Author Topic: Sonerai II for tall guys  (Read 623 times)


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Sonerai II for tall guys
« on: Sep 01, 2017 »
I have been interested in Sonerai II LS or LST models for a few months now and have investigated the threads on this site quite thoroughly--including the latest on standard modifications for tall guys.  I have also visited with several members of our EAA chapter.  I think it is now time to query the forum.

I know there are "turtle" canopies and the like that will increase head room and it is likely possible that I could modify the rudder pedals sufficiently to fit in.  But, even with mods there is "fit" and there is "comfortable for a 2-3 hour flight fit."  I will just throw this out there:  the problem is that I am 6'5 and 250 pounds.  I don't want to extend the fuselage beyond the specs for known CG--but a stretch might work.  For comparison's sake, I have owned Toyota's for decades--and still drive a Camry.  I have to lean the seat back a couple of extra inches--but I am comfortable for a 6 hour drive.  I am also aware that I will likely need the largest standard engine that Sonerai suggests in order to increase the useful load.  (And I would like the ability to carry a passenger of normal stature for a short flight--so a 2 place airframe is what I am interested in.)

So--what guidance and advice might the accumulated wisdom of the Sonerai builders and aviators provide?  Am I delusional?  Is there a remote possibility that I can fit into Sonerai II?  Am I just dreaming?  Is there anyone near to Amarillo, TX (not much more than a 2-3 hours drive away) who might be willing to show me their airplane? 

Thanks and I look forward to reading your thoughts.
Paul Clark


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Re: Sonerai II for tall guys
« Reply #1 on: Sep 01, 2017 »
I would invite you to try mine on with raised turtle deck of 4 inches, however I am in Eastern PA.  Gross weight of a 2LS is 1150 lb.   I would think you would need to find or want to build a very light 2LS.

550 lb max.  +  60 lbs fuel. + 250lb pilot = 860   

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Re: Sonerai II for tall guys
« Reply #2 on: Sep 01, 2017 »
Hi Paul,

I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum - 5'6", 135 lb - and my 2LS fits me very nicely but I can't help thinking that you would be crowded in one. And an adult passenger? In the Texas heat? Others may disagree but I doubt that it's the right airplane for you. Just my opinion.

Good luck with whatever you decide.


P.S. I'm in PA too.


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Re: Sonerai II for tall guys
« Reply #3 on: Sep 02, 2017 »
Hello Paul I am in Santa Fe, NM and I am selling my project that is a single-seat Sonerai II-L. The beginning builder was a big man like yourself and the air-frame is complete with raised turtle-deck, single seat (positioned seat just aft of the spar carry-thru) and cross-bracing adjusted so a large man can enter and exit. Photos are available in my Gallery under N127PZ. I was in the planning stage of raising the vertical stab to match the 3" raised turtle-deck, but no metal has been cut.

Flown solo I would not see why you could not fly a Sonerai. You are certainly not the weight of two people. My phone is 505 490 5314 if you would like to ask questions. Cheers, Pete


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Re: Sonerai II for tall guys
« Reply #4 on: Sep 09, 2017 »

While I have not completed a Sonerai (I am restarting, actually) I have done a bunch of "studies" of several 4130 plans built planes (Milholland Double Eagle, Wittman Tailwind W-10 and Sonerai IILS). I am 6' 4" and weight around 260 lb.s.

While the Double Eagle is certainly the largest of the three it is also the slowest and still requires about the same amount of time to build as a Sonerai or Tailwind (800 to 1200). It is a very cheap plane, no question about it. Riding with a passenger gives you 19 inches per seat width but comfortable leg room.

The Tailwind W-10 is a plane for midgets. You put any engine on something size and it will fly if you balance it right. With a passenger you each get about 16 inches of space per side. You end up modifying the spar carry through to fit your head and then the bugger is still very short to the pedals. "Cramped" doesn't give it justice.

Now, for what you originally asked for!

The Sonerai IILS is about 21 inches wide in the cockpit. You can extend the pedals further away so there is no question you can fit length wise. The turtle deck can be extended 2 inches up and a slightly reclined seating would drop your head under the canopy. If not, you can extend the turtle deck up another inch. I have heard of 4 inch extensions.

The catch to the Sonerai IILS is the fact you have to fit your legs under the top cross member and above the spar carry through. It takes a bit of doing with long legs but just reinforce the floor so you don't stick your foot through the bottom of the plane on accident. The hardest part is getting out of the plane :-) I would get a technique and practice so you don't tear up the plane.

The cool part is the numbers say you can actually carry a decent size passenger in a Sonerai, even with a heavier plane.

The easy to get in and out of planes can't realistically carry the second passenger simply because the won't fit in the plane without sitting partially on you! The Double Eagle (515 lb.s) and the Tailwind W-10 (575 lb.s) have a very low usable weight when compared to the Sonerai IILS (610 lb.s). The Tailwind suffers further from it's thirsty large bore aircraft engine required to pull it aloft which means that 575 lb.s is largely shared with a fuel tank.

Fitting your height in the Sonerai won't be a problem. The weight isn't a problem. It's your dern knees! At least mine don't bend backwards.


PS. You want a Tailwind guy to flip out, tell him just how much more space you have in the Sonerai IILS cockpit than he does AND your realistic high cruise is still where his is but at 5 gallons less per hour (Lycoming/Continental  160HP vs 2180 cc VW). If he tells you that he reaches 200 mph don't ever go flying with him! VNE for the Tailwind W-10 195 MPH.

PSS. If anyone sees anything factually wrong with my statements above, I am all ears. These are my observations and attempts to mock up cockpits so if I have missed something, by all means please jump in.


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Re: Sonerai II for tall guys
« Reply #5 on: Sep 18, 2017 »
I would really recommend the IILS, certainly not a IIL if you have any idea of carting someone else in it.  You will need the stretch.  Make it to fit you or you will not be happy.  You will not fit in a mid-wing.  I've got a IIL, and am just shy of 6'1" and 190ish.  Cannot fit in a IIL unless modded and even then that cross member is a knee knocker.  So, I'm moving that cross member forward just a bit with reinforcement and foregoing the front seat. It will be a comfortable one and a halferai.  In a IILS, you could keep the seat.  The Sonerai is relatively easy to build compared to most other birds and has decent performance.  I've been comparing my Sonerai to the Mustang II and T-18 in the hanger, and thinking, "Ok, again, why did I buy those?"  HaHa.  The others are huge compared to the Sonerai but much more complicated builds.  More power, more performance, more weight, but more gas and everything that goes with it.  Sonerai is a great, simple airplane!
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