Gallery: Completed Sonex Waiex 'One Week Wonder' Rolls Out On Day 7Matthew Orloff Michael Lavitt
The Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Oshkosh is the largest aviation gathering in the world in terms of attendance. With exhibitors that include Boeing, Airbus and the U.S. Air Force, it may be easy to forget that EAA is rooted in hobbyists assembling home-built airplanes that can be purchased for relatively small amounts of money. For this reason, EAA has made “One Week Wonder” a spotlight at this year’s AirVenture.
One Week Wonder is a challenge spanning the show’s one-week duration. A group of volunteers comes together to build a kit airplane from scratch to fly-ready completion by the end of the festival. This year, volunteers will be building a Sonex Waiex from Sonex Aircraft.
Building a kit airplane can take many years to complete on one’s own, but EAA wants to inspire others and let the world know building an airplane can be done, it’s not crazy and people can take advantage of some of the greatest aerospace technologies available.
On Day 1 everything is out of the cardboard boxes. EAA CEO Jack Pelton joked that because the event started seven minutes late due to a faulty microphone, the team was already running seven minutes behind schedule.
On Day 2 work was slightly ahead of schedule, said Doug MacDonald, who is leading logistics on the project.
On Day 3 Chris Nash, a product engineer at Sonex who is the assembly leader, said work was basically on time. The upper and lower fuselages were joined, and the wing assembly was progressing.
On Day 4 assembly of the Waiex is still on schedule or maybe a little ahead, but leaders don't want to talk about being ahead. Losing the sense of urgency could result in losing ground. But doing everything right is more important than schedule when building an airplane. MacDonald says the goal on Day 4, July 28, is to get the aircraft standing on its landing gear. This update was written at midday.
On Day 5 the Waiex is really taking shape. The engine is now in place in the engine bay. The wing is ready to be attached to the aircraft, following riveting by AirVenture attendees who sign it near to the rivets they pulled. Their signatures will be printed in one of the completed aircraft's fuselage stripes.
On Day 6 work is nearing completion. The lower cowl is installed below the engine, and volunteers attach the fuel tank in the fuselage. Its registration number is taped to the rear fuselage. The windshield is also installed.
On Day 7 volunteers finish work on the Sonex Waiex and roll out the low-wing, V-tail aircraft. All that remains is a trip to the paint hanger and signoff by the FAA.
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