25th annual Open Hangar Days & Fly-In: Beautiful planes, great people, many activities, and blue skies!

Here's a follow-up of the 2016 Zenith Aircraft Open Hangar Days & Fly-In, the 25th annual event, held on September 23 & 24 at the Zenith Aircraft kit factory in Mexico, Missouri:

Save the date for 2017: September 22 & 23, 2017

Thanks to all who participated and visited Zenith Aircraft Company's 25th annual Open Hangar Days and Builder Fly-In on September 23 & 24 at the factory in Mexico, Missouri. We had record participation this year with many planes and visitors, as well as outstanding programs and seminars!  Following is a brief photo summary of just some of the many activities:

Over two days, visitors to the Zenith factory were able to see the planes and tour the kit aircraft factory

Zenith customers flew in from around the country in their completed Zeniths:

The new SAM-EX aircraft made its first appearance at the Zenith Aircraft factory for the Open Hangar Days, flown in from Canada by Nick Heintz.

Visitors were able to tour the modern Zenith Aircraft kit production facilities to see and to learn how all the all-metal kit parts are fabricated:

Zenith Aircraft staff demonstrated the ease of the kit assembly with modern final hole size match-drilled parts:

Vendors shared information about their products and services with visitors. Participating vendors included EAA, Dynon Avionics, Garmin, Continental, Rotax, UL Power, Jabiru, Viking Engines, Matco, Fly-Corvair, Aircraft Spruce and Specialty, Kitplanes magazine, Buzz Air flight academy, Lab One oil analysis, Golden Age Aviation, M-Squared, HomebuiltHelp.com, SkySmith insurance, and newcomer Sensenich propellers.

Back by popular demand was the panel discussion hosted by Zenith Aircraft's Sebastien Heintz that included representatives of the various engines that can be mounted on a Zenith kit airplane. The panel discussion members included Continental Motors (Chris Lang), Corvair (William Wynne), Jabiru (Pete Krotje), Rotax (Rob Seaton), UL Power (Robert Helms), and Viking Honda-based conversions (Jan Eggenfellner):

Friday night concluded with the annual Zenith Banquet dinner with a record attendance! The banquet included great food, camaraderie, a Zenith trivia game and loads of fun!

EAA's director of homebuilding, Charlie Becker, was a featured speaker and he presented William Wynne (Corvair engine guru at FlyCorvair) with EAA's Major Achievement Award for his work teaching builders about engines since 1989:

Great door prizes at the banquet included a Dynon D2 Pocket Panel portable EFIS and a Garmin GDL 39  portable advanced ADS-B receiver.

Zenith Aircraft's Roger Dubbert was presented with a flight jacket by William Wynne for 24 years of demo flights:

Hundreds of people were on hand Friday and hundreds more came on Saturday for demo flights, factory tours and the chance to meet with Zenith kit builders, factory personnel, and others, and to learn more about the joys of building and flying a Zenith kit airplane.

There was a record number of Zenith planes flown in from around the country, including the newly painted One Week Wonder (flown in from Oshkosh to attend the event).  Check out EAA's report on the event (with more photos).

Saturday activities included the Zenith aircraft show, a first-ever Cleco contest, a Zenith STOL (short take-off and landing) competition and demonstration, and a flour-bombing contest:

Winner of the flour-bombing contest (sponsored by UL Power) was Zenith Aircraft's own Roger Dubbert, followed by Nick Heintz and Marty Roberson (in a Zenith CH 601). Winner of the STOL competition (sponsored by Kitplanes magazine) was Jan Eggenfellner in his modified Zenith CH 750 with a new turbo Honda-based Viking engine:

Winner of the first-ever Cleco competition (sponsored by Pan-American Took and Wicks aircraft) was Zenith builder Andrey Bezmelnitsyn, followed by James Toothaker, Clay Hollenback and  Dave Miller.

Zenith "Aircraft Show":

The Zenith Aircraft Show ("like a car show but with Zenith planes") was judged by both the public and by fellow Zenith Aircraft builders, and sponsored by Matco wheels and brakes.
  • People's Choice Award - Gregory Pernoud (above)
  • Voted Best Zenith Low-wing - Valerie Westedt
  • Voted Best Zenith High-wing - John Austin
  • Most Hours Built (2,000 hours) - Mark Bybee
  • Engine of Choice (Viking 110) - Marvin Miller
  • Oldest Zenith Airplane (2005) - Scott Ginter
  • Most Hours Flown (2,000 hours) - Jan Eggenfellner
  • Newest Build Completion (2015) - Valerie Westedt
  • Farthest Distance (1,200 miles) - Jan Eggenfellner

  • Best Zenith Low-wing - Valerie Westedt (above)   Best Zenith High-wing - John Austin (below)

Saturday concluded with an onsite BBQ dinner, awards ceremony (with great prizes) and live music from local talent The Highwater Band:

We thank all who participated and made this a great event! 
"Clear skies, great planes and wonderful people!" 


Save the date for 2017: September 22 & 23, 2017

Video clips:  More photos from the Open Hangar Days!

Saturday evening BBQ dinner and live music:


Time lapse: 2016 Open Hangar Days:


Flying the SAM-EX, open cockpit:


Please share with us any additional photos and videos you may have from the event (use the comment section below to post). We don't have any video footage of the STOL competition nor the flour bombing contest. If you have footage please share it below.

25th annual Open Hangar Days & Fly-In: September 23 & 24, 2016

Save the date for 2017: September 22 & 23, 2017

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Comment by Zenith.Aero on October 21, 2016 at 2:54pm

T.Y.'s flight to and from the Open Hangar Days:

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