Randy Owen's Zenith 701

After 2 years, 5 months and about 1060 hours building time, my Zenith 701 flew for the first time, and flew flawlessly. Even at my 4724' field elevation, it jumped off the runway and climbed like a maniac. It uses a Rotax 912ULS engine with a Warp Drive prop. Many thanks go to Graham Meyer and Bob Trumpfheller, my technical counselors, to Clarence Wood, Zenith builder extraordinaire, to Jon Croke and his fabulous videos, and to my wife, who helped, and put up with metal shavings all over the house.

Location: Grand Junction, CO

e-mail address: randyowen523@hotmail.com

Website: www.zenith.aero/profile/RandyOwen

Thomas Longo's Zenith 701

Zenith N701TL took me a little over a year to build, started on 6/18/09 and finished 8/05/10. The airworthiness certificate was issued on 9/16/10 and first flight was on 9/18/10.

It is powered by a Rotax 100 hp 912 ULS engine with a Warp Drive 72 inch prop, equipped with full steam gauges, a Dynon SkyView glass panel, Becker transponder and Flightline FL760 radio,  AeroLED MicroSun landing lights and a BRS parachute system.

The first flight went well without problems on a beautiful Florida fall morning, the sun just coming up. After so much sacrifice the feeling of flying your project is just exhilarating! I have flown off the 40 hour test phase. My first passenger was my wife, her first flight ever that was not on a commercial plane and she loved it. As of this writing, I have approximately 50 hours and this plane is a joy to fly. Takeoff distance is around 100 feet and landing not much more. I wanted the challenge and satisfaction of building my own plane at least once in my lifetime.

Special thanks to my friend Keith Dull who lent his expertise in applying the paint and also to my sister Cynthia Pimentel who did the upholstery work for my seats which match the paint job. Last but not least, thanks to my wife Tanya who did not see me much during the year of building my plane. Full pictures of build and video of first flight can be found on the Zenith Builders site.

Thomas Longo

Location: Brooksville, FL

e-mail address: tclongo@att.net

Website: http://www.zenith.aero/profile/ThomasLongo

Gero and Beatrix Dargel's Skyranger Swift

After a couple of more or less successful radio controlled models, the Skyranger is our first "full size" project. The main structure of the Skyranger is a bolted skeleton framing covered with presewn Dacron, so the kit can be constructed with a limited tool set. The construction was pretty straightforward. After about 500 hours within 11 months in a really small (German!) single car garage it took off on its maiden flight in September 2010. It is powered with a 80HP ROTAX 912 and it is now located at EDMJ near Munich, Germany

Location: Munich, Germany

e-mail address: srswift@arcor.de

Website: http://home.arcor.de/gero.dargel/Geros_geflugelte_Seite/Unser_Skyranger/Unser_Skyranger.html

Philip Smith's Zenith CH 701

Started building in February of 1997 - finally signed off after three years, eight months and 20 days. Lost track of the hours but I'm a perfectionist.

Ran out of parts and excuses November 5th and took her up for the first flight of fifteen minutes. The picture is of taxi in after first flight, and the guy with the grin is yours truly. No squawks. Now I have over three hours on the plane and am waiting on this darn Idaho weather (17 days after this picture there is about six inches of snow on the ground with blizzard conditions forecast).

Advice: if you are in the throes of a build keep working at it ... the rewards of flying your own plane are well worth the troubles.

Zenith CH 701
Rotax 912 ULS

Philip Smith,  ATP,  A&P, USAF Retired

Location: Buhl ID (U03)

e-mail address: madriver42@gmail.com

Lory Ghertner's Glasair

After too many years of my wife's putting up with the odor of resin and thousands of parts, N494U is now a cross-country machine. The Glasair Super IIFT was built with the support of many people including family, friends, Ray Chapin of BAC services and Bill Middlebrook of Penn Yan Aero. Powered by an engine built up with ECI cylinders, the original Aerosance FADEC and MT prop, it runs "like a deer," cruising at 190 TAS down low and climbing at over 100 mph at 400 fpm at 16,000 feet MSL. Covered in House of Kolor Kandy paints and clear-coated with Imron, it is a flash of fire in the sun and just a joy to fly.

Sodus, New York

e-mail: nghertner@verizon.net

Bob Carson’s Sonex

Sonex N754TA took 2.5 years to complete, and it first flew in September 2009. This is my first build and the construction went smoothly due to the design and great kit offered by Sonex. Special thanks to my wife, Lourdes, for her patience and support during this great adventure.

N754TA is propelled along nicely by a 120-hp Jabiru 3300 engine. The instrumentation includes a Stratomaster Enigma EFIS for flight information and engine monitoring, XCOM radio, Becker transponder, AOA indicator and Trio Avionics two-axis autopilot. It also has LED landing and position lighting.

I started this project during my Sport Pilot flight training and finished it just after getting my tailwheel endorsement. I flew the test flight with a total of about 50 hours of flight training, which included only about 2 minutes of Sonex stick time. The test flight was also the first time I had a chance to solo a tailwheel aircraft. The first flight was exhilarating, but all went well and I think that first landing has been my best so far as I was really focused.

Location: Highland Village, Texas

e-mail address: carsons11@yahoo.com