I bought a partially assembled 601 HDS kit in November. The kit, the plans, the construction sequence etc are all vintage 1993 and leave a lot to be desired for photos.

I am currently trying to make sense of the 1993 instructions on assembling the canopy frame and canopy itself. It is the canopy that has hooks on both sides of the cockpit and according to what I have been told can be opened from either side of the aircraft. The hooks on the pilot side act as a hinge to open from the co-pilots side and visa versa. I have downloaded and printed everything that is available on this canopy from the Zenith site but all the photos and instructions address the modern front tilt design.

Does anyone have close up photos of this canopy either under construction or completed. I would greatly appreciate being able to look at the finished product to help me continue with this phase of construction. Presently I have the side bars and hook bars assembled and mounted and I am ready to place and secure the bows and gussets. I followed the instructions and I am confused by the bars being straight and the fuselage being curved. Am I supposed to bend them to match the fuselage curve?

Van Anthony

Grass Valley, CA

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These are the only pictures I could find, but if you have a specific area you are needing pictures of, I will get them the next time I am out at my shop.

Russell Johnson

Wichita, KS.

Thanks Russell!! I am out of town for the weekend & will have to wait till I get home to view the your pictures on the home computer. For some reason they are not showing on my iPhone. Very excited about your response.

Hi Russ,

I got home and was able to look at your pictures. Thank you very much I can see that they are going to put me on the right track. I guess my kit is more ancient than I thought because the aluminum sheet at the bottom of your canopy is none existent in my kit. Instead there are thick angled gussets that just cover the point where the bows and the bottom bar meet. The middle of the bar has nothing covering it and is totally exposed.

So, one more favor from you would be greatly appreciated. 1) what is the part number of the aluminum sheet at the bottom of your canopy? 2) I will take you up on more photos next time you are at your shop. I am most curious about every edge of your canopy both inside and out. That would be the forward edge, the aft edge the pilot side and co-pilot side. Also the latching mechanism. The note that Jerry Latimer offered brings me concern and I am going to follow up on what he has added to the conversation. Are you flying yours with the two side hinge design? If so how did you address the lost canopy in flight that Jerry mentions. At one point I asked the factory for prices on the the forward tilt canopy and they quoted over $1000 for the parts. I am going to call them again and make sure that they understood that I have the plexiglass and just need the metal frame.

Thanks again for all your help,


Van, most of the HD/HDS builders converted from the side opening canopy to the front hinged canopy.  I did also.  The main reason is the side opening canopy opened in flight on several aircraft in the late 90's.  When it did, the whole canopy assembly was ripped from the aircraft and damaged the rudder.  Zenith modified the hooks by making them longer.  It is documented on their website in the builder's section.

The forward hinged canopies have know to come open in flight but they stay with the aircraft and the aircraft is flyable.  Most builders use a safety cable to make sure canopy can not open all the way.

It is not a difficult conversion and one you might want to consider.  FWIW.


Thanks for your offering to the conversation. I will definitely follow up on what you have brought to my attention. Losing a canopy is flight would be a serious incident that I don't want to happen. Russell sent me some pictures that you might want to review for continuing your input. I will make sure to include you through my course of action on this question.


Regarding this post:

I have done the research and looked at various photographs.

I have determined:

1. The canopy hooks in my kit have been re-designed to prevent in-flight canopy separation.

2. The gussets supplied in my kit are no longer used and have been replaced with channel aluminum that runs the full length of the bottom locking area of the canopy.

3. This was all determined using the help of Roger Dubbert at Zenith Missouri. Using the drawings he emailed me I was able to order the replacement parts for $110 US.

Hope this helps someone who may be working on an older version of the 601 HDS

Van Anthony

Grass Valley, CA


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