This will be our 31st annual event at the kit aircraft factory in Mexico, Missouri! You are invited to join us at the OPEN HANGAR DAYS and Builder Fly-In on both Friday and Saturday, September 16 & 17, 2022.
As in past years, we are planning educational and fun (including flying) activities over two full days at the factory at Mexico Memorial Airport (KMYJ) Fly-in or drive in for the activities! Note: if you are planning to attend for only one day, we recommend Saturday as the best day to visit.
We'll have numerous events for both builders and pilots of Zenith kit planes (as well as all aviation enthusiasts) starting on Friday morning. There will be new seminars and workshops (see below), and host a Zenith "banquet" dinner on Friday and a BBQ dinner Saturday evening right at the factory!
We thank the following sponsors and participants (subject to change as we near the event):
All indications are that we'll have a great turnout this year once again. We will plan and recommend visitors to follow safety and social distancing guidelines in effect at the time of the fly-in. Please bring your own portable folding chair(s) to best allow yourself to socially distance.
The free seminars and workshops presented at the Zenith Homecoming are a great way to learn about Zenith Aircraft and all of the options to choose from when building and finishing your own airplane. Plan to attend all day Friday for the seminars!
2022 Zenith Aircraft Homecoming: Schedule of Events (Last updated 9/15/22. Times and topics subject to change):
Friday, September 16 at Mexico Memorial Airport
7:30 – 9:00 am Pancake breakfast (EAA Chapter 944)
9:00 - 9:50 am
Zenith Factory Tour: Travis Kobush, Zenith Aircraft's production manager, will guide visitors through the Zenith kit aircraft factory (Zenith Hangar)
Ongoing Airworthiness for your Zenith: Matt Heintz, Zenair (Canada) manager, will give valuable information involving ongoing airworthiness and construction standards for Zenith aircraft (On the ramp by the Zenith hangar)
10:00 - 10:50 am
Introduction to Building your own Zenith: Introducing the NEW 701 Rudder! Learn about getting started on your own Zenith kit project. Overview of the kit, the tools and assembly instructions, with Q&A about building your own Zenith and a hands-on demonstration of the new final hole size match-drilled kits (Zenith hangar)
Government Issues Update. Charlie Becker from EAA will discuss the latest FAA/governmental issues including MOSAIC, task based phase 1 flight testing, LODA, Basic Med and fuel issues. (ULPower Hangar)
Corvair Engine: Check out Corvair automotive conversion components, see Corvair installations in Zeniths and learn more about light aircraft engine operations. Note: Much of the information applies to all light aircraft engines (not just Corvair) so all builders are welcome. William Wynne represents FlyCorvair.com (On the ramp by the Zenith hangar)
11:00 - 11:50 am
Panel Discussion: "So, you want to build an airplane?" Specifically for first time builders and enthusiasts, a moderated yet informal panel discussion about building (and flying) your own airplane. Find out just how much it costs to build your own airplane, how long it will take and what skills you'll need. (Zenith Aircraft Hangar)
ULPower Engines: Learn about the popular ULPower engines and about their installation and operation in Zenith aircraft. Robert Helms, ULPower (in front of Zenith hangar)
Garmin Avionics Package for Zeniths: Brad Brensing (from Garmin International, Inc.) will cover details on the equipment and capabilities included in the new Garmin G3X package being offered through Zenith. (UL Power Hangar)
12:00 pm - 12:50 pm
Panel Discussion: Instrument panels. Builders/pilots talk about creating a customized instrument panel that will suit your needs and style. What is found to be required and necessary, and what should we leave off the panel. (Zenith Hangar)
