the kit and plans are superb. I have built 7 aircraft and cant say that I have seen better from a kit quality standpoint. We high polished the one we built, then applied a coat of bulldog adhesion promoter and 2 coats of urethane clear. its holding up remarkably well and shines like crazy....
 

jack1946

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Dec 21, 2011
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alpharetta ga
I'm still narrowing down my choices in homebuilt aircraft. I'm getting my list refined further by considering many options. I've been looking at the Sonex website recently. Was wondering if anyone can convince me that maybe this is the way to go.

Pluses- Seems like a good choice from a dollar standpoint, kit seems very well thought out. Have read alot of good things about the company. Its all metal which is my no. 1 choice of materials. Engine isn't that expensive. Can be trailered. Tri- or tail dragger. Two place.

Negatives - Is about the ugliest plane I've ever seen. I just can't get over that hideous canopy and weird ass instrument panel. And the wimpy spinner leaves alot to be desired. The useful load isn't that great. Two big adults and you can't get off the ground unless you leave half your fuel behind.

Anyone building a Sonex? If so, what sold you to this kit and not another from another company?
I am building a Sonex from scratch. I took all things into consideration when selecting the plane. Speed, performance,ease to build from scratch, safety record, company profile, selection of options and last, cost. I was not going to spend the next five years building a more complex aircraft so I chose the Sonex. If you can take a ride in the 120 HP verson, you will be impressed. Rotorhead
 
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