Gallery: Completed Sonex Waiex ‘One Week Wonder’ Set Day 7

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Oshkosh is the largest aviation gathering in the world by attendance. With exhibitors such as Boeing, Airbus and the US Air Force, it can be easy to forget that the EAA is rooted in hobbyists assembling home-built planes that can be purchased for relatively small sums. For this reason, the EAA has made “One Week Wonder” one of the spotlights at this year’s AirVenture.

One Week Wonder is a challenge spanning the week-long run of the show. A group of volunteers come together to build a kit airplane from scratch until it’s ready to fly by the end of the festival. This year, volunteers will build a Sonex Waiex from Sonex Aircraft.

Building a kit airplane can take many years, but EAA wants to inspire others and let the world know that building an airplane can be done, it’s not crazy, and people can take advantage of some of the greatest aerospace technology available.

On day 1, everything came out of the box. EAA CEO Jack Pelton joked that because the event started seven minutes late due to a faulty microphone, the team was already seven minutes late.

On Day 2, work was slightly ahead of schedule, said Doug MacDonald, who leads project logistics.

On the third day, Chris Nash, a product engineer at Sonex who is the assembly manager, said the job was basically on time. The upper and lower fuselages were joined and wing assembly progressed.

On Day 4, Waiex assembly is still on schedule or maybe a bit ahead of schedule, but the executives don’t want to talk about being ahead. Losing a sense of urgency could result in a loss of ground. But getting everything right is more important than timing when building an airplane. MacDonald says the goal for Day 4, July 28, is to get the plane upright on its landing gear. This update was written at noon.

On day 5, the Waiex is really taking shape. The engine is now in place in the engine compartment. The wing is ready to be attached to the aircraft, after being riveted by AirVenture participants who sign it near the rivets they pulled. Their signatures will be printed on one of the finished aircraft’s fuselage strips.

On day 6, the work is almost complete. The lower cowl is installed under the engine, and volunteers fix the fuel tank in the fuselage. Its registration number is taped to the rear of the fuselage. The windshield is also installed.

On Day 7, volunteers complete work on the Sonex Waiex and deploy the low-wing, V-tail aircraft. All that remains is a trip to the paint hanger and FAA approval.

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