Zenith.Aero, online community for active Zenith builders and flyers: Moderator John Austin will provide an overview of the resources available on the Zenith.aero website, a free resource available exclusively to Zenith builders, owners, and pilots. www.zenith.aero (ULPower Hangar)
1:00 - 1:50 pm
Women's Introduction to Aircraft Building workshop: Val Westedt (who has already built and flown her own Zenith) has volunteered to teach a workshop just for aspiring women airplane builders. "There should be more women building airplanes and I wanted to show them that they can learn the skills to do it,” she said. The workshop includes a hands-on building project. This is a great workshop not only for aspiring women builders, but also for all women (young and old!) who would like to learn more about light aircraft construction. (Zenith hangar workshop area. This class may run longer than the schedule 50 minutes)
Painting your Zenith aircraft: The fastest way to the best results: With over 40 years of experience, Mike Loehle, of Loehle Coatings, will discuss and demonstrate painting your own all-metal Zenith aircraft (Zenith Hangar)
Cross County Flying Adventures: Dave Tillema and William Fahey will share their experience of planning and successfully executing the “48 State Challenge”, in which Dave landed in all of the 48 states on the way to Oshkosh in his Zenith Texas Cruzer. (ULPower Hangar)
2:00 - 2:50 pm
Panel Discussion: Paint/Polish/Wrap your Zenith aircraft, Builders discuss the most popular methods for putting a “finish” on your Zenith aircraft. Discussion will include preparation, application, as well as advantages and disadvantages of each. (Zenith Hangar)
Viking Engines: Jan Eggenfellner will discuss the Honda-based Viking Aircraft Engines, and show the engine installed in a Viking powered airplane (in front of the Zenith Hangar)
First Flight Preparedness: CFI, Phil Cooke, will share details on transition training, which is highly recommended to new pilots and everyone who has not previously flown Zenith airplanes, to help with a smooth transition without taking unneccessary risks (ULPower Hangar)
3:00 - 3:50 pm
Aircraft Insurance for your Zenith: Scott “Sky” Smith (SkySmith Insurance) will be discussing what’s happening in the aviation insurance market regarding experimental aircraft, pilot health, aging pilots and how it will affect Zenith aircraft insurance (Zenith Hangar)
Panel discussion comparing pilot’s essentials for cross-country journeys: What to bring, what to leave behind. Spare parts: tire tubes, zip ties, cotter pins, fasteners, fuses, duct tape, etc (ULPower Hangar)
4:00 - 5:00 pm
ENGINE Panel Discussion: Engine company representatives will discuss light aircraft engines and answer specific details about their respective engines. Owners and pilots of various Zenith aircraft will also discuss the specific engine they are flying behind in their Zenith, and will share their experiences regarding installation, maintenance, performance, and more! (UL Power Hangar)
5:00 - 7:30 pm (or later)
Zenith Builders Banquet Dinner: Informal buffet dinner (served by the Mexico Elks lodge) gathering of Zenith enthusiasts, builders & pilots on the ramp in front of the Zenith Aircraft factory, starting around 5:00 pm. Cash bar also opens around 4:30 pm. Updates from Zenith (with special guests) presented after dinner. Awesome door prizes, and more! Stay for after-dinner music. Purchase your dinner tickets online or buy your tickets at Zenith office.
Saturday, September 17 at Mexico Airport (Tentative Schedule. Times and topics subject to change)
The Saturday events at the Zenith factory include self-guilded Zenith factory tours, hands-on building projects inside the factory, Zenith aircraft on display in the air and on the ground, great food, and fun contests for our visitors to enjoy, along with educational seminars throughout the day. Stay for the late afternoon BBQ dinner and awards ceremony starting a 4:00pm.
