Sonex Xenos Build: A Story in Photos

Last month I got to photograph the finished product of a Sonex Xenos kit airplane build that I followed over several years. My dad had sent me video of its first flight before I made the trip out to Pennsylvania, but seeing his completed airplane in person, with each rivet flush against a silver-painted exterior, was inspiring and exciting. The project was a huge undertaking that he built in its entirety, and I’m excited to share photos of the final product as well as a few from along the way.

Just a small piece of what is a large book of build instructions

Just a small piece of what is a large book of build instructions, from August 2015

Instrument panel before and after, 2014-2015

A mockup of what might become the instrument panel on the left, in 2014, and on the right the nearly complete instrument panel in 2015.

Still in the shop, the instrument panel is complete but a lot of work still to be done.

Still in the shop, the instrument panel is complete but a lot of work still to be done in 2015.

Sonex Xenos interior and instrument panel

The completed instrument panel and interior in June of 2016, already several flights in.

Shots of the propeller, not yet attached, in June 2015

The propeller, not yet fully attached, in June 2015.

Propeller firmly attached. The "smile" visible here is one of my favorite parts of this shot.

Propeller firmly attached. The “smile” visible here is one of my favorite parts of this shot.

The Xenos taxiingback toward the hangar.

The Xenos taxiing back toward the hangar.

A great deal of time went into shaping the canopy to fit flush. the process is a delicate process between bending, shaping, and sanding without fracturing the plexiglass.

A great deal of time went into shaping the canopy to fit flush. It’s a delicate process between bending, shaping, and sanding without stressing or fracturing the plexiglass.

The completed canopy and latch open.

The completed canopy and latch open.

Another angle with canopy open.

Another angle with canopy open.

A few more angles from a shoot I did of the Xenos in front of a fading Western Pennsylvania sun.

Of course, the builder himself:

My dad Larry, and his completed plane.

My dad Larry, and his completed plane.