At AirVenture 2014, EAA hosted Zenith Aircraft in a major project in which 2,500 people gave some assistance to a central team that built an entire CH-750 from shipping container to FAA sign-off and test fly during the seven days of the show in Oshkosh. At the end Jeff Skiles (crew member of the famous airliner landing on the Hudson River) test flew the airplane. Here’s a view of the furious effort to get the job done quickly and well.
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Zenith has found a very ripe market with lots of buyers of their kit-only CH-701 or CH-750 models that some refer to as a “Sky Jeep.” These are STOL models with short takeoff and landing. Plenty of people love it but prefer a higher cruise speed for cross country travel. Therefore, welcome to Cruzer. It dispenses with the slotted wings and fat tires. Wheelpanted and using only a single wing strut with a cleaner wing, Cruzer, well … cruises. However, it keeps a very short takeoff and landing and retains the easy flying qualities of the Sky Jeep.
When you think a company has wrung all it could from a design, think again and then once more. First came the CH-701 STOL, which acquired the nickname “Sky Jeep” for its great off-runway capabilities and short take off. Zenith improved that with the CH-750 that featured a wider cockpit among other changes. At Sun ‘n Fun 2013 Zenith unveiled the Cruzer, a non-STOL version of the same airplane now offering faster cruising. We spoke with expert factory pilot Roger Dubbert about the newest variation on this successful theme.
Zenith Aircraft CH-650 is the follow-on to the popular CH-601 with hundreds flying. Company pilot Roger Dubbert tells us about some of the differences between the predecessor and the ‘650 and he answers our questions on your behalf regarding flight controls, comfort, baggage and more. Come hear the details for this “sedan” of the line complementing the “Sky Jeep” CH-750.
We talked with Roger Dubbert about the whole line of Zenith aircraft, including the CH-701 STOL in kit form, the larger CH-750 in SLSA or kit, and the low wing CH-650. But we also looked at the UL engine that the Zenith folks fitted to their CH-650 design. See more about the engine HERE but listento Roger describe how Zenith regards this new entry.
Zenith and Zenair are closely-linked enterprises with different leaders in different countries. In recent years, the three Heintz brothers took different responsibilities for the business founded by dad, Chris Heintz. An aeronautical engineer, Chris founded Zenair Ltd., in Canada in 1974 and parleyed his design pedigree into a flock of airplanes that have sold by the thousand all over the world. Today, Matt, Sebastien, and Michael run the multifaceted firm.
Through 2015, the combined effort of Zenith and Zenair sought to produce light plane models called 750 STOL, 750 Cruzer, and 650B Zodiac plus four seat kits called CH 801/8000, a sport-utility plane, and the four-seat CH 640 plus a type-certified four seater called CH 2000.
That fleet recently got a bit larger when Zenith / Zenair bought the assets from the Canadian developer of Sam LS.
“Sam Aircraft assets have been acquired by the … owners and operators of Zenith Aircraft Company (U.S.) and Zenair Ltd.
By any measure 2020 has been an unusual year. While millions were thrown out of work by lockdowns to prevent the virus from spreading, we all read or hear that plenty of other workers can work from home or have businesses that cannot be restricted by government decrees.
In this context, how might the aviation industry be holding up? We read — and some brave travelers have experienced first-hand — how the airline industry is in a deep hole, prompting large layoffs.
In this third quarter report for the calendar year, I’ll look at some numbers for general aviation manufacturers as well as the light aviation industry that has my full focus.
The short answer: some are doing surprisingly well.
Before I launch into an analysis, I must extend grateful thanks to Datastician Extraordinaire, Steve Beste, who does such a comprehensive job compiling and demystifying data from FAA’s aircraft registration database.
In the rush of coverage of Vintage Ultralights and other late-breaking stories such as the Blackwing speed record, I had to set aside a few news items. Here’s a catch-up…
I am pleased to serve a need for news during a month when we should have been covering Sun ‘n Fun and Aero Friedrichshafen. As everyone knows, those events are now rescheduled for 2021, both as a result of the global lockdown that has affected hundreds of other events.
You hardly need any more coverage of the coronavirus craziness so let’s get to aviation news and take a small break from these worldwide events. But first…
Oshkosh — Go or No/Go?
It has become one of the most-asked question in aviation. Will the big summer celebration of flight happen or go the way of every other airshow this year?
We have a new year upon us. With our new reporting capabilities for LSA and SP kit market shares, we can now quickly report results from 2019.
A huge thanks to our supreme “datastician,” Steve Beste for making such swift and accurate reporting possible. I assure you that I’ve looked high and low for every year LSA have existed to find no comparable information.
As always, be advised that our data comes from FAA’s aircraft registration database. That means it is impartial — hopefully meaning reliable and dependable — but it also means some massaging of the information is needed to be completely accurate. (See this article for more detail on the effort involved; it is not trivial.) Steve’s valuable ability to manipulate database resources combines with his knowledge of light aircraft to make an unbeatable combination.
As much as any data allows — and as the saying goes… “you can take this info to the bank.” It’s solid!
In about one week, it all ends. Before then, DeLand Showcase 2019 is set to begin! As this is the last airshow of the year, it’s also fair to say the season ends when DeLand show concludes. This year is the fourth annual event.
Since the Sebring show bid a final farewell last spring, DeLand will be the last light aircraft show until Arizona’s Copperstate/Buckeye Air Fair in February, followed two months later by Sun ‘n Fun. If you live in the eastern half of the USA, DeLand and Sun ‘n Fun are separated by five months. Yikes! You can learn more about Copperstate/Buckeye in this video with the Vice Mayor.
Next week on November 14-15-16, welcome to sunny, warm Florida.
Come to DeLand
I hope many of you who frequent this website will be heading to DeLand for the event starting next Thursday.