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SAM Aircraft Acquired by Zenith/Zenair

  • SAM Aircraft Acquired by Zenith / Zenair
    Photo courtesy of SAM Aircraft

January 21, 2016 - SAM Aircraft assets have been acquired by the sons of aircraft designer Chris Heintz, owners and operators of Zenith Aircraft Company (U.S.) and Zenair Ltd. (Canada).

Founded in 2009 by Thierry Zibi in Quebec, Canada, SAM Aircraft was developed as a modern light-sport aircraft (LSA). A low-wing, all-metal tandem two-seater, the SAM Aircraft design is unique in that it presents a rare balance between retro styling and modern engineering. The SAM Aircraft was inspired by legendary trainers of the Golden Age of Aviation, yet it offers pilot comfort, state-of-the-art technology and outstanding flight characteristics that all sport pilots will appreciate.

Several variants of the design are being developed for different load configurations and performance characteristics. These feature different wing sections (differing spans), as well as landing gear styles (tricycle or tailwheel) and canopy choices (fully enclosed or open cockpit). The Heintz brothers have been researching market viability for the different design configurations, including:

  • LSA version (at 1,320 pounds gross weight) or experimental amateur-auilt (E-AB) at 1,440pounds gross weight. Wing span 28.5 feet (Note: the award-winning flying prototype meets the LSA definition).
  • Kit: experimental amateur-built (E-AB) at 1,800 pounds with option to install heavier engines such as the Lycoming 0-320 at 160 hp or modern auto conversions. Wing span 32 feet.
  • Sport Aerobatic Configuration (E-AB / LSA): Wing span 25.25 feet. Two people at 1,440 pounds limited aerobatics or one person at 1,200 pounds, full g-load aerobatics as per FAR 23.

Zenair engineers are currently performing a thorough review of the SAM Aircraft design. Matt Heintz of Zenair said, “The advanced engineering used in developing the SAM is impressive, including extensive use of 3-D modeling. With us bringing this aircraft to market, the new SAM Aircraft design will benefit from our 40 years of experience manufacturing aircraft kits."

"The SAM Aircraft design is a distinctive and fun airplane and will be a welcome addition to the Zenith line of kit aircraft," said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Company in Missouri.

To help the companies focus on the most popular features for the new SAM Aircraft models, Zenith Aircraft has created a short survey and is inviting all interested parties to complete the online form.

Like existing Zenith Aircraft designs, such as the high-wing CH 750 and low-wing CH 650 series, the SAM Aircraft models are constructed primarily of 6061-T6 aluminum assembled with blind rivets, making them easy and quick to build as well as durable and affordable. The design, construction, and assembly of the SAM Aircraft series will integrate well into Zenith Aircraft’s current production, which already relies heavily on CNC parts production. Based on survey results, SAM Aircraft may be offered as complete kits, quick-build kits, and/or as fully factory-assembled aircraft.