A lesser-known gem the Sorrell Hiperbipe

By Willie Bodenstein

10.06.2023





The Sorrell SNS-7 Hiperbipe, a two-seat negative stagger, conventional landing gear-equipped cabin biplane designed by the Sorrell family Hobie Sorrell, along with his sons John, Mark and Tim of Oregon in the USA for amateur construction. The company was originally formed in 1958 eventually produced between 50-100 Hiperbipe kits.



The SNS-7 Hyperbipe was intended to give full unlimited aerobatic performance without sacrificing the comforts of a cabin-style aircraft is indeed capable of advanced aerobatics, including vertical eight point rolls and inside and outside vertical eights. One specific Hiperbipe in the US has competed with some success in both the Sportman and Intermediate categories. According to those that have flown it, its vertical penetration is better than a Pitts S-2A. The rest of the aerobatic envelope being very similar.



The negative stagger wings have a custom symmetrical design aerofoil and made from wood. The whole airframe is covered in doped aircraft fabric, including the plywood-covered wings. The fuselage, tail, engine mount, landing gear mounts, interplane struts and flight controls are all built from welded 4130 steel. The landing gear is sprung steel tube. The engine cowling and wheel spads are fibreglass.

The first Hiperbipe design made its first flight in the early 1970s. It made its public debut at AirVenture, Oshkosh in 1973 and won Outstanding New Design.



Vaguely resembling what the offspring of a Beech Staggerwing and a Wittman Tailwind might have looked like the Hiperbibe created quite a lot of interest.

In the 1980's the company closed its doors and in 2013 Thunderbird Aviation in Michigan acquired the rights and tooling for the SNS-7. An estimated 24 have been completed. The current Kit price is $52,900 and includes a pre-welded fuselage and empennage, all covering materials, cowling, windshield and 80% completed wings. The estimated build time is between 500-800 hours.






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