Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

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Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby lpaaruule » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:09 pm

I finally flew my Sonex for the first time today!

It was quite a day. I met the FAA airworthiness inspector at 10am, and had the certificate before 11am. In the back of my mind I thought that there might be a possibility of flying, but I wasn't getting my hopes up. In Michigan this time of year the weather doesn't like to cooperate all the time. When I was a student pilot, I was getting close to doing my cross countries in December, and my instructor told me to come back in March.

I taxied over to the fuel pumps to fill up the fuel tank, and on the way back I noticed that my newly installed Carbon Monoxide detector had turned dark. Just what I needed on the day that I might fly.
My friend Mike and I began the process of determining where and how the fumes were entering. This took a couple hours and quite a bit of duct tape. I ended discovering that the fumes were coming in where the cowling “meets” the fuel fill portion of the firewall. I taped inside of the fuel filler, to the outside of the cowling. After some taxiing, and a NEW carbon monoxide card (you can see both on the instrument panel in the video), I decided it was safe to fly.

Having never even been a passenger in a Sonex before, the first flight had an ample amount of adrenaline. You can see me “jump” off the runway as soon as I get to full throttle. I guess I didn’t need to advance the throttle as slowly as I did.

The Sonex flew great. It was slightly left wing heavy, but that probably because I was sitting on the left side. The cowling’s side vents did their job on the Sonex A model. I’m guessing I’m the first Sonex A model to fly with side cooling vents like the Sonex B model has. We’ll see how they work in the summer.

I did have an issue with my airspeed. As meticulous as I was with “everything” else, I forgot to change from knots to mph. That confused me, and caused me to not trust the airspeed indicator. Hopefully all I need to change is a setting, but there might be something more going on.

I was extra nervous about carbon monoxide fumes, so when I started smelling fuel vapors I decided it was time to land. I think that I was smelling the few drops of fuel that I spilled in the cabin when filling the fuel tank. The firewall warmed up, and the fuel evaporated.

The landing was the part that I was most concerned with skill wise. I only have tailwheel time in a Citabria, and haven’t been flying for the last few years because I had planned on taking the Sonex Transition Training at the “factory”. I did, however, have a lesson in a Citabria a couple weeks ago.

It turns out that the landing was incredibly easy. At about 3 feet off the runway, it felt like a cushion of air was gently lowering me down. I had been watching a Jeff Schultz video of him doing touch and goes over and over. I paid close attention to the nose position in the pattern with and without flaps. Thanks Jeff!

Had I not had the airspeed indicator issue, I would have done three landings to prove I didn’t just get lucky. It just seemed too easy (knock on wood).

Thanks to everyone that has contributed to this forum; it’s been a valuable resource. I also want to thank Kerry at Sonex for the patient and accurate advice. Having dealt with other less than helpful companies, it’s always refreshing to deal with Sonex.

I guess that’s it for this post. Hope to see you guys at Airventure, Sun and Fun, or some other venue.
Paul LaRue
Sonex N454EE Plans# 1509
Jabiru 3300
First Flight 12/21/2017
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:33 pm
Location: SE Michigan

Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby Bryan Cotton » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:13 pm

Awesome Paul!
Bryan Cotton
Poplar Grove, IL C77
Waiex 191 N191YX reserved
Taildragger, Aerovee, acro ailerons
dual sticks with sport trainer controls
Prebuilt spars and machined angle kit
Working cowl
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Bryan Cotton
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Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby Sonex1517 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:28 pm

Congratulations Paul! Excellent news and what an awesome Christmas present you earned!
Everything happens for a reason!

Robbie Culver
Sonex 1517
First flight 10/10/2015
AeroVee (turbo has been removed)
GRT Mini
Stratux ADS-B In
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Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby jowens » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:44 pm

Congratulations, Paul!!! Incredible first landing. So very smooth on the controls and dead straight rollout. Wow!!
Jim Owens
Rochester, MN
Sonex 1372
pre-built spars, machine angle parts, dual controls, viking 110, taildragger, engine running, working on electrical
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Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby caveman370 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:49 am

Welcome to the fun and congrats!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby WaiexN143NM » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:10 am

Hi paul,
Great stuff!! Enjoy !

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Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby avee8r » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:03 am

Congratulations Paul! A very special day to welcome winter indeed. I'm looking forward to fling on your wing soon.
Happy Landings
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Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:30 am

Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby eppre » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:29 am

Congratulations. Great job. My first flight did not look that smooth.

Great work.
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:16 am

Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby DCASonex » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:17 pm


Congratulations on successful first flight. When first flying my Sonex TD, also had problem with CO, especially when taxiing on ground. (Had Guardian detector which would give continuously updated readings). Found primary source was fumes sucked in at very tail. Plugging and taping over openings their eliminated the problem. There are some low cost hand held continuous monitors available, and obtaining (beg buy or borrow) and using one of those might be a good investment until you are sure you have the problem under control.

David A.
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Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:04 pm
Location: Western NY USA

Re: Sonex 1509 N454EE First Flight

Postby n502pd » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:01 pm

Very hearty congrats, too, Paul! I do fully understand your first flight feelings, as I had mostly the same, except my first landing wasnt perfect by any means, but I was able to reuse the craft without repairs! Merry Christmas and have a really Happy New year!

s/n 1510!
Joe Nelsen
scratch built :D
Sirpeedee, N502PD, s/n 1510, Aero Vee 2.1s/n 0870 "SIRPEEDEE"
Flying :D :D :D
Phase 1 at 12.4 @12-15-17
(Finney Field near Howe, TX)
Gunter, Tx
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