Southern Indiana Sonex Builders – Hangar Flying

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By William Batten, EAA Lifetime 781915.

In December 2020, I made three big life decisions. I decided to retire, I sold my Velocity (I really liked that aircraft but did not build it), and I decided to build my own experimental aircraft. Building my own aircraft had been a dream of mine for years, but seemed impossible while I worked full time.

Selecting which experimental aircraft to build proved to be much more difficult than I thought. I began my research and filled several Excel spreadsheets with data and comments but could not decide on which model to build. I attended SUN ‘n FUN and AirVenture, but no joy. I wanted side-by-side seating since my grandchildren would certainly be flying with me as they got older. A two-seater would be perfect as a retirement aircraft — I rarely had more than myself in the Velocity. I was leaning toward a composite aircraft but tried to stay open-minded for my final decision.

I’m very active in our local EAA chapter and was aware that one of our other members had built a Sonex 17 years ago. Dan walked me through his build and answered a lot of questions about the airplane. I was also aware that one of our other members had started building a Sonex in his garage. I didn’t know Larry very well but used this as an excuse to get to know him better and learn about his build progress. Larry was meticulous about every aspect of building. I quickly realized that he had a lot to offer me as a fellow builder and mentor and could teach me about working with aluminum. I finally felt at peace about building a Sonex as it met most of my criteria regarding performance and economy. So, there it was, 16 months after selling the Velocity, I’m planning to build a Waiex. As soon as Larry discovered that I had decided to build a Waiex, he introduced me to James, who also lives in Columbus, Indiana. Turns out James had ordered his Sonex kit about four months earlier.

So, Larry, Dan, James, and I began meeting once a month for coffee…

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