Builder Says "Y"-Tailed Plane Offers Benign Handling
Sonex Aircraft, LLC told Aero-News Monday the first
customer-built Waiex sport plane took to the skies for the first
time January 10, 2006. Drew Waterworth of Butte des Morts, WI flew
Waiex SN 24 on a cool Tuesday afternoon at Wittman Regional Airport
in Oshkosh, WI.
This milestone is significant to Sonex for two reasons:
Waterworth's Waiex is the first customer-built example of the new
aircraft model, as well as the first customer-built Sonex aircraft
with a "Y" tail. The Y-tail is a Sonex's variant on the V-tail
configuration, sporting a "stub rudder" below the ruddervators --
transforming the V-tail into a "Y" shape.
Sonex says the Y-tail design greatly improves V-tail flight
characteristics, so much so that the only difference between a
traditional-tailed Sonex and a Y-tailed Waiex is that of
"The plane flew great right off the bat," said Waterworth after
his flight. "I usually tend to push the tail up on takeoff, and on
the first flight had to remind myself to not do this because I
didn't know how the Y-tail would react."
"As it turns out, [the plane] doesn't care," Waterworth
continued. "I've pushed the tail up now, and you still have plenty
of rudder control. I've also tested the aircraft in landing by
making wheel landings and holding the tail off the ground as long
as I can, and again, the plane doesn't care. You still have
complete control. In the air, you'd never know the difference
unless you turn around and look behind you. I haven't flown it in
really bumpy air yet, but have hit light turbulence and the tail
doesn't "dance" or do any other funky stuff. I've kicked rudder
both ways and it will come back to neutral the same as a
Waterworth completed and flew his Waiex just a little more than
one year after taking delivery of the Complete Airframe Kit in
"I can't say enough about the kit," Waterworth (below) said.
"Everything just seems to magically fit together like it's supposed
to. No jigs or fixtures either."
As of this writing, Waterworth has approximately 10 hours on his
new Waiex, and although the aircraft is at first flying "green"
with no paint, Waterworth plans to apply a highly customized paint
scheme -- and is anxious to show off his Waiex at the upcoming