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Zenith Aircraft Hosts Homecoming
September 30, 2021 – Kit aircraft manufacturer Zenith Aircraft Company hosted its 30th annual Homecoming Open Hangar Days and Fly-In on September 17-18 at its factory located on Mexico Memorial Airport (KMYJ) in Mexico, Missouri. Zenith builders and flyers from around the country flew in to the homecoming, one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
The grassroots event provided both educational and fun activities for all visitors, made up primarily of Zenith builders, owners, and pilots, as well as “want-to-be” builders and pilots and enthusiasts from the outlying area.
A highlight of the event is the STOL (short take-off and landing) demonstrations. Zenith Aircraft is a pioneer in the STOL industry and has been designing and manufacturing STOL airplanes since the 1980s, well before they gained the popularity that STOL and backcountry airplanes have today. Various engine and propeller manufacturers participated at the event to share information about their products and Zenith hosted various seminars over the two-day event. Popular topics included STOL flying, insurance and finance, avionics, and more. Several panel discussions were also held, including the popular engine panel discussion (with six different engine choices represented), and panel discussions on building and flying Zenith light-sport aircraft. Charlie Becker, EAA’s director of chapters & homebuilt community manager, visited to provide an update on FAA rules and initiatives affecting homebuilt aircraft and sport pilots. The company also hosted guided factory tours and kit assembly demonstrations to showcase the newest kit technology (using CNC final hole size match drilled parts and components).
Visitors were able to see up close all the airplanes that were flown in, and meet with the owner-builders of the custom-built airplanes. Thanks in part to the great weather, more than 500 visitors were on hand over the two days and about 50 airplanes flew in for the Homecoming. As part of the annual Homecoming festivities, Zenith hosts a dinner banquet on Friday evening. This year’s event was well attended with more than 200 guests, and paid tribute to Chris Heintz, the aeronautical engineer behind Zenith’s CH designs who died earlier this year.
Saturday’s activities started with a free pancake and sausage breakfast (courtesy of KITPLANES magazine and Avemco) and concluded with a free fried chicken dinner and awards ceremony at the end of the day, courtesy of Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. Other sponsors and supporters of the event provided many of the popular prizes awarded to visitors, including Dynon Avionics, Citizens Bank (from western Missouri), ULPower Aero Engines, Garmin, DUC Propellers USA, Rosen Sunvisor, AeroLEDs, EAA, and many more.View Photo Gallery