7:30 – 9:00 am
Pancake breakfast: Free breakfast, donated by KITPLANES magazine and AVEMCO aviation insurance
9:00 - 10:00 am
Zenith Factory Tour: Travis Kobush, Zenith Aircraft's production manager, will guide visitors through the Zenith kit aircraft factory (Zenith Hangar)
Design and construction standards for your Zenith: Matt Heintz, Zenair (Canada) manager, will give valuable information involving ongoing airworthiness and construction standards for Zenith aircraft (On the ramp by the Zenith hangar)
Scratch-building your own Zenith: Learn about the skills and tools needed to scratch-build your own Zenith just from the Drawings and manuals (building all your own parts from plans-only). Presented by Clint Gosch, a Zenith scratch builder (ULPower Hangar)
10:00 - 10:50 am
Panel Discussion: STOL Flying and Competitions. Multiple STOL pilots discuss the skills necessary for operations with flying off-airport. Also, what does it take to get involved in STOL competitions and demonstrations (Zenith Hangar)
Transition Training: CFI, Phil Cook, will share details on transition training, which is highly recommended to new pilots and everyone who has not previously flown Zenith airplanes, to help with a smooth transition without taking unnecessary risks (ULPower Hangar)
10:00 - 3:00
Zenith Aircraft Show: Public and Zenith builder judged aircraft show (like a car show, but with Zenith airplanes) with fun categories and great prizes. Airplane owners: Register your Zenith at the gazebo outside of the Zenith factory hangar all day Friday or on Saturday morning. Pick up a voting ballot and vote for your favorite Zenith – check out the planes on the ramp and meet with the pilot/builders
Annual "Group Photo" of builders and their planes in front of the Zenith factory.
11:00 - 11:50 am
Kit Aircraft Building Overview: The skills and resources needed to build your own Zenith aircraft with a demonstration of featured final hole size match-drilled rudder. (Zenith Hangar)
Painting your Zenith aircraft: With over 40 years of experience, Mike Loehle, of Loehle Coatings, will discuss painting your all-metal Zenith aircraft with the fastest way to the best results: (ULPower Hangar)
Avilution Avionics, by Justin Tisdale. Learn about Avilution’s avionics systems for light aircraft, including the UnPanel as seen in the STOL CH 750 Super Duty (Airport terminal building-FBO)
12:00 - 12:50 pm
Panel Discussion: YouTube video creation. Meet with popular YouTubers with discussions on camera mounting/hardware, editing, and posting videos for viewers. How to get started with tips and tricks. Q&A Panel includes Kitplane Enthusiast, Experimental Aircraft Channel, MooseStacheFlyer, Super701 and more! (Zenith Hangar) • Beyond the Build: What You Need to Know. There are lots of things besides drilling and riveting that you need to know when building your own aircraft. Charlie Becker from EAA will walk you through the “other stuff” like in process inspections, builders logs, FAA paperwork, taxes, insurance, and much more. Charlie Becker is a director at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). (ULPower Hangar)
1:00 - 2:00 pm (time subject to change depending on weather)
STOL and Flying Demonstrations: Short Take-Off and Short (Precision) Landing as well as other flying demonstrations, at Mexico Memorial Airport (weather permitting)
2:00 - 2:50 pm
Lycoming Engines: Jeff Schans, Manager Customer Development, will discuss Lycoming engines and their application in Zenith aircraft (Zenith Hangar)
Garmin Avionics Package for Zeniths: Brad Brensing (from Garmin International, Inc.) will cover details on the equipment and capabilities included in the new Garmin G3X package being offered through Zenith. (ULPower Hangar)
Aircraft Insurance for your Zenith: Scott “Sky” Smith (SkySmith Insurance) will be discussing what’s happening in the aviation insurance market regarding experimental aircraft, pilot health, aging pilots and how it will affect Zenith aircraft insurance (Airport terminal building-FBO)
3:00 - 3:50 pm
Insuring your Zenith: Avemco will discuss the common questions regarding the hot topic of aircraft insurance with our STOL flying (Zenith Hangar)
Viking Engines: Jan Eggenfellner, Viking Aircraft Engines (in front of Zenith Hangar)
Panel Discussion: New Pilots talk about getting into flying. Meet some of our newest (and youngest) pilots. Learn how they got started and get tips for training, flying, and transitioning into Zenith flying. Panel guests include Sylvia Jestice, Justin Tisdale, and others (UL Power Hangar)
Cleco Contest @ 4:30 pm: With the dinner crowd watching and cheering you on, show off your cleco skills! Join in on the fun! Sign-up sheets will be available with a limited number of contestants allowed. (Zenith Hangar)
The banquet dinner will include special presentations, and there will be some fantastic door prizes from our valued sponsors and vendors! Purchase your dinner tickets now
On the ramp at Zenith Aircraft company and Mexico Memorial Airport
Zenith builders and owners: Fly in with your Zenith aircraft and show off your plane in the new Zenith Aircraft Show (like a car show, but with airplanes) and be judged by the public and experienced builders. All Zenith aircraft are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Aircraft Show, even if your plane is older and not polished!
