Zenith Aircraft Company is returning to Florida for Sun ‘n Fun’s Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show in early December to host its popular hands-on kit aircraft building workshop. The two-day workshop will be held December 2 & 3, 2021, immediately before the Flying Festival, on the Sun ’n Fun Expo campus. The Sun ‘n Fun Flying Festival is “a perfect time and place” to return the Zenith workshops back to Florida this year, according to Sebastien Heintz, Zenith Aircraft’s president.
The workshop will start on Thursday morning, December 2, inside the Buehler Aerospace Restoration and Training Center, part of the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) at the Sun ’n Fun complex at Lakeland Linder International Airport in central Florida. The Buehler Hangar is familiar with Zenith aircraft kits: Members of the Lakeland Aero Club recently completed building a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer kit airplane this past year (that will serve as a trainer for physically disabled pilots once completed, part of a project between Able Flight and the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, which sponsors the Aero Club).
Zenith Aircraft’s hands-on workshops are primarily for first-time kit airplane builders and have become popular with sport aviation enthusiasts who are considering building their own aircraft and are unsure if they have the required skills, workspace, and tools. During the workshop, each participant builds and assembles their own Zenith aircraft rudder tail section from a standard Zenith kit. The two-day workshop concludes once participants have successfully completed the assembly of their own rudder tail section of the aircraft.
In the process of building the rudder assembly, participants tackle many activities including learning how to read drawings (blueprints) and work with assembly instructions (manuals) under the guidance of factory staff. They learn the procedures for putting together an aircraft assembly, including drilling and blind riveting. In the end, they have an assembled rudder that is ready to install on a Zenith kit airplane.
“The rest of the kit is constructed the same way as the rudder, using the same tools,” said Heintz. “Participants get far more out of the workshop than just a finished aircraft rudder: they go home with the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to build their own airplane. Most importantly, they learn that kit building is enjoyable and something that can engage the whole family. Many of our prospective builders bring their spouses or other family members, who often encourage them to move forward with the rest of the kit. With modern technology, such as final hole size CNC match drilled parts, and good instructions, aircraft construction has become much easier than most people think.”
The hands-on workshop is an excellent way to learn about building your own (amateur-built) kit airplane and about the many advantages of owning and flying an airplane that you’ve built yourself. Kit aircraft is a segment of general aviation that is growing (while much of general aviation activities continue to decline year over year). For many, building an aircraft is a very rewarding experience, and today’s modern kits make it easier and quicker to build than ever before.
Standard workshop fees are $375.00 (or $425 for the CH 750 Super Duty model) and include the complete rudder kit for a Zenith aircraft. Additional helpers are encouraged to attend and can participate at no additional charge. To learn more about the workshop program, visit zenithair.com or call Zenith Aircraft directly: (573) 581-9000 (Mon – Fri, 8 – 5 Central). Prior registration is required for the rudder workshop, and workshop space is limited.
Sun ‘n Fun’s Holiday Flying Festival and Car Show officially kicks off on Friday, December 3, and runs through Saturday, December 4. A highlight of the event includes a STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) Competition on Saturday afternoon. Other planned activities include airplane displays, aircraft camping, live music, and more!