|John Monnett receives the Freedom of Flight Award on Wednesday. (photo by Jason Toney)
By Gary Flick
July 31, 2013 - Sonex President John Monnett joined the elite list of recipients of EAA's Freedom of Flight Award, presented to him at the annual membership meeting Wednesday.
The award is the organization's highest honor, bestowed annually to an individual whose contributions to aviation closely mirror the integrity, entrepreneurship, and innovative activities of EAA members.
Past recipients of the 27-year-old award include Steve Wittman, Neil Armstrong, Paul Poberezny, the Rutans, and Harrison Ford, to name a few.
Monnett earned his spot on the totem pole by dedicating his entire life to making "fun flight" affordable and accessible to the general people.
"To me, it just doesn't make sense to spend a lot more on the kind of flying most people do," Monnett said in his biography From Sonerai to Sonex. "How fast and how high doesn't really matter when we are just flying locally."
This mentality led to the creation of his first for-sale airplane, the Sonerai, which cost $1,200 in the '70s, and 40 years later, his aircraft are still considered some of the best values in aviation.
Monnett's models have always been built with a fun-to-fly mentality and he is almost single-handedly responsible for giving countless aviation family members the chance to live their dreams of playing fighter pilot by providing the industry with an affordable means of rolling, diving, and racing.
Every year at AirVenture we marvel at countless concept models and think, "I wish I could afford to do that."
John Monnett has been making those wishes come true for 40 years.