Dave Nixons Zenith Zodiac CH 601 XL
I started construction September 18, 2006, with my first flight on April 2, 2008. The CH 601 XL has a six-cylinder, 120-hp Jabiru 3300A engine, dual sticks, full electronic panel including a Dynon FlightDEK-D180, Garmin GPSMAP396, Garmin SL 40 com radio, PMA 6000 intercom, a Garmin GTX 327 transponder and a TruTrak altitude hold autopilot. With my wife, Janices, generous support and 974 hours of construction, it came in at 774 pounds empty weight. It took about 18 flight hours to work out all of the bugs. The best thing I did was to install aileron push/pull control rods instead of cable (eliminating flutter) and the autopilot. My first flight was a little unsettling when the right side of the front opening canopy unlatched during takeoff. I took it once around the patch and landed without incident. The only thing I noticed was the excessive cabin noise, but it has been an absolute joy to fly. I cruise at about 108 knots at a conservative 4.5 gph. An excellent friend, John Bryan, encouraged me every step of the way. Technical counselor Norm Pesch gave me the confidence to finish. Painting was just completed with my N-number representing the month and year that I retired: January 1, 2007 (N107R). It was built under the Experimental/Amateur-Built category and is eligible to be flown under the Light Sport category if and when the time comes.
Port Orange, Florida
Rob Neils Europa Motorglider
This is my second homebuilt airplane. My first, a VariEze, took 10 months to build. My Europa took six years because it has so many systems and components: divebrakes, navigation and landing lights, oxygen, stereo, intercom, fully feathering prop, Anywhere Map and WinPilot programs, radio and transponder, wing leveler, pitch and roll trims, dual fuel pumps, cabin heater and windshield defroster, eyeball air vents and summer air scoops, panel and courtesy lights, vernier throttle to dual carbs, EIS, electric DG and AH, G meter, ELT, variometer, AS, VSI, two batteries-one dedicated to restarts-and a 1-minute turn and bank. The Europa will carry two, glide at almost 30:1, cruise at 100 mph burning 1.2 gph of auto fuel (not a typo), and climb at 1300 fpm at 10,000 MSL. I have 200 hours on the engine and lots of flight time engine off-free. I don’t need a physical to fly it because a motorglider is a glider. Am I happy? No, Im ecstatic!
Elmer Websters Zenith CH 701
Take two winters of evenings and weekends, add the engineering genius of Chris Heintz, and stir in a few dollars. The result is N701ET, a really tough little sport flier! The Zenith CH 701 kit was a snap to build and the easiest plane to fly Ive ever seen. Built and trimmed exactly to the plans, the first flight was essentially hands-off with no surprises. It has a Rotax 912S powerplant, long-range tanks and many little extras. I also added the tail feathers VGs, and after 55 hours, 50- to 60-foot takeoffs are routine. Wheel skis and floats are next on the agenda! An ideal fishing machine, it can be seen here, resting in its natural habitat on a riverbank in south central Alaska.
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