Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
Greetings to all here at Zenith.aero!
My name is Douglas Suhr and I hail from northwestern Pennsylvania, USA. I've been stalking the 801 as my first airplane build for about a dozen years now and in October of 2019 I finally pulled the trigger. I'm sort of glad that I procrastinated for as long as I did because waiting awhile enabled me to board the 'super-duty' train.
Caveat: I took the coward's way out and ordered the quick-build kit! Although I consider myself the principal builder, mom and dad are my build partners. Back in early March (right before all hell broke loose with Covid-19) we all took a road trip up to Zenair Ltd. in Midland, ON and spent some time (supervised) working on the airframe and getting plenty of photos for the builder's log.
We had anticipated taking delivery of the airframe components in April or thereabouts, but Zenair was shuttered during the pandemic so everything has been pushed back. Now anticipate taking delivery later this month or early July.
Meanwhile, I've set about renting a hangar at my local airfield (KFKL) and getting it set up as a workshop. I live in an economically depressed region, but one that was thriving not too long ago, so we are fortunate to have a wonderful GA field with several big hangars that are sitting vacant! I managed to swing a 110' X 80' X 28' hangar with restroom facilities, plenty of electrical service, powerful lighting, heat, etc. for $250 / month! I do share the space with an old fire truck and our county coroner, but she's only in there to pick up or drop off corpses in the coolers that are in the back. So I pretty much have the run of the place.
This'll be our first plane, but my dad is very technically oriented and good at following directions. Me? Well I'm learning. We have the advantage of our local EAA chapter being two hangars over, and another field mate who has already built and flies a CH-750. I know it's going to be a lot of work but I'm looking forward to the challenge of the build and to the quality time with my parents.
Anyway, Michael Heintz recommended that I pop over here and introduce myself, so here I am. No doubt I will have plenty of questions for this community as we move along through the build process. ~ Doug S.
I'm trying to order an 801 myself...we will see how long that takes. Post your progress...I will be interested to see how it goes. Best of luck!
Thanks for the wish of luck Mike, as a first-timer I feel like I really need it, haha. Will definitely keep everyone here updated as I move along. Hopefully you'll be starting on your project soon! ~ Doug
Welcome to the club and best wishes. The help available on ZenithAero will aid your progress tremendously.
Thanks for the welcome Jimmy. Happy to be here and to have the help of more experienced builders at my disposal. This is the beginning of a life-long dream!
Congratulations on getting started on your 801. It will be a tremendous experience. It sounds like you’ve got the right attitude.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. While you are waiting on your kit, you might think about taking an EAA SportAir workshop class. I’ve taken a couple, and found them to be well worth it. They will save you time, money and effort as you proceed in your build.
I appreciate your words of congratulation Dan! And thanks for the tip on EAA's SportAir workshops... a quick search indicates that unfortunately they seem to be on hold at the moment, but I'll look to join in when the workshops resume. In truth, I have only been an EAA member for about a year now and am still recognizing all the great benefits that come with membership.
Advanced gratitude for your (everyone's) willingness to openly share your knowledge and expertise when I undoubtedly post questions on this board. As much as I want to channel the pioneering attitude of Orville and Wilbur, I wouldn't dare endeavor to build my own airplane (even from a QB-kit) without the asset of a support network backing me up! ~ Doug
Welcome to the club! I just started my 801 build in April (after finishing the intro rudder last year)! There are some good discussions on the 801 forum - I look there frequently for help as I work my way through the build...there are some idiosyncrasies with the build manual and the SD model. I agree with Dan regarding the EAA workshops - I took sheetmetalworking and it was invaluable.
Congrats on the hangar...I live in Connecticut and finding a hangar for final assembly is going to be a challenge (doing the subkit building in my garage...)
Thanks for the welcome Dan! I'm really happy to see that there are other 801 builders out there! I know the 650 and 750 lightsports are quite popular, but it's all about the cargo capability to me.
I'll definitely be posting my more specific questions to the 801 forum, just figured I'd introduce myself here on the open forum. I definitely gotta get in on these EAA workshops. And of course sheetmetal-working sounds like the perfect shop to start with (if / when it's offered). I'm alright with drilling, de-burring and riveting but cutting is where I fall apart! I've actually been practicing with some scrap metal and I'm getting better with it but still a ways to go before I can call myself proficient.
I feel so fortunate to have lucked into the perfect hangar for building my plane (especially having a bathroom in there, lol). When the aircraft is finished I will most likely relocate to a more affordable T-hangar elsewhere on the airfield, but for now this setup is perfect. They had been searching for a tenant for hangar 5 for a while but due to the morgue in the back several prospective renters felt more comfortable looking elsewhere. The refrigerators don't bother me any, but their necessity makes me sad... our little hospital's morgue is unable to accommodate the transient dead due in large part to the opioid epidemic... we've been hit pretty hard in this area.
I can imagine that living in a heavily-populated region will make hangar selection more difficult (and probably more costly). Never had to deal with that myself, but I suppose the best thing to do is start searching a few months before you're going to need it and hopefully you'll luck into something sweet.
Looking forward to more conversations with you Dan! ~ Doug
I have owned 2 - CH801s. In the 801 forum there is a series of postings from myself and others concerning desirable modifications, some best done while building. Check that out.
I am originally from Gettysburg Pa (W05). Still have family there. It was nice to be able to land in the hayfield behind my sisters house instead of having to have someone drive way across town to pick me up. One of the benefits of having an 801. I hope that you enjoy it. Its great for seeking out those out of the way places.
Thanks for the tip Samuel, I will definitely be doing a lot of reading on the 801-specific forum. Are there any big ones (modifications) that come to your mind right away? This is such a daunting task... I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed, and taking notes helps, but wow.
I've lived in Pennsylvania my entire life, yet I've never visited Gettysburg (been over it and through it, but never really 'in' it!). I'm excited to tour this beautiful country with my airplane once it's finished, utilizing its STOL capabilities to my greatest advantage. ~ Doug
I am about 70 miles southwest of you in northeast Ohio. I have a 801 project that I haven't really worked on since 2012 (98% done). If you want to get some experience, come on down and help me get this thing in the air while you are waiting on your kit to arrive. Jay
Oh wow, pleasure to meet you Jay! It's awesome to hear from people whose projects are either done or nearing completion. As much as I want to enjoy the experience, I can't wait for the day I'm ready to get her off the ground! I really appreciate your invitation and would love to come over and pay you a visit. I actually have family in NE Ohio and make the trip fairly regularly (i.e. a few times a year). I would also enjoy 'apprenticing' with you a bit, but my kit will be arriving within a couple of weeks now. Let's keep in touch with an eye toward meeting at some point this summer. ~ Doug