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EAA Chapter 1410 High River Learn/Build Project Update

By Jack Dueck, Project Lead, EAA Lifetime 337912

September 2019 - Since our last report, we have been busy proceeding with our Zenith 601 XL-B building project. During the hectic summer months, progress was slower but steady, yet only one Saturday workday was missed.

So where are we now? We have completed the wings, the ailerons and flaps, and the empennage components, along with making steady progress on our fuselage.

Deb and I took the opportunity to travel from Oshkosh to Midland, Ontario, to pick up our firewall forward package, as well as a number of additional components from the Zenith factory. These included the items required to modify the firewall from tailwheel to tricycle gear configuration, together with exchanging the gear. Kudos to Michael Heintz for showing us his operation. Truly remarkable!

The firewall required a substantial amount of rework. With a tailwheel configuration, the firewall is reinforced by several small structural members. These had to be removed and replaced with stronger components designed to carry the structural loads imposed by a nosewheel aircraft.


Kent priming firewall components.

The firewall took longer than expected. Has anyone else ever found this type of situation in their build project? We had to work with the original plans for a tailwheel configuration, the plans for a nosewheel configuration, and the change from a bungee-type nose wheel to a rubber-puck type of nose wheel gear leg.


So how does this fit? Vance compares the gear leg to the drawing.


Firewall ready to be riveted.

With the firewall completed, we can start work on the fuselage front section. First, we will square and true up the fuselage components and then attach the front side skins. Once that is completed, we can mount our fuselage on its gear. Then one group will continue working on the fuselage, including turtledeck, panel, and canopy. The second group will concentrate on the firewall forward work, including engine mounting, control cables, and cowling.


Completed firewall mounted on fuselage.

In the end, it all works out. We have revised our expected completion date from April 18 to May 30 of next year. Having said that, we as a group agree there is nothing cut in stone. We are going to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. We want to build a good aircraft that will give us the opportunity to fly, or learn to fly, or upgrade our flying skills in a group flying club, while enjoying the tremendous companionship this project is providing.

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