Last Update-03/13/2010 01:40 AM
Since Zenith Aircraft is only about 150 miles from Kansas City, I decided to take a little drive out there and check this plane out and hopefully get a demo flight in their beautiful CH701. It took us about 2 hours 45 minutes to find their hanger at the Mexico, Mo airport and it was well worth the trip!
Take a look at their demo CH701
When we arrived they greeted us warmly and took us right out into the shop to have a look around. The building is very clean and orderly with all kinds of airplane parts inventoried and ready to be assembled into kits or shipped individually as needed.
There weren't as many employees working there as you might have thought. The whole operation seems very streamlined to be as efficient as possible on as few workers as possible. All the employees seemed to be very happy and working away smoothly as we perused the factory.
Everything is hand built right down to the ribs. No huge stamping machines, only men cutting out blanks and hand bending them on the same jigs you would build from the plans.
Here is panoramic view of the whole facility. Its a little larger than this shot makes it look. A welding and sheet metal cutting area is the back.
Here is a full CH601 kits ready to be picked up by its new owner. Almost had a tear in my eye thinking about it. Looked like a little pup waiting for its new owner!
Can you think of anything better to do on a Monday off work than go flying with Nick Heintz, the designers son? I cant either so I did. Nicholas Heintz spent about an 1.5 hours showing us the ends and outs of the aircraft and then took me flying! The flight was amazing. After taxiing out to the runway, I counted to 3 as we powered up then we were airborne and climbing like hell.
This plane runs the 80HP Rotax 912. After showing me how the plane responds to control inputs he handed me the stick. Man what a plane. For all the slow speed flight characteristics it has it handles like a little fighter. Turns on a dime and I'm pretty sure it can read your mind. You just think of where you want to go and the plane takes you there. The cabin was comfortable with the bubble doors and I don't remember my keister having any problems with falling asleep.
Unfortunately, I forgot to get a good shot of Nick with the plane. He is the guy pushing the 701 out of the hanger.
I have found my plane !
Well all said and done I walked away with my brand new plans set to build a CH701. I also purchased a pneumatic pop rivet gun while I was there. I'm excited to get some metal and start cutting!