Short-Winged Zenith

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We all know that competition between kit companies can be fierce, and Zenith Aircraft LLC seems to be taking a stab at what many pilots refer to as the “short wing RV crowd” The term is loosely used to describe the original RV designs, noted for short wings when compared to the broader span cruise wings of later designs.

Zenith’s latest kit, on display at this year’s AirVenture appears to have no wings at all, despite its use of standard Zenith construction techniques and materials. Their new camper builds quickly from pre-punched, match-hole parts and the use of pulled rivets. It shares structural elements in common with their aircraft designs, and the builder is rewarded with a roomy place to stay at their favorite campsite.

When asked about cruise speed, Zenith president Sebastien Heinz replied that just like aircraft, it depended on the choice of motor – or in this case, tow vehicle. Final price had not been determined as of show time. As best Zenith can determine, the 51% rule does not apply for highway vehicle, good news for those who like extra building assistance.

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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 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a former member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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