Zenith Aircraft Company's
Building An Aircraft
As A School Or Group Project

Building a kit as a school project with kids...

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Building an aircraft is a true educational experience, whether the aircraft is built by an individual or by a group.  Zenith Aircraft Company is committed to expanding learning opportunities available to educational institutions and non-profit groups.  Education and non-profit discounts are available from Zenith Aircraft Company, as well as additional technical support.

Community School (Sun Valley, Idaho) - ZODIAC CH 601 construction. Community School (Sun Valley, Idaho) - ZODIAC CH 601 construction.
Community School (Sun Valley, Idaho) - ZODIAC CH 601 construction. Community School (Sun Valley, Idaho) - ZODIAC CH 601 construction.

Schools and Other Educational Institutions

Many educational institutions today are seeking alternative approaches to teaching basic skills to students, with an empasis on applied "hands-on" sessions.  Building an aircraft, from start to flying, is the ultimate school project and exposes students to a very wide variety of skills and experiences, and offers educators with resources and material for teaching numerous subjects.  

Student and mentorScope of the Project:  While building a real airplane may seem beyond the scope of an educational institution, it's a project that is an ideal "teaching aid," requiring all participating students and educators to work together.  An aircraft building project can be structured to actively involve the whole school and community, or can be accomplished as an optional or extracurricular activity.

There are different ways to approach this project - choosing between building an aircraft from blue-prints or assembling a kit.   Some schools may decide to limit the project to assembly of the airframe, while others will want to be actively involved in the finishing and flying of the completed aircraft.  The level of involvement will determine the required skills, tooling and experience, as well as the required time and financial resources to complete the project.

As the ultimate goal of the aircraft building project is to finish and fly the aircraft, we recommend the involvement of an experienced pilot in the latter stages of the project.  There exist numerous skilled and experienced individuals and groups outside of schools that would be willing to aid and support a school project - to provide technical aid, mentoring, and/or financial support.   Community involvement and support can become an integral part of the project.

Central Kitsap Junior High School students build the STOL CH 701 Central Kitsap Junior High School students and mentors assemble the STOL CH 701 wing

Aviation Clubs and Groups

For aviation clubs, such as EAA Chapters, building an aircraft is an excellent group project.  The project provides numerous educational opportunities and is an excellent group activity for members. Clubs may also find it to be an effective way to involve youths in the project, such as by working together with an area school or other youth group. For pilot groups, the finished aircraft can be used as a club airplane for members, or the aircraft can be sold for fundraising or donated for mission use. 

Building the aircraft from plans-only (scratch building) requires a minimal upfront investment, but requires sheet-metal tooling and more skills and time.  Building from a factory kit jump-starts the project and requires only basic skills and tools.  The club may have the funds to purchase the kit; members may buy shares in the aircraft; or one individual may decide to sponsor the kit project and keep the finished aircraft.

school project

Skills & Experience

Basic Airframe Assembly

Aircraft Finishing

Additional / Optional Topics

While the above lists the main skills and experiences that participants will gain, the potential scope of the project is nearly unlimited.

An aircraft construction project will leave a lasting impression on participants while teaching them important life skills. The finished and flying aircraft will leave an unparalleled sense of accomplishement and pride, with participants having seen the project through from start to finish!

Advantages of a Zenith Aircraft design:

Central Kitsap Junior High School students build the STOL CH 701

Some Current Projects:

2002: Seattle Public Schools has already built several ZODIACs aircraft and is now working on a STOL CH 701Details about their projects

2002: Gull Lake School Division #76, Tompkins, Saskatchewan, Canada is building a STOL CH 701 with grades 10-12 students.

2006: Central Kitsap Junior High School is building a STOL CH 701 aircraft, and is also beginning a ZODIAC CH 601 project.  George Steed at georgesteed@wavecable.com or Steve Smith at Steves@cksd.wednet.edu

1998: Community School (Sun Valley, Idaho) is building a ZODIAC CH 601. 

1998: St. Theresa's High School in Midland, Ontario, Canada is building a ZODIAC CH 601.   Partners involved in the project are St. Theresa's High School, St. Theresa's Parent Association, Huronia Airport, Zenair Ltd., and Georgian College.  Call Helen Simpson-Dubeau at Huronia Airport: 705-549-8086

1997:  MacNaughton Science & Technology Centre (high school), Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada is building a ZODIAC CH 601.  Trent Munn, (506) 856-3469

There are many more... we're trying to track them down.

7kitsap-11.jpg (57675 bytes) EAA Sport Aviation magazine: September 2002:
"Reading, Writing and Riveting - students build airplanes - and character," by Kerry Fores, pages 58 - 64, EAA Sport Aviation magazine.
Central Kitsap Junior High's STOL CH 701 project.
kitpsap.jpg (60479 bytes)

Online Resources:

"How To Build an Airplane in Your School, by George Steed"

A Week at the Zenith Aircraft factory

`Airport Kids´ build and fly a ZODIAC kit thanks to EAA Chapter 229's Falcon Wings program.

Central Kitsap Junior High School Project SchoolFlight

Zenith Aircraft's Design & Construction College

Related Information:  Zenith Aircraft Company's Links to Aviation Education Resources

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Tel: 573-581-9000 (Mon - Fri, 8-5 Central),
Fax: 573-581-0011
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