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FAA Issues Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-10-08 (Nov. 7, 2009): Zodiac CH601 XL

Further to the issuance of the FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB): CE-10-08, Zenith Aircraft Company advises all owners of Zodiac CH 601 XL and CH 650 aircraft to follow the recommendations contained in the SAIB.

EAA reports that “the FAA’s investigation, done in cooperation with the aircraft manufacturer, uncovered areas of concern… As a result, the FAA is strongly recommending that owners and operators of Zodiac CH601XL and CH650 aircraft comply with actions outlined in a forthcoming safety directive/alert to address those concerns. The FAA is urging that the aircraft not be flown until the maintenance is completed.”

February 22, 2010: FAA releases the Zodiac CH 601 XL Airplane Special Review Team Report (dated January 2010) concluding that the “review of the related accidents did not indicate a single root cause, but instead implicated the potential combination of several design and operational aspects.” Check out the Zenair Q&A discussion forum for our answers to questions you may have about this latest report.


AMD, manufacturer of the Zodiac CH 601 XL S-LSA (factory-built aircraft), issued a Safety Alert / Safety Directive (November 7, 2009) which outlines procedures required to resume normal operations (prior to the July 7, 2009 Letter