Workshop

 

Zenith offers a terrific workshop in their hangar/offices at the Mexico, Missouri airport.  It gives you the opportunity to build the rudder for your airplane under professional supervision.  In addition to the workshop, you also get some stick time in the factory demonstrator airplanes so I have now flown this one...

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SIDE NOTE ABOUT AIRSPEED  -  I have asked a number of people about the airspeed they are seeing in their Zenith 801s and often hear comments about the 801 under-performing Zenith's claim of 105 mph.  That concerned me because I do plan to fly cross-country in this ship. After my demo flight, I now know that this airplane will outperform the book numbers in cruise.  Rodger took me up with my two teenage boys, one full fuel tank and one three-quarters full, so we were probably within a couple hundred pounds of gross.  We climbed to 2,000 feet, set the throttle to 2,500 rpm and checked the speed in two directions with the GPS, and saw an average of 98 knots or 113 mph.  Not bad for a standard O-360 and fixed pitch Sensenich.  The demo airplane has the strut fairings which I hear is good for 5 mph but it also has the bubble window doors that probably slow it down by a couple.  In short, this is at least a solid 110 mph airplane.  I'd expect True Airspeed to be higher than that at 7,500 feet, properly leaned, etc.

 

THE WORKSHOP

We arrived early on the first morning on November 12th and it was a beautiful day...much nicer than what we left in Chicago!

 

I didn't know what to expect.  Would it be a classroom setting?  Is there instruction in sheet metal work?  Is there instruction in basic airframe mechanic skills?  No, No, and No.  You are given a manual and the pieces you see here (the white stuff is a corrosion prevention...it dries clear) and you start working on the parts right away.  We had 7 people/groups building rudders.  I was the only 801...everyone else was building the 750 or 701.

 

You'll drill enough holes to keep you busy for two days.  I took my new Chicago Pneumatic CP7300RK and it performed flawlessly.

 

I brought two of my sons as a homeshool "metal shop" class.  Ben (age 13) and David (age 15) did most of the clecoing, some drilling (where there was already a pilot hole so I knew they wouldn't miss the spot), and some of the riveting.  It was a fun two-day excursion for them.

 

Reading the directions and understanding the drawings take more time than the actual drilling and riveting.

 

If you buy the tail kit and build it at home you'll have to build this jig.  That nose skin is a PAIN !!!  I'm glad I had the Zenith staff to help me through this one.

 

The proud craftsmen with a finished product headed for home!

Take some bubble wrap and foam with you.  It would be very easy to damage your new rudder on the way home.  It will dent easily and the trailing edge is prone to "hangar rash" if it bumps up against something.

 

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