Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
This VW ad from 1966 has become a classic and can still be seen in VW dealerships across the country. The above is prominently on display as a large framed poster in a shiny new VW dealer in St. Louis. While the cars have changed since 1966, the basic message remains the same.
Like the VW Beetle, the ad copy has become a classic too. It caught my attention because our STOL designs have been called "ugly" by many over the years, while at the same time the STOL brand has gained in popularity and the fan base for these unique airplanes continues to grow, despite (or because?) of its "ugly" look.
The rest of the ad copy is equally informative and entertaining, and the similarities with Zenith STOL airplanes are uncanny:
Ugly is only skin-deep. This is a play on the cliché beauty is only skin-deep. Another often used cliché is form follows function. I like this one since it's actually very descriptive as relating to the Chris Heintz STOL designs.
Earlier this year, Aviation Consumer magazine did a thorough consumer review of the the STOL CH 750 light sport and concluded that the CH 750 is, "Not the best-looking LSA of the litter. Form definately follows function."
Maybe we should use this as the title of our next ad.
Beneath that humble exterior beats an air-cooled engine. Despite our good experience with the liquid-cooled Rotax engines, many pilots prefer air-cooled direct-drive engines, such as Continental, Jabiru or the new ULPower engine (and of course the Lycoming in the four-seat STOL CH 801).
After a while you get to like so much about the VW, you even get to like what it looks like. Many of our customers, after building and flying their own Zenith STOL, find beauty in the design and the appearance of the aircraft.
You find that there's enough legroom for almost anybody's legs. Enough headroom for almost anybody's head. With a hat on it. Well, we all know that cabin space in most light aircraft leaves something to be desired. With the Zenith STOL airplanes cabin width is maximized with the domed bubble doors, and importantly also, cabin access is easy from either side with the huge top-hinged doors.
Those plain, unglamorous wheels... We like big "plain" wheels for off-airport operation! The bigger the better, and we don't want to hide small wheels under fairings (that fill up with dirt and grass). Also, we like to show off the big sturdy steerable nosewheel up front. These are airplanes that are easy to handle on the ground (even on rough ground).