2020 Zenith Homecoming Open Hangar Days and Fly-In: September 18 & 19

Thank you to everyone who visited and participated! We had a fantastic 29th annual event at the Zenith Aircraft factory. Beautiful planes, perfect weather and awesome people!! Check out the photos from event (more to come!) 

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2020 Zenith Homecoming!

You are invited to join us at the annual Zenith Aircraft OPEN HANGAR DAYS and Builder Fly-In at the Zenith kit factory in Mexico, Missouri. Friday and Saturday, September 18 & 19, 2020.

This will be our 29th annual "Zenith Homecoming" event, and we are planning educational and fun (and flying) activities over two full days at the factory in Mexico, Missouri! Fly-in or drive in for the activities!

As in years past we'll have numerous events for both builders and pilots of Zenith kit planes (as well as all aviation enthusiasts) starting on Friday, September 18th. We'll present new seminars and workshops (to be announced), and host a Zenith dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings at the factory!

Early indications are that this year's event will be well attended, and we will do everything we can to make this a safe event for all participants and visitors. We will continue most of our activities as we have done in the past, with the exception that we will not hold large indoor events, namely the Friday evening "Zenith banquet." Instead, this will be an outdoor dinner this year (on the ramp in front of the Zenith factory) to allow for more distancing and open air. It is our intent is to follow guidelines in effect at the time of the fly-in. Please bring your own portable folding chair(s) to best allow yourself to socially distance.

The free seminars and workshops presented at the Zenith Homecoming are a great way to learn about Zenith Aircraft and all of the options to choose from when building your own airplane. Plan to attend all day Friday for the seminars!

Friday and Saturday evening dinner tickets are now available for pre-purchase for the Friday, September 18 dinner (outdoors on the ramp at the factory) and for the Saturday, September 19, fried chicken dinner (also at the Zenith Aircraft factory). Please order your tickets in advance to help us plan and accommodate everyone. 

There will be some fantastic door prizes at the dinners from our valued vendors and participants!

Zenith builders and owners: Fly in with your Zenith aircraft and show off your plane in the new Zenith Aircraft Show (like a car show, but with airplanes) and be judged by the public and experienced builders. All Zenith aircraft are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Aircraft Show, even if your plane is older and not polished!

The Open Hangar Days event presents the opportunity for visitors to tour the Zenith Aircraft factory, meet the Zenith staff, and to socialize (safely, of course, during this pandemic) with fellow pilots, builders, and aviation enthusiasts. Join us both days for educational seminars (see below) on building and flying your own airplane, plus learn all about the latest avionics and engine technology from several vendors at the event.

We'll have some great informal seminars from actual Zenith builders and pilots, including:

  • Clint Gosch (from Iowa) scratch-built his own STOL CH 750 (powered by a 100-hp Continental O-200 engine) from plans (blueprints). He will share details about the skills and tools needed to scratch-build your aircraft from just blueprints. Friday morning at 9 am. Watch the video of Clint and his airplane.

  • Jon Humberd is coming back with his Super 701, a kit-built STOL CH 701 powered by a 130-hp UL350iS engine. A Tennessee farmer and near-celebrity STOL pilot, Jon loves to demonstrate the amazing short take-off and landing performance of his Zenith STOL, and sharing information about all things STOL! Watch the brand new video from AOPA Live of Jon and his Super 701!

  • Mark Pensenstadler plans to fly in from Michigan in his stunning "Blue Angels" Zenith CH 750 Cruzer that he built from a kit. He will give a presentation titled "How to NOT Screw Up!" building your airplane. Mark is a serial kit builder (and airline pilot) and he looks forward to sharing information about making your kit aircraft building (and flying) project a successful one, even as a first time builder. Mark just started his latest kit project, a STOL CH 750 Super Duty! Check out his great videos

  • David Tillema plans to fly in with his Viking-powered "Texxas CH 750" Cruzer (from, you guessed it, Texas). David looks forward to showing his Texxas CH 750 (both on the ground and in the air) with a specialty variable pitch propellor: A three-blade DUC propeller and hub with a custom Variable Inflight Propeller (VIP) System new from Viking.

Summary of Seminars: Here's an overview summary of the scheduled seminars:

[This is a tentative list - subject to change]

