At a reception ending Day Two, DeLand Showcase Director Jana Filip reported that front gate receipts were greater on Thursday than either Thursday of the two prior years of the Showcase. Then she announced Friday’s gate was greater than the two previous Fridays. DeLand Showcase 2018 is the third running of the event. Showers rolled in threatening Showcase’s perfect weather record although the rain didn’t start until exhibitors and sponsors had gathered in the main show center tent. Under shelter, live music was presented by the Flying Musicians Association, lead by professional music man, Gary Filip. A catered dinner fed the group and as the evening concluded, the rain died off as if on cue. A couple tents were damaged by strong winds including one in the Dreams Come True booth of Steve and Debbie Minnich and an EAA Chapter food tent. No airplane damage was reported.
Zenith Aircraft Co. Cruzer
Phone: (573) 581-9000Mexico, MO 65265 - USA
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.
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.
Even very familiar companies like Zenith Aircraft company, part of a family light aviation empire including Zenair in Canada•, has to prepare well when FAA comes to visit. Specifically, this would be the agency’s KET or Kit Evaluation Team. When various representatives of the regulatory agency visit they use a multi-page list to assure that a kit aircraft meets the requirement that 51% of the kit is built by the owner. Formerly called Experimental Amateur Built (or EAB), many aviators simply say the “51% rule.” In earlier times, kit aircraft were scratch built — meaning a builder secured raw materials that had to be formed and finished while referring to drawings, a potentially very lengthy process. To ease the effort and increase sales, an industry developed to sell component kits. These have become increasingly sophisticated with qualities such as match-hole construction using CNC machines. Making it easier for a builder to assemble his or her aircraft is good, but the kit manufacturer must be able to clearly demonstrate how the owner will do 51% of the work, as required.
Your choices in the affordable aircraft range of options are composed of one of three segments that this website tracks closely: Light-Sport Aircraft (SLSA or ELSA), light kit-built aircraft, or Part 103 ultralights. In the first one, you can spend some real money with a few aircraft breaching the $200,000 barrier. Some handsome, well-equipped, high-performing aircraft are offered in that range, to be sure, but they may not fit your budget. Not all SLSA are not so expensive; some excellent candidates list for $40,000 to $125,000. If a Part 103 aircraft may suit your flying needs, you have a more choices that will get you aloft for a literal fraction of the high-end models. Alternatively, you can build your own airplane. If you choose the homebuilder route, your range of choices becomes even larger, in fact, almost infinite in that you can personalize an aircraft any way you wish and keep changing it as you like.
Last weekend Zenith Aircraft held another of their open house events. At the Midwest LSA Expo a few weeks beforehand I asked factory pilot guru, Roger Dubbert how many people the company expected. His answer: a rather amazing “700.” According to Zenith president Sebastien Heintz it was indeed another strong event, one they’ve repeated every year since setting up shop in Mexico, Missouri. “By all accounts and measurements, the 23rd annual Hangar Day was an incredible winner,” summarized Sebastien. Among the highlights of the two-day festivities was the arrival of EAA’s two Zenith aircraft. One was an EAA staff-built version of the CH 750 Cruzer (watch for our video pilot report to be posted soon) and the second was the One Week Wonder CH 750 that was completed during AirVenture with participation from over 2,500 people. As Arion Aircraft‘s Nick Otterback put it, “Since this month seems to offer many open houses I wanted to share ours.
Zenith Aircraft based in Mexico … Missouri, to be clear, is one of the most solid and impressive kit producers in the light aircraft world. Chris Heintz designs were previously manufactured as fully built LSA by another company. Though that organization discontinued some years back the kit supplier and its models have thrived as before, every year delivering a number of airplane kits that could make other producers jealous. Last year Zenith introduced their newest model as a variation of their very popular “Sky Jeep,” known officially as the CH 750 STOL. Giving the airplane more cross cruising capability resulted in an airplane logically named Cruzer. Simply put by 20-year Zenith demo pilot veteran Roger Dubbert, “Some of our customers wanted an aircraft that would go a little faster.” The total change added about 20% to cruise speed compared to the 750 STOL. Recently, Zenith announced shipment of the first CH 750 Cruzer kits.
We interrupt our series on Oshkosh Elements to highlight the upcoming Zenith Open Hangar Day. The event taking place on Saturday, September 21, 2013 is the company’s 22nd annual such event and it draws a large crowd as you can see in last year’s photo. Normally, one company opening its doors to customers and visitors is not big news but Zenith has done particularly well with their open house. For many recent years, Zenith has steadily been delivering kits at the rate of about 200 units per year, a volume most airframe makers would love to match and one that puts Zenith near the top of the list (if not the alphabet). It means the company has developed a large following and, when invited, they turn out. Given the focus on the Midwest LSA Expo at the beginning of September, one could say the Midwest will be active region for LSA and light kit enthusiasts.