Zenair makes an impression at Euro Fly-in (July 14-18).

Organizers of Euro Fly-in have big plans for this event in the future: Most EAAers will recognize the source of this inspiration - the control tower banner (below) is just one example…

There was no lack of space or of volunteers, even the porta-potties were there. We had our summer thunderstorm too, followed by three days of sunshine and heat; Zenair had the largest booth with the most aircraft on display. Not bad for a first edition!

Located in the center of France, the Saint Yan airfield is also home of Barge Aviation, regional Zenair representative and builder of two brand new CH 640 four-seat kitplanes. The “CLUB” model (white & green, above) is equipped with a Lycoming 180 HP O-360; the “PERFORMANCE” model (burgundy and silver, below) is powered by a fuel-injected 200 HP Lycoming.

As the youngest builder/pilot in attendance, Yvan Barge received an award from the RSA (French EAA) for his beautifully finished CH 640. This aircraft is equipped with an IFR capable panel and custom seats which were a great hit with everyone who sat in the plane (forward sliding front seats and tilting backrests – just like a car)!

Designer Chris Heintz was on hand to meet builders, autograph copies of his new book, and to show his aircraft designs to keen enthusiasts (Zodiac and STOL designs were also on-hand).

As with so many fly-ins before, Chris offered technical advice and insights during his two scheduled Forums. Here he is (above) comparing the location of a typical wing spar to the “spar” found in a common feather (at approx. 25% of the chord).

Another popular forum was offered by Viktor Strausak of Switzerland. Viktor has become an expert (and big proponent) on the use of Vortex Generators on various Zenair models. He has them all over his personal CH 601 HDS, including on his fuselage sides (above the wing and below the tail) and on top of his canopy bubble!

An historic meeting and candid chat among aviation icons: Jean Délémontes, Pierre Robin and Chris Heintz gather at the Zenair booth for a TV interview; they discussed their accomplishments and reminisced about working together some 40 years ago (“we didn’t consider it “work”; we loved what we were doing...”)!

Quite a few Zenair planes flew in and left again before we had a chance to photograph them. Here are a few that we caught: Above is the well-known Dutch Zodiac built by André Van den Elsen – flying again (finally), but now under new French “colors”…

This lovely blue Zodiac XL was flown to the show by its proud new owner, but its builder (right) came along as well and entertained us all with his building stories (he has built a half dozen Zenairs – including the first UK-registered CH 601 UL). Like many others, he too still struggles to comprehend the special UK mods being imposed on UK XL owners/pilots…

Here is a rather unusual refueling method for the STOL CH 701… Can’t reach the tanks? Just climb onto the plane! Not particularly recommended; to be tried at your own risk and perils (it’s quite a jump down, when you’re all done), but it works!

These two gentlemen built (from plans) and first flew this Zenith (CH 200) 34 years ago! 1,600 hrs later, they are still flying it and loving it! For inquiring minds, this is serial number 0047! (Over 5000 serial numbers have been issued since then for authentic “Zenair” units – the number of unauthorized copies and derivatives are unknown).

Here is a glimpse of the Barge Aviation facilities. A brand new Builder-Assistance center not just for ultralights (CH 650E or CH 701), but also one for four-seat aircraft like the CH 640 that are ideally suited for aeroclubs and flying schools. The CH 640 is a “CNSK-approved” kit by French authorities which allows the aircraft to be used for flight training and towing (when maintained by a certified mechanic). Flight instructors and club members stopped by to see and to sit in the two CH 640 on display throughout the show, eager for a demo flight – and maybe more!


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Comment by Christopher Desmond on July 30, 2010 at 11:40am
Thanks Michael, that was fun to see . . .
Comment by Sebastien Heintz on July 23, 2010 at 11:36am
Comment by Roy Visona` on July 20, 2010 at 2:15pm
Simply awesome guys! Wish we were there, the show and slides look impressive! We'll plan for something like this in Italy! Compliments to Yvan...your 640 is HOT!
Comment by Stephen R. Smith on July 20, 2010 at 10:29am
Looks like a great event.

Thanks for the report Michael!

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