Ok to build from previously purchased/used plans?

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JayKoit

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Hi everybody,

looking for thoughts on this...

I was recently gifted a set of Zenith 601 XL plans. The owner had passed away and I’m not sure if he ever finished the plane or not (I received them from a friend of his). If I were to build that plane from these plans, would that be considered wrong or unethical in anyway, since I didn’t buy them directly from Zenith? I would still of course order many parts from Zenith (including the wing mod, of course!!), so they would still have my business, but I just wanted to see what the community thought about doing so. I’ve actually wondered for a long time, since I have seen lots of old plans sets for sale on barnstormers over the years.

Thanks!
 

cluttonfred

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I don’t see any impediment, and if it were an old, orphaned design then I’d say don’t worry about it. Zenith, however, is still an active business so I would say, study your free plans and if you decide to start building then go ahead and buy the latest plans package for the specific model you prefer. A few hundred dollars is a tiny fraction of the investment required to build a plane like that and the cost will be more than justified when you can call them up as a registered plans purchaser to ask for help when you get stuck.
 

wsimpso1

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Let's try to remember that the seller of plans is also providing builder support. That costs money...

A lot depends on the conditions of sale. Some plans are sold as a license to the buyer only. If the plans you have were sold under that condition, then you have no license, and they have zero obligation for builder support or to sell you parts. On the other hand, if they were sold as a license to build one airplane, and the other were never got built, then you might be OK.

If you are buying a bunch of parts from the factory, they might look the other way on support.

Billski
 

JayKoit

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Thanks everyone, good points. I’ll see if the plane was built, and maybe just put a call into Zenith as well, I’m not interested in trying to get out of paying for builder support etc., I’d much rather be able to call if I get stuck!
 

radfordc

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Sonex has a policy of only providing support to the original plans purchaser. However, if you buy used plans and want support you can pay a fee and then support is available. Sonex gets around the 1 plane per set of plans by controlling the special extruded spars....they only sell one set of spars per set of plans.
 

Daleandee

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Sonex gets around the 1 plane per set of plans by controlling the special extruded spars....they only sell one set of spars per set of plans.
I have heard that Sonex would supply replacement spars to builders that had damaged a spar making is unusable. How true this is and what proof is required to make this happen I can't say. I pray for two things ... 1) that I never need a replacement spar, 2) that if I do Sonex would be willing to sell me one after I've proven that the one I'm replacing is a total loss.

Hoping Charlie has some further insight on this ...

Thanks,

Dale
N319WF
 

Geraldc

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Also the Zenith 601 had a spar upgrade so the price of latest plans is cheap insurance.
 

Pops

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Several years ago I acquired a Zenith plans built 600 project from an old friend of mine. In the purchase agreement in buying the plans you agree to notify Zenith of the buyer name if you sell the plans. My friend calls Zenith and notify them of the sale and gives them my name as the new owner. Then the buyer notify Zenith of the purchase. So the new owner of the plans gets the factory support and can buy parts for his project. I have bought several parts from Zenith and I have toured the factory and was impressed with the factory's organization and very nice friendly people. If I was wanting to build a quick build airplane, I would looking at the 750 very hard.
Believe the spar upgrade was on the Zenith 601 XL only.
I really like how Joe's 701 performs. When Joe left my place on his return trip from NY city, he had the fuel tanks topped off and cockpit full of baggage and Joe. We have 200' between the evergreen bushes beside the grass runway and he used about 180/185' on his takeoff.
 
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Turd Ferguson

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If the original airplane was never completed, then no issue as far as I'm concerned. Typically, plans are for "1" airplane... If that "1" never existed, then go for it.
Or, delete any reference to Zenith 610XL, throw any contractual agreement page of the plans in the trash, call it a "SkySkate 200" don't call the Zenith factory with questions and go for it.
 

TFF

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Plans are a weird item. There is intellectual property parts as much as personal property parts. How you work the sliding scale or what you have in your hands has to fit your beliefs. I have some bootleg Pitts plans. The funny thing is I got them from someone who was allowed to give out them out from the present design owner. Am I going to sell them to some one, No. Would I give them out to someone in need, maybe. Up or down, its really not changing sales, and that was pretty much what the design owner said to the guy I got them from. If someone is protective and you need help, anti up like a man. You need help so pay for it. Steve Wittman to his credit helped a lot of Cougar builders. The Cougar plans were pure knockoff and Wittman did not appreciate it at all; it was one of his revenue streams. He did not hold it against people just buying plans; they did not know. He helped people make safe airplanes; he could have said not my problem. If you can build it with no help and don't have to call it by its name for status, I think you are fine. These are just some second hand pieces of paper. You need help, buy parts, want to be in, buy a new license. I have plans that are licensed and I have some that are not. I have just acquired them as the times and deals permitted. Heck the funny thing is, the plane I don't have plans for is the one I own.
 

dcstrng

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When it comes to "unused" plans, you have at least three vectors to consider; Legal, ethical and practical. Many folks roll the legal and ethical aspects together (for instance, note this thread).

