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ZODIAC XL wins the 2003 Piccola Schneider Cup Trophy

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Pilot Chip Erwin:

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Schneider Cup



June 2003, Lake Varese, Italy:

Chip W. Erwin, flying a ZODIAC XL on amphibious floats has won the Piccola Schneider Cup held on Lake Varese, Italy on the 16th and 17th of June. The Piccola Schneider Cup is a seaplane race similar to the famous seaplane races starting about 75 years ago which lead to considerable advancements in aviation.

Today’s race uses European Ultralight (UL) class aircraft. The limits are basically UL approval in some European country, and landing and taking off from the water. The UL float aircraft rules in Italy apply which means 65 kph stall speed and 500kg max gross weight.

Erwin raced the ZODIAC CH 601 XL with the Rotax 912S (100hp) and a new 2-blade carbon, in-flight adjustable, and reversing prop made by Woodcomp. "I was the only aircraft with brakes and reverse on the water" Erwin said. "It is a very nice to be able to taxi up the boat ramp and back into a parking place."

Erwin crossed the Alps to and from Italy from the Czech Republic at altitudes up to 10,000 feet. "I have often said that getting to the race can be nearly as challenging as the race itself". This is evidentially true as 5 competitors did fail to make it to the race even without a mountain range to cross.

The pilots start the race 2 at a time from the water. The course is triangular with pylons of colored helium balloons set at 50 feet high and distances ranging form to 1 mile apart. Five laps are raced per heat. The time is then compensated according to the Pazmany handicap formula. This allows higher wing-loading ultralight aircraft to compete with the sleeker Zenair aluminum or other composite aircraft. A trophy is awarded for the winner in both compensated time, and the fastest aircraft in real time. The ZODIAC XL aircraft won in both classes.

The ZODIAC XL is the newest ZODIAC aircraft model from designer Chris Heintz, and has been designed to meet the FAA's proposed Sport Plane category. Amphibious floats add to the versatility of the aircraft.


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Zenith Aircraft Company
1881 Airport Road, Mexico Memorial Airport
Mexico, Missouri, 65265-0650 USA.
Tel: 573-581-9000 (Mon - Fri, 8-5 Central),
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