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Sonex Available for Transition Training

Scott Sheetz and his Sonex

Sonex builder and CFI Scott Sheetz of Hamilton, Illinois, displayed his Jabaru-powered smoke-and-flame-painted Sonex at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. He has obtained a LODA (Letter of Deviation Authority) to allow for compensated transition training in his experimental aircraft. His is the first FAA-approved transition trainer for Sonex aircraft. The highly customized aircraft is polished inside and out. It features a glass-panel cockpit, autopilot, and electric flaps, and is equipped for IFR flight.

Scott’s Sonex has an impressive array of unique features including a hinged instrument panel for maintenance and inspections, electric flaps, a PCAS collision avoidance system, and a canopy that swings up and back (as can be seen in the photo). The canopy is also glued to its frame instead of riveted to give a smoother airflow. The Jabaru 3300 engine has 60 hours on it at this time, and he has had no major problems with it.

Scott has been a pilot since 1984 and has his commercial, CFI, MEI, and IFR ratings. He has logged over 1,000 flight hours, and he farms near Hamilton, Illinois, where his Sonex is based on a grass strip. His posh hangar includes a tool room, kitchen, bar, widescreen TV, and bathroom with shower.

On weekends he trains from Turkey Mountain Airport near Branson, Missouri, which features a nearly 4,000-foot sod runway. In winter he moves his training operation to the airport in Sebring, Florida. Scott says he will also travel to train pilots at their home field or wherever they plan to first fly their Sonex. It’s the best approach because the pilot will be familiar with the landing approach and will know where to make throttle changes.

Students must be a legal certificated sport pilot, recreational pilot, or private pilot with a rating of “airplane single engine land.” They must also have approved and current medical documents and appropriate logbook endorsements in accordance with FAR 61.31 for the type of aircraft in which the training is to be provided. Students must be seeking model-specific Sonex training for the purpose of initial, recurrent, or flight review training. His formal lesson plan (a requirement of the LODA) includes two hours of ground school and up to five hours of flight training.

Learn more at his website and click on the equipment list tab to see the amazing features of his plane. EAA Chapter 88 in Quincy, Illinois, held a builder visit to his workshop. You can find a link to pictures from that visit here. Contact Scott at 217-746-2411 or e-mail.


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