SonexFlight is a monthly podcast where we talk all things related to the Sonex line of kit-build aircraft. Each show we interview a different Sonex builder or pilot and discuss technical topics, tips and tricks, flying adventures, news and current events.
Episode 39 - "Oshkosh like a Pro!"Flying to AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI in your own airplane is one of the great privileges and thrills that pilots have, and to arrive in a homebuilt plane is even better. AirVenture (or just “Oshkosh” to most EAA’ers) is a bit overwhelming to a newcomer, especially those that plan to fly in or camp on the grounds. We discuss our best tips to make the planning and execution of your trip run smoothly, and help you navigate the experience like a seasoned AirVenture attendee.
Episode 38 - "Corvair Engines for your Sonex"Corvair conversions continue to find favor with experimental aircraft builders, and a growing number of Sonex pilots are now flying behind Corvair power plants. We speak with a builder about his decision making process that led him to an alternate engine, and hear about his experience building and flying behind a Corvair engine.
Episode 37 - "AeroVee Assembly and Operation Tips"The AeroVee engine is a great, affordable engine option for your Sonex project. The AeroVee is an “engine kit” and requires builder assembly. A detailed assembly manual and video walk the builder thru this process, but there are areas that may be overlooked, done incorrectly or simply under-appreciated in their significance. We discuss these areas with several experienced AeroVee engine builders and pilots, and present tips to ensure your engine is built right and performs reliably for years to come.
Episode 36 - "Vinyl Wrapping"Traditionally, the choice of Sonex finishes has been paint or polish, and each has their own merits. However, there is a new option that is lightweight, cost effective and fairly simple, using adhesive vinyl sheeting. Several Sonex airplanes sport this finish, including both John Gillis and Mike Neidenthal. John is a certified 3M applicator, and will tell us all about using vinyl wrapping on your project.
Episode 35 - "Sonex Down Under"Our friends in Australia are busy building and flying their Sonex aircraft, and are doing some pretty interesting things. Although the one hundred or so builders are spread across a very large country, there are definite "hot spots" of Sonex activity. We'll speak with several Aussie builders and hear about their challenges and experiences building so far from Oshkosh.
Episode 34 - "Creating a Dimple-free Turtledeck"One area that requires a bit of builder finesse is fitting the turtle deck skin to the fuselage bulkheads. There are some simple techniques that will allow that skin to lay perfectly flat on the bulkhead flanges, and produce a smooth, dimple-free surface. We’ll describe how to make your turtledeck look like it was built by a pro.
Episode 33 - "Building and Flying the Xenos Motorglider"The Xenos is Sonex Aircraft’s long-wing motor glider, a derivative of the basic Sonex design. It sports a 40 ft wingspan, longer fuselage with Y-tail, and a flapless-wing with ailerons and spoilers. The Xenos is designed as a touring motorglider, and has found a small but loyal following among Sonex pilots. Our guest tells us all about his Xenos and how he enjoys flying the mountains of Colorado.
Episode 32 - “2017 Look-back, 2018 Look-ahead, and Beyond"2017 is in the books, and there were a number of things that stand out. We look back at some of the more significant things to occur, review a few of the popular topics we covered on the podcast, and discuss the results of the 2017 Listener Feedback Survey. Lastly, we look ahead at a preview of the year we have planned for the podcast, and finish up with our thoughts on a “Most Wanted List for 2018” of things that we’d like to see Sonex Aircraft do, initiatives to focus on, or products to develop.
Episode 31 - “Prince Propellers"Regardless of engine choice on your Sonex you’re going to need a prop to go with it. There are many choices, but the goal is the same – to get an efficient, durable, good looking prop for a reasonable price. Prince Aircraft Company is one of the best respected propeller brands available for the Sonex. Lonnie Prince tells us about his prop and how to create speed out of thin air.
Episode 30 - “Flying the JSX-2 SubSonex Jet"
(AKA "SubSonex by a Regular Guy!”)Every pilot dreams of flying their own jet, especially one that is small, fast and maneuverable. Sonex Aircraft has fulfilled that dream for a handful of customers, but there’s much more potential for others to join the ranks as well! John Corneal is an early SubSonex builder and talks about how a “regular guy” was able to pull this off.
Episode 29 - “Annual Condition Inspection"Fall is here, and for many people that means flying is slowing down and it’s time to conduct the annual condition inspection. We’ll review the areas typically inspected during a good condition inspection, and go over our best practices for Sonex-specific items that should be on your checklist.
