The affordable recreational kit airplane for the sport pilot: Enjoy leisure flights, with exceptional unrestricted visibility... operate from grass strips... make round trips of several hundred miles in a single day... Take your partner for a local pleasure flight, or to a far-off destination...
The Zenith CH 650: New and updated features with modern new styling
The Zenith CH 650 is a second generation light sport aircraft, developed specifically for Sport Pilots. It is the latest model in the Zodiac line of aircraft from aeronautical engineer Chris Heintz, first introduced in 1984. This newest model offers new and updated features including modern new styling with a larger cabin area. Some of the Zenith's features include:
Flight Review: Pilot magazine reviews the new Zenith CH 650:
“I liked the CH650 a lot ... it offers exceptional value for the money.”
“The CH 601 XL / CH 650 family of airplanes are a delight to fly. Simple and easy to fly with a great view and they are very comfortable for long flights. The airplane is very strong and it is backed by a company that has been around for a very long time.”
Custom instrument panel with dual Dynon SkyView multifunction displays “...a playful, delightful airplane with side-by-side seating and a gorgeous bubble canopy. Handling is great, stability is pleasant, and the kit is very straight forward.
Based on the model introduced in 2001, the new Zenith CH 650 has been developed specifically to meet the FAA's , and offers maximum performance and capability possible under the new FAA category. With new and updated features and modern styling, the Zenith CH 650 replaces the Zodiac XL model.Zenith CH 650 LSA, powered by the 100-hp Continental O-200 engine: The lighter European Zenair CH 650 powered by the 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS engine: [ ]
New aircraft models, like the Zenith CH 650 and the new , keep Zenith Aircraft Company at the forefront of the light aircraft industry. This newest model introduces refinements that compete directly with European imports in the Light Sport (LSA) marketplace, while still offering an exceptional value and choices, allowing builders to construct the CH 650 from complete kits, component kits, or even from plans-only, and offering kit builders a wide selection of engine choices to power their aircraft.
The October 2008 issue of magazine reported the following:
The -designed spawned a series of designs, each of them an improvement over the earlier iteration, and each became easier to build and more versatile in the air. The latest models, the CH 650 LS AND LSi, introduced at AirVenture 2008, combine the best of a European-built CH 601 XL sold as a ready-to-fly aircraft, the AMD CH 601 XL sold as an S-LSA, and the Zenith Aircraft Company's amateur built CH 601 XL kit.
The CH 650 is now offered to markets worldwide, with detail changes as needed to comply with governmental regulations. Eventually, the 601 XL will be phased out. The 650 is available as plans (with CAD drawings and assembly manuals), a complete kit (or a series of sub kits) from Zenith Aircraft, Mexico, Missouri, (), or as a ready-to-fly S-LSA from Aircraft Design Manufacturing & Design (AMD) () of Eastman Georgia.
The CH 650 LS's improvements include a more-convenient hinged clamshell bubble canopy, with dual tube 4130 roll-over protection. The new canopy keeps the traditional look of the Zodiac alive while adding headroom. (The new roll-over protection and redesigned canopy latching system are also available from Zenith Aircraft as an upgrade kit for existing Zodiac Owners.)
In deference to the CH 650 LS's anticipated role as a primary trainer, its landing gear is tougher and sports standard aviation 500-by-5 wheels and brakes. The gear system is bigger, making the aircraft taller, and the AMD main gear spring is gun-drilled, for cleaner, more protected brake line routing.
The rudder was redesigned and looks sleeker. The European wing angle is now standard on the 650 LS, with the trailing edge of the wing tilted down about 2 inches. Extra aluminum braces have been added to the fuselage sides and wings. The interior sports carpeting, and parts familiar to other Heintz-designed airplanes include the rudder pedals, the cowl, the nose gear strut, and firewall, all similar to the larger CH 640, CH 801, AND CH 2000.
Much work was done to the controls, which are now more balanced for better feel. "The 650 LS's airframe structure and flying characteristics are now more like an FAR 23 type aircraft," said AMD Sales Director John Degonia. "Flying schools and pilots who were looking at buying an FAR 23 aircraft have now committed to the 650."
The IFR airframe of the 650 LSi is based on what was required to certify the Alarus CH 2000 to FAR 23 Certification. The 650 LS is powered by a TCM (Continental) O-200 with Sensenich fixed-pitch prop. Performance and safety options include a BRS all-aircraft parachute system, AmSafe airbag-seat belts, full electric gyro instruments, and wheelpants.
In the experimental kit version, the CH 650's firewall-forward will accommodate a , or -233, or as alternatives to the S-LSA version's TCM O-200.
With the Continental O-200 engine, the AMD 650 LS carries 30 gallons of fuel and has a useful load of 550 pounds. (With the Jabiru 3300, the useful load is 625 pounds, leaving a generous 481 pounds with full 24 gallon tanks.)
