Sonerai flight training

Help Support


New Member
Aug 29, 2014
Marietta Ohio
I am near compleation on a sonerai restoration. I do have a tail dragger endorsement however I had hopes of finding a sonerai owner that could take me up for some trips around the pattern. If the owner could translate flight handling charistics in air thats about all that is needed. I of course would compensate the owner for all expenses. My contact info is 740-538-4725 202 Thanks All


2nd and current "Caretaker" N994SP
Aug 27, 2017
Mount Vernon, WA
I bought N994SP from SmokeyRay in October, 2017. At the time, I had about 65 hours of tailwheel time, and about 600 hrs total. SmokeyRay let me taxi it a little bit, then we folded the wings and loaded it on a truck. And, I drove it home. Other than flying a couple hours from the back seat of a Champ, I did not have any transition training.

My first flight was just about the scariest, and the fun-est, thing I've ever done. After about an hour of taxiing, working my way up to eventuall 40mph and raising the tail, I took off. It was just like taking off in the Champ, or a Citabria, raise the tail at 40mph and just coax it off the ground at 60. I did as I was told by Smokey (and others) and kept it in ground effect until 80mph before climbing out.

I climbed to 3,000' agl and did some turns, a couple of power off stalls (55mph) and a power on stall (also 55mph). Then, I came back to the pattern.

My first time around the pattern, I just tried to get a feel for the sight picture and the flare. The 2nd time around, I tried a 3 point, and was just a little fast. It bounced once, and I applied power, leveled off, got the nose straight (man that thing will get away from you if you don't add rudder with throttle) and in ground effect, let the speed build back to 80 before climbing out again.

I went around 2 more times, bouncing each time. Then 5th time around, the bounce didn't seem so bad, I just froze the pitch and used the rudder to keep the plane headed down the runway. I'm sure I looked like a drunk sailor trying to get back to the ship. But, I got her slowed down and made the 2nd turn off. By this time, I realized I had an audience, and they were clapping. They also had displayed around them on the ground, just about every fire extinguisher in the entire county.

I made a bunch more flights that fall, all pretty much the same thing: out, up to altitude, practice steep turns, power on and power off stalls, then back to the pattern for touch and goes. After about 10 hours of this, I felt confident enough to start wandering away from the home drome.

I've got over 200 hours in her now. And, I've had a blast doing short cross countries, some mild aerobatics, and a little formation flying. Its a great little airplane and really not hard to fly. But, with those aluminum landing gear, it does bounce. And, it does require positive control of the rudder. Wear some light shoes that will let you feel the rudder, keep your feet moving. When you kinda feel like you're herding cats with your toes, you're doing it right.

And, do not try to pitch it off the runway below 80. If you bounce so bad you have to waive off, give it the throttle, but don't let the nose come up. Level out and accelerate. I'm convinced that panicking after a bounce is about the most dangerous thing you can do in a Sonerai.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Jul 9, 2014
Valparaiso, Indiana
"My first flight was just about the scariest, and the fun-est, thing I've ever done." Great post and great advice! I think it wouldn't hurt an to add a lift reserve indicator (a/k/a, Angle of Attack Indicator) right in the middle of the screen so if the nose is getting too high or you're carry too much energy as you flare you you get some additional and very useful visual feedback if you are not paying close enough attention to attitude outside. The LRI is the best instrument to avoid a stall at any attitude, load, or speed. It will also give the correct feedback of when you are running out of lift just before you set it down so you can avoid those springy landings. Cheap insurance, TO, and landing assistance. You can buy the expensive sets, but for about $400 (new), you get what you need and it needs no electrical and is pretty simple to install (Put the probe on the wing bottom out of prop wash and behind the leading edge about 1/5 chord, run the little tubes to the gauge and mount it flush or not. Fly it and calibrate it. Have it hit red about 5 mph above full stall and then lock it into that position. Put a mark on it to check alignment as part of your pre-flight.).
$275 on eBay (Wentworth).
Group builder