Zenith CH200

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PMD

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Apr 11, 2015
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I don't know if this violates some unwritten rule, but if I could, I would like some opinions and facts regarding Zenith/Zenair CH200. Back in the day, I did not see exactly eye-to-eye with Chris Heinz, but a lot of water under the bridge and I recently ran into a CH200 that hasn't flown for a few years and has been passed from hand to hand a few times as a project. I joined the 200-250-300 web group, and can get some very specific answers there, but more interested here in arms length stuff. The one I am considering has 420 hrs on the airframe with an O-200 that was a certified rebuild 600 hours ago. Zenair no longer supports these airplanes from what I can tell, but all of the original build info and build logs come with it, so not too worried. It could be a low cost way to just punch some holes in the sky?
 

karmarepair

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Higher wing loading than the more current Zenith, shorter wings. Empty weight is HIGHER, and not all of that are due to the engine, so presumably the structure is a little stouter. Probably less refined in things like the canopy frame (floppy on the example I saw at Oshkosh many years ago), general ergonomics. I'd be inclined to balance the ailerons while it's apart, based on Zenith experience. You should plan on replacing all the bungees in the landing gear as well, which I understand can be a PITA.If it's cheap enough, it probably won't kill you, and it could be a good value.
 

Twodeaddogs

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There are two in Ireland operating regularly,both being the survivors of five projects built in the 1980s and still flying. As karma said, change the bungees and respect the stall and approach speeds and you'll have a good, usable aircraft. EI-BVY is one.
 

PMD

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Thanks for the comments. I have over a thousand AA-1 hours, so this airplane wouldn't be a big surprise to me. That brings me to one other thought, of course - why am I not simply looking for another AA-1 (orr/A or/B) and the answer is at one time, they seemed to be all over the place for sale cheap, but lately, I can;t seem to find any at all. Besides, for this particular situation, I might want to be in the AB category - that once again takes me back to the CH-200 or something similar (I think the later iterations 250 and 300 address some of the 200 shortcomings, but I just happened to run into a 200 project).
 

Tiger Tim

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I fairly regularly see a few that fly a bunch and an engineer I know had one for a very long time so that has to say something about it.

I kind of suspect Zenair wants them to go away, supporting an old airplane that you didn’t even build has to be a headache at best. If you’re flying around Ontario, head up to Midland and see them practically stacked like firewood behind the Zenair hangar, I assume the result of some sort of trade-in program on a newer model.
 

Mitchell

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Jan 1, 2019
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Shakopee MN
Kinda hard to justify that model when an old 601xl kit goes for so cheap, and the factory still supports and sells parts. Your going to have the same cost in the engine and avionics either way. Yet a 601xl kit with the upgraded 650 canopy will most likely cost about the same yet you can buy new parts for it. Along with all the refinement years of building them has made.
 

TFF

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Memphis, TN
If the factory has piles of them not flying, they might not want them circulating for some reason. If it’s engines, you have that covered, but they are pulling them from circulation quietly, you might want to stand back unless they can tell you why.
 

Twodeaddogs

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probably less user friendly than a 601XL/650 and more likely to trigger litigation, so it's easier to thin out the herd and avoid court cases and promote the new kid instead of supporting the obsolete model. See Beech Starship as an example.
 
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