Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
Let Your Flying Dreams Come True!
T.Y. Okosun likes to refer to himself as a Zenith Aircraft repeat offender. The reason for this is due to the fact that he just finished building his Zenith CH 650 and has started flying it, but he has also recently attended another Zenith rudder workshop to start building his CH 750 CRUZER!
T.Y. didn't always have the chance to fly, but he had a dream:
"I was about six years old when I first saw an airplane fly over our house. It had two jutting wheels in the front and a small wheel at the back, and I wondered who could be flying such a thing. Years later, I discovered that these airplanes were called tail draggers and then discovered that there are also tricycle airplanes. I was hooked, but did not know how to meet people who owned and flew airplanes, let alone access training."At about 10 years of age, something profound occurred. An airplane made what I now know was an emergency landing on the road by our elementary school in Nigeria. I ran as fast as I could to go see it. The pilot looked very young, and Irish nuns who worked at a nearby hospital helped him get fuel. He fired up the engine, and oh what a sound! He taxied as far as he could go on the straight stretch of the road, and then the engine roared even louder and in short order he was off. The cheers from all of us kids running after it was deafening. I walked away very happy that I had actually touched the plane, and secretly believed that someday I would fly."After graduate school in Belgium and Canada, I eventually took my first flight lesson in 1994 with Tom Ferry at Ottawa Executive Airport in Zeeland, Michigan. Around the same time my growing family and work took precedence and further training was delayed until sometime late in the 2000's when I enrolled in a Part-141 school, Eagle Aircraft, in Valparaiso, Indiana. This is where I earned my private pilot's license. John and Joy Slegers, owners of Eagle Aircraft, gladly offered their planes for rental, but eventually I decided to own my own plane. I explored several certified options, but finally settled on building an experimental airplane."
"I explored the Sonex, RV, and Zenith, and ultimately decided on a Zenith 650B. The choice of Zenith was based on preliminary readings of different blogs and Zenith's site, which clearly demonstrated that support was readily available. I attended a workshop and built the Zodiac 650B rudder, and thereafter started my aircraft building project. During the building process, each questions to Roger and Caleb at Zenith received prompt and ample responses. I completed the build within eight months and got it certified in October 2014. After some initial issues with a different engine, I decided on a UL 350iS engine, and am happily flying."
Not only does T.Y. build and fly Zenith airplanes, he is also a professor that teaches various college courses and strives to provide children with a hands-on aviation learning experience with his very own self-engineered flight simulator!
"I am an Associate Professor of Justice Studies at Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL where I teach social justice, conflict transformation, theories of justice and social change, and a bunch of other exciting courses. I have had the privilege of living, studying, working, and visiting in several countries, notably: Nigeria, Canada, Belgium, Honduras, Guatemala, and South Africa.
"On behalf of the EAA Chapter 966, I teach the grounds school for the Young Eagles events at the Michigan City Municipal Airport. About five years ago, I engineered my own flight simulator which I have used to stay current, but have also brought it to open hangar days at Eagle Aircraft in Valparaiso. This year I used it as an aviation education platform to support about 20 teens who registered for aviation workshops at the La Porte County Public Library in La Porte, Indiana."
"I am always so happy to share my passion for aviation. For my next project to build is the sleek Zenith Cruzer."
When speaking with T.Y. about his Zenith experience you could see the passion in his eyes when he talked about his plane and flying. He explained his experience:
"Building a Zenith was one of the best times in my life. You put the air frame together, add avionics, and engine...then one day you get to open your hangar door and say, I built that and I get to fly it! It becomes real...something you can look back on and be proud of!"Thank you T.Y. for joining the Zenith family and sharing your story with us! Come back and visit us soon!