Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
From the Zenair website... http://www.zenair640.info/
For economic reasons, kit production for the CH 640 aircraft was discontinued in early 2020. Zenair will continue to provide necessary parts and sub-kits to existing builders to complete their projects and for owners to maintain & repair existing aircraft.
Interestingly when I click on the hyperlink, the page it takes me to is like a press release, but it disappears about 10 seconds after it pops up every time I try to read the whole thing. An excerpt from the hyperlinked press release:
The demand for four-seat experimental kit aircraft has been slow across the industry; a fact that has also impacted sales of Zenair's 4-seat designs. This has unfortunately made production of our affordable airframe kits for the Zodiac CH 640 economically un-viable. Rather than increase the price of these kits, Zenair has decided to cease production and sale of all new drawings and/or kits for this particular design.
For those that have already started a CH 640 kit project, or for those already flying one of these remarkable 4-seat aircraft, Zenair is committed to providing all necessary parts and sub-kits necessary to complete the aircraft and/or to maintain & repair existing models.
To order parts for your CH 640 aircraft, contact Zenair with the part-numbers and the part quantities you need.
Note: You will need to be registered as the owner of your aircraft for technical-support and to order parts; your aircraft serial-number will be needed to register.
See Here for additional "How to Order" information.
This is what's curious to me. You won't even sell the drawings if we want to plans-build? I guess somebody needs to tell Vans they need to shut down their RV-10 production lines... And Airplane Factory, y'all need to shut down your Sling TSi machines as well. Y'a know... since "The demand for four-seat experimental kit aircraft has been slow across the industry" and all...
It seems that Zenith is going to continue to support current builders so I personally don't see it as an issue. If we look at the numbers Zenith probabbly should have stopped offering the 640 long ago . It seems that it is an airplane which has a small cult following and while it has been a relativly inexpensive alternative for 4 seats it appeals to very few who will actually build it. It has a dated design appearance and most who want more than 2 seats within the zenith line will build an 801 from a kit or a 750 super duty. When we look at the forums the 701 and the 750 each has in excess of 1700 members while the 640 has 133 and the reality is that only a small percentage are building just my opinion, Dan.
And your opinion is shared by many. I have a different take on it. My take is, the only reason the 640 didn't sell is, nobody knew about it. There was no advertising effort put forth by Zenair. I never saw any coverage at the airshows about it. I can't tell you the number of EAA members I had to explain to what a CH640 is. One of our local EAA chapter members flies an RV10. He asked me what I wanted to build. I told him, He said "You mean a CH650?" I said no, then pulled up a picture of the 640 on my phone. He looked at it for a few minutes like he had been gut-punched a little... "I wish I'd have known Zenith made a 4-place". Am I saying he would have chosen to build a 640 over an RV10? No. Not him in particular. But a certain percentage of him? Yes.
And that's all fine, except, I'm not a "current builder" yet. I attempted to buy my set of CH 640 plans last fall. I sent several e-mails to Michael Heintz inquiring about the plane, he would answer my questions, and my final e-mail was a request to purchase. My e-mail got ignored. Never responded to. I was annoyed, but thought "I will just put it off 'til the spring and reconnect then and buy the plans."
Now I ask you... What is left out there to scratch-build a 4-seat low-wing?
I wonder if Zenair would sell me the rights to the plans. I could try and make a go of it... I would makes some changes though.... (Split flaps???)
"What is left out there to scratch-build a 4-seat low-wing"
Not much really.
There's the Jodel D.140 Mousquetaire, which supposedly has plans, and like the Ch640, was a factory built model. Looks great too.
The Edelweiss RD-03 was a plans built 2+2, but with a pretty low gross weight for a 4 seater(650lbs)
Does it have to be low-wing? I get the appeal of the low-wingers, but there are many more high-wing 4-seat designs out there, both low and slow, and high and fast.
Falconar F12A cruiser is a fairly large 2 seater with optional 3rd seat, and bout 900lbs of useful load.
I never saw anything about this model until now! It's no wonder there is no demand. No one in the last 5+ years knew it existed! I would be seriously looking at that as my next kit right now if it was an option. If we dont know about it, it's hard to say we want one and buy it.
Thank you Brad. My point exactly.