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Tue, Mar 14, 2006

Sonex Announces First Flight Of Customer-Built Waiex

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 aesthetics.

"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 traditional tail."

Waterworth completed and flew his Waiex just a little more than one year after taking delivery of the Complete Airframe Kit in early 2005.

"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 AirVenture 2006.

FMI: www.sonexaircraft.com

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