Call for Entries: CH 650 Paint Scheme Design Competition

As Zenith Aircraft is completing its new CH 650 B factory demo plane, the company is soliciting paint scheme ideas for its sleek new low wing design. Zenith plans to have the new plane with its new paint scheme on display at Sun n Fun, starting March 29.

Zenith would like the paint scheme for its new CH 650 to help highlight the fact that this is a fresh airplane, yet it's also a traditional all-metal light sport plane. The new larger canopy and swept-back vertical tail change the look of the CH 650, while it still shares the look of the Zodiac design which has been popular since 1984. Zenith invites both creative and non-creative types to submit entries. The top submissions will be posted on Zenith’s web site so that everyone can see them and vote on their favorites. Continue reading "Call for Entries: CH 650 Paint Scheme Design Competition"

Upgraded Zodiac CH 601 Remains 51% Legal

This just in from Zenith Aircraft:

The FAA Kansas City Manufacturing Inspection Office has evaluated the Zenith Aircraft Company Zodiac CH601 XL aircraft kit changes, specifically the 6-ZU Upgrade Package. The MIO has notified AIR-200 that they have found no significant change compared to the original Amateur Built Fabrication and Assembly Checklist, and meets major portion requirements ("51% rule"). Continue reading "Upgraded Zodiac CH 601 Remains 51% Legal"

Phil Owens' CH-801

Completed after a long journey of ten years. I still need to finish the paint, but she flies great! The engine is #5 off the Jabiru 5100 8cyl 180HP line and sports a custom 3-blade Catto prop, just over 800# thrust on a plane with an empty weight of 1240. She just jumps off the ground! Photos are of her first flight; what a blast!

Location: Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport

e-mail address:

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:


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:

Coming Soon: Try Before You Buy Zenith Workshops

Participants in Zenith factory workshops have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in building a Zenith kit aircraft. For a relatively low cost, they can start assembling parts of the kit under the guidance of factory professionals, and upon graduation have a rudder tail section for a STOL CH 750 or Zodiac CH 650 to show for the effort. Continue reading "Coming Soon: Try Before You Buy Zenith Workshops"