Virtually There: Zenith Aircraft Retools Workshop Class


Instead of canceling an upcoming builder workshop, kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft has turned it into a virtual affair. Zenith has been running a hands-on workshop for prospective builders for decades, but this one is, obviously, different. “Instead of participants traveling to our factory to attend the rudder build workshop,” says Zenith’s Sebastien Heintz, “we will ship the rudder kits to them (ahead of time, with the needed assembly tools), and be broadcasting live video of the workshop class so that participants can go through the entire rudder build experience!”

Originally scheduled for April 23 at the Mexico, Missouri, factory, the next workshop class will take place virtually. “Since the class will be broadcast live on the internet, we plan to make the live video feed publicly available for online viewing to anyone interested,” the company says. “We’ll even plan on a live factory tour and demo flight! This is our way of doing our part in helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus while still allowing our customers to be actively involved in aviation.”

The workshop focuses on the building of an actual Zenith rudder. “The rudder tail section of the aircraft is an excellent ‘starter kit’ project that can be crated and shipped inexpensively, and is well suited to first-time kit builders. 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 expert guidance of factory staff. Participants 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 CH 750 rudder is pre-punched so that it self-aligns. Pull rivets are used. Image: Zenith Aircraft
A previous in-person rudder workshop in progress. Image: Zenith Aircraft

Standard workshop fees are $425 for the Zenith STOL CH 750 Super Duty—that will be the model tackled during the virtual workshop—and include all components needed to build the rudder.

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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