CH 601 HD
CH 601 HDS
Builders on the Net
Building & Flying in Seven Days!
Builds & Flies the ZODIAC
|"My project flew in May
2006 and it flew straight
and fast. I have been seeing 145 mph at full power with a Jabiru
I have never built a plane before and I don't think that all
companies are as supportive as yours: You have been there for every
little problem that I have encountered. Nick has answered all my
questions and kept me on the path to success. I am pretty proud of
my little red bird and want to thank you for a design that was
easy to build and fun to fly."
- Jack Russell,
flew flawlessly. I think the hardest part of the building
process was the anticipation of completion so I could fly for
the first time. Factory support was excellent..."
- B.J. Ramsey,
Springfield, Illinois (excerpted from
EAA Sport Pilot magazine, June 2006)..
|"I had a great time
building [my ZODIAC XL], and
now I'm into the great time flying phase. Many thanks to Zenith
Aircraft for the help, and the GREAT support over the course of my
building (500 hours for airframe, ~700 total, including panel,
interior, firewall forward)."
- Lance Gingell,
is N7444Z, my Zodiac CH 601 HDS with a Rotax 912UL and GSC
three-blade prop. Construction time was about 750 hours with
excellent support from the factory. First flight was August
2000 and I now have more than 110 hours on the tach.
This aircraft is everything Chris Heintz claimed it would be:
very docile and safe. At age 78, I'm really enjoying the
flying - especially of many Young Eagles!"
"Buzz" Stephenson, Grayling, Michigan (excerpted from
EAA Sport Aviation magazine, February 2002).
yesterday I successfully flew
my new Zodiac XL for the first time... the plane handled beautifully. Thank you for all your help and
seemed that anything I needed was sent right away and they were always
pleasant to deal with. Note the grin in the picture has not yet gone
- Ed McDiarmid,
|I started the Zodiac 601 HDS in December of 1999 from components purchased from Zenith Aircraft. It was a rewarding experience using all my construction, mechanical and electronic skills to produce the Zodiac. It was built in our two car garage over the next 3 years. It has the Rotax 912 engine and has a full IFR panel along with an EIS and a GPS.
- David Brough, Gilbert, AZ
|The first flight of my Zenair Zodiac CH601HDS was on May 12, 2003, and three months later I have 115 hours on the plane, including flying from Oregon to AirVenture 2003 and back. I'm having a great time flying my Zodiac.
You have a great kit... I'm
buying more than just a box full of parts. I'm particularly pleased with this project
because, from talking to other builders, I'll be flying while they're still building. I'm
not a mechanic, I'm a pilot.
I couldn't imagine better support from the factory - it is a pleasure working with you.
- ZODIAC CH 601 HDS kit builder Sunny
received my 601 HD kit on July 20, 2001 and flew it officially for
the first time today. I built this aircraft in seventeen weeks. This
was actually about 650 hours. Five hours each week day and about
fourteen hours each day of a weekend. I built the engine, engine
mount and cowls whilst I was waiting for the kit to arrive from the
- Beven Dryden,
Zodiac CH 601 HD builder in Brisbane, Australia
|My CH 601 HD was reworked into a
Super ZODIAC CH 601 HDS over the winter. Flight characteristics are much the same as
before except everything is faster. It had 500 hours on it as an HD and now has
another 100+ hours as an HDS.
- Mike Fothergill, Keswick, ON
Completed tail sections and outboard wings.
Started building 1/15/99, working on center wing, hope to fly by end of summer '99. I'm
having a great time - almost wishing the experience would last longer, yet anxious to fly.
Great design & parts, excellent support from fine (and patient) people all around.
- ZODIAC CH 601 HD builder Brent Battles of Ashville, NC.
The instructions are very good and the kit
parts are excellent - to exact dimensions. As a retired engineer, the kit provides an
excellent hobby and challenge.
- ZODIAC kit builder Vernon Lewis of Zionsville, Indiana
|Our ZODIAC CH 601 HDS, N61PG, was
started in September of 1998 and completed in August 1999. From the first flight on the
bird has flown great.
Our thanks to Zenith Aircraft for a great kit and excellent technical support.
- G.H., Mexico, Missouri
(excerpted from EAA Sport Aviation 5/00)
|This is a picture of my Zenith
CH 300 built in 1983 with over 800 hours flying time - have made a cross-Canada flight;
flown to Oshkosh 11 times, twice to Sun'n Fun, and lots of beautiful flights around the
country. The ZODIAC CH 601 was built by some members of our EAA chapter in
engine is a Lycoming O-235, 115 hp. We made custom
canopies on both. We are very happy with our aircraft and
look forward to more happy flying. Bravo to Chris Heintz
for super aircraft designs.
