Not a backcountry variant, but simply a fast high wing Sonex with lots of fuel and higher MTOW. Maybe …
Personally, I’m patiently waiting until Subsonex is upgraded to Supersonex
A Supersonex would be cool
He mentioned “something like a modernized version of the Tailwind”. That would mean something like this:
Not the prettiest aicraft perhaps, but all the Sonexes is a required taste I think. This will be no different
Very good performance though. 150 kt + cruise speed, probably with options for 6 cylinder ULPower or a 320 ? maybe. It will be interesting to what it turns out to be. Maybe even aerobatic?
For those who might want to learn about Tailwinds, this Kitplanes article may be of interest. The builder is a very talented guy… and maybe as a result he told me he’s in it only about $25K. In the leading photo of the article, the shadowy figure in the right seat is some guy I know
208 mph or 181 kts max speed with an injected O-320… but at that speed it is very very loud inside. I’d personally prefer one with less power, or use low power settings and save fuel.
John Monnett and Steve Wittman were friends and Sonex designs follow the same keep-it-simple and inexpensive philosophy that Wittman used, so I can imagine them today building a “modernized Tailwind”.
Would consider it if it has 4 seats, which seems unlikely. Didn’t know the tailwind.
Now it is official
Both Sonex and Waiex version, taildragger and nose wheel, strutless. Actually looks very cool and it IS aerobatic (solo) and aerobatic wing tips
Engine is up to 200 lbs and 100-130 hp. ULPower 350 will be perfect IMO and also Rotax 915
The Waiex high wing taildragger, just as the original Waiex looks best IMO
An updated Tailwind, indeed
An updated Tailwind, indeed
By using the smaller engines they avoid direct competition with the RVs, which is probably smart in terms of filling an available market niche. I think the issue in achieving big kit sales numbers is going to be that none of those engines are both (simultaneously) cheap and reliable, and the resulting cost may limit the appeal of a Tailwind redux, which is all about bang for the buck. The in-house Aerovee VW conversion is cheap but few are convinced they are super reliable. The Jabiru is junk. The UL Power and Rotax are expensive compared with the traditional route of building up an experimental engine from new and used parts. If you could put an O-200 in it, that would provide more options to build up an inexpensive engine in the US.
Sonex does not usually aim for big numbers, so I think they know what they’re doing. I really like the concept of updating what was a very good design in the Tailwind.
Seems like the obvious choice of engine will be the 912 ULS. 100 HP is a bit anemic with 600 kg MTOW, but OK. It will still be fast presumably. Then there is the Aerovee turbo at 100 hp and the Jabiru 3300 at 110-120 hp. A step up to ULPower 350 120-130 hp, and then 914/915 which will be very fast up high. They also need CS prop, so considerably more expensive and complex compared with ULP and Jabiru for instance. A O200 is too heavy it seems (max 200 lbs)
But, not a bush plane? With 120+ hp and the low stall speed. With big wheels it would land everywhere. Not an extreme STOL, but more than good enough.
I must say this was a good move. While the jets are spectacular in their own ways, they are very niche, show/display kind of airplanes exclusively. This high wing looks to be much more practical than any of the other they have made to date, still it’s the same “stuff” I like they are being true to their ideals and philosophy. Very good flying planes, fast, aerobatics, small, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, not even the jet. All of them flyes OK enough with the smallest engines (80 hp aerovee or jabiru), and becomes small “hot rods” by simple installing 120+ hp engines without scarifying anything but a bit of range perhaps (but you can always throttle back )
More info about the high wing Sonex. A very long webinar here, but he talks about lots of general stuff also:
I think it looks really nice. It’s aerobatic, good cruise, good performance in general.