The Open Hangar Days event presents the opportunity for visitors to tour the Zenith Aircraft factory, meet the Zenith staff, and to socialize (safely, of course, during this ongoing pandemic) with fellow pilots, builders, and aviation enthusiasts. Join us both days for educational seminars (see below) on building and flying your own airplane, plus learn all about the latest avionics and engine technology from several vendors at the event.
We'll have some great informal seminars from actual Zenith builders and pilots, including:
Charlie Becker, EAA’s director of chapters and homebuilding, will participate once again at the Zenith Homecoming, providing updates from EAA Headquarters about the latest FAA/governmental issues including MOSAIC, task based phase 1 flight testing, LODA, Basic Med and fuel issues. He will also present a seminar title Beyond the Build - What You Need to Know, discussing aircraft ownership besdes drilling and riveting that you need to know when building your own aircraft and “other stuff” like in-process inspections, builders logs, FAA paperwork, taxes, insurance, and much more.
Clint Gosch (from Iowa) scratch-built his own STOL CH 750 (powered by a 100-hp Continental O-200 engine) from plans (blueprints). Once again, he will share details about the skills and tools needed to scratch-build your aircraft (from just drawings). He will also share details about his experiences installing and flying with a (used) Continental O-200 engine in his Zenith. Watch the video of Clint and his airplane.
Women's Introduction to Aircraft Building workshop: Val Westedt (who has already built and flown her own Zenith) has volunteered to teach a workshop just for aspiring women airplane builders. "There should be more women building airplanes and I wanted to show them that they can learn the skills to do it,” she said. The workshop includes a hands-on building project. This is a great workshop not only for aspiring women builders, but also for all women (young and old!) who would like to learn more about light aircraft construction. (Friday afternoon workshop)
David Tillema plans to fly in with his Viking-powered "Texxas CH 750" Cruzer (from, you guessed it, Texas). David successfully completed the "48 State Challenge" earlier this summer, flying and landing in all of the lower 48 states on his way to Oshkosh 2022.
Are you attending the Zenith Homecoming and have an interesting story to share with fellow builders and flyers (about anything building and/or flying related). Let us know and we'll try to accommodate you at the Homecoming!
Summary of Seminars: Here's an overview summary of the scheduled seminars - see the schedule for event details, times and location.
Engines, engines and more engines! One of the big advantages to building your own Zenith is that you, the builder, get to choose the engine to install in your Zenith. That's why we invite engine companies to participate at the Open Hangar Days. Throughout the Open Hangar Days there will be presentations by engine companies as well as demonstrations (ground and in the air). There will also be the now-famous "Engine panel discussion" late Friday afternoon with expert representatives from the engine companies as well as builder/pilot experiences both installing and flying with the various engines.
And Panels too! Zenith builders and flyers also get to choose how to configure their instrument (avionics) panels for the aircraft. Representatives from Garmin, Dynon and Avilution will be on hand to discuss their latest innovations and how to install them (and fly behind them).
Painting your own aircraft. We'll hold a panel discussion on painting your aircraft, discussing the types of paint, polish vs. painting, vinyl wraps, decals, and more!Loehle Coatings has 40 years of experience in aircraft finishes and paints, and will be available to discuss their paint system.
