“Over the past 20 years kit and experimental aircraft have evolved," said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Company. "However, the aircraft kits and the industry have changed drastically.” Maturity, as many have indeed realized in the past 20 years, can be a good thing: “In terms of kit quality, precision, parts availability, and especially flyability, virtually everything has improved.” He added, “And when you’re talking about building your own airplane, all those advantages come together even better, when you realize how much more advanced the kit manufacturing equipment, processes, and documentation have become, thanks in large part to technology [such as CNC manufacturing and CAD engineering]. It’s easier today than it ever has been to build your own great-flying airplane.”
All these improvements are cause for celebration at Zenith Aircraft Co., which twenty years ago, in 1992, opened at its present facility in Missouri, centrally located in the United States. Though Sebastien Heintz’s father, famed CH-series aeronautical engineer Chris Heintz, had been developing and selling plans and kit aircraft since 1974 (and later, certified and LSA), the move to Missouri marked a huge milestone for the company and the whole Heintz family. Today, with several thousand kit-built aircraft in the air, and several more thousand under construction, the attention to customer service and factory support and involvement are apparent at hundreds of airports across America and around the world.
“When you look at the kit manufacturers then,” Heintz reflected, “and see who is still producing today, you have a small handful of dedicated producers. We have evolved together, making a better experience for builders and pilots; and we have survived because we did that.”
One of the hallmarks of the Heintz designs has been a readiness to allow flexibility in design features that customers want. “We are not locked into any particular engine for our airplane designs,” Sebastien noted. “Though the vast majority choose to fly the standard configuration, we see Lycoming, Continental, Corvair, VW and Honda auto conversion, 4 and 6 cylinder Jabiru engines, and increasingly, the UL Power series being picked by our builders. This flexibility means that people can more-readily tailor their aircraft to their exact tastes, and be assured of factory cooperation and support, while having access to an engine that meets their budget.”
“We at Zenith applaud all the companies that have been our friends and competition for all these years, and we look forward to many more years of improvements, innovations, and helping dreams take flight,” stated Sebastien Heintz.
More News – Big Celebration Event:
The 20th anniversary celebration will take place at the annual Zenith Aircraft Open Hangar Day and Fly-In gathering at the factory in Mexico, Missouri in September. A Zenith banquet will be held on Friday evening, September 21, with the Open Hangar day activities the following day, on September 22 at the Mexico Memorial Airport. Kit suppliers Dynon, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, Matco wheels, Wicks, Garmin, Corvair, UL Power, Jabiru engines, and others will attend for the celebration and to meet with Zenith builders and pilots. It’s not a trade show, but an excellent opportunity to interface with builders, owners and pilots of Zenith kit planes. Educational seminars, workshops and demonstrations will take place on both Friday and Saturday, September 21 & 22, 2012. Dozens of Zenith customer-built airplanes will fly in for the activities, and many builders and owners (some of whom have been flying Zenith / Zenair designs since the 1970s) will swap stories and tips with first-time builders in this annual celebration of flight.
For more on this separate story, visit http://www.zenithair.com/news/oh2012.html