Saturday, 15 November 2014

Zenair/Zenith CH 601 Zodiacs of New Zealand (4) - CH 601XL Kitbuilt Aircraft

The next model of the CH 601 Zodiac was the CH 601XL which first flew in 2001.  This was a major redesign with a completely new wing with integral fuel tanks and electric flaps, a new undercarriage that is fixed to the fuselage, a new canopy and an increase of 100 pounds in MAUW to 544 Kg (1,200 pounds).  MAUW can also be increased to 600 Kg (1,322 pounds) as a Light Sport Aircraft.  The empty weight is around 300 Kg (660 pounds).  The CH 601XL can also accomodate engines up to 125 HP but the most common engine in New Zealand has been the Rotax 912.

In the mid 2000s there were a series of in-flight wing failures on CH 601XL models which led to a mandatory wing strengthening modification.  I understand that all New Zealand CH 601XLs have now had the wing strengthening mod done, and they are technically CH 601XLBs.

The CH 601XL can be built from a kit or plans, and was also available as a completed aircraft.  We have had 8 kit or plans built CH 601XLs in New Zealand (out of a total of 19 CH 601XLs), as follows:

Our first CH 601XL to be registered was ZK-XLI (c/n 6-9372) which was started at Stratford but was registered to Jaroslav Trombik of Auckland on 27/4/05.  However I believe it was completed to airworthy standard by Paul Muller Aircraft Ltd who owned the aircraft from 2/8/06.  On 3/2/07 it was purchased by the Rotorua Aero Club.  I understand that it had a Suzuki engine as in the above photo taken at the 2008 SAANZ flyinat Tauranga.  However the engine gave problems and the aircraft was re-engined with a Rotax 912.

It was sold to RA Anderson of Waipukurau on 6/12/12 and it photo'd above under his ownership at the 2014 SAANZ flyin at Hastings.  You can see the different cowling for the Rotax engine.

ZK-WRG (c/n 5527) was built by Wayne R Garrett of Huntly and was first registered to him on 7/4/06.  It is photo'd above at the 2011 Black Sands flyin at Raglan on 12/11/11. (with ATEC Zephyr ZK-ZFR in the background following a whoopsie).

ZK-FLD (c/n 6-5079) was built by Stefan AC Rooji of Hamilton and was first registered ion 21/8/06.  On 25/3/13 it was sold to S Khan of Motueka, where the above photo was taken on 28/3/14.

On 24/12/13 it was purchased by the Matamata Aero Club and was marked up with their script as in the above photo taken atthe 2014 Black Sands flyin at Raglan.  The aluminium strip over the canopy is a temporary repair to cover a crack acrss the canopy and a new canopy will be fitted.

ZK-SWW (c/n 6-4969) was built by Aaron Skidmore, Peter Whyte and Anne White of Auckland with assistance with the engine installation from Wyne Garrett (who built his own CH 601XL ZK-WRG).  It is photo'd above at the 2014 SAANZ flyin at Hastings.

ZK-MAM (c/n 6-6832) is a bit different as it was built in Australia as VH-ZSA by P Sweeney of Tugan in Queensland), where it was first registered on 11/10/07.  It only flew a small number of hours in Australia before being cancelled on 9/12/08.  It was registered in New Zealand on 12/1/09 to Mikes Aviation Management of Turangi.  It is fitted with a Jabiru 3300 engine.  The above photo was taken at Turangi on 1/1/11.  You can tell it is ZK-MAM by the rego on the cover!  If anyone has a better photo of it I would be pleased to receive a copy.

ZK-SRF (c/n 6-6971) was built by Ian Glover of Mt Maunganui and was first registered to the Glover Familty Trust Partnership of Mt Maunganui on 12/8/09.  It is Ian Glover's second CH 601 after his CH 601UL ZK-JLI (which was covered in an earlier post).  It is photo'd above at North Shore airfield on 28/5/14.

ZK-CMI (c/n 6309) was built by Ian R McClelland of Blenhiem and was first registered to him on 24/11/10.  It is photo'd above at Rangiora on 13/1/13 and shortly thereafter it was damaged at Ragiora by a wind gust.  However it has been repaired and is flying again.

Our final kit-built CH 601XL to date is ZK-JJV (c/n 5515) which was built by Sam Orchard of Seddon and was first registered to Sam Contracting 2000 Ltd on 1/3/11.  Thanks to Sam orchard for the photo.

There will be more CH 601XLs in New Zealand.  Claude McKavanagh of Leeston has registered his aircraft as ZK-CJT and it is close to flying, and there are several other kits being worked on around the country.

And we also now have one CH 650 registered (ZK-LMG registered to Peter White of Takapau on 19/8/14), which I will post on later.  The CH 650 is the next development of the CH 601 series.

1 comment:

  1. SSF at stratford is a 601XL

    The wing failures were caused by people not flying in the proper speed range they were fine if flow that way. Most of the wing failures were people flying in the high 120's well into caution range. The wings moved back aileron cables went slack and flutter caused wings to fail.

    If had been flown in green range all good. If one always fly in caution range and well into it well what do they expect gonna happen. Also a lot had bigger powerplants than the 912