Zenith STOL Champion at 2023 New Zealand Bush Pilot Championships

Congratulations to Hamish Crowe for his first place finish at the 2023 New Zealand Bush Pilot Championships in Omaka, New Zealand, on Saturday, February 4, 2023.

Hamish won the national event with both the shortest take-off and shortest landing in his Zenith STOL CH 701, powered by a Rotax 912 engine, with a winning short takeoff roll of 15.4 m and landing roll of 25.2 m, for a combined winning distance of 40.5 meters on this hot muggy day New Zealand day.

Check out the video of the short take-off and landing (STOL) competition, as well as the precision landing competition, as Hamish Crowe and Daniel Wright competed formidably with the Zenith STOL "Sky Jeeps":

Fellow Zenith pilot Daniel Wright finished in second place in his Zenith STOL (below).

Daniel Wright in his blue and white Zenith STOL (registration JRM), with a takeoff roll of just 19.0 m and landing roll of 30.7 m, for a combined distance of just 49.7 meters, taking second place at the national competition.
Check out the official website for more details about the popular annual event in New Zealand. The official name of the event is Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships. Why "Healthy Bastards"? It's the name of a video produced by a flying doctor service in New Zealand. The video captures what "people on the street" think about health and what actually makes a "Healthy Bastard" and also gives viewers an insight into the magnificence of New Zealand and some of the unusual but wonderful people that live in it with his mission of trying to find "the healthiest bastard in the bush." The message combines non-PC humor with serious health education.
We congratulate all the Zenith STOL pilots for their outstanding performance at the 2023 event!
While the winning pilots and individual airplanes change year by year, the one constant is that the Zenith STOL CH 701 is the winning design at the annual event.

Watch the video of the outstanding short take-offs and landing at the 2020 event:

The Zenith STOL CH 701's winning performance: Take-off: 28.4  Landing: 50.3

More photos of Zenith STOL aircraft at the New Zealand competition from past years:

Deane Philip doing what he does best:

Below, Chris Anderson in his Zenith STOL Sky Jeep. 

Photos (and videos) from New Zealand never cease to amaze us: What a beautiful country with such a great mix of terrain to fly over: beaches, mountains, prairies... What better way to explore such as a beautiful country than with a Zenith?

First introduced in 1986, the STOL CH 701 aircraft was developed as an “off-airport” short take-off and landing kit aircraft to fulfill the demanding requirements of both sport pilots and first-time builders. With the STOL CH 701, designer Chris Heintz combined the features and advantages of a “real” airplane with the short-field capabilities of an “ultralight” aircraft. With form following function, the aircraft features fixed leading-edge slats for high lift, full-span flaperons (both ailerons and flaps), an all-flying rudder, and durable all-metal construction. Read more about the unique design features of the Zenith STOL aircraft.

While the basic design has remained the same, many significant improvements have been introduced over the years, including a higher useful load, easier and quicker build kits, and more detailed drawings and step-by-step assembly instructions.  The popularity of the original CH 701 has grown over the years as this design has proven itself exceptionally well in the field, and the original design has expanded into the STOL CH 750 and four-seat CH 801 aircraft (all based on the original CH 701 design). Recently, Zenith Aircraft introduced the latest variant, the STOL CH 750 Super Duty, with increased cabin size and higher load carrying capability.

Zenith Aircraft kits have become significantly easier and quicker to build over the years as final hole size match-drilled parts and assemblies have become available, thanks to CNC manufacturing and SolidWorks design software. New kits take just a few hundred hours to assemble, requiring just simple skills and tools to put together.


More from the New Zealand Bush Pilot STOL Championships:

Photos by Phil Craig, Gavin Conroy and Luke Anderson.

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