Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2018

Isaac's Flying Stories Ep 7: Sun-n-Fun 2018

We flew for a few hours southeastwards to Florida, but when we reached Tallahassee, it became clear we were not getting through. An entire line of thunderstorms had cut of the state! we ducked into a little airport and the locals let us tie down in an open T-hanger.

We NEEDED to get the Sun'n'Fun so we got a ride into town and rented a car.

We drove 4 hours to get to Lakeland, home of Sun'n'Fun

We arrived on the grounds, the night before my presentation, at 8:01...
...The ticket shack closes at 8:00, and they were very strict, we were not able to get our passes for tomorrow or pay for camping on the grounds.
We ended up pitching our tents in the parking lot. the ticket shack opened at 0800 and we were the first in line, my panel started at 0900! The ticketing staff were very inflexible and because we were driving in rather than flying they tried to charge us for an entire week long wristband and camping totaling almost $400! We were only going to be at the show for 2 …

Build Update June 29: The Landing Gear

The past week or so I've ben working on installing the hydraulic brakes and wheels.

Fabricating the wheel pant attach plate,

Testing the stackup, attach plate, brake housing, wheel,

Thoroughly greasing the wheel bearings


This year at Oshkosh I will be giving a presentation about the challenges I face as a teen building my own plane. Come see me there Wednesday July 25th at the Homebuilt Hangar at 2:30!

What is a Sonex?

I am building a homebuilt airplane called a Sonex. I have been working extremely hard to finance this project since August 2016. In April 2017, I purchased a partially completed Sonex. In February of 2018 I bought a Aerovee 80hp engine. I will still need to buy avionics and am such, working a million odd jobs to earn enough money.
What is a Sonex?

Well first we have to ask, are you talking about Sonex the company, or the Sonex Airplane?
Sonex is an aviation company, based out of wisconsin, that produces airplane kits for builders to make at home. A kit from Sonex includes the plans for making every single part in the plane and how they fit together, most of the hardware you will need (nuts screws bolts) , and a great deal of the material needed. With a kit, you can build realistically build a Sonex airplane in under 2 years in your garage. You are then left needing to buy certain customization items, instrument's, upholstery, and your choice of an engine.

The Sonex-A is a 2 seat, pi…

Isaac's Flying Stories Ep 7: The 2018 Midwest Sonex Fly in!

This Year's Midwest Sonex Fly in was a smashing success, great weather, fantastic food, and 30+ Sonex Builders and Pilots showed up!

My dad and I flew in from our home airport in Mississippi. The flight to Fayetteville only took about 3 hours, with a fuel stop meaning we rolled in just in time for lunch. We signed in and got our raffle tickets for the door prizes. This year there were Sonex T-shirts, 2' sensenich propeller clocks, a 50% off a Sport EX EFIS from GRT avionics certificate, and a certificate for a free elliptical Prince Prop. After catching up with old friends over tacos and brownies, we began the raffle. It was tense as the higher and higher prizes were awarded. One woman won a T-shirt but no one wanted to ask her size for fear of offending her! After the drawing there was a line of storms moving in so we took one final group picture and those who were flying southeast (away from the storm) took off. My dad and I rolled the plane into a hanger and sat back in t…

Build update: Reassembling the Aerovee Part 1 April 26 2018

The engine was all apart, scattered between 6 plastic bins of various sizes. 
The first step in my Aerovee assembly manual was to thouroghly clean the mating surfaces of the case halves, and file away any flaws from the manufacturing process. I used Laquer thinner, gloves, and a paper towel to clean away all the old sealant. And shook the shavings out.
Once it was stripped to bare metal, I moved on to the next step: I used engine assembly lube to goop up the various moving pieces inside the case, and the cam bearings. Then I test fit the cam just to be sure it turns smoothly and identify any problems before the case halves are sealed. Aside from getting molly lube on my hands from touching the cam without gloves on, it all went splendidly. The next step was to prepare the crankshaft's bearings, I cleaned, lubed, and fitted them. 
Now begins the fun part. Most of the bearings on the crankshaft go all the way around, and they can only do their job if they don't move relative to…

Build Update April 5 2018: Dissasembling the Aerovee

The engine I bought was already built, and had not been run. My dad and I planned to take it all apart to give me a better understanding of the engine, as well as to identify any problems before they got bad.

The Arovee engine was heavy and awkward to move. at the time it was sitting on the workbench with everything installed.

Going into this I had only enough sense to tell you which cylinder is the #1, 2, 3, and 4, and I knew some of the terminology, such as crackshaft. I frequently asked my dad "what do you call that part?"  we began unbolting stuff in roughly reverse order from the manual (if you're familiar with sonex plans, you're used to backwards) In under an hour we had stripped many of the external parts off and the engine had lost at least 20 pounds! A box was designated as the hardware box, so it'll be like legos trying to find the right bolts and nuts again when I reassemble it. the important part is that they're all together and not lost. After…

Very loose build update

It is full swing gymnastics meet season, and I'm working extra hard on schoolwork to make up for the time I'm away at gymnastics meets, and I'm building and flying whenever possible. With that all on my plate there is very little time for writing, but I will give a overview of what I've accomplished.

I built the side walls of the forward fuselage:

I have purchased an engine from a fellow sonex builder and member of my EAA chapter (the four cylinder 80HP Aerovee) 

And I have set to work building the Forward Fuselage box

I will flesh out this post in the future as soon as I can, if you are considering going to Sun'n'Fun this year is the best to go, I will be giving an hour talk at the forums all about the unique challenges of being a teen balancing all my various spinning plates, and still making time for aviation and building my plane. I'd love to see you all at Sun'n'Fun! 


(this is a short post, so the list and bottom of page mission stateme…

Life update

I am out of town this week for a gymnastics competition. Here is a video I put together of my last competition.

Also, I will be speaking at Sun'n'Fun 2018! On the first day of sun'n'fun, I will be doing a 1 hour talk about beign a teen and building an airplane. this can be the motivation to come on down to Sun'n'Fun this year! Hope to see you there.

Build Update: The Turtledeck November 2017

First off, what is a turtledeck? The answer is obvious at first, it is a wood platform on the back of the house, with a bunch of turtles sitting on it, right?

Or maybe it is what you call the deck of a cruise ship that is for turtle pleasure?

Well actually it is the round part of the plane behind the cockpit, that leads into the tail, as seen in this beautiful Sonex.

So, now that we know what a turtledeck is, I can get into how I built one!. Like everything, It started with a plans review. The turtledeck skin was made of 2 smaller skins (a left and right) and a central spine of a stiffening C-Channel. The skin then is curved to make it rounded, pretty, and aerodynamic.

I then prepared all the parts. The turtledeck formers were up to the plate first, they look like this:

I made sure that they had no stress rising scratches. (rule of thumb is that if you can catch a fingernail in the scratch, then it is too deep and must be buffed out.) Aside from that I checked them against the plans …