- Yvon Tremblay,
|I took delivery of my
Super ZODIAC CH601 HDS in November 1995 after checking out my alternatives at Oshkosh'95.
First flight was 2-1/2 years later on June 23, 1998. Power is an NSI Subaru
||This was my first project, the kit
was straight forward and my single query to the factory was answered promptly. I now have
45 hours on the aircraft and as a low time pilot I have been pleased with the flying
characteristics and performance flying from my home field which is 4,000 ft.
- Alan Newell, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
(excerpted from EAA Sport Aviation 4/99)
|We bought the kit in December
1996, and finished it in May 1998. We had no problems building the kit, and now we have
over 60 hours on our ZODIAC!
- Karl Bauml, of Heuhlingen, Germany
|It is a great design, and was really no
trouble to build (in about 450 hrs.) It was my first effort. I tell you, it is the most
fun I have ever had with my clothes on !!! and now I have about 55 hours on mine. DO
IT!!!!!! Very enjoyable building... kit was excellent and support was good.
- ZODIAC CH 601 HD kit-builder Patrick Walsh, Pottsboro,
|It took three years to complete
this project [built from plans-only]. Power is from an 85-hp Continental
engine. The factory help was good. It is a very responsive aircraft, and it flies
- Marion Williamson and Lenard
Sandloop, Chesapeake, VA (excerpted from Kitplanes 9/98)
Flying your factory demonstrator, I
found the aircraft to be responsive and a real pleasure to fly. I look forward to
completing and flying mine. So far, I've found construction to be easy.
- ZODIAC kit builder Marvin Euchner of Flower Mound,
passed the airworthiness inspection on 7 Sept 2000 and experienced the 1st
flight on 8 Sept 2000. My theory was to finish the project with only what
was legally needed to safely fly day VFR. The aircraft is prop start, no
electrical system or lights and I use a handheld radio. I was able to
complete the project in about 550 hrs in 44 months for about $5500 (mucho
scrounging). I consider this airplane one of the greatest accomplishments
in my life.
- Gregory D. Crow, Readiness NCO, Company A 3/147
(Plans-built Super ZODIAC with a Continental engine).
|In November of 2000 we
were airborne after taking 26 months to build our Zodiac. We built it from
scratch and not from a kit. It went together without any problems, and in
fact was a very enjoyable experience. It currently has about 80
hours on it.
- Robert and Russell Hayes, Kwa Zulu
Natal, South Africa.
|Wow! I didn't even know that you could legally build your own airplane, until I picked up a copy
of Popular Mechanics, 8/1997. In that issue, Popular Mechanics builds their own Super Zodiac. I dreamed of doing this when I was a kid. In May 2000, after convincing my wife that I wasn't insane, I decided that I was going to make that dream come true. It's taken me 3 years and 3 months. Finally, I'm ready for the Airworthiness Inspection. My Zodiac is powered by a Great Plains 2180 VW conversion with a 1.6: 1 PRSU driving a 67-inch PowerFin Prop.
- Randall Stout, San Antonio,
I have already enjoyed 50 hours of
cross-country flying in my ZODIAC. It took me a year and 4 months to complete the
project. I am very proud of my airplane. It is beautiful to look at and a
delight to fly.
Support from the factory was great.
- ZODIAC CH 601 HDS kit builder Henrique Anes
|My wife and I very much enjoyed seeing the
"troops" at your display area at Oshkosh. The dinner was a great opportunity for
all of us to get together. It is a most welcome, enjoyable event. It was a great addition
to our experience. It is a personal touch that is missed by most manufacturers.
- Wayne Beattie, Connecticut, Super ZODIAC N601WB, 100 hours
and enjoying every minute.
I'm only a month or so into
the project but this is one of the most exciting experiences I've ever done! I've built
and/or helped build several homes and this is very similar to a project of the same
magnitude. If you do plan to build your own plane, this is by far the best kit plane on
the market - especially for a first time builder. Relatively; quick to build, low cost,
easy - all metal / blind rivets, great performance, and great support - both factory and
If possible, visit the factory in Mexico, Missouri or find some with a Zodiac you can take
a demo ride in, even if you have to pay. I was sold within the first thousand feet while
climbing out of Mexico airport - what a thrill! - Jim
enjoyed the building and flight testing process so much, I'm thinking
of selling it and building another."
- Lou Antonacci,
(excerpted from EAA Sport Aviation 10/2000)
The drawings and manuals are better than most
others I've seen. The quality of the kit is very good compared to other kits, and the
construction is easier than I am making it - I tend to make it more complicated than it
is. I like the simplicity of your kit.
