Why Build at All ?

Before I can address the question of why I'm building a Sonerai, I think a more fundamental question needs to be answered. Why spend years of your life and thousands of dollars to build an airplane when you can buy or rent perfectly satisfactory airplanes"

For me, the answer is wish fulfillment. I build because I've wanted to since I was 10 or 11, and I'm at the point in the arc of my life when fulfilling childhood wishes is both possible and important.

I blame Ken Rand. I may have known, from the airplane magazines in our house as I grew up, that people built their own airplanes. But when the KR-1 burst into the popular imagination, it captured my own completely. Some boys dream big. My dreams tended to be somewhat bounded. A KR-1 fit my psyche perfectly. It was small, fast, and cheap. Cheap enough for a young man to imagine undertaking, soon.

Well, soon took a while. Many pursuits got in the way of this one. Until one day about 10 years ago, killing time in the Green Bay Wisconsin airport, I bought a copy of KITPLANES from the newsrack, and I got that major jones fo my own little airplane again.

What's This Airplane Good For Anyway ?

The mark of a good designer in my view is how well they define their problem. For me, this process of definition was crucial to deciding to build, and to deciding what to build.

I learned to fly with a flying club. We scrimp on everything except maintenance, and even there we squeze every nickel 'till Lincoln hollers. At the time I was making this decision, I could rent an IFR equipped C172 for $45/hr wet. I flew club airplanes on long cross country trips all over the west.

At those prices, it made no sense for me to build a traveling airplane.

But what about a sportplane? And those Cessna's burned 8 gallons per hour, and for a guy that at the time didn't own a car for largely political reasons, it seemed incongrous to spend all that gas on recreation.

Hopefully the reader can see the beginnings of my narrowing of requirements.