360-degree VR short video: Zenith Aircraft demo and factory visit


Kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft Company has released a new 360-degree VR (virtual reality) short video to showcase its kit aircraft and to promote the rewarding hobby of kit aircraft building and flying light-sport aircraft.

The immersive 360-degree video (produced using a cluster of six GoPro cameras) gives the viewer a true virtual experience of flying in a light aircraft and of being inside the Zenith kit aircraft factory (based in Mexico, Missouri).

Video viewers, such as Google Cardboard, allow you to immerse yourself in the 360-degree video to experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and affordable way using your smart phone.

“This new technology allows us to share the wonderful experience and joys of flying in a small airplane,” said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Company. “While I don’t think VR [virtual reality] will ever replace the real thing, it’s a way to attract new people to sport aviation, and allows existing pilots to share the great experience of flying in a light airplane.”

Zenith Aircraft partnered with StoryUp of Columbia, Missouri, to produce the short 2.5 minute immersive video. StoryUP is a video startup company that allows people to step inside stories with new technologies.

Zenith Aircraft Company is a leading manufacturer of easy-to-build kit aircraft, with several popular models, including the high-wing STOL CH 750 sport utility aircraft and the low-wing Zenith CH 650 cross-country cruiser. The new Zenith CH 750 Cruzer combines many features of the high-wing Zeniths with the cross-country capability of the faster low-wing designs. All Zenith two-seat models meet the definition of a Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) and can thus be flown by licensed Sport Pilots.

The all-metal kit aircraft make extensive use of CNC manufacturing technology to simplify assembly of the alumimum alloy parts, featuring final hole size match drilling for ease of assembly. Zenair blind (or pulled) rivets are used throughout for quick and simple assembly. The complete kit takes less than 500 hours to put together, requiring just simple skill and tools.  Alternatively, builders can choose to scratch-build (from blueprints) their entire Zenith aircraft, or they can build the plane from “buy-as-you-build” component kits. Kit builders can choose to install their own engines and instruments (avionics) to complete their own custom aircraft.

Based at the Mexico Memorial Airport (KMYJ) in mid-Missouri since 1992, Zenith Aircraft Company ships aircraft kits across the U.S. and around the world. The company hosts monthly workshops at the factory to give potential kit aircraft builders hands-on experience in building their own aircraft, and offers demo flights to interested customers.


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