The first manufacturer you come to as you head up “kit Company Row” at Oshkosh is Zenith, makers of a variety of STOL and sport planes. This year, they are stopping traffic with their latest offering – the revamped SAM aircraft, a design they purchased from the original Canadian designer/owner. SAM aircraft was having difficulty marketing the new LSA design (reviewed by Kitplanes a couple of years ago), but Zenith sees hope in their version of the aircraft.

Gone is the Rotax engine, replaced by a 180 HP Lycoming, a beefier structure, and a tailwheel to replace the original tricycle configuration. The greenhouse canopy remains, as does the polished aluminum of the prototype, and the net effect is “retro” and stylish. The revised airplane is on display here at AirVenture, but has not yet flown – we hope to bring you a report on it as soon as they have gone through their test program and we can get our hands on it.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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