John Monnett – Pioneer in the Field of Experimental Aircraft
John Monnett is an experimental aircraft designer & builder whose roots in Oshkosh go back to 1968 when, as a young school teacher, he constructed a modified Midget Mustang. Soon after, John met legendary Oshkosh aircraft designer & builder Steve Wittman and began their long friendship.
Early Life and Education
John Monnett has been in the aerospace industry for more than 50 years. As a young school teacher in 1968, he started building his first experimental aircraft: an advanced Midget Mustang project.
He was first introduced to legendary aircraft designer and builder Steve Wittman, who began a lifelong friendship with Monnett. Their shared interest in aviation eventually led to the development of Sonerai I – Monnett’s first design.
Since then, Monnett has been at the forefront of experimental aircraft designs that are both innovative and affordable. His portfolio includes multiple versions of his Sonerai sailplane, Moni motorglider, and world-record-holding Monex racer.
John Monnett has made a lasting impact on the aviation industry as an innovator, kit plane designer, air racer and EAA Hall of Fame inductee. His inspiration and guidance has allowed thousands to build their own aircraft – a tradition he continues to uphold even today.
In 1971, he created the Sonerai Formula Vee racer. It featured a single seat mid-wing design powered by a 1600cc Volkswagen engine.
The Sonerai quickly captured the imagination of sport aviation enthusiasts, with builders asking for plans. Eventually, he started shipping out both plans and parts, officially bringing his Sonerai into production.
Sonex Aircraft LLC, his company founded in 1998, is for sale. While business is flourishing, now is the time for him to transition ownership of the business.
Achievements and Honors
John Monnett is one of the most accomplished and renowned names in kit aviation history, having achieved success multiple times. He has received several awards over the years, such as EAA’s Freedom of Flight award and SETP Spirit of Flight Award.
He has also been recognized for his involvement with the EAA’s Type Club Coalition, his iconic Sonex Aircraft mascot and other contributions to electric powered aircraft development. Most recently he participated in their largest and most successful show ever, drawing nearly 23,000 attendees. As an enthusiastic supporter of both organizations, he has remained an active volunteer throughout his career.
Monnett is a pioneer of experimental aircraft, having begun his journey back in 1968 when he started creating his highly modified Midget Mustang project and met legendary aircraft designer and builder Steve Wittman.
From this point forward, Monnett’s passion for model airplane building grew. He began sketching plans on his kitchen table and soon after assembled them into scale models.
He achieved fame as an innovator and air racer, setting world records, being inducted into the EAA Hall of Fame, and his numerous airplanes continue to inspire builders around the globe.
John Monnett has received many honors, such as the EAA Freedom of Flight Award, Society of Experimental Test Pilots Spirit of Flight Award and Oshkosh Wisconsin Key to the City award. Jim Cunningham’s new biography provides an inspiring look into John Monnett’s life and accomplishments.