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Thread: zenith safety?

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    zenith safety?

    Been looking for accident reports on zenith 701/750/801 can't find any, (probably don't know where to look) except I did see a comment in another forum about some fatal accidents that had supposedly happened due to wing detachments. Just wondering what the safety record is.

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    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: zenith safety?

    Here's the only one I found with inflight breakup, but they list THC (marijuana) as a possible contributing factor.

    LAX03FA102

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    Registered User Head in the clouds's Avatar
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    Re: zenith safety?

    Quote Originally Posted by reubenT View Post
    Been looking for accident reports on zenith 701/750/801 can't find any, (probably don't know where to look) except I did see a comment in another forum about some fatal accidents that had supposedly happened due to wing detachments. Just wondering what the safety record is.
    As I understand it the CH601 developed a reputation for shedding wings. One did just that near here with various theories being put forward regarding the reason. Parts of the windshield were found about a mile from the crash site (went into the sea, windshield found on yacht club roof). One theory was collision with a pelican but I understood that no evidence of that was determined from the wreckage.

    Other tales told of similar incidents (wing/s found a good distance from the rest of the wreckage) in other countries. I have a friend who has the 601HD and now he will only fly solo so that he doesn't put others at risk. After the crash here he researched the matter and found references to the others. He travelled to Oshkosh soon after, about 4yrs ago, to try and find more information and/or a fix. I understand that the factory representatives refused to discuss the matter with him.

    His research did seem to indicate that the problem was PIOs (pilot induced oscillations (pitching up and down)) at high airspeeds, the pitch control was said to become very light at higher speed.

    Around that time, and since, CH601s lost much of their second-hand market value and kit sales were said to fall.

    Nothing concrete was established about any particular fire as far as I can tell but there was lots of smoke...

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    Registered User Manticore's Avatar
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    Re: zenith safety?

    There were a number of accidents with the CH601 XL which has a different wing structure to the other versions of the CH601.

    November 7, 2009 EAA is urging owners of Zodiac CH601XL and CH650 aircraft to not fly those airplanes until wing maintenance is completed to comply with the FAA's Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin released today.

    The FAA issued the SAIB in the aftermath of several accidents involving those particular Zodiac models of aircraft. The agency's investigation, done in cooperation with the aircraft manufacturer, uncovered areas of concern related to wing structure, airspeed calibration, stick-force characteristics, among other items.

    As a result, the FAA is strongly recommending that owners and operators of Zodiac CH601XL and CH650 aircraft comply with actions outlined in a forthcoming safety directive/alert to address those concerns. The FAA is urging that the aircraft not be flown until the maintenance is completed.

    As far as the CH701 goes, I believe it has an excellent safety record.
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    Re: zenith safety?

    There is one 601 in my area that is brand new and the owner took her apart and refuses to fly her. I do not believe this bird has 2 hrs on it. The last I knew about this bird it was setting in a garage. I believe in a few years we will be hearing the owner burned her.

    Tony
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    Re: zenith safety?

    Quote Originally Posted by reubenT View Post
    Been looking for accident reports on zenith 701/750/801 can't find any, (probably don't know where to look) except I did see a comment in another forum about some fatal accidents that had supposedly happened due to wing detachments. Just wondering what the safety record is.
    I'd ignore the gossip, it's usually wrong. Also note that there are some Zenith copycats that took the liberty to change the design with fokding wings and such. Their record isn't that great.

    Ron Wanttaja did a safety article specifically on Zenith designs in Kitplanes magazine. Might be a good place to start:

    http://documents.zenith.aero/uploads...ith_kp1110.pdf

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    Re: zenith safety?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson View Post
    I'd ignore the gossip, it's usually wrong. Also note that there are some Zenith copycats that took the liberty to change the design with fokding wings and such. Their record isn't that great.

    Ron Wanttaja did a safety article specifically on Zenith designs in Kitplanes magazine. Might be a good place to start:

    http://documents.zenith.aero/uploads...ith_kp1110.pdf

    The man who built this 601 I am talking about said the same thing you just posted. He also told me qutoe " The 2 hrs on this bird I flew those two hrs. I took this bird to the VNE more then once. I believe Flutter is the cause of those wings coming off the other planes" End Quote. He then explained to me what he did when building these birds to stop this flutter. He said without this mod you would get flutter. Now I have no idea what he was talking about it all went over my head. I do not build, I wish I did, but can't, so don't...lol

    This man who I am talking about has built dozens of birds that are still flying today. I myself want to enter this man in the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame for what he has done for us here in this part of the world. He has trained more pilots that are flying today then most can remember. I was asking a really good friend of his how many people he thought he taught to fly..He took a long pause and said, I have no idea but its a lot. I asked " over 100" he said close, if not over 100, and thats not counting the Young eagles this man has helped.
    He is a rough, hard man and most have a hard time taking him, but he knows his stuff and has helped a lot including me learn to fly.

    Tony

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    Re: zenith safety?

