AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 52

JON HUMBERD POSES

with his wife April,
daughter Joslyn, and
family dog Abby
(facing page, top
right). The N number
of his Zenith Super
701 combines his
daughter's birthday
and initials.

52 | AOPA PILOT October 2020

the Y-shaped control stick in the center of
the cockpit.
"I'll never build another airplane withAFFORDABLE STOL FOR 44 YEARS
out a horn. I have a lot of fun with that," he
The future is electric
said. "It's not loud, it's just enough to have
The original STOL CH 701 has returned to the skies after being
fun with." Its playful beeps encourage people
neglected for two decades in the back of a barn. Aeronautical
to look up, and it complements the bright yelengineer Chris Heintz built it in 1986, combining the advantages
low smiley face that's been on the bottom of
of a traditional airplane with the short-field capabilities of an
the fuselage since the Zenith was completed.
ultralight, and it soon became popular with builders and pilots
alike. Fixed leading-edge slats and full-span flaperons enhance
Humberd chose to build so he could get
its STOL capabilities. Per Dahlstrom of Vancouver Island, British
exactly what he wanted, and fit was a priColumbia, Canada, now owns the original.
mary factor in choosing a short takeoff and
"We're pretty proud of the history and the lineage of the
landing aircraft. The airplane had to fit in
airplane," said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft
Humberd's workshop; it had to be able to
Company and son of designer Chris Heintz. "The ultralight market showed people you could have fun-to-fly aircraft that were
operate from his 350-foot, downhill runaffordable. He basically designed the 701 as a modern ultralight."
way; and it had to fit Humberd's 5-foot,
The STOL CH 701's light weight made it a light sport aircraft long
10-inch frame. While other Zenith Aircraft
before the category existed.
STOL designs have adjustable seats, the
The design was inspired by the Fieseler Storch, a World War
light sport 701's are fixed to the airframe.
II-era German liaison aircraft, Heintz said, and modernized with
a semi-monocoque stressed fuselage, side-by-side seating, and
"It's one of those deals that you either fit or
tricycle gear. In the 1990s, the four-cycle Rotax 912 engine made
you don't," he said. "It fit me like a glove."
it more reliable as a utility airplane. "It wasn't just a toy anymore."
Oh, and it had to fit his budget, too.
The 912 led to the introduction of the 701 SP, with a higher
He received his STOL CH 701 kit
gross weight to accommodate the heavier engine. The STOL
in April 2016; the Super 701 moniker is
CH 750 was designed specifically for the light sport aircraft
category, with a 1,320-pound maximum gross weight. The fourHumberd's because of his engine choice-a
place CH 801 was introduced in the late 1990s. And at Oshkosh
four-cylinder, 130-horsepower, air-cooled
2017, Zenith introduced the CH 750 Super Duty-basically a
UL Power 350iS. He also calls the airplane
larger 750 with a wider wingspan, longer cabin, larger tail, and
his Sky Jeep. "We finished our house in 2017,
a third seat. The 750 and 801 include independent, adjustable
and I finished the airplane in 2018. Ninety
seats and other features not found in the 701.
Because most customers are first-time builders, Heintz
percent of this thing happened between
has worked to improve the kits, using CNC machining to cut
midnight and daylight." His construction
and predrill the metal. "My challenge is developing a kit that is
window came after working the farm all day,
complete and easy to build," he said. "We really simplified the
and family time in the evening. "I enjoyed
process." Although the 701 remains available, that kit has not
[building] but I found out real quick I'm not
been upgraded with CNC parts, and the 750 is a quicker build.
"The 750, in many respects, is the replacement for the 701."
20 anymore," the 43-year-old laughed.
Zenith does not currently offer any manufactured special
Many days, the farm is his aerial playlight sport aircraft, he noted, in part because it would eliminate
ground. Humberd farms 400 acres, raising
the ability for buyers to customize engine and avionics choices.
row crops-soybeans, wheat, and corn-in
But there are several builder-assist programs and a good usedaddition to beef cattle. When crop fields are
aircraft market, he said, and Zenith is working on electric. "I think
electric power will do very well with the STOL aircraft." 
-MC
empty and there's standing water, he'll water
ski. He can have fun flying for an hour or more and
ZENITH'S ORIGINAL STOL CH 701, built in 1986,
hardly leave the property.
is shown here on floats.
His runway is just 20
miles west of the southern
Appalachians. At 4,224 feet,
Big Frog Mountain is the
tallest nearby peak, looming above the Ocoee River.
"That's kind of my go-to
spot," Humberd said. "It's
cool to be able to fly for 10 or
15 minutes and get to where
you can't see a house." It's a
year-round destination; fall
provides the autumn colors, although winter can be
touchy. "If you can catch a



AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 9
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 21
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 26
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 28
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 30
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 33
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 36
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 37
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 41
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 43
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 47
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 50
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 100
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - 112
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - October 2020 - Cover4
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