The practical aspect for building an aircraft from an active company like Zenith is a no-brainer -- if you want access to official upgrades, factory parts, let alone advice/consultation, you need to do whatever they require (notification, transfer fee, secret handshake, whatever, etc. ) to join the club.

The legal side is a bit less well understood, even among attorneys and it is murky enough that legal professionals often rely on an intellectual properly specialist to sort things out; basically this falls into two camps -- patent law (arcane enough it has its own Bar) and some variation of copyright/work-product/trademark. Most folks know that patents have an expiration after period of exclusive use (Wittman's gear, etc). Copyright and that area does not automatically expire generally and is a commodity that can be bought, sold, inherited, passed along in the family and licensed (the usual "purchase" of plans). Some families have eventually moved plans into the public domain (Smith Miniplane, for instance) others retain ownership, but make access publically available (Mike Arnolds tapes moved into YouTube or Falco), but could be withdrawn at the owner's request and moved back into the commercial window, others are sold to a company that continues to make them available for us (Knight Twister, Steen Aero Lab, Tailwind ACS, etc...).

Then there is the ethical side -- basically boils down to how does one personally define theft/stealing.

Our sport largely began and continues to exist because a bunch of skilled hobbyists loved the sport enough to have designed, refined and developed a wealth of designs (and in some cases , provide parts and kits). I think that it is entirely proper to peruse an apparently orphaned set of plans (the specific set has no known owner), but become uneasy when I think I might actually use them for a project -- and have been known to go out and seek the current purveyor of plans for a design, to buy "new" plans even though I already have a full copy that is identical -- but came to me through a route that seems to circumvent the rights of the designer, plans owner... to each his own however... last note, although I'm not aware of any successful lawsuits for "stealing" amateur built aircraft plans, I'd go very careful for designs that are known to be active and companies who police their property -- Sonex, Vans, ACS, etc. In any case, plans are a very small part of the aircraft "price"
 

Victor Bravo

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I bought a CH 701 tail from someone once, and the plans came with it, and I called Zenair and "transferred" the project into my name. This qualified me for factory support, access to their private forum, etc. They were very good about it. They also offered me a good price on the updates to the plans since those plans were older, and I was very willing to pay for that update to support Zenair.

I believe you will be very impressed with how they treat you, and having their support is very worthwhile. They are known to treat their builders very well. Good folks.
 

dcstrng

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I believe you will be very impressed with how they treat you, and having their support is very worthwhile. They are known to treat their builders very well. Good folks.
Very much agree, and their forum(s) (usually must be a registered plans owner) has a wealth of information and guidance for their designs -- and seems very nearly as active as this one (well, maybe a bit less... but quite active nonetheless).
 

BJC

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Hi everybody,

looking for thoughts on this...

I was recently gifted a set of Zenith 601 XL plans. The owner had passed away and I’m not sure if he ever finished the plane or not (I received them from a friend of his). If I were to build that plane from these plans, would that be considered wrong or unethical in anyway, since I didn’t buy them directly from Zenith? I would still of course order many parts from Zenith (including the wing mod, of course!!), so they would still have my business, but I just wanted to see what the community thought about doing so. I’ve actually wondered for a long time, since I have seen lots of old plans sets for sale on barnstormers over the years.

Thanks!
I understand that free plans seems to be an economical way to get started on a build, but there are other considerstions. First, to get factory build support, you must have a valid serial number. From Zenith Aircraft:

Buying Used Plans and/or Kits:

Before buying or bidding, request the serial number which is located on the first page of the drawings (blueprints) from the seller: Every Zenith kit and/or plans has a unique serial number issued by Zenith Aircraft Co. Once you have this information you can contact Zenith Aircraft Co. to obtain information about the customer's project.
Unless one is an experienced builder with superior scrounging skills, and the knowledge to safely adapt parts, equipment, or material, one will save on the total project cost, as well as build time, by purchasing new, up to date plans. (You might be surprised how much a few simple mistakes can cost in both time and money.) If your set of plans qualifies for factory support, but can not easily be brought up to date, I would consider spending $395 for a new set to be money well spent.

The other thing that I would do is research the differences between the 601 and the 650. Some info here: http://www.zenithair.com/zodiac/ch650/index.html Even though the 650 plans cost $495, I would seriously consider the newer version, especially given the history of the 601 design.


BJC
 

mcrae0104

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Even though the 650 plans cost $495...
That is a serious bargain. From Zenith's perspective, the development and documentation costs quickly get amortized over the first few hundred plans sold. I would be surprised if they spent less than $495 on customer support for the average plans builder. I guess they're also counting on fewer builders than there are buyers.
 

Daleandee

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That is a serious bargain.
Absolutely correct!

While pondering all the benefits others have pointed out also realize that the cost of an updated set of plans is small money when you consider the finished cost of a project whether plans or kit built.

Dale
N319WF
 
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