Zenith Aircraft Company
FAA Issues Special Airworthiness Information
Bulletin CE-10-08 (Nov. 7, 2009): Zodiac CH601 XL
Further to the issuance of the FAA
Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB): CE-10-08, Zenith
Aircraft Company advises all owners of Zodiac CH 601 XL and CH 650 aircraft to follow the recommendations contained in
reports that "the FAA's investigation, done in cooperation with the
aircraft manufacturer, uncovered areas of concern... As a result, the FAA is
strongly recommending that owners and operators of Zodiac CH601XL and CH650
aircraft comply with actions outlined in a forthcoming safety
directive/alert to address those concerns. The FAA is urging that the
aircraft not be flown until the maintenance is completed."
- February 22, 2010: FAA releases the Zodiac
CH 601 XL Airplane Special Review Team Report (dated January 2010)
concluding that the "review of the related accidents did not
indicate a single root cause, but instead implicated the potential
combination of several design and operational aspects." Check out the
Q&A discussion forum for our answers to questions you may have
about this latest report.
AMD, manufacturer of the Zodiac CH 601 XL S-LSA (factory-built aircraft), issued a Safety Alert
/ Safety Directive (November 7, 2009) which outlines procedures required to resume normal operations (prior to the
July 7, 2009 Letter from Chris Heintz limitations), including upgrades
detailed on Drawings
6-ZU-1, 6-ZU-2, 6-ZU-3 and 6-ZU-4, and LAA Aileron Balance (these latest
revised drawings are dated January 25, 2010). The FAA
SAIB document recommends that all owners comply to the AMD Safety Alert /
Safety Directive before further flight.
We have drafted the following Questions
and Answers with Chris Heintz document to help builders and owners
understand these upgrades, which were recently structurally tested and
independently verified (Document396).
An Upgrade Package is available to all builders and owners of kit
versions of the aircraft, and includes detailed drawings and step-by-step installation
- Builders and owners: Click
here to order your Upgrade Package kit. Now that we have
finalized and verified the Drawings,
the Upgrade Package kit is in production and shipping. We have also
prepared Photo Assembly Guides to supplement the drawings and to help kit builders install these upgrades to
their existing kit. Click
here to view a video clip of the Upgrade Package kit.
Company has completed the installation of the Upgrade Package in the factory
demonstrator Zodiac CH 601 XL. Click
here to follow the progression, including the latest
flying videos. We have verified the drawings
and have documented the process for the manuals as we have been
installing the Upgrade Package.
1/20/11: The FAA Kansas City Manufacturing Inspection
Office has evaluated the Zenith Aircraft Company Zodiac CH601 XL
aircraft kit changes, specifically the 6-ZU Upgrade Package. The MIO has
notified AIR-200 that they have found no significant change compared to
the original Amateur Built Fabrication and Assembly Checklist, and meets
major portion requirements. A memo has been prepared to all FAA
Manufacturing Inspection Offices and Flight Standards Offices indicating
AIR-200 concurrence. and the upgrade package will be added to the Amateur-built
Kit List on the FAA website.
Flight test report of upgrade Zodiac CH 601 XL B by Steve Flattum
(posted July 7, 2010)
Video Clip: Zenair's Mathieu Heintz
discusses the Zodiac CH601XL upgrade package... (from the Sebring LSA
show in 1/2010).
along as Zenith Aircraft Company installed and completed the Upgrade
Package kit installation to the factory demonstrator Zodiac CH 601 XL.
- December 17, 2009: Builder Photo
Assembly Guides to supplement the drawings.
- Applicability: The AMD Safety Alert is to be used for all
CH 601 XL / CH 650 aircraft with a gross weight of more than 475 kg.
(1,050 lbs), including Canadian Advanced Ultralights (AULA) aircraft.
- European builders and owners: See http://www.zenairulm.com
for continued airworthiness updates.
- Updated Zodiac
series Checklist: a 55-page checklist to help you thoroughly
preflight your aircraft (February 2010 Rev 2).
- Check out the first
Q&A discussion boards for answers to many of your questions.
We are committed to working with all builders and owners so that they may
resume building and operating their aircraft by
incorporating the updates at minimal cost and inconvenience.
We ask for the full cooperation of all builders, owners and pilots with
this important information, and we thank them for their continued support
through this difficult time.
Zenith Aircraft Co.
Re: NTSB Issues Safety
Recommendation to FAA
July 27, 2009: Zodiac
7, 2009: Letter from Chris Heintz:
Recommendations for inspections and operating limitations
analysis report from Germany: CH
650 and ZODIAC XL
EAA Helps Zodiac 601XL Builder Get Airworthiness Inspection
April 22, 2009
Zenair met with FAA officials on April 22, 2009. The meeting was
productive, with FAA officials confirming that they have no plans to ground
the fleet of Zodiac CH-601XL aircraft.
In response to the NTSB Safety Recommendation letter (dated April 14,
2009), the FAA officials stated that they will commence their own thorough
review of the Zodiac design, and has given this review high priority.
Zenair will cooperate fully in assisting the FAA.
Zenair also continues with the ongoing design analysis of the Zodiac
CH-601XL, including wing flutter analysis. The independent consulting team
from Germany has released preliminary findings. These preliminary
findings confirm that the aircraft, with properly tensioned control cables,
is not prone to flutter. The team is continuing
its analysis, including the recommendations set forth in the NTSB's letter,
such as mass balanced ailerons.
Zenair wants to remind builders, owners and pilots to verify that all
control surfaces are properly fastened and secured, and free of play, and
that control stops are present and properly installed, and that the control
systems are not loose. Pilots are reminded to operate the aircraft
within its design limitations.
April 20, 2009
Since the NTSB Safety Recommendation to the FAA on April 14, we have been
receiving many calls and messages from concerned Zodiac builders, owners,
and pilots, inquiring about the Zenair response to the NTSB's Safety
made this a top priority and is spending significant resources on this
matter. Zenair has
retained independent consultants to
analyze the design
of the Zodiac 601XL and 650.
NTSB Safety Recommendation to FAA: