STOL CH 801 to the rescue: Sam McNair flies supplies to people affected by Hurricane Florence

Since the devastation of Hurricane Florence last month in the Carolinas, I had heard several reports of a STOL CH 801 being used to fly in supplies to flooded areas in the aftermath of the hurricane.


Here is a brief report and photos:



I first read about it when I was forwarded a link to the above article:

"65-year-old pilot Sam McNair built his Zenith 801 from a kit and has flown the plane all over the United States, including Alaska. McNair has been volunteering to ferry supplies to flooded areas on the North Carolina coast this week for Operation Airdrop."

Here are a few photos from the article:


 "Rachel Patterson, Michael Kim, Jay Lang and Michael Taylor puzzle out how to fit a payload into Sam McNair's Zenith 801 plan for a flight down to the coast. Photo credit: Steve Tell"



Follow up: Sam McNair reported the following about an unfortunate misunderstanding following the Operation Airdrop flights:

"It has showed up in the media that I used my CH801 to support the recent Hurricane Florence Airlift. Also and unfortunately now showing up on the internet is an erroneous report from the GSO FSDO to the effect that I hit a power line with my 801. The FSDO created this report based on a 4th hand hearsay informal report. It was entered into the database before even taking any steps to confirm the information. In fact the power line was struck one hour before I arrived by a Helio Super Courier. All of this has been confirmed by photos, a video of the strike, FAA ATC tapes support it, and testimony by witnesses on the ground attest to it. I have a letter from the FSDO to the effect that I am not longer being investigated. But it is not over yet...

"But for reasons that I cannot fathom the FSDO allowed the erroneous & unconfirmed first report to be released to the public. I just became aware that it is circulating on the internet this weekend. And the FAA has yet to correct the erroneous first report in their database - if ever they will. Once on the internet, information - right or wrong- never goes away. I am asking the Zenith community to please help me out by not forwarding such false reports if it comes into your possession and if possible informing those who sent it of the error. Neither I nor our community need the adverse "press" arising from false information.

"Zenith pilots fly a very capable and attention-grabbing aircraft with unique capabilities. This enables us to do the things that we do simply because it is a very capable aircraft, not because we are risk takers or daredevils of some sort. So please help me keep adverse 'press' from spreading. None of us need the bad publicity. I apologize in advance if my service to those in need and this irresponsible action by the FSDO results in any bad reflection upon the Zenith pilot community."

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Comment by Giovanni Chiappa on October 18, 2018 at 1:17am

Awesome story

Comment by Wayne Woloshin on October 17, 2018 at 6:47pm

Wow what a great story, I love it. I would like to meet you Sam as I stay at my sister in laws 2 a year on way to Florida and back. She is in Leland just outside Wilmington. Tks Wayne 

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