Tour: Factory workshop
the Waters (article)
A hands-on workshop on building your own all-metal aircraft
|If you've always dreamed of building your own airplane,
but aren't sure that you have the required skills, Zenith Aircraft Company is providing
you with the opportunity to learn all about building your own Zenith Aircraft kit at one
of its factory workshops, where you can actually start building your own airplane. With an
emphasis on gaining hands-on building experience, the informal workshops are coordinated
by Zenith Aircraft staff and held right in the factory. Small group sizes make the
workshops very productive and educational.
As Marc Cook, editor of Kitplanes
magazine explains, the workshop "is about more than
the tools or the rudder. Two leisurely days spent at the factory
will give you an opportunity to see how the company works, fly one
or more of the demo aircraft and get a sense of its manufacturing
ethos. Here I would describe Zenith as modest but thorough. The
young woman who does the bulk of the welding has impeccable
credentials-though she wouldn't be drawn out on whether women
create neater beads than men-and I was happy to see quite a lot of
test apparatus, including a jig for pressurizing and testing each
and every welded-aluminum fuel tank produced.
"...from the visitor's standpoint [Zenith] is also very laid
back. I got no sense of the hard sell, even though a couple of the
attendees were there to determine whether they wanted to build a
Zenith or something else. Another participant, who had never built
anything before, was there as a jump-start to his own CH 750
project. Imagine his delight in seeing the birthplace of his kit,
the components of which were neatly crated and prepared for him to
trailer home that weekend.
"When you get your design choices down to a few, please cash
in your airline rewards and go for a visit. It's the only way to
know if you'll like the company as much as you like the
- Marc Cook's
Around the Patch editorial: "Starting at the back." Kitplanes
During the educational workshop you can start building
your own Zenith aircraft (the rudder tail section of either the ZODIAC, STOL CH 701,
STOL CH 750, or CH 750 Cruzer), and learn about:
Reading and understanding blue-prints (plans &
- yes, we use the metric system....
Principles of sheet-metal construction
The advantages of working with sheet-metal (vs. other
Metal aircraft building and assembly techniques and
Measuring, drilling and riveting (assembling the
Tools, workshop and skills required to build your
Hints and short-cuts in assembling a kit
Metal kit aircraft maintenance and corrosion
The advantages of building, owning and flying a
and much more...
to view the ZODIAC CH 601 Rudder Assembly Manual (Online Version).
Introductory videos: Blind
riveting and deburring
Come prepared to work and experience first-hand how you
can build your own kit airplane! You don't need any experience, skills or tools to attend.
Zenith Aircraft Co.’s factory workshop is structured as an informal
“hands-on” workshop, to allow participants to gain introductory
hands-on building experience using standard kit parts, drawings and manuals,
and basic sheet-metal tools.
The factory workshop makes an excellent getaway for you
and your spouse: Spend a couple of days at the Zenith Aircraft factory and meet with
fellow aviation enthusiasts - all while gaining valuable hands-on building skills. Demo
flights in factory demonstrator aircraft can also be scheduled during the workshop.
Sample Workshop Schedule:
|8:00 – 9:00
||Registration / Sign-In in the Office.
Coffee and donuts.
||Brief Introduction and start of rudder
|11:30 - 12:00
||Guided factory tour
||Resume rudder kit assembly
|4:30 – 5:00
||Informal group question and answer
||Group dinner (optional, casual dress).
- until completion of the rudder tail kit (usually by noon)
|Coffee and donuts will be
available in the morning.
|"I just wanted to take this opportunity
to thank you all for a wonderful experience this past weekend. Individually and
collectively, you answered just about all of the questions that I had amassed over the
past year. It was nice you meet you all and to learn more about your wonderful product,
the Zodiac, and to finally get some first hand experience with this lovely little aircraft
by taking a demo flight. Thanks again for the great experience and zero sales hype. I got everything I wanted
out of the experience."
- Steve S.
There are two popular workshop programs to choose
PROGRAM 1 - This highly recommended
program actually gets you started on your own kit aircraft. Build the complete rudder tail
section of the Zenith kit aircraft of your choice. Following the detailed instructions
from the Drawings and Manuals, you assemble (drill & rivet) the complete rudder
section, under the guidance of factory personnel. You get to keep the rudder, and can
apply the cost of this program toward purchasing the remainder of the full kit.
PROGRAM 2 - This very affordable
program lets you learn about and experience sheet-metal construction, without assembling
rudder tail section. You work together with a participant of Program 1. This program
runs both days but the last day is optional.
Next Workshop Date: Click Here
||ZODIAC Series: $375.00
||STOL CH 701 / STOL CH 750: $375.00
||Zenith CH 750 Cruzer: $375.00
||$150.00 (PROGRAM 1 includes the complete rudder kit )
||Missouri residents: Add 7.6% sales tax
WORKSHOP LOCATION: At the Zenith
Aircraft factory at Mexico Memorial Airport, Mexico, Missouri (100 miles west of St.
Louis). Accommodations available locally.
Note: Regional workshops may be held in other locations.
Click here for details on visiting the factory in Mexico,
Register early, as group sizes are limited.
Pre-registration is required.
Program 1: No extra charge for spouse or additional family member. Enroll early to assure
yourself a spot.
Click here for workshop
registration information, or call Zenith Aircraft Company at 573-581-9000.
For more information:
Executive VP Bob Warner, SportAir's president Ron Alexander
and EAA president Tom Poberezny pose behind an assembled STOL
CH 701 rudder tail section (at the occasion of the SportAir workshops joining EAA).
"My father-in-law and I
participated in the workshop this past weekend. I was very impressed by the aircraft, the
facility, and especially the staff. You made learning a new skill intensive and
rewarding...Congratulations on knowing exactly how to treat the novice builder...again,
||Brian Clark, former managing
editor of Kitplanes
magazine reports on attending Zenith’s factory
workshop in the July 2003 issue of Kitplanes magazine: He concludes
that it’s "…a worthwhile investment to attend a workshop
before making the larger decision of whether to build the kit."
("Try Before you Buy" by Brian Clark, pages 54-57, July
Children under 16 years of age are not
permitted in the factory area unless under direct adult supervision.
The factory is not a safe play area for children.
While in the factory and while working on the rudder kit, please use good
common-sense safety practices: Wear
the supplied eye protection, and use caution with power tools and around
We also highly recommended proper shoes (for in the shop and for the
demo flight), and clothing suitable for a "shop" environment.
Can't schedule to attend a workshop or
travel to the factory?
Order the Starter Kit and have it delivered to your door
the rudder at the factory workshop.
the demo aircraft in