National Kit Evaluation Team Completes On-Site Evaluation, OK's
A five-person FAA National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET) recently
concluded a two day visit to Zenith Aircraft Company in Mexico,
Missouri. In a letter dated June 24, 2011, Terry Allen, manager of
the FAA Production and Airworthiness Division, stated that the
Evaluation Team determined that the kit will "allow an amateur
builder to meet the major portion requirement of Title 14, Code of
Federal Regulations part 21, Certification Procedures for Products
and Parts, § 21.191(g)," known as the "51-percent" requirement
to register the aircraft as Amateur-Built - Experimental.
The FAA Production and Airworthiness Division (AIR-200) will
have the Zenith kit added to the List of Amateur-Built Aircraft
Kits located on the FAA website.
Amateur builders can use the resulting FAA checklists to
determine exactly how much commercial / professional builder
assistance may be used in the construction of their projects
without violating the "51-percent" requirement. "While we never
doubted that the CH 650 kit meets the intent of the major portion
[51% rule] requirement, it's useful to have it officially
recognized as such," stated Zenith president Sebastien Heintz. "We
provide a significantly higher level of completion with the CH 650
kit compared to many kits on the market."
Zenith Aircraft Company uses CNC routers to cut both small and
large parts, drilling thousands of pilot holes, and the standard
airframe kit is supplied to builders with factory-built wing spars,
welded components such as control system parts and welded aluminum
fuel tanks (located in the wings), and is supplied with all
hardware needed to complete the airframe.
The CH 650 is a second generation light sport aircraft,
developed specifically for Sport Pilots. It is the latest model in
the Zodiac line of aircraft from aeronautical engineer Chris
Heintz, first introduced in 1984. This newest model offers new and
updated features including modern new styling with a larger cabin
area with more width and head room, improved ventilation and
visibility, and a new canopy latch system. The aircraft is built
entirely of 6061-T6 sheet aluminum, fastened together with blind
("Pop"-type) rivets, and can be powered by a wide choice of
engines, including the new UL Power engines, Jabiru 3300,
Continental O-200, Rotax, as well as auto conversions such as
Corvair and Viking Honda. The aircraft can be configured with
tricycle gear (standard) or as a tail dragger, and many options are
available from the factory.
The CH 650 is available as an easy-to-build kit, drawing upon
Zenith's decades of experience in the kit industry.
State-of-the-art CNC fabrication equipment provides a complete kit
that can be assembled (by first time builders) with only basic
tools and skills. The CH 650 airframe requires less than 500 hours
to build from the complete factory-supplied kit, that includes many
CNC pre-cut and pre-drilled skins and components, and includes
detailed drawings (blueprints) and photo assembly manuals.
Available step-by-step assembly videos are also available on
Earlier this year, the FAA re-evaluated the Zodiac CH 601 XL B
kit changes and confirmed that the upgraded CH 601 XL B is eligible
in meeting the "51% rule." A comprehensive upgrade kit was
offered by Zenith Aircraft Co. to builders and owners of the
popular Zodiac CH 601 XL in December 2009. The new CH 650 includes
the features of the upgrade kit as standard equipment.
Zenith Aircraft Company supplies complete kits and component
"buy-as-you-build" component kits to builders. The aircraft can
also be scratch-built from blueprints alone. Monthly workshops are
held at its modern factory in Missouri to allow prospective
builders to gain hands-on kit building experience and to offer demo
flights in the aircraft.