Episode 28 - “2017 Reklaw Fly-in""Camp Sonex" was formed once again, this time at the 31st Annual Fly-in at the Flying-M Ranch in Reklaw, TX! This gathering is a special event, and it's hard to describe why it's so loved by those who attend. The cast and attendees attempt to put the magic of Reklaw into words as we catch up around the camp fire.
Episode 27 - “Sonex Handling Qualities”Captain Mike "Caveman" Neidenthal joins us again as we attempt to describe the feel and personality of flying a Sonex, and to give some insight to why Sonex has such a loyal following of pilots. Simply put, we love the way they fly, and we’re going to tell you all about it!
Episode 26 - “Vacuum Bending Leading Edge Skins”We discuss an alternate way to bend the leading edge skins using an ordinary shop vac, rather than the complicated process of press-bending the skins. The vacuum bending technique is great for scratch-builders, or for those kit builders that have to replace their leading edge skins and want to avoid the cost of buying (and shipping) pre-fabricated skins from the factory.
Episode 25 - “Alaska by Sonex”Waiex builder Jim Hicke is back from his 3-week Alaska trip. This was an epic trip, filled with spectacular sights and video, unexpected rewards, and a few unpleasant surprises. We discuss Jim's highlights and his challenges, the planning involved, and lessons learned from making a big trip in a Sonex.
Episode 24 - “Taking the Plunge and Becoming a Builder”The process of moving from Interested Outsider to Full-fledged Builder can be intimidating as the would-be-builder conducts research, builds support for the project, and works up his or her budget. Our guest this episode did just that and recently took the plunge into building.
Episode 23b - “Oshkosh Wrap-up”AirVenture 2017 is over, and it was a great show! The SonexFlight crew is back home, and we review the remainder of the show and reminisce on the interesting things we experienced.
Episode 23a - “Oshkosh 2017 - Camp Sonex!”AirVenture 2017 is under way, and 'Camp Sonex' is officially open! We report on the first couple days of the show, tell what we've seen, and what we're looking forward to seeing and doing. Oshkosh is off to a great start.
Episode 22 - “Preparing for the Unexpected”Preparing for unexpected situations starts before you even leave home. We discuss the prep that we conduct before venturing out of the local flying area, the tools and supplies that accompany us, and how the right mindset allows you to enjoy the adventure of the trip rather than focusing on the difficulties.
Episode 21 - “Electrical Systems, Part 2”Bob Nuckolls is back, and we continue our discussion of electrical systems, including topics such as regulators, sources of electrical noise, and grounding practices.
Episode 20 - “Electrical Systems”We scratch the surface of practices and considerations behind designing and implementing the electrical system for your Sonex project. We’ll speak with a well-respected and recognized expert in aircraft electrical system design, Bob Nuckolls, and tap into his more-than-50 years of experience.
Episode 19 - “Cross Country via Sonex”This episode we discuss the process of making longer flights via Sonex. Famed Sonex pilot Kip Laurie talks about his cross-country flying process, and how he gets the most out of his Waiex for travel.
Episode 18 - “Aux Fuel Systems”One comment often heard from pilots is the desire for more range or endurance. This month we’ll look at a few custom solutions that have been created by builders to provide more fuel capacity, and highlight a few items to consider to start you on the right track when developing your own system.
Episode 17 - “Reducing Sonex Accidents”We tackle a really tough problem – how to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents among Sonex pilots. Our discussion approaches the topic through a Sonex-specific lens, but certainly applies to all aspects of aviation.
Episode 16 - “Autopilots”We explore the situations where a builder may consider installing an autopilot is a Sonex project, even though the Sonex is thought of as a rather "sporty" airplane. We’ll dig in to the details of the popular autopilot offering from Dynon Avionics.
Episode 15 - “Sonex Acro”We explore the ins and outs of flying aerobatic maneuvers in a Sonex, review the types of maneuvers appropriate for a Sonex, and go over a few tips from our guest Mark Kingman to make flying acro a bit easier. In the news we discuss the NTSB's recently released Factual Report of the 2014 Sonex crash near Big Bear, CA.
Episode 14 - “Brakes”We discuss the various options and consideration for choosing brakes for your Sonex project, including the stock drum brakes, optional AeroConversions hydraulic brakes, and other aftermarket brake systems. Guest Mike Farley offers his experience and insights gained from his project. In the news we discuss the first look at Jabiru's new "Generation 4" engine.
Episode 12 - “Rivets”We delve into all aspects of rivets on the Sonex. We’ll discuss the types of rivets used in our construction methods, proper techniques, tools and various tips and tricks learned over the years.
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