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John Monnett Retires from Sonex Aircraft
June 7, 2018 - After almost 50 years of involvement in the kit aircraft industry, Sonex founder and President John Monnett, EAA Lifetime 15941, has announced his retirement from Sonex Aircraft, LLC effective June 2, 2018.
“I am retiring from Sonex Aircraft but not forsaking my passion for aviation,” Monnett said. “I will continue to contribute where I can into the future but will be leaving day to day operations in the very capable hands of my staff.”
Monnett will continue to own the experimental aircraft and engine company, but opportunities for alternative ownership of Sonex Aircraft, LLC exist in the future. Monnett said he invites offers from qualified individuals and/or companies who are interested in continuing the successful heritage of Sonex Aircraft into the next generation, or in assisting Sonex Aircraft with a transition to an employee-ownership succession plan.
“Current and prospective customers can rest-assured, howeverthat Sonex Aircraft is still going strong,” said Sonex General Manager Mark Schaible. “In the midst of its most successful period in recent years, Sonex Aircraft has a full order book of kits including several new customer-owned SubSonex Personal Jet Quick Build Kits along with many additional delivery commitments for traditional kits and sub-kits, and many traditional and Quick Build kits already delivered this year-to-date.”
Monnett’s roots in experimental aircraft date back to 1968, when, as a young school teacher, he began building a highly modified Midget Mustang project. At that time, he was first introduced to legendary aircraft designer and builder Steve Wittman, laying the groundwork for a long friendship with Wittman and the development of the Formula Vee racer Sonerai I, Monnett’s first design. The Sonerai eventually launched Monnett into business, and he has multiple designs to his credit including several iterations of the Sonerai, the Monerai sailplane, Moni motorglider, the world-record-holding Monex racer, and the complete line of Sonex Aircraft models. He is an inductee into the EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame, is a two-time winner of the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award, has received the EAA Freedom of Flight Award, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots Spirit of Flight Award, the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Key to the City award, and many more distinctive honors throughout his career.