Zenith Aircraft Company is returning to central Florida in early December to host its popular hands-on kit aircraft building workshop. The workshop will be held December 1st, on the Sun ’n Fun Expo campus (site of the annual Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in April) followed immediately by an informal regional Zenith fly-in gathering.
The workshop will start on Friday morning, December 1st, inside the Buehler Aerospace Restoration and Training Center, part of the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) at the Sun ’n Fun complex at Lakeland Linder International Airport in central Florida. The Buehler Hangar is familiar with Zenith aircraft kits: Members of the Lakeland Aero Club have already completed building a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer kit airplane called the “Spirit of Lakeland” (that is available as a trainer for physically disabled pilots).
Zenith Aircraft’s hands-on workshops are primarily for first-time kit airplane builders and have become popular with sport aviation enthusiasts who are considering to build their own kit airplane and who want to learn more about the required skills, tools, workspace, and more. As part of the workshop each participant builds and assembles their own Zenith aircraft rudder tail section from a standard Zenith kit. Most participants are able to successfully complete the assembly of their own rudder tail section of the aircraft in just one day, thanks mainly due to the high level of completion offered with Zenith’s new kits, featuring final hole size, match-drilled parts.
In the process of building the rudder assembly, participants tackle many activities including learning how to read drawings (blueprints) and work with assembly instructions (manuals) under the guidance of factory staff. They learn the procedures for putting together an aircraft assembly, including drilling and blind riveting. In the end, they have an assembled rudder that is ready to install on a Zenith kit airplane and the confidence to build their very own kit airplane.
“The rest of the kit is constructed the same way as the rudder, using the same tools,” said Heintz. “Participants get far more out of the workshop than just a finished aircraft rudder: they go home with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to build their own airplane. Most importantly, they learn that kit building is enjoyable and something that can engage the whole family. Many participants bring their spouses or other family member, who often encourage them to move forward with the rest of the kit. With modern technology, such as final hole size CNC match-drilled parts, and good instructions, aircraft construction has become much quicker and easier than most people think.”
The hands-on workshop is an excellent way to learn about building your own (amateur-built) kit airplane and about the many advantages of owning and flying an airplane that you’ve built yourself. Kit aircraft, especially those that meet the light sport aircraft (LSA) definition, is a segment of aviation that continues to grow. For many individuals, building an aircraft is a very rewarding experience, and today’s modern kits make it easier and quicker to build than even before.
Standard workshop fees are $375.00 (or $425 for the CH 750 Super Duty model) and include the complete rudder kit for a Zenith aircraft. Additional helpers are encouraged to attend and can participate at no additional charge. To learn more about the workshop program, visit zenithair.net or call Zenith Aircraft directly: (573) 581-9000 (Mon – Fri, 8 – 5 Central). Prior registration is required for the rudder workshop, and workshop space is limited.
On Saturday, December 2nd, immediately following the workshop class on Friday, Zenith will host an informal regional Zenith fly-in gathering. All Zeniths are invited to fly in for the morning’s activities, and enthusiasts and current builders and flyers are invited to drive in or fly in to attend. Representatives from several engine companies are expected to participate to share information and details about engines installations in Zenith kit airplanes. Zenith will have more details of the fly-in gathering closer to the event date. Check the Zenith Facebook page or Zenith.aero (the online community for Zenith builders and flyers).