Flying the aircraft: "impressed with the handling, and felt right at home in
- Super ZODIAC CH 601 HDS kit builder Bert Wills, Fallbrook,
||This is my recently completed
ZODIAC CH 601 HDS, otherwise known to my wife as "The Obsession" just because I
spent 7 1/2 months building this aircraft while also getting my pilot's license. I
don't understand why she calls it an obsession.
- Terry Hesler, Kettering, OH
(excerpted from EAA Sport Aviation 6/98)
The drawings are particularly good,
and the quality of the kit is good... it has been a lot of fun to build, almost addictive.
The simplicity of the design and the lack of special tools has contributed to this... the
simplest kit to build on the market ...a good trainer for my children.
- Super ZODIAC kit builder Brian Roach of Woodland,
||This is my ZODIAC CH 601 HDS
taildragger which was completeted after 14 months building time. First flew on June 1,
1999 and it flew great ...powered by a Continental C-85 ...full gyro panel ...leading edge
- Ken Lennox, Fruitland, MD (excerpted
from EAA Sport Aviation 1/2000)
Calls to the factory with questions have been very
friendly, prompt, and helpful. I chose to build this aircraft because it's nice looking,
performs well, and all-metal construction.
- Super ZODIAC CH 601 HDS plans-builder David Allen,
||I'm very happy with the
flight characteristics - very gentle. Seems to fly much like a
Cherokee. Great design. Thanks for all your help.
- A Gluff,
Franklin, IN (plans-built ZODIAC).
I chose to build this airplane
because I wanted an all-metal airplane that would be easy to build, and have a long life.
The quality of the kit and instructions are excellent, as well as the factory support. My
time is spent building, and not de-ciphering the plans.
- ZODIAC CH 601 HD kit builder Richard Kissel of McIntyre,
|This is my second
home built, the first was an Avid. My build time was about 700 hours. I have a near IFR
panel and was still able to complete it in aproximately 700 hours. As far as the quality
of the kit, it was outstanding. Great people to do business with! You will not be
disappointed with Zenith, great people.
|The kit came from the factory on
the exact day that it was promised, and it was a pleasure to assemble. The factory
was extremely helpful with our questions. We chose an NSI EA-81 engine.
- Don and Linda Woodley, Independence,
The kit and parts are excellent, and were
adequately crated and packed to ensure safe delivery. I am confident that Zenith will be
there to back me up when I need advice and materials - my questions have always been
answered immediately with no delay. I am very pleased and enthusiastic
...allows me to construct a quality, well performing aircraft on my own with normal shop
skills and tools. I watched one being built at Sun'n Fun, and what decided me on this kit
was the airshow attendees' comments about the plane's attractiveness.
- ZODIAC CH 601 HD kit builder Randy Vanselow, Mars Hill, NC
|"I completed my Zenith Zodiac 601HD
with Rotax 912 over a one-year period and 1,100 hours of work including many
modifications, avionics, upholstery, and paint - all done by me for the first time. The
airplane is a delight to fly, but I really miss the building! I can't recommend the
experience more highly: Great design, great support at Zenith, and for me the perfect mix
of structural integrity, simplicity, and freedom to innovate."
- ZODIAC CH 601 HD builder Brent Battles (North Carolina)
"I chose to build this aircraft
because of the good performance, ease of construction and the affordable price. The kit
and factory support have been excellent."
Flying the ZODIAC: "Yippee!"
- Super ZODIAC kit builder John Shufflebarger, Lakeland,
One of the reasons I chose to build the ZODIAC was
because Zenith Aircraft was the only kit manufacturer I talked to that would really
spend time talking to potential customers at Oshkosh. The others all seemed indifferent until
you got out your checkbook
- ZODIAC plans-builder Dave Brehm of Altoona, Wisconsin
We started to dream our Zenair 601 UL project
two years ago and we completed it within six months. We have built the
"White Bird" from the drawings. It's powered by a Verner 1400 engine (76
Kg - 80HP !!!). We have spent more than 100 delightful hours in the air.
We feel that the performance is excellent. I love flying and
- ZODIAC plans-builder Huba
BAJUSZ, Szeged, Hungary
||The project was scratch built from
plans purchased in 1995. Construction took 5 years, and was thoroughly enjoyable,
enabling me to try many new techniques.
- Martin Poettcker,
"I'm building the ZODIAC
because it met all the parameters I was looking for: speed, high useful load, wide and
comfortable cabin. Support is very good and the kit is excellent"
Flying the ZODIAC: "Awesome!!!"
