2015 Zenith Aircraft OPEN HANGAR DAY and BUILDER FLY-IN

Thanks to all who participated at the 24th annual Zenith Aircraft Open Hangar Day and Fly-In 2015. Great planes and awesome company! Check out the photos of the activities, including the STOL Competition, the Zenith Banquet and the Open Hangar Day!
(If you have photos and/or videos of the event, please share with us)


Following is a preview of our planned activities for the upcoming Open Hangar Day and Builder Fly-In Gathering on September 18 & 19, 2015 at the Zenith Aircraft factory in Mexico, Missouri. RSVP for events

This year's Open Hangar Day and Fly-In Gathering will be our 24th annual event!  Following are a few highlights planned for this year's event:

The Zenith Banquet dinner on Friday evening (September 18) will feature great food and super company, with special guests and the awards presentation for the KITPLANES magazine STOL Competition (to be held earlier that day).  Many great door prizes will be awarded! Purchase your banquet tickets here.

We'll be hosting seminars all day on Friday, September 18 starting at 9 am!

Return of the STOL Competition!  Kitplanes magazine will host a short take-off and short landing (precision) competition and demonstration at 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon. We will have a high-wing (STOL) and low-wing (Zenith) category, with more details and rules coming soon. This is a very informal "competition," designed for pilots to increase their knowledge of their aircraft and its slow flight characteristics and capabilities.  We encourage everyone who flies in to participate! There will be prizes and awards to participants, presented at the Zenith banquet. This event is sponsored and coordinated by KITPLANES magazine.

Come out and see the One Week Wonder Zenith CH 750 Cruzer airplane that was built in seven days at AirVenture Oshkosh 2014, and meet with Charlie Becker, EAA's Director of Chapters, Communities and Homebuilt Community Manager.

Buzzy Devoll of Buzz Air Flight Academy plans to attend once again with his STOL CH 750 S-LSA and will be available for transition and flight training (including flight reviews / check-rides). Contact Buzzy directly to schedule: tel. 775 841 5429

Engine Panel Discussion
: We've invited all engine representatives to be part of our engine panel discussion!
We expect this to be a very popular seminar!

Hands-on project: In past years visitors were invited to build a small yet useful aluminum project in the factory, including a 3-hole binder for the blueprints and aluminum wheel chocks. Come out and build your own!

Onsite Camping: Since hotels in the area already seem to be fully booked already, we invite to come and camp with us! We have plenty of space for your tent or camper on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. Note also that the Mexico Airport has a 24/7 access restroom with shower, and there's also a local campground with electric hookups.

As in years past, we'll be hosting a number of educational seminars (all day on Friday). These free seminars are for existing and new Zenith builders, owners and pilots.

(Above, Earl Downs speaks with Zenith builders, owners and enthusiasts about Sport Pilot)

Seminars on Friday, September 18. Times and details are subject to change: PRE-REGISTER NOW.

9:00 - 10:00 am, Friday, September 18, 2015

  • Sport Pilot Flight Training (Buzzy Devoll, Buzz Air Flight Academy)

  • Aircraft Engine Oil Analysis, by Larry Nelson

    Larry Nelson of Lab One Inc. will discuss the importance of oil analysis and preventive maintenance practices, and will be handing out 50 complimentary oil analysis kits (and they will also have kits on hand for purchase). Nelson is also an oil analysis lab tech for the US Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) with 5 years’ experience in military oil analysis testing on experimental vehicles, and is a Zenith builder working on finishing his CH 601 HDS and planning on a Corvair powerplant.

10:00 - 11:00 am

  • Building Your Zenith Kit Airplane, by Zenith staff
  • Viking Engine, in front of Zenith factory

11:00 - 12:00

  • First Flight Preparation, Loss of Control (LOC) Prevention and Transition Training, , by Earl Downs
    Earl Downs is the builder of the Zodiac 601 XL-B which he uses for transition and first flight preparation training. Downs will provide practical guidance towards Transition Training and First Flight Preparation. In his First Flight Preparation training, Downs teaches the principles of LOC avoidance. He’ll explain how these principles can apply to any airplane and you’ll come away from this forum with practical suggestions for becoming a safer pilot.
  • Jabiru Engine, by Pete Krotje, in front of Zenith factory

Noon - 1:00 pm Lunch (BBQ lunch will be available in front of the Zenith factory)

1:00 - 2:00 pm

  • Garmin G3X by Brian Hupe of Garmin. Learn about Garmin’s industry leading G3X Touch flight system for experimental aircraft with the ability to add optional autopilot systems, datalink weather, traffic surveillance, ADS-B ”Out,“ ”ADS-B ”In“ traffic and weather, geo-referenced charting and more to further enhance your situational awareness. Brian Hupe has worked for Garmin since 2006 in aviation engineering and sales. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, is an instrument rated pilot and a homebuilder.
  • Insurance for your kit built aircraft, by Scott "Sky" Smith
    Deciding on an insurance agent and sifting through the type of insurance available can be complicated and confusing. Sky Smith will work with you to determine the type of coverage that best fits your needs, and will help you get you the best coverage for your particular situation. Sky Smith is an independent agency that will shop the insurance marketplace for you.
  • Rotax engine, by Rob Seaton of Rotech