  • Engines, engines and more engine! One of the big advantages to building your own Zenith is that you, the builder, get to choose the engine to install in your Zenith. That's why we invite engine companies to participate at the Open Hangar Days. Throughout the Open Hangar Days there will be presentations by engine companies as well as demonstrations (ground and in the air). There will also be the now-famous "Engine panel discussion" late Friday afternoon.
  • Avilution XFS and UnPanel, by Justin Tisdale. Learn about affordable innovations from Avilution, maker of the UnPanel discplay seen in the STOL CH 750 Super Duty
  • Painting your own aircraft with Stewart Systems revolutionary waterborne paint system. Andy Humphrey is an A&P mechanic and tech support specialist at Stewart Systems.
  • Garmin Avionics for Zeniths: Brad Brensing (from Garmin International, Inc.) will cover details on the equipment and capabilities included in the new Garmin package being offered through Zenith. 
  • LED lighting systems for light aircraft. Susan Calvin from AeroLEDs will share info on the latest LED lighting technology, including nav/strobe lights and landing lights for light aircraft. 
  • Match-Hole Assembly - Hands on Demonstration: Steve Oppenlander & Travis Kobush, Zenith Staff (inside the Zenith Hangar)
  • Aircraft Engine Oil Analysis. Larry Nelson of Lab One Inc. will discuss the importance of oil analysis and preventive maintenance practices. Nelson is also an oil analysis lab tech for the US Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) with years experience in military oil analysis testing on experimental vehicles. Larry plans to fly his Corvair powered Zenith to Open Hangar Days from Arizona.
  • Aircraft building workshops and demonstrations: We are planning additional seminars and workshops specific to building (and maintaining) a Zenith aircraft.

  • Free Saturday Morning Breakfast: While Avemco staff can't travel in person during the pandemic, Avemco Insurance Company will be participating at the Zenith event by co-sponsoring, with KITPLANES magazine, pancake breakfast on Saturday morning! Come early for a free breakfast with the airplanes in front of the Zenith kit aircraft factory!

The Saturday events at the Zenith factory include tours of the Zenith factory, hands-on building projects, Zenith airplanes on display in the air and on the ground, great food, and fun contests for our visitors to enjoy, along with educational seminars throughout the day.
 

Saturday Events: See the schedule for actual times and seminar details (Subject to change and revision). 

  • Building Your Own Zenith Aircraft: Zenith Staff (Zenith Hangar)
  • Zenith Factory Tour: Travis Kobush, Zenith Production Manager (Zenith Hangar)
  • Zenith Aircraft Show: Public and Zenith builder judged aircraft show (like a car show, but with Zenith airplanes) with fun categories and great prizes. Register your Zenith aircraft at the registration booth in the gazebo outside of the Zenith factory hangar all day on Friday or Saturday morning.
  • Annual "group photo" of builders and their planes in front of the factory.
  • Building and Flying Your Zenith Aircraft: Zenith Staff
  • STOL Flying Demonstrations: Short Take-Off and Short (Precision) Landing Demonstrations, at Mexico Memorial Airport (subject to weather), sponsored by Kitplanes magazine. To participate, register your Zenith aircraft on Friday or Saturday morning. 
  • Overview of the Tools & Skills Needed to Build Your Own Zenith Aircraft: Zenith Staff
  • Zenith Aircraft Fly-By and Show: Flying and ground demonstration and show of custom built Zeniths. To participate, register your Zenith aircraft on Friday or Saturday morning. All Zeniths are encouraged to participate! 
  • Engine demonstrations and Q&A Sessions.

 

4:00 - 6:00 pm, Saturday, September 19:

Fried Chicken Dinner and Awards Presentation.

 

We invite and encourage all Zenith builders, owners, pilots, and enthusiasts to come out for a good time! Owners of completed Zenith Aircraft are encouraged to fly-in for the activities and to show off their completed project to fellow builders (we will provide tie-down space and help facilitate ground transportation if possible).

 

Mexico's airport (KMYJ) offers 24-hr self serve fuel at competitive prices (including MOGAS), and has a terminal building with 24 hour access to the pilot lounge (with showers and internet access!). Let us know of any special needs or requirements.


If flying in with your own aircraft, please bring your own aircraft tie-downs, especially if staying overnight.

Zenith owners: Please park your airplane as close to the Zenith factory as possible on Saturday. Visitors come to see Zenith aircraft so make sure your aircraft can be found! We'll try to position and group all Zeniths in front of the factory for the group photo at 10:50 am. Please bring yourself a portable folding (lawn) chair. (Note that non-Zenith aircraft are welcome to fly in to the event but please park non-Zenith aircraft on the North end of the airport ramp parking area)


There is no charge to attend the Open Hangar Day or any seminars or activities, with the exception of the dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Zenith factory. 


Note to builders: You can arrange to pick-up parts and kits at the Open Hangar Day if the parts have been ordered, paid for and confirmed prior to the Open Hangar Day.

We can help you to carpool if you are flying in and need a ride to and from a local hotel.

Camping at the event: There will be free camping available.

Tent camping with your plane or car is available, or set up your camper in the designated camp area. There's also a public campground at scenic Lakeview Park a few miles away in the city of Mexico.

Stock up on your Zenith Aircraft apparel now to wear at the Open Hangar Days event! Click here to check out all of the Zenith Aircraft items available. EAA members receive a discount and all proceeds support EAA's educational programs. Apparel will also be sold at the Zenith factory throughout the Open Hangar Days event.

