Machin Zenith 601XLB


After about 10 years of stop-start building (funny how life gets in the way of the important stuff) I finally finished up I got my Airworthiness Certificate on August 31. First flight was on September 10 and I am now finished with Phase 1. Plane flies better than expected with no issues after 25 hours. I’m having a ton of fun!

My 601XLB has a Lycoming O-200A with a Sensenich 68-57 prop. I tried to build it as light as I could and so installed a tiny B&C alternator and SkyTech starter which, along with the wood prop, kept the front end light so the C/G ended up in the middle of the envelope. That, with minimal paint, a light interior and panel, gave me an empty weight of 802 lb – I was shooting for 800 lb so not too bad. I did a few things to clean up the airframe – faired in the gascolator, cleaned up the steps a bit and more importantly made a composite fairing over the belly aft of the firewall. That fairing covered up the open structure under the cockpit floor and I put a generous radius at the front to hopefully smooth out the cooling airflow exiting the engine cowl.

The aircraft seems to perform well – a bit better than the book values from the AMD POH so I am happy. At gross weight climb is 600-700 fpm at 6000′ density altitude and it trues out at 135 mph at 70% power. The engine was a fresh rebuild and the rings seated nicely at about 3 hours with all temps in the “happy place” after that. Zero squawks in the first 25 hours.

— Jim Machin


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