2:00 - 3:00 pm

  • Basic Rules of Building and Flying Your Own Airplane, by Charlie Becker.
    Charlie Becker, EAA's Director of Chapters, Communities and Homebuilt Community Manager, will provide an update from EAA headquarters and also explain the basic rules of building and flying your homebuilt. Becker is an avid Homebuilder himself, and has been on the EAA staff for 14+ years. Many members are familiar with his work creating EAA’s “Hints for Homebuilders” weekly video series, EAA’s well-attended webinar series, as well as organizing the One Week Wonder effort at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014, among other homebuilt-centered initiatives.
  • Superior Air Parts: Mac Little will discuss the new Gemini diesel from Superior Air Parts, as well as the XP lines of engines.
  • Building a Better Airplane using Internet Technology, by Rob Riggin
  • Rob Riggen is a flight instructor and developer of the popular aircraft build log system ExperCraft and will present a talk and discussion on how to use your computer, mobile device and the Internet to save time and money during your aircraft build. These tips, tools and techniques can help you complete your project more efficiently and with fewer errors while creating your own website build log. Don't just build your airplane - build it better while contributing to a growing database of knowledge to help those who follow in your footsteps

3:00 - 4:00 pm

  • Engine Panel Discussion: Engine representatives from Continental, Corvair, Jabiru, Rotax, Superior Air Parts, UL Power, and Viking will share information about their respective engines, and a short panel discussion will follow discussing fuels, future developments, and more!

4:00 pm

  • STOL Competition: Short Take-Off and Short (Precision) Landing Competition, on Runway 18 at Mexico Memorial Airport (subject to weather), sponsored by Kitplanes magazine.

6:30 - 9:00 pm, Friday, September 18:

  • Zenith Banquet dinner will feature great food and super company, with special guests and the awards presentation for the KITPLANES magazine STOL Competition (to be held earlier that day).  Many great door prizes will be awarded!

Participants at the Open Hangar Day:


Experimental Aircraft Association 

Charlie Becker, EAA's Director of Chapters, Communities and Homebuilt Community Manager, will attend with the One Week Wonder airplane, and will share info on EAA's available resources to help builders, owners and pilots of amateur-built aircraft, including the technical advisor and flight advisor programs.


Dynon Avionics will demonstrate the newest available glass panel technology, including the SkyView Touch and Pocket Panel portable EFIS, and the SkyView COM Radio and Two-Place Stereo Intercom.


 Continental Motors will attend to meet with builders and show the lightweight O-200D engine, a popular engine choice with many Zenith builders, as well as Titan aircraft engines


 Kitplanes magazine will sponsor the Zenith STOL competition (on Friday afternoon September 18)

Garmin Avionics will be on hand to show the latest Garmin products for light aircraft including the G3X flight display system and the VIRB action camera.  A factory representative will be on hand to answer questions on installing and operating Garmin avionics in Zenith aircraft.


Rob Seaton from Rotax is attending to answer questions about the Rotax 912 series engines.

Buzz Air Flight Academy (located in Tennessee) will be attending to discuss Sport Pilot flight training as well as transition training to Zeniths.  The flight school operates a ZODIAC CH 601 XL-B / CH 650 S-LSA aircraft and a Zenith STOL CH 750 S-LSA. Buzzy Devoll plans to attend with his STOL CH 750 S-LSA and will be available for transition and flight training (including flight reviews / check-rides). tel. 775 841 5429

Superior Air Parts: Mac Little will discuss the new Gemini diesel from Superior Air Parts, as well as the XP lines of engines. www.superiorairparts.com

Wick's Aircraft Supplies will be on hand with some of the many builder and pilot supplies it sells.  
Order your parts from Wick's before the event and they will deliver them to you at the Open Hangar Day! 
Call to Order 1-800-221-9425.

Lab One Inc, is an aviation oil analysis laboratory based in Phoenix, Arizona. Larry Nelson (a Zenith builder) will discuss the importance of oil analysis and preventive maintenance practices, and will be handing out 50 complimentary oil analysis kits (and they will also have kits on hand for purchase).

Doug Dugger of Quality Sport Planes (in Cloverdale, California) will attend to meet with West Coast Zenith builders, and discuss his builder assistance programs.

UL Power will be on hand to represent the new generation of light aircraft engines. The UL Power aircraft engines are direct-drive air-cooled lightweight engines featuring full FADEC technology (with fuel injection and electronic ignition). 