- ZODIAC builder Dr. F. Thomalla, Louisiana, MO
||I now have 80 hours on the hobbs
meter and am really enjoying flying the plane. You have designed a very nice plane. I do
- Jim Weston, McDonough, Ga.
...Chris Heintz is a top designer. I like the
simplicity and safety aspects of the design and the aluminum construction. The Zenair
newsletter is good - I read each issue completely.
- ZODIAC CH 601 HD builder Gene Hitney of Chino Valley,
|My third homebuilt, a
ZODIAC CH 601 HD, was certified November 18, 1996, exactly 18 months after drilling the
first hole. It could have gone faster but I savored the building process.
||The kit was complete
and factory support was good. It is powered by a Rotax 912 whih has now operated
flawlessly for 115 hours. Performance is as advertised. My grandhildren picked the
colors and helped in the layout - now they fight over who gets to fly with 'Paw'.
- Jim Hoak, Stockbridge, GA (excerpted
from EAA Sport Aviation 9/98)
Let me congratulate you for doing a superb
job on the CH 601 drawings and kit design. The whole project thus far has been a
fabulous experience, for which I thank you.
- ZODIAC CH 601 builder Carlo Dimambro of Sutton, Ontario
My wife and I enjoyed meeting
you and your employees when we visited your plant on 18 March to pick up my airframe kit.
We were both impressed with your operation at Zenith Aircraft and the friendly welcome we
received. Linda gave us a first class tour and every employee we talked with was great.
Roger was most helpful in aiding me in loading the kit into my truck and Travis did a
first class job of making the desired modification on the wing tanks.
Kind of odd that I had purchased a Zenith aircraft, but had never flown in one. Thus we
both enjoyed the demo flight and it reinforced my belief that I had purchased the right
- ZODIAC builder Bob Wiley, Arkansas
The above are selected and condensed responses from builder
letters, builder surveys and other sources. The information published above may not be
representative of all builders' aircraft building and flying experiences.
THE ZODIAC CH 601 Series
PILOT REPORT BY JIM CAMPBELL, EDITOR, US AVIATOR Magazine
"Chris Heintz, Zenairs engineer
extraordinaire, worked for Aerospatiale on the Concorde. Need we say anything more? Well,
we will anyway. The sport sleek-looking Zodiacs bubble canopy offers the pilot and
passenger excellent visibility. Lack of visibility is not something that Zodiac flyers are
ever going to have to complain about; its the perfect bird in which to take a friend
"While the straight-wing ZODIAC CH 601 and CH 601
HD (Rotax 912) are docile and pleasing flyers, the new tapered wing CH 601 HDS has a rowdy
and speedier persona to go with its racier looks.
"First of all, let me tell you this... for some
strange reason, the mild mannered little 601 has always been a favorite of mine, and
Ive flown a half dozen variations of this thing... always with a relaxed and silly
grin. Its sweet, docile, fun and so cute that Zenith should include a leash with
"I have found that these birds can meet or exceed
most if not all of Zeniths claims...the CH 601s definitely will cruise at 120
mph, but flat out, dont be surprised to see a solid 140 mph. It climbs at 1200 fpm,
but Ive seen much better with a pretty full load. The CH 601 can levitate off the
deck in 400 ft and get back down in 438 ft... Ive done under 300 ft. Service ceiling
is 16,000, but sorry, I didnt bother to test that one.
"Top speed is well over 135 mph for the CH 601 HD
model, and the beast will motor down the pike at least 380 miles on the standard 16 gallon
tank... and up to 780 miles with the optional 30-gallon fuel supply. Take-offs and
landings require but 450 ft. apiece. Full tilt, the 80-hp ZODIAC CH 601 HDS will push 150
mph without too much trouble, although it seems quite comfortable cruising in the 135 mph
range. Yes, I checked this against a few local section lines. This thing is fast.
"The ZODIACs offer excellent low speed behavior,
with superb stall warning and recovery. The stability and control profile is lightly
positive...and the machine responds well without the slightest hint of overt sensitivity.
Best of all, you can count on lots of happy flying without driving/flying yourself to
"These are very sweet flyers ...ideal combination
of economy, speed, and mild handling - even in the taildragger configuration. The 601-HDS
is a rowdy little beast and we enjoyed it immensely... an undemanding little flyer that
offers it all. Its fast, obedient, and the taildragger version is childs
play... even with a 12-kt cross-wind that was threatening to hit 20 kts. Very highly
recommended! We want one!"
- Reprinted from US AVIATOR magazine, "TOP 50:
Best Affordable Two-Seat Kits of 95," (June 1995), and SportPlane Resource