Match-Hole Assembly - Hands on Demonstration: Zenith Staff will show and demonstrate the newest updates from the Zenith factory in ease-of-building technology, making Zenith kit aircraft easier and quicker to build than ever before. (Demonstration inside the Zenith Hangar)
Aircraft building workshops and demonstrations: We are planning additional seminars and workshops specific to building (and maintaining) a Zenith aircraft.
Free Saturday Morning Breakfast: Avemco Insurance Company and KITPLANES magazine, will once again donate Saturday's pancake breakfast! Come early for a free and delicious hot breakfast with the airplanes in front of the Zenith kit aircraft factory!
The Saturday events at the Zenith factory include tours of the Zenith factory, hands-on building projects, Zenith airplanes on display in the air and on the ground, great food, and fun contests for our visitors to enjoy, along with educational seminars throughout the day.
Saturday Events: See the schedule (above) for actual times and seminar details (Subject to change and revision).
Building Your Own Zenith Aircraft
Zenith Factory Tour
Zenith Aircraft Show: Public and Zenith builder judged aircraft show (like a car show, but with Zenith airplanes) with fun categories and great prizes. Register your Zenith aircraft at the registration booth in the gazebo outside of the Zenith factory hangar all day on Friday or Saturday morning.
Annual "group photo" of builders and their planes in front of the factory.
Building and Flying Your Zenith Aircraft
STOL & Flying Demonstrations: Short Take-Off and Short (Precision) Landing Demonstrations at Mexico Memorial Airport (subject to weather).
Overview of the Tools & Skills Needed to Build Your Own Zenith Aircraft
Zenith Aircraft Show & Fly-By: Flying and ground demonstration and show of owner-built Zeniths. All Zenith aircraft are encouraged to participate!
We invite and encourage all Zenith builders, owners, pilots, and enthusiasts to come out! Learn more about building, flying and maintaining your Zenith aircraft, and meet with fellow builders and flyers. 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 (including MOGAS), and has a 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 with your own aircraft, 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 the Zenith ramp) on Saturday. Visitors come to see Zenith aircraft so make sure your aircraft can be found! We'll try to position and group all Zeniths in front of the factory for the group photo at 10:50 am. Please bring yourself a portable folding (lawn) chair. (Note that non-Zenith aircraft are welcome to fly in to the event but please park non-Zenith aircraft on the North end of the airport ramp parking area). Non Zenith aircraft types are invited to fly in for the events, but please park you aircraft on the north side of the main airport ramp area (well north of the fuel pumps) to allow space for Zeniths on the south side.
There is no charge to attend the Open Hangar Day or any seminars or activities, with the exception of the Friday dinner at the Zenith factory.
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.
Camping at the event: There will be free camping available.
Tent camping with your plane or car is available, or set up your camper in the designated camp area (north side of airport, by the entrance).
There's also a public campground at scenic Lakeview Park a few miles away in the city of Mexico.
We'll be pleased to be offering the Zenith 30th Anniversary t-shirt at the event. Be sure to pick one up there or order one now (quanities are limited!)
Stock up on your Zenith Aircraft apparel now to wear at the Open Hangar Days event! Click here to check out all of the Zenith Aircraft items available. EAA members receive a discount and all proceeds support EAA's educational programs. Apparel will also be sold at the Zenith factory throughout the Open Hangar Days event.
Thanks to all our fabulous partners and sponsors who continue to support the Zenith Homecoming year after year:
Zenith Open Hangar Days Participants and Sponsors (subject to change and updates. This list is from last year).
(Note to vendors and sponsors: If you're planning to participate, please let us know so we can include you)
Aircraft Spruce and Specialty is a long time supporter and sponsor of the Zenith Homecoming events. Aircraft Spruce and Specialty is the leading aviation, aircraft, and pilot supply house in the world.
Charlie Becker, a director at EAA, will participate to share the latest from EAA, including updates on FAA rules and regulations affecting homebuilders and sport and recreational pilots, as well as info on EAA's available resources to help builders, owners and pilots of amateur-built aircraft, including the technical advisor and flight advisor programs.
