A five-person FAA National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET) recently concluded a two-day visit to Zenith Aircraft Co. in Mexico, Missouri. In a letter dated June 24, Terry Allen, manager of the FAA Production and Airworthiness Division, stated that the Evaluation Team determined that the kit will “allow an amateur builder to meet the major portion requirement of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations part 21, Certification Procedures for Products and Parts, § 21.191(g),” known as the “51%” requirement to register the aircraft as Amateur-Built -Experimental.
The FAA Production and Airworthiness Division (AIR-200) will have the Zenith kit added to the List of Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits located on the FAA website. Amateur builders can use the FAA checklists to determine exactly how much commercial or professional builder assistance may be used in the construction of their projects without violating the “51%” requirement.
“While we never doubted that the CH 650 kit (pictured above) meets the intent of the major portion [51% rule] requirement, it’s useful to have it officially recognized as such,” stated Zenith president Sebastien Heintz.
Zenith Aircraft Co. uses CNC routers to cut both small and large parts, drilling thousands of pilot holes, and the standard airframe kit is supplied to builders with factory-built wing spars, welded components such as control system parts and welded aluminum fuel tanks (located in the wings), and is supplied with all hardware needed to complete the airframe, according to company officials.
The CH 650 is a second generation light sport aircraft, developed specifically for Sport Pilots. It is the latest model in the Zodiac line of aircraft from aeronautical engineer Chris Heintz, first introduced in 1984. This newest model offers new and updated features, including modern new styling with a larger cabin area with more width and head room, improved ventilation and visibility, and a new canopy latch system. The aircraft is built entirely of 6061-T6 sheet aluminum, fastened together with blind (“Pop”-type) rivets, and can be powered by a choice of engines, including the new UL Power engines, Jabiru 3300, Continental O-200, Rotax, as well as auto conversions such as Corvair and Viking Honda. The aircraft can be configured with tricycle gear (standard) or as a tail dragger, and many options are available from the factory.
The CH 650 is available as an easy-to-build kit. CNC fabrication equipment provides a complete kit that can be assembled (by first time builders) with only basic tools and skills, officials said, noting the CH 650 airframe requires less than 500 hours to build. Available step-by-step assembly videos are also available on DVD.
For more information: ZenithAir.com