# Kit planes April issue Thatcher CX5

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#### MikePousson

##### Well-Known Member
Just read my new online version of kit planes today. A great write up of the Thatcher CX5 tandem. Now I see something that fits all my wants. Sheet metal low wing that runs on a Revmaster 2300. To say I'm impressed is an understatement. I've been feeling the industry for a project but kept going back to Sonex with a Revmaster. The CX5 is a great design and the VW seems to give it all I want. It is a sharp looking machine. The pre cut pre drilled kits are not there for a lot of the parts but a lot parts have dual functions so there are many of the same pieces used other places. Less pieces, less jigging. And it looks cheap enough without getting bit by prices. Aircraft spruce is a couple hours from here and a couple trips down the highway in my GMC and trailer an do a lot of hauling. Sonex, it's been fun.

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
The CX5 is a great looking plane, Dave Thatcher has done a super job. Despite the fact that they are both two-seat VW-powered planes, the CX5 and Sonex have fairly different strengths. The Sonex is designed for mild acro, the Thatcher isn't. From what I've read, the control response of the CX5 is not as "crisp" as the Sonex (slower roll rate, more pressure required for pitch changes, etc). The tandem CX5 has more room for each occupant (if there are two aboard) and it supposed to be a very nice, stable cruiser.
I think you'll probably like it a lot.

#### SVSUSteve

##### Well-Known Member
The biggest drawback to Sonex is that it's ugly. The CX5 is a pretty little bird.

#### mcrae0104

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
The biggest drawback to Sonex is that it's ugly. The CX5 is a pretty little bird.
Well, that was substantive.

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
The biggest drawback to Sonex is that it's ugly.
Not from the inside

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#### ScaleBirdsScott

##### Well-Known Member
Not from the inside.
Where the ugliness stops being the biggest drawback? I'm not anti-Sonex, the mech design is solid, but its got some truly harsh lines, especially inside.

#### Daleandee

##### Well-Known Member
The biggest drawback to Sonex is that it's ugly. The CX5 is a pretty little bird.
Hey! Come on man ... that hit a nerve! I've done quite a bit to take the ugly off of mine ...

Dale Williams
N319WF @ 6J2
Myunn - "daughter of Cleanex"
120 HP - 3.0 Corvair
Tail Wheel - Center Stick
Signature Finish 2200 Paint Job
116.2 hours / Status - Flying

#### SVSUSteve

##### Well-Known Member
Not from the inside
Touche. As Scott said, it's an EXTREMELY good design from a mechanical standpoint. I just think the lines are a bit harsh in the basic design.

Dale, no offense intended to Cleanex or Daughter of Cleanex. They are very nice planes and obviously you've labored to make them true examples of what is possible for that design. Allow me to offer that my wife and I will treat you to lunch as an apology on our way down to Florida in December. We're swinging out through NC and SC to visit museums, zoos and such on our trip.

#### Little Scrapper

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
The thatcher seems like a good design. To me it looks like a 70's design. Everyone likes something different I suppose, the thatcher looks kinda dumb to me.

#### Kevin N

##### Well-Known Member
Whats old is new. If you want a GOOD LOOKING and efficient VW powered 2 seater then look no further than the Sonerai 2L. The only downside is you have to build it, no kits or any parts falling in your lap. I used to be fired up about the Sonex, now it's just another face in the crowd. All opinion of course, your rate of climb may vary.

#### Little Scrapper

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
I just love the Sonerai.

Ever wonder about advancements in aviation? It really is tough to build a better mouse trap.

The thatcher looks kinda dated but let's face it, it's a great airplane. Same with Sonex, Sonerai, Tailwind, Vans, etc. All great but nothing really advanced. It's almost like we hit some peak. Maybe electric is the next hurdle? What more can we do with an airfoil? Shape?

#### Kevin N

##### Well-Known Member
Let me muddy the water a little more. The demise of a great design is the second seat.

HBA Supporter
Log Member
Agreed! 100%

#### SVSUSteve

##### Well-Known Member
Let me muddy the water a little more. The demise of a great design is the second seat.
If you're into flying alone. Other than hitting bugs, that was my least favorite part of ultralights. For those of us who aren't antisocial, at least one other seat is necessary. LOL

#### MikePousson

##### Well-Known Member
I thought there were always better looking planes than the Sonex. At first it was "meh" but over time, it really grew on me. For a bubble canopy, it's acceptable. And it's still close to the top of my board. As far as the thatcher and sonex centered around the VW, that was a priority for me. I want a power plant that can be replaced cheaper than a rebuild on an alternative engine. I'm not into blow your hair back (as I don't have a lot) response or speed. I think the author said in his write up, that he had 350hours???? on the Revmaster and all he did was set lifters occasionally.
As far as it being dated to a 1970s look, that's pretty much a true statement on any low wing bubble top sheet metal plane. No, it's not going to win a beauty contest with the Lanceairs, Glasairs, Legends or another carbon bodies. Only so much snipping you can do on tin. Engine included and steam gauges, you can own it for less than $30 G. Those are all numbers in my ballpark. #### BJC ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter There are lots of comments here on the aesthetics of other peoples' designs. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but you certainly would add to the validity of your opinion if you included a photo of your flying design when you criticize someone else's airplane. BJC #### BJC ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter Here is the Sonex mission: Sonex Aircraft, on the other hand, is a company dedicated to offering Truly Affordable Sport Aircraft, with initial building costs competitive with the cost of a new car, boat or recreational vehicle, and economy rivaling that of the most fuel-efficient new cars. With the Best Performance Per Dollar in the kit aircraft market today, Sonex Aircraft are incredibly fun to fly too! We know you've probably been shopping-around, but in case you're not familiar with our competition, check-out how we compare on Price vs Performance below. Seems to me that they (and a few others) do a very good job of meeting that mission. BJC #### Little Scrapper ##### Well-Known Member HBA Supporter Log Member People like what they like. That will never change ii suppose. I don't think you need a design of your own to have an opinion. Mike, you can buy a lot of different airplanes for$30k with an actual aircraft engine and go well past 350 hours. I think Earl Luce told me he had less than $15k in his Buttercup. But you have to like the Buttercup I suppose and you have to enjoy scratch building. Kit building / assembling is a different story. People are building Tailwinds for$30.

That said, the performance of a Sonex on a VW is pretty darn awesome and the Thatcher is nice as well.

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#### saini flyer

##### Well-Known Member
Here is the Sonex mission:

Seems to me that they (and a few others) do a very good job of meeting that mission.

BJC
Actually the affordability part comes from their VW conversion than their kit. There are about total of 500 flying(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonex_Aircraft_Sonex) since it's inception ....all models. I do not know how many plans and kits they have sold so far.

Their kit pricing is inline with the RV12 and the build time is not. With 500 RV12s flying out of 1000 kits sold the completion rate is 50% for a $70k aircraft. The RV12 performance and space with a revmaster is almost the same price point as the sonex kit. The current CX7 development is a side by side from Thatcher and we will see how that pans out. The affordability clause is misleading.... The FWF and avionics package in RV12 is$40k+ of ~\$65k flying price.
It is FWF difference really.

#### BJC

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
The RV12 performance and space with a revmaster is almost the same price point as the sonex kit.
Where can I find measured performance data on an RV-12 with a Revmaster engine?

BJC