Sonex Aircraft Sonex

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Role Kit aircraft
Manufacturer Sonex Aircraft
Designer John Monnett
Primary user private owners
Number built 311 (Sonex, Dec 2011)
1 (Onex, Dec 2011)
33 (Waiex, Dec 2011)
7 (Xenos, Dec 2011)[1]
Variants Sonex Aircraft Onex
A Sonex at the company display at Sun 'n Fun 2004.
Sonex on floats at Airventure 2008.
Sonex Aircraft Waiex
Sonex Xenos at Airventure 2008.
SubSonex prototype
Sonex Waiex with a Viking 110 engine

The Sonex, Waiex and Xenos are a family of lightweight, metal, low-wing, two seat homebuilt aircraft. Kits are produced and marketed by Sonex Aircraft, a small manufacturer based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. By 2014, 500 customer built aircraft had been completed.[2] The Sonex can also be built from plans.[1][3][4]

Company founder John Monnett was approached by an Italian business looking for an aircraft that would meet their Microlight category. A variation of Sonerai was initially proposed to meet the 40 mph minimum flight speed requirement. Eventually a clean-sheet design was built around a Jabiru or VW engine installation with similar all-aluminum box fuselage construction as the Monnett Moni.[5] The Sonex can accept various lightweight – less than 200 lb (91 kg) – engines of between 80 to 130 hp (60 to 97 kW).[6][7]

The Sonex, Waiex and Xenos all qualify as American experimental light-sport aircraft (ELSA).[8]


The Sonex plans contain several construction options, including conventional or tricycle landing gear, as well as a center or dual stick. Motor mount drawings are supplied for all three recommended powerplants: the 2180cc Volkswagen, 2200 Jabiru, and 3300 Jabiru. High performance is achieved through a clean aerodynamic shape and simple, light weight construction.

The Sonex can be built from scratch using factory supplied drawings or may be assembled in approximately 800 to 1,000 hours using the precut complete airframe kit. A complete kit based Sonex can be constructed for as little as USD$25,600.[9][10]

The aviation website Aero-News.Net named the Sonex the Plane Of The Year - E-LSA Kit Category for 2006.[11]


The original model, incorporating a low-wing design, seats two, and a conventional tail. Available as plans or a kit.[4][12]
Sonex B
Introduced in April 2016, this model is a modification of the original Sonex, with an enlarged cockpit for larger and taller pilots, a center "Y-stick", electric flaps and dual throttles as standard. Support for the CAMit 3300 was offered and more room for the Rotax 912 and ULPower UL350i series of engines.[13][14]
In production - Almost identical to the Sonex, but features a Y-tail.[15] Although similar in looks to a V-tail, the Y-tail has a stub rudder in line with the aft fuselage.[16] The company markets this version under the motto Just Because It Looks Cool. Available as a kit only.[4][6][17]
Waiex B
Introduced April 2016 - Same improvements as Sonex B[18]
e-Flight Waiex
Waiex electric aircraft variant, powered by a DC brushless electric motor, built in 2007 and first displayed at AirVenture in 2009. Available as a kit only.[4][6]
In production - motor-glider development of the Waiex with longer wings and the same choice of engines. Available as a kit only.[4][6][19]
(pronounced One-ex by the company) In production[20] - All new design introduced at Airventure 2009. The design features a single seat with folding wings and an AeroVee Volkswagen air-cooled engine.[21][22]
(2015) A proposed UAV, developed with Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation using the Waiex airframe powered by a turbocharged Aero-Vee engine.[23]
A single place single engine turbine aircraft similar in design to an Onex, with a Waiex style Y tail. Introduced at Airventure 2009. Powered by a Czech-built PBS TJ-100 turbojet engine mounted above the aft fuselage, with the exhaust exiting between the Y-tail. The SubSonex achieved first engine test runs in December 2009. The engine produces 240 lb (109 kg) of thrust. Originally developed with only a central mono pod wheel, tail wheel and small wing tip outriggers. The prototype developed directional controllability problems during taxi-tests. The SubSonex now has a tricycle landing gear.[24][25][26][27] and was flight tested by Jet-sailplane performer Bob Carlton in August 2011.[28]

Specifications (Sonex)[edit]

Data from manufacturer’s website[29]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 18 ft 1 in (5.51 m)
  • Wingspan: 22 ft 0 in (6.71 m)
  • Height: 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m) with conventional landing gear, 74" with tri-gear
  • Wing area: 98 sq ft (9.1 m2)
  • Airfoil: NACA 64-415
  • Empty weight: 620 lb (281 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,150 lb (522 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 16 US gallons (60.6 litres)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Jabiru 3300 six cylinder horizontally-opposed aircraft engine, 120 hp (89 kW)


  • Cruise speed: 170 mph (270 km/h, 150 kn) at 8000 ft
  • Stall speed: 40 mph (64 km/h, 35 kn) flaps down
  • Never exceed speed: 197 mph (317 km/h, 171 kn)
  • Range: 400 mi (640 km, 350 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 23,000 ft (7,000 m)
  • g limits: +6/-3 at aerobatic gross weight or +4.4/-2.2 at utility gross weight
  • Maximum glide ratio: 11:1
  • Rate of climb: 1,400 ft/min (7.1 m/s)
  • Lift-to-drag: 11:1


  1. ^ a b Vandermeullen, Richard: 2011 Kit Aircraft Buyer's Guide, Kitplanes, Volume 28, Number 12, December 2011, page 70. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  2. ^ "Sonex reports 500th completion". Sport Aviation: 14. January 2015.
  3. ^ Downey, Julia: 2008 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 24, Number 12, December 2007, page 72. Primedia Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  4. ^ a b c d e Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, pages 119-120. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
  5. ^ Jack Cox (Aug 1998). "The Sonex". Sport Aviation.
  6. ^ a b c d Tacke, Willi; Marino Boric; et al: World Directory of Light Aviation 2015-16, pages 81 & 126. Flying Pages Europe SARL, 2015. ISSN 1368-485X
  7. ^ "The Sonex-B Kit". 21 November 2015.
  8. ^ Experimental Aircraft Association (2010). "Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft (E-LSA)". Archived from the original on 10 August 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  9. ^ Kitplanes Staff: 2008 Kit Aircraft Directory, page 72, Kitplanes Magazine December 2007 Volume 24, Number 12, Belvior Publications, Aviation Publishing Group LLC.
  10. ^ "Affordable". Archived from the original on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
  11. ^ Aero-News Network (January 2007). "Final: ANN Names the 2006 Plane Of The Year--E-LSA Kit Category". Retrieved 2008-03-15.
  12. ^ Sonex Aircraft (2008). "Sonex - the Original Reality Check". Archived from the original on 2005-11-25. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  13. ^ "Sonex -- The Sport Aircraft Reality Check!". Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  14. ^ "Sonex shows new B models for first time". 2016-04-02. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  15. ^ Sonex Aircraft (2010). "Specifications - Tail Configuration: Y-tail". Archived from the original on 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
  16. ^ Kitplanes, April 2005, Page 21
  17. ^ Sonex Aircraft (2008). "Waiex - Just Because It Looks Cool". Archived from the original on 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  18. ^ "Sonex Introduces New B-Models". AVweb. 2016-04-05. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  19. ^ Sonex Aircraft (2008). "Xenos". Archived from the original on 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  20. ^ "Onex Progress Update: January 26, 2012". Sonex Aircraft Onex. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  21. ^ Sonex Aircraft (January 2010). "Onex". Archived from the original on 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2010-01-06.
  22. ^ Cook, Mark (July 2010). "Sonex Onex". Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  23. ^ "Sonex, Navmar To Produce UAVs". May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  24. ^ Grady, Mary (December 2009). "First Flight Expected Soon For Jet-Powered Sonex". Retrieved 2009-12-31.
  25. ^ Sonex Aircraft (December 2009). "SubSonex Progress Updates". Archived from the original on 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2009-12-31.
  26. ^ Grady, Mary (June 2010). "Jet-Powered Glider Completes Test Flights". Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  27. ^ "Sonex -- The Sport Aircraft Reality Check!". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  28. ^ "SubSonex Jet Completes Maiden Flight". Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  29. ^ "Sonex". Sonex Aircraft. Archived from the original on 2005-11-25. Retrieved 2006-04-14.

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