It’s official, we are building the Zenith Zodiac 650B (shown below).
Cheryl returns from her first small airplane flight
Cheryl, my dad, and myself went down to Mexico, MO for a workshop and a test flight at Zenith Aircraft. The crew at Zenith Aircraft Company was really helpful and a lot of fun to hang out with. We learned a lot and made some new friends. We can’t wait to go down and see them again.
The flight test confirmed what we all thought, This is a great airplane. Very easy to fly, with good slow flight characteristics. The UL engine has lots of power and is very smooth and quiet. Visibility out of the bubble canopy is nothing short of amazing, especially if one is coming from Cessna and Piper worlds. This was Cheryl’s first flight in a light aircraft and loved it! Roger of Zenith really helped explain my passion for aviation by example. Thanks Zenith!
My Father bought me the tool Kit that has most of the specialty tools that will be needed to build this… Thanks pops! And Cheryl and I bought the Plans and building instructions and the tail kit. We are very excited to be starting. It is now time to get the garage prepped and organized…. and continue to save money for the next kit.
Cheryl and I will be going to the Zenith factory this summer to participate in a workshop where we will assemble the rudder to what we hope will become our airplane. I am very excited about this. We have reserved lodging and taken time off to attend. I believe that we will also get to take the factory demonstrator for ride. For me, that will be what makes or breaks the deal, though I do not expect there to be any issues. I can’t wait for Cheryl to take her first small airplane ride. I am also excited seeing Cheryl start to share… some of my enthusiasm for this project and am very thankful for her support.
I have come to a decision…. mostly on which aircraft to build. I believe that I will be building the Zodiac CH 650B with the UL 350iS engine as seen below.
CH-650 with UL 350iS power plant.
There is ONE caveat to this decision. Although I have done a considerable amount of research, reading, and lets be honest…. day dreaming, I still need to take a demo ride in an example of this aircraft before I will make the final decision. I am planning a trip down to the factory for a tour and a ride. I also need to work on the financing
I have narrowed the very wide field of available kit planes down to two.
Van’s RV-12 is option number 1. This is a nice little 2 place side by side. The ability to quickly remove the wings and trailer this aircraft is the characteristic that keeps this one on the short list. Being able to trailer this home and not having to pay for hanger space or worse….. leave this sitting out on the ramp is a huge money saver and very appealing to me. Less appealing for me is the power plant option. Van’s has limited this to the very popular but somewhat out of date Rotax 912.
CH-650 with UL 350iS power plant.
Zenair’s CH 650 is the second option. At first glance the CH 650 looks very similar to the RV-12 and is also a side by side two place aircraft. Performance is also very close largely due to the limits placed on LSA class aircraft. The CH 650 has a large number of power-plant options that includes my current favorite, UL’s 350iS. This option also gives the CH 650 about 50lbs more in useful load and a longer range. It does not have the detachable wings limiting it’s storage options when not in use.
So there is one of many decisions that I must make before I can start this awesome project. I look forward to any comments or suggestions including other aircraft options I may have overlooked. I will likely delve deeper into the engine options in a future post…. stay tuned.