Panel Options run the gamut from basic VFR to a Dynon EFIS, TruTrak one- or two-axis autopilots, and many Garmin options, including a 430 system. The AMD CH 650 on display at AirVenture 2008 was equipped with the new EFD1000 Pro primary flight display system from Aspen Avionics and a WAAS-certified GNS 530W GPS/nav/comm by Garmin. Price of the factory-built 650 is just under 0,000.
From EAA Sport Pilot & Light Sport Aircraft magazine, October 2008
Note: We are currently updating our website to reflect the new Zenith CH 650. Note that most of the information contained on the Zodiac XL design is the same as that for the newer CH 650 model.
Simple and quick to build — easy and fun to fly!
The new Zenith CH 650 design offers superior performance and capabilities, comfortable side-by-side seating, affordable costs, and best of all, the Zenith is available as a durable all-metal kit that you can quickly build yourself - with just basic skills and tools.
Above: The FAA's National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET) evaluates the
entire CH 650 kit inside the Zenith Aircraft factory (May 25, 2011)
Build your own CH 650 from:
We invite you to come to see how the aircraft kits are manufactured, go up for a demo flight (by appointment), and to gain hands-on kit building experience.Zenith CH 650 News and Updates:
For the latest, visit the exclusive for news and updates from the factory as well as from Zenith builders, owners and pilots from around the world.
for exclusive updates (be sure to select "Get Notifications" to receive all of our daily updates): Start building your Zenith for just 5 at the factory or with the
Next hands-on workshops held at the : Check out the many celebrating Zenith Aircraft's 25th anniversary!
- Save the date for this year's event: Sept. 21 & 22, 2018
New Video: New for 2015: We've published a new Zenith Aircraft magazine, chock-full of information on building and flying your own Zenith. This free 48-page full color magazine provides an excellent introduction to the world of recreational flying and kit aviation, and covers all Zenith aircraft kit models, including the Zenith CH 650. Zenith Aircraft Company to have one mailed to you. How do we top last year's highly successful (where a complete Zenith CH 750 Cruzer was built in less than seven days at EAA Oshkosh AirVenture)?
EAA has announced their " where five (5) complete sets of wings will be started during the by various EAA Chapters (to be taken home after the show to become part of a group-built airplane). We're thrilled that EAA has asked Zenith Aircraft to provide three sets of wings for the Give Flight project. Three new Zenith aircraft (two Zenith CH 750 Cruzers and one Zenith CH 650) will be started at Oshkosh this summer with the help of volunteers! If you're a Zenith builder (or want to learn) please join us in building and teaching others about the joys of aircraft kit building! magazine (March 2015):
Bob Rychel's two Zenith planes: "Two Planes in Three Years"
"My CH 650 was a joy to build and is a joy to fly."Five Zeniths CH 650 (and CH601XLB), all powered by Corvair engines, at the (September 20, 2014)
What an awesome week it was, where an entire Zenith kit was built in seven days, and then flown! Thank you to all who helped with this project, especially the volunteers and sponsors!
Photos from the event: |Video Clip:
A walk around the Zenith CH 650 Quick Build Kit (with the optional jigged canopy).
The CH650 can be built from plans-only, individual parts, component or , or from the Quick Build Kit.
Follow-Up: (from September 20 & 21)
More video clips:
: Zenith CH 650 B with the 130-hp ULPower UL350iS engine
Frank and Dave's completed Zenith CH 650-B with a UL 350iS 130-hp engine
- of completed Zenith projects
Updated for the Zenith CH 650 (now supports 64-bit computing!).
Fly the Zenith cruiser from your armchair!
On the cover of magazine (French Flying), Issue 177, February 2013. Cover story with a 12 page feature story on and the and the cross-country cruiser.
On the cover of magazine (from France), September 2012 issue, cover story: "Zenair CH 650E (European model): The latest light sport aircraft from Chris Heintz."
On the cover of magazine, Issue 105, cover story and joint "Zenith / Corvair" issue, with on Zeniths. From the introduction by editor Pat Panzera: "Recognizing and his family business is something I've wanted to do for a long time, and I can never get tired of publishing information on the Corvair [engine]. The two seem to have been made for each other, as do the efforts of and Zenith"Follow-Up from Zenith Aircraft Company's 20th anniversary / Open Hangar Day & Fly-In held this past September 21 & 22, 2012 :
Hear the on the Zenith CH 650 cruiser kit plane. The engine is a modern light aircraft engine: Direct-drive, air-cooled, electronic ignition and fuel injection, with FADEC (full authority digital engine control). August 2012:
Zenith builder and pilot reports that he's just recently received a FAA (LODA) to provide commercial training in the Zenith that he built himself: Earl is a CFI and a sport pilot designated flight test examiner who built a Zenith Zodiac CH 601 XL-B, and he is now approved for training in his Zenith. For more information Earl can be reached in the evening (central time) at 918-840-2200 or (based out of Cushing, OK).