Earl Downs of Golden Age Aviation (Cushing, Oklahoma) is a Zenith builder and flight instructor, and will answer questions on Sport Pilot, Light Sport Aircraft, and aviation safety.  Downs is an ATP-rated flight instructor, and he provides special training in taildraggers and antiques/classic airplanes, and loss of control (LOC) prevention maneuvers. Earl has written numerous articles regarding light sport aircraft and sport pilot operations for EAA publications, and is an Associate Editor for www.Aero-News.net, an on-line aviation news service. Earl offers transition and first flight preparation training in his Zenith CH601XL-B.  Tel: (918) 840-2200


HomebuiltHelp.com offers a complete line of "how-to" videos available on DVD, and will have the popular DVDs available for preview and purchase. 

Jabiru USA, distributor of Jabiru engines, will be on hand to answer Jabiru engine installation, operation and maintenance questions.

Scott "Sky" Smith of SkySmith Insurance Agency will answer questions about aircraft insurance as it applies to building and flying a Zenith kit aircraft.

Corvair Engine guru William Wynne of FlyCorvair.com will attend to show the affordable Corvair auto conversion installation popular on many Zeniths

The popular aircraft build log system ExperCraft can help you complete your Zenith kit project more efficiently and with fewer errors while creating your own website build log.

Viking Aircraft produces a low-cost Honda-based light aircraft engine, and offers complete firewall-forward packages of the engine for installation in Zeniths.

A Viking-powered Zenith STOL CH 750 won the first-ever Zenith STOL competition at the 2014 event.

Scales4Planes.com - Zenith builder Mike Pruett will show his light aircraft weighing equipment and show builders and owners how to properly weigh their aircraft and compute a proper "weight and balance" for their aircraft.

Aviator's Hotline is your go-to resource for buying or selling a used aircraft. A company rep will be on hand to meet with aviation enthusiasts.

The Zenith Aircraft factory will be open for self-guided tours and demo flight are available (strictly by prior appointment).

Saturday, September 19 activities:

The Zenith Aircraft kit production facilities will be open for factory tours and Zenith's factory demonstrator airplanes will be on display - both on the ground and in the air! Company staff will demonstrate kit production and fabrication techniques used in producing the all-metal kit aircraft parts made at the Zenith Aircraft factory.
Come early in the morning for free premium coffee from the Flying High Coffee Company, the "only coffee company streaming funds to aviation education programs."
We'll have a great hot breakfast and BBQ lunch available for purchase on Saturday (from the Steinmans)!

9:30 am, Saturday

  • Seminar: Aircraft Certification and What it Means to You (Earl Downs)

10:00 am, Saturday

  • Workshop: Installing the nosewheel strut and maintaining it for optimum performance

10:45 am, Saturday

Join us for the annual "group photo" of builders and their planes in front of the factory.

Scenes from past years:

Following are a few photos from past years...  Check out the photos from 2014 and photos from 2013 for more

Inside the factory:

STOL (short take-off and landing) demonstrations and competition (see above):

Inside the factory on Saturday morning:

This 24th annual event is shaping up to be a great Open Hangar Day and Fly-In Gathering.  We have many participants, activities and seminars planned and we'll be summarizing and adding updates soon.

Zenith Builders and Pilots:

We invite and encourage all Zenith builders, owners, pilots, and enthusiasts to come out for a good time! Owners of completed Zenith Aircraft are encouraged to fly-in for the activities and to show off their completed project to fellow builders (we will provide tie-down space and help facilitate ground transportation if possible). Mexico's airport (KMYJ) offers 24-hr self serve fuel at competitive prices, and has a new terminal building with 24 hour access to the pilot lounge (with showers and internet access!). Let us know of any special needs or requirements.
If flying in, please bring your own aircraft tie-downs, especially if staying overnight.

Zenith owners: please park your airplane as close to the Zenith factory as possible on Saturday. We'll try to position and group all Zeniths in front of the factory for the group photo at 10:30 am. If driving in, please bring yourself a folding (lawn) chair if possible. We will have chairs and picnic tables, but we sometimes run out...
There is no charge to attend the Open Hangar Day or any seminars, with the exception of the banquet dinner on Friday evening. Check this page for the latest updates and schedule. Please contact us if you have ideas, requests or capabilities to make the Open Hangar and Fly-In Gathering both a fun and educational event.
Note to builders: You can arrange to pick-up parts and kits at the Open Hangar Day if the parts have been ordered, paid for and confirmed prior to the Open Hangar Day.

We can help you to carpool if you are flying in and need a ride to and from a local hotel.  Let us know how we can help you.

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Comment by Zenith.Aero on September 15, 2015 at 11:32am

From years past, here's one of the hands-on builder projects at the Zenith Open Hangar Day:

Comment by Zenith.Aero on September 15, 2015 at 11:30am

Video summary of the 2014 Open Hangar Day activities:

Comment by Zenith.Aero on September 10, 2015 at 10:05am

STOL competition from the 2014 Zenith Open Hangar Day:

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