Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
So being a old glider pilot, I always stored my private gliders in trailers rather than keeping them assembled and stored at the airport. With the folding wing option, I would like to hear any thoughts on the idea of storing a completed 750 Cruzer, wings folded, in an enclosed trailer either at the airport or a secured self storage facility when not in use. It sounds either crazy or totally do-able to me depending on my mindset at the time.
I just received my rudder kit the other day ( apparently lost at the local UPS hub for the 3 months from ship date to receive date (good thing they didn't charge me storage!), so I'm a long way off until I make a decision, just thought I'd get some ideas.
From other members on this forum, don't bother with the folding wing option, I asked your same questions and all the answers I got were the same. It is not worth the cost or weight penalty, If you must fold the wings, it is just as easy, if not easier to remove them. The fuel tanks will have to be drained either way and all the electrical connections disconnected along with the wing struts, All that is left connected are the aft bolts to mount the wings with.
Keith summarized it well.
I know where you're coming from with the glider background - I kept my ASW-20 sailplane in a trailer and it only took a few minutes to plug-in the wings, tail, and pop in a few pins and attach a few quick-disconnects. However, there was no fuel and no wiring in the wings of the glider!
From monitoring these discussions over several years, I think the consensus is that the folding wing option only makes sense if you were, for instance, in an area with severe, unflyable winters and you wanted to trailer the plane home at the end of the flying season and trailer it back out in the spring. But, as Keith points out, it would be almost just as easy to simply take the wings off and have suitable stands for them in the trailer.
There is a pilot at my local airport with a folding wing Kitfox. Every once in a while he drives into the tie down area pulling his trailer. A half hour later his plane is unloaded, fueled and ready to go. When he is done flying, he drains his fuel, folds his wings, hooks his electric winch onto the tail of his plane, drags it into his trailer and away he goes. He has done all the little things to make the trailer work, fuel pumps to fuel his plane, wood guides for his tires inside the trailer, ramps, and in general has the process very well organized. The trailer route can work for some folks. Those of us blessed with our own hangers or affordable hanger rent are lucky.
Keep in mind that removing and installing the wings is definitely a two person job, maybe three. The wings can be folded by one person, but is much easier with two. The one Zenith builder I personally know who installed the folding wing kit kept the plane in a hanger after completion.
Unfortunately Zenith wings dont fold like the kitfox, the Kitfox system is easy. Not so much for ZA, they have a video on youtube on how the wings fold.
since I have started my build, i have envisioned a folding wing option. I believe the only reason the folding wing option is not popular is we have not come up with an optimal design. I have been ruminating on a variety of ideas that I hope try out once the plane is up and flying. I believe the 701/750 wing chords are too long to just fold back along the sides as one would be over width, so the wings need to be folded and rotated, the wings may need to be on rails or have a pivot arm, so they can slide forward to clear the tail. The struts need to be able to collapse, and you will need trustworthy pins and fuel quick disconnects. I have thought the trailer could be part of the folding mechanism, e.g. supporting the wings and transferring attachment from plane to trailer. It is complicated, but a functional design is out there to be discovered. Keep building and maybe a functional design will be available when you get there.