Thursday, 11 July 2013

Zenith Zodiac CH 600s of New Zealand

The next type of 2 seater homebuilt aircraft to appear in New Zealand was the Zenith CH 600, which was the fore-runner of the CH 601, of which we have had many various  models registered (to be detailed in future posts).  The CH 600 was designed by Chris Heintz following on from his earlier CH 100, 200 and 300 models.  The prototype first flew in 1984, and the aircraft could be built from plans or kits.

Its length was 5.8 metres (19 feet) and its wingspan was 8.2 metres (27 feet).  its empty weight was around 267 Kg (610 pounds) and MAUW was 544Kg (1,200 pounds).  Original power was from a VW motor.

We have had five CH 600s registered in New Zealand.

Our first CH 600 was ZK-ZKZ (c/n AACA/664), which was built by Paul Muller of New Plymouth and was first registered on 5/2/87.  The above photo was taken at the 1987 AACA flyin at Omaka when it was brand new.  Merv Meredith is pilot in command and Greg McNcol is looking on.

It was sold to Wayne Butt of New Plymouth on 4/6/92 and was re-powered with a Subaru EA 81 motor, as in this photo taken at the 1998 AACA flyin at Matamata.  It was re-designated as a Class 2 microlight on 12/5/00 and it is still current.

The next CH 600 was ZK-ZZT (c/n AACA/956) which was built by Crawford Rees of Ohaupo and was first registered on 13/10/87.  As can be seen it was a taildragger model as the CH 600 could be built as either a tri-gear or taildragger (as with the earlier Zenith models).  It is photo'd here at the 1988 AACA flyin at North Shore.

It is photo'd above at Feilding in early 1990.  Sadly it crashed into the sea off Urenui in Taranaki, on 4/2/90, killing the pilot.  It was cancelled on 28/8/90.

Our third CH 600 was ZK-RCM (c/n AACA777) which was built by Rob Maley of Dunedin, and was first registered on 6/9/91.  It is photo'd above at the 1992 AACA flyin at Tauranga.  It was sold to GW Douglas of Mosgeil on 10/5/98 and it was re-designated as a Class 2 microlight on 5/4/02.  It was sold to M Bothma of Hastings on 7/3/11 and it is still current.

Our fourth CH 600 started life as ZK-FYN and was partly built by MG Earnshaw of Christchurch.  However the registration was cancelled on 18/3/99 and he sold it to Warren Shapcott of Rangiora who completed the build and registered it as ZK-WSS (c/n 6-1117) on 19/3/01. It was re-designated as a Class 2 microlight on 28/3/01 and it is still current.  The above photo was taken by Greybeard at the 2005 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton, on 5/2/05.  It is still current.

And our final CH 600 started life as ZK-RJI, being built by John R Irving of Ruawai and being registered on 4/12/00.  However it was quickly re-registered as ZK-JRI (c/n 6-1164) on 7/12/00.  It is photo'd above in a hangar at Dargaville in 2002.  It is still current.

As I alluded to above, this is just the beginning of the CH 600/601 history in New Zealand and I will detail all the other aircraft in future posts.

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