 

Thanks to all our fabulous partners and sponsors who continue to support the Zenith Homecoming year after year:

Zenith Open Hangar Days Participants and Sponsors (subject to change and updates):

Experimental Aircraft Association 

Charlie Becker, a director at EAA, will attend and share info on EAA's available resources to help builders, owners and pilots of amateur-built aircraft, including the technical advisor and flight advisor programs.

Garmin International Inc. will be on hand to show the new Zenith CH 750 / CH 650 Avionics Package featuring the Garmin G3X Touch. Brad Brensing from Garmin will demonstrate the equipment and capabilities included in the new Garmin package being offered through Zenith. 

Kitplanes magazine will participate to share information about Kitplanes magazine, the leading how-to homebuilt aircraft magazine, and will co-sponsor, with Avemco, the pancake breakfast on Saturday morning!

 

Stewart Systems is a revolutionary waterborne paint system, providing builders with the finest, safest, most pleasant-to-use primers and coatings for their aircraft. Andy Humphrey is an A&P mechanic and tech support specialist at Stewart Systems.

Corvair Engine guru William Wynne of FlyCorvair.com will attend to show the affordable Corvair auto conversion installation popular on many Zeniths. "Looking forward to my 16th consecutive Homecoming. We will have engines and components to show, Corvair installations in Zeniths, and we'll look forward to answering questions. I will introduce builders who fly in, and go over the details of their engines on the flightline. I'll discuss my 'Critical Understanding' risk management article series, which contain experience valuable to any Zenith builder. Terry Hand, our CFI who has FAA authorization (LODA) to offer transition training in his Zenith CH601XL will be on hand to meet builders and cover flight training questions. Looking forward to speaking with builders in the relaxed setting of the Homecoming"


UL Power will be on hand to represent the new generation of light aircraft engines. The UL Power aircraft engines are direct-drive air-cooled lightweight engines featuring full FADEC technology (with fuel injection and electronic ignition). Meet with Robert Helms, the "UL Power" guy to learn more about this popular line of engines.

 AeroLEDs offer state-of-the art lighting systems for light aircraft. Susan Calvin from AeroLEDs will attend to represent the latest LED lighting technology, including nav/strobe lights and landing lights for light aircraft. AeroLED is also donating some fantastic prizes!
 

Avilution will be represented by Justin Tisdale, a STOL CH 750 builder. Learn about affordable innovations from Avilution, maker of the UnPanel display (seen in the STOL CH 750 Super Duty).

DUC Propellers is attending the Zenith Homecoming for the first time this year, represented by Gaetan Fouozing‎, who heads US Sales for the maker carbon composite aircraft propellers.

Larry Nelson of Lab One Inc. will discuss the importance of oil analysis and preventive maintenance practices. Nelson is also an oil analysis lab tech for the US Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) with years experience in military oil analysis testing on experimental vehicles. Larry plans to fly his Corvair powered Zenith to Open Hangar Days from his home in Arizona.

Viking Aircraft Engines produces a low-cost Honda-based light aircraft engine, and offers complete firewall-forward packages of the engine for installation in Zeniths. Jan and Alissa from Viking are returning to the Zenith Homecoming, flying from Florida in their Viking-powered STOL CH 750 Super Duty. Learn all about the Honda-based Viking engines, popular with many Zenith aircraft builders and owners. Jan will be demonstrating his STOL CH 750 Super Duty both the on ground and in the air! Watch the video of Jan flying is from the 2018 Zenith Homecoming. His CH750SD now sports a number of upgrades!)

Sensenich aircraft propellers has generously donated some great prizes to be awarded during the Zenith Homecoming and is supporting the Open Hangar Days and Fly-In with a generous donation.

Avemco Insurance Company will be participating at the Zenith event by co-sponsoring, with KITPLANES magazine, pancake breakfast on Saturday morning! Come early for a free breakfast with the airplanes in front of the Zenith kit aircraft factory! Avemco is the only direct writer of aircraft insurance, connecting you directly with an underwriter who is empowered to solve problems and approve coverage instantly instead of a middleman who simply passes your request on to somebody else.

While Dynon Avionics staff can't travel in person during the pandemic, Dynon is graciously donating some fantastic prizes to be awarded during the Zenith Homecoming, including a Dynon D3 Pocket Panel  portable EFIS .

Aircraft Spruce and Specialty is donating door prizes and other awards.

While Continental / Titan motors staff can't travel in person during the pandemic, they have generously donated prizes to be awarded during the Zenith Homecoming .

The Zenith Aircraft factory will be open for self-guided tours and demo flights are available (strictly by prior appointment).

Check this page for the latest updates

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Comment by Zenith Aero on September 21, 2020 at 12:18pm

Thank you to everyone who visited and participated! We had a fantastic 29th annual event at the Zenith Aircraft factory. Beautiful planes, perfect weather and awesome people!! Check out the photos from event (more to come!) 

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