Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
To date I have 605 hours in my Zenith CH 601 XL with a Jabiru 3300 engine. I have over 300 landings and take-offs. I have been to larger international airports from Orlando Intl and Miami, to grass strips in the middle of nowhere. I have put the plane through its paces, flying as high as 14,000 ft with oxygen to 300 feet over the coast of Florida. Hot temps, cold temps. Smooth flights on every trip, (for the exception of flying in a hurricane, but that's another story) with the 601 XL trimmed for hands-off flying most of the time.
I also have time in pretty much every single engine airplane under 200-hp, from Piper Cherokee, C-150s, Varga Kachina, to Piper Cubs and Tiger Moth. I have also had the privilege of flying four different 601XLs, all by different builders, helped to build two different CH601s, all different engines, O-200, O-235, Jabiru 3300, and Rotax.
I hear and am recently reading all kinds of reports of the CH 601, that someone has built, the plane is not flying well, or it does one thing and does not do something or another, less performance or worse than some production aircraft, basically implying that the design is sub-par and if it was bought at Sams Club and had the receipt, they would want their money back.
After 9 years in the same plane, and 605 hrs in type and 1300 hrs total time in VFR single engine like kind, I can say with confidence that the 601 XL design is a great design AND, if built correctly, will fly great, with good flight characteristics, AND that sub-par flight characteristics can be directly attributed to either a sub-par build, inexperienced builder, and/or over-loading with equipment enough for a space shuttle (you know who you guys are) and/or, it must be said, shi#ty piloting skills.
I have been in tail-heavy planes, with the builder saying he built it that way "so it would trim better?" (no joke!) to planes that pulled constantly left, which I suggested was the plane's P factor or sub-par wing build. One guy actually told me he built in twist into a wing, not off of the provided plans "because it did not look right to him in the design". One pilot (you know who you are) took out the designed twist in the engine mount, that was there to counter the P factor, because he said it did not look right and felt that the design was wrong. No math behind his decision, just "had a gut feel" Nice...
So I will compare the flight characteristics of the 601 XL, what other aircraft I have flown:
If you keep getting these two things happening, stand in front of the mirror, and repeat after me "It is the Pilot flying the plane, and not the plane flying the pilot, If I built it to specs then I need to practice and quit blaming it on the design"
You all have built and been lucky enough to have the luxury to build your own plane!! Enjoy it!! BUT remember it is NOT a go cart. Build it right.
The 601 XL flies superbly in most conditions! If you are rusty, then flight lessons in another type are important. IF THERE ARE FLIGHT CHARACTERISTICS IN YOUR AIRCRAFT YOU DON'T LIKE AND YOU BUILT IT, GROUND YOURSELF UNTIL YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT THE ISSUE.
Don't blame the putter for your crappy golf game.