Garmin International Inc. will be on hand to show the new Zenith CH 750 / CH 650 Avionics Package featuring Garmin G3X Touch Experimental/LSA Avionics. Brad Brensing from Garmin will demonstrate the equipment and capabilities included in the new Garmin package being offered through Zenith. Garmin will be donating fantastic prizes once again.
Kitplanes magazine will participate to share information about Kitplanes magazine, the leading how-to homebuilt aircraft magazine, and will donate, together with Avemco Aviation Insurance, the free breakfast on Saturday morning!
Corvair Engine guru William Wynne of FlyCorvair.com will attend to show the affordable Corvair auto conversion installation popular on many Zeniths.
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). Meet with Robert Helms, the "UL Power" guy to learn more about this popular line of engines.
AeroLEDs offer state-of-the art lighting systems for light aircraft with the latest LED lighting technology, including nav/strobe lights and landing lights for light aircraft. AeroLED donates fantastic door prizes!
Avilution will be represented by Justin Tisdale (SkyTron Aviation), a STOL CH 750 builder/pilot. Learn about affordable innovations from Avilution, maker of the Un-Panel display (seen in the STOL CH 750 Super Duty).
DUC Propellers is attending the Zenith Homecoming, represented by Gaetan Fouozing, who heads US Sales for the maker carbon composite aircraft propellers.
Viking Aircraft Engines produces a low-cost Honda-based light aircraft engine, and offers complete firewall-forward packages of the engine for installation in Zeniths. Jan and Alissa from Viking are returning to the Zenith Homecoming, flying from Florida in their Viking-powered STOL CH 750 Super Duty. Learn all about the Honda-based Viking engines, popular with many Zenith aircraft builders and owners. Jan will be demonstrating his STOL CH 750 Super Duty both the on ground and in the air, and will offer demo flights!
North American Aerospace Holdings will showcase their new aerodynamic fairings for Zenith aircraft. Mark Seaver will demonstrate the fairings available for all Zenith aircraft models
Citizens Bank will be participating at the Homecoming for the first time. The small town bank offers competitive financing tailored specifically to Zenith kit builders, and will be offering great prizes!
Avemco Insurance Company will be participating at the Zenith event by co-sponsoring, with KITPLANES magazine, pancake breakfast on Saturday morning: Come early for a free breakfast with the airplanes in front of the Zenith kit aircraft factory! Avemco is the only direct writer of aircraft insurance, connecting you directly with an underwriter who is empowered to solve problems and approve coverage instantly instead of a middleman who simply passes your request on to somebody else.
Dynon Avionics will demonstrate its new glass panel display systems, and is donating some fantastic prizes to be awarded during the Zenith Homecoming!
Lycoming Engines will be back to share information and details about their popular engines for light aircraft.
Wheels & Wings (from north-central Florida) offers professional builder assistance services. Meet with Herman to learn more about the services of Wheels and Wings and how they can help you complete your Zenith kit project.
Sensenich aircraft propellers has generously donated prizes to be awarded during the Zenith Homecoming and is supporting the Open Hangar Days and Fly-In with a donation.
Rosen Sunvisors makes popular sunvisors available for Zenith aircraft, and has donated prizes for the event.
We had a fantastic 30th annual event last year at the Zenith Aircraft factory. Beautiful planes, perfect weather and awesome people! Check out some of the photos and videos from past events to get a feel about what the Zenith Homecoming is all about.
The last couple of years we have moved our larger gatherings outdoors to be able to better socially distance ourselves. Below: BBQ dinner on the Zenith ramp with the airplanes. What a great way to spend the evening!
Developed specifically for Zenith builders (by a builder) these videos on DVD are a great help in building your own kit plane by providing practical hands-on construction information. Visit HomebuiltHelp.com for the latest DVD titles.