    I did some reasearch on 701 a while ago. You can find some reports but most of the crash causes are either pilot error or weather related. Some reports mention engine failure but my guess is that's because there are many automotive engine conversions and self made engines out there and 701 is not the best glider...I've never heard of wing detachment issues on 701 or 750 for that matter (?).

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    Re: zenith safety?

    I heard about one 601 XL in Poland that killed the pilot, but the other 601 have not had same problem, the factory say there is noting wrong, but they re-designed it anyway. make sense, if we see the whole picture.
    Jan.

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    Re: zenith safety?

    We actually have another thread around here somewhere that goes into this in more detail. The only Zenith that seemed to have these issues was the 601 that complied with the LSA requirements - all others are apparently fine. I was contacted by an owner's group about a year or two ago who did their own cursory analysis and were looking for someone to redesign their wings (I was busy so was not able to help them). I don't recall the exact number of these particular planes that failed in flight but it was a large enough number to be of concern. Several of the failures apparently had eye witnesses who indicated that the planes were not doing anything unusual and that one of the wings just seemed to fold up.

    I don't know if the owner's group was able to put together a program however Zenith apparently addressed the issue with a retrofit kit for the structure and the aileron control components. Their investigation apparently revealed a lack of stiffness in the control system, which could initiate aileron flutter. Based on the number of the planes now flying with the retrofit parts, this seems to have taken care of the issues.
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    Re: zenith safety?

    Lots of references to the 601 and the 601 definitely had issues, but Reuben's question was for the 701/750/801 models.
    Last edited by bmcj; August 15th, 2012 at 12:40 PM.

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    Re: zenith safety?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Carlsson View Post
    I heard about one 601 XL in Poland that killed the pilot....
    I'm familiar with 3 601 crashes in Poland. Most recent one happened in May killing 2 people. One of them happened because the pilot (very experianced commercial pilot with over 300 hrs on 601) most likely became incapacitated. Two others were engine related.. I heard rumours about the one with wing detachment but I'm having hard time finding any reports describing it.

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    Re: zenith safety?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamac View Post
    ...... and 701 is not the best glider...
    A bit off-topic but every so often you see this comment and I wonder what others think about this -

    Let's say that you fly in a way where you consider an engine failure at some time or other to be inevitable. I do, so I always fly in a way which means I have an available landing area at any given time. So if I'm flying a plane with a good glide ratio I can be further from the possible landing area, at any given height, than if I am in a plane with less gliding capability.

    Another consideration is the better glider usually needs a lot more space to effect a safe landing, than the poorer glider does.

    So the question is - which plane is better to be in when the engine failure occurs? Certainly I'd prefer the more slippery machine for a long cross-country flight, but unless I want to fly really high I may have to deviate from track a fair bit to keep suitable (large) landing areas available, whereas in the more draggy machine I might actually be able to fly a straighter course, particularly in bad country or terrain, because I can use far more (small) landing areas if required.

    To take the matter to extremes for the sake of the example, when I have to put down in bad country I'd rather be flying a steerable parachute than a Falconjet.

    So, Jamac, I'd rather be in a 701 in event of engine failure, than in something that glides a lot better!

    Quote Originally Posted by orion View Post
    ...... Several of the failures apparently had eye witnesses who indicated that the planes were not doing anything unusual and that one of the wings just seemed to fold up....
    Yes, that's what happened here, because it was near to Surfers Paradise there were lots of folks on the beach and the word was that the plane was just flying along and then started to break up, one wing came off before impact with the water. One eyewitness who was an aviator said he thought whole wing flutter might have been a factor...

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcj View Post
    Lots of references to the 601 and the 601 definitely had issues, but Reuben's question was for the 701/750/801 models.
    Good point, I meant to add that to my earlier post i.e. the only CH problems I've heard about involved the 601, I've not heard anything bad about the other models.
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    Re: zenith safety?

    Quote Originally Posted by Head in the clouds View Post
    Good point, I meant to add that to my earlier post i.e. the only CH problems I've heard about involved the 601, I've not heard anything bad about the other models.
    For clarity: The planes that had the structural wing problems were the CH 601XL and the CH650. The older CH 601 had a different wing structure than the CH 601XL and I've never heard of any allegations that the 601 had structural problems, it has a long record of safe performance. The CH650B had a number of structural changes to address the problems in the CH650 and all accounts I've heard indicate it's a fine little airplane.

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    Re: zenith safety?

    So, Jamac, I'd rather be in a 701 in event of engine failure, than in something that glides a lot better!
    Interesting point of view. I try to fly over terrain having alternative landing options no matter what SE I fly. But that's just not possible every time. Better gliding ratio gives you one crucial advantage - time. Time to figure out where to land, how to land, time to call for help. Also I often fly over unfamiliar areas. Forests, mountains etc. No matter what kind of terrain your gear is able to withstand, landing on a large hill will be way more tricky than gliding above/past it and landing on a more flat terrain. Besides, from my experiance, usually getting rid of extra drag is the problem, not the other way around. Having said all that I appreciate the ability of landing at 150 feet of rough ground - that's why I'm planning to build the 701

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