This is a new video clip from France of the new European CH 650 (powered by Rotax 912 ULS).
Zenith Aircraft Company introduces new ) for the Zenith CH 650 to dramatically reduce assembly time and build complexity.
EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh) 2012 follow-up report. Five video clips and photos of the many Zenith activities at AirVenture 2012...
Video Clip from :
The new Zenith CH 650 with the UL350iS engine, on the cover of Kitplanes magazine (June 2012) and Pilot magazine (May 2012):
magazine, June 2012 issue, cover story: "Simply Advanced" Cover story and flight review by Marc Cook, pages 8 - 17. "New to the CH 650 B is a canopy that provides excellent visibility even for tall pilots. It's a comfortable cabin for two..."
magazine, May 2012 issue, cover story: "Zippy Zodiac" Cover story and flight review by Dave Unwin, pages 26 - 32.
"I liked the CH650 a lot ...
it offers exceptional value for the money."
- to read the full Flight Review article
The new Zenith CH 650 with the , on the cover of Spain's magazine (June 2012).Flying the CH 650 with the new :
Kitplanes magazine photo previews of upcoming flight review of the Zenith CH 650 cruiser.The UL Power Firewall-Forward (FWF) kit package from Zenith Aircraft Company. Shown here: The 130-hp UL350iS powerplant in the CH 650 cruiser. New Video Clip:
home from Sebring (Florida) to Mexico (Missouri)on Zenith from
Dan Johnson interviews Zenith Aircraft Company's Roger Dubbert about the full line light sport aircraft kits from Zenith, including . Flying the CH 650 with the UL Power engine:
Zenith Aircraft Company and announce availability of complete firewall forward kits for the UL Power engine following the successful installation and testing of the 130-hp UL350iS powerplant in the CH 650 cruiser. The new Zenith demo aircraft equipped with a brand new installation and prototype cowl. . The July 2011 issue of magazine has a feature story / flight report on the CH 650 LSA: "Based on the CH601, the design is sporty and fast and has a new, beefed-up wing structure." Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli writes that "The CH650 has superb cockpit visibility... The baggage compartment, which is adequate if not generous, is an easy-to-access shelf behind the two seats. That makes it perfect for grabbing stuff during cross-country flight." He concludes that "...the CH650 seems like an honest, straightforward low-wing cruiser..." and that kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft Company "stands behind what is designs and builds."
Excerpted from Aviation Consumer magazine, July 2011 issue, pages 13 - 16. . Zenith's new factory demonstrator CH 650 with UL Power's new powerful yet lightweight UL350iS engine: This four-cylinder, direct-drive air-cooled engine puts out 130-hp with an installed weight of just 172 lbs., and features full FADEC (full authority digital engine control) with multi-point electronic fuel injection and dual electronic ignition (with variable timing).
Hear it and see it! .The instrument panel of Zenith's new CH 650 factory demo aircraft features dual glass panel multifunction displays. As a sleek cross-country cruiser, the autopilot will be a welcome feature in the CH 650 kit plane on long cross-country flights. July 8, 2011:
Steve A. and Ron G. each picked up a complete kit of their favorite aircraft yesterday: A for Ron and a for Steve. Despite some rain, they loaded the two complete in the Budget rental truck for the drive home to Detroit (where the two are GM engineers).
By picking up the kit at the factory, Steve and Ron saved both the crating charges and the freight charges, and they were able to share the rental truck fees, while also being able to visit the factory (for the first time) and go up in a demo flight in the aircraft. June 2011:
FAA's National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET) visited the Zenith Aircraft Company factory to evaluate and ," allowing an amateur-builder to register the plane as an "amateur-built - Experimental" (kit) aircraft (meeting the "major portion" requirement of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations part 21, Certification Procedures for Products and Parts, § 21.191(g). :
"I initially considered the AMD CH650 because I wanted a special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) that was approved for night flight and instrument flight rules (IFR). I like the idea of working with a U.S.-based company, and it turned out to be a good decision... As an instrument trainer, the CH650 is economical, stable and provides an approach speed that gives the student time..."
- Y. Forsyth, Gaithersburg, MD (Excerpted from . December 2008).
The European model of the new Zodiac CH 650 features a lower weight (to meet European ultralight or microlight rules) and the 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS powerplant.
for the latest ZODIAC updates
A clean and simple, yet very complete, custom Zodiac glass panel. Notice the dual control sticks.
Zenith Aircraft Company
1881 Airport Road, Mexico Memorial Airport
Mexico, Missouri, 65265 USA.
Tel: 573-581-9000 (Mon - Fri, 8-5 Central),
Comments or questions?
© Zenith Aircraft Company: 2018-07-16
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