Zenith Aircraft Company



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Video: Hands-On Workshop

Video Tour: Factory workshop

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Visiting the factory

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Factory Worskshops - Zenith Aircraft Company

Factory Workshops...
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 airplane." 

   - Marc Cook's Around the Patch editorial: "Starting at the back." Kitplanes magazine

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:

Rudder Assembly (cutaway view)

  • Reading and understanding blue-prints (plans & manuals)
    - yes, we use the metric system....

  • Principles of sheet-metal construction

  • The advantages of working with sheet-metal (vs. other materials)

  • Metal aircraft building and assembly techniques and tips

  • Measuring, drilling and riveting (assembling the Zenair kit)

  • Tools, workshop and skills required to build your all-metal aircraft

  • Hints and short-cuts in assembling a kit

  • Metal kit aircraft maintenance and corrosion protection

  • The advantages of building, owning and flying a Zenair aircraft

  • and much more...

  • Click here to view the ZODIAC CH 601 Rudder Assembly Manual (Online Version). 

  • Introductory videos: Blind riveting and deburring sheet metal

Assembling the Rudder Tail Section

Hands-On Building Experience at the Factory.

Assembling the Rudder Tail Section

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:

Day One (Thursday)
8:00 – 9:00 :     Registration / Sign-In in the Office.  Coffee and donuts.
9:00 Brief Introduction and start of rudder kit assembly
11:30 - 12:00 Guided factory tour
12:00 (noon)    Lunch Break
1:00 pm    Resume rudder kit assembly
4:30 – 5:00 Informal group question and answer session.
6:00 pm Group dinner (optional, casual dress). 
Day Two (Friday)
8:00 - until completion of the rudder tail kit (usually by noon)
Coffee and donuts will be available in the morning.

Weekend Workshop (12/6/98)
"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.

Rudder Tail Assembly

There are two popular workshop programs to choose from:

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 your own 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


PROGRAM 1: ZODIAC Series: $375.00
STOL CH 701 / STOL CH 750: $375.00
Zenith CH 750 Cruzer: $375.00
STOL CH 750 Super Duty: $425.00
PROGRAM 2: $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, Missouri.

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:

eaa-rudder.jpg (21452 bytes)
[EAA Photo]

EAA's 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, thank you."    - FM

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 2003).

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 sharp objects.
We also highly recommended proper shoes (for in the shop and for the demo flight), and clothing suitable for a "shop" environment.

Building Videos from HomeBuiltHELP.com
Produced by an actual builder, the DVDs provide practical hands-on information:  Complete Zenith kit project series
Metalworking 101 | Weight & Balance101 | Scratch-Building Basics | Rotax 912 Installation | Jabiru Engine Installation | Electrical Wiring101 | How to License your Homebuilt | ...more.

Can't schedule to attend a workshop or travel to the factory?
Order the Starter Kit and have it delivered to your door

Zenith Aircraft factory workshop

    Zenith Aircraft factory workshop
Building the rudder at the factory workshop.     Notice the demo aircraft in
the background.

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 Zenith Aircraft Company

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