Wednesday 22 June 2016

Sonex Aircraft Sonexs of New Zealand (and a Waiex)

The all metal 2 seat Sonex was originally designed in the late 1990s by John Monnett who had previously designed the Sonerai  and other aircraft.  The Sonex has formed the basis of a family of aircraft with variations on the theme, including the Waiex (a Sonex with a Y tail), the Xenos (a motorglider), the Onex (a single seat version) and the Sub Sonex which is a jet powered version with a Waiex Y tail.  An electric version of the Waiex has also flown. The Sonex can be built from plans or a kit that is manufactured by Sonex Aircraft LLC of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The Sonexs length is 18 feet 1 inch (5.51 metres), its wing span is 22 feet (6.71 metres) and the wing area is 98 square feet.  Empty weight is 620 pounds (281 Kg) and MAUW is 1,150 pounds (522 Kg).  Engines can range from the 80 HP Aerovee  to the 120 HP 6 cylinder Jabiru 3300, and the Jabiru gives a cruise speed of up to 170 mph.  In 2016, a B model of the Sonex and Waiex was introduced which has a wider fuselage at the instrument panel which in turn means that Rotax 912 series engines can be fitted.

We have had seven Sonexs in New Zealand to date with quite a few examples still being built around the country.  All of the seven Sonexs are still on the register.

Our first Sonex was Paddy McDonnell's ZK-SNX (c/n 0096) which he constructed at Ashburton with a 80 HP Jabiru 2200 engine.  It was first registered on 5/10/00 and its first flight was on 7/11/00.  The above photo was taken at ashburton on 27/12/00.  It was sold to Stewart L Kerr of Dunedin on 22/7/03 and it is still current, although I have not seen it for a long time.

ZK-WBS (c/n 160) was constructed by William B Sargeant of Richmond and was first registered on 24/4/03.  It is photo'd above at the 2009 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton.

ZK-JQP2 (c/n 0689) was constructed by Alan Coubray of Manakau and was first registered on 13/6/07.  It was sold to Sonex JQP Ltd of Whitianga on 10/6/10.  The above photo was taken at Ardmore on 17/1/09.

ZK-RMK (c/n 690) was built by Rex M Kenney of Carterton and was first registered on 6/6/08.  It first flew on 21/9/08 and it is powered by an Aerovee engine.  The above photo was taken at the 2009 Wings Over Wairarapa airshow at Masterton on 17/1/09.

ZK-NAF3 (c/n 498)was built by Nigel A Frederikson of Wellington and was first registered on 17/4/09.  It has a 80 HP Jabiru 2200 engine and is based at Otaki.  It is photo'd above on 28/1/12 at Whitianga during the flyout from the 2012 SAANZ flyin at Tauranga,

ZK-VDB (for Vee-Dub I assume) is c/n 1070 and was built by Mark H A Norgate of Whangarei, being first registered on 29/4/10.  It is the first of our tri-gear Sonexs.  It had a whoopsie at Whangarei on 15/11/13 when the canopy opened during take off resulting in damage to the nose gear and prop, but has been repaired and is a regular at dargaville.  The above photo of ZK-VDB was taken at North Shore on 11/2/12.

And our final Sonex to date is ZK-PDB (c/n 898) which was registered to Paul D Blackmore of Pukekohe on 15/08/14.  Paul started building his aircraft from plans in Australia in 2006 and finished it in New Zealand (hence the name "Spirit of Anzac").  It was test flown from Ardmore on 21/11/14 by Steve Chilcott.  The above photo of it at Ardmore was taken on 16/11/14.

Oh, and there has been one Waiex registered to date, being ZK-WYX which was registered to Laurance B Turner of Whitianga on 31/1/13.  I understand this aircraft is still under construction.

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