Canadian Flag Blowing In The Wind Ron Leclerc Zenith CH701 Construction Log


Zenair CH701 STOL Aircraft...
CH701 STOL

Winnipeg

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The Aircraft... April 5, 2007

When selecting an airplane kit, I was initially looking at building an Advanced Ultralight Challenger II but... stumbled across the Zenair Web Site and well... it did not take long for me to realize that the 701 was a little more practical for the use that I wanted it for.

As a retired Civil Engineer, I had wanted to fly a float plane since I was a kid... life kind of got in the road and... time sort of passed me by. The short end of it now, is I found out that an Advanced Ultralight Pilot Permit with a passenger carrying endorsement was cheaper to acquire and easier to get... also with only a Class 4 medical requirement instead... of the more stricter Class 3(Pilot License).

Now the Challenger had to built as an Advanced Ultralight in Canada... that means by the kit manufactures book specs. After reviewing the 701 specs I realized that the it could be built as an Amateur Built and still meet the Advanced Ultralight Canadian Requirements for maximum weight(1100 lbs) and I could still fly with the Advanced Ultralight Pilot Permit. So I sat back and took a look at what I wanted as an Amateur Aircraft Builder... since I could make any mods that I wanted to make.

I wanted to build a float plane... no question since I grew up on the banks of the Winnipeg River by a float plane base and watched Beavers, Cubs, Norseman and Super Cubs taking off all day long.

A two(2) seater was ok as far as weight requirements went(max 1200 lbs). It had to be all metal... not fabric for our climate. It had to be affordable to build... ie. to be able to acquire plans and build from scratch. Living in Central Canada... its just a short flight to some of the greatest bush fling country with millions of lakes. The CH701 was the aircraft that I decided to build. Most of my flying will be limited to Day VFR as per the Advanced Ultralight Permit requirements... nothing fancy.

The Engine...
Building the 701 as an Amateur Built gave me some flexibility when it came to engine selection. My basic problem was the engine Zenith was recommending for the 701. The Rotax 912 was simply to costly... about $18000 CDN, so I started to research an alternative engine.
My first requirement was it had to be horizontally opposed and air cooled and within the design weight established by Chris Hienz's design. This left me with only a few engines that I could consider for the 701, a Corvair and a VW or a Jab. The engine for the 701 had to have a reduction drive and weight around 200 lbs. Well that eliminated the Jab and Corvair right off the bat. The Subaru EA81 could have also been a consideration... but it is water cooled and much heavier.

Having had 2 VW Bugs in my other life, I was quite familiar and comfortable with the Bug engine... so this is where I began my research. There are a lot of aircraft designs built around the bug Type 1 engine, so there is a lot of info and suppliers available. This in turn lead me to the more robust Type 4 VW/Porsche 914 engine. A little heavier(14 lb) but with an all aluminum case. It should be noted... that the Type 1 engine can be had from Great Plains Aircraft with an all aluminum case(+ 14lb) and also with a reduction drive. After much research... I decided to go with the Type 4 engine because it is a heavy duty engine and can take a lot more abuse then the Type 1.

Now on to the aircraft construction....



These are some CH701's set up with various configurations...

701 on Skis


701 on Floats


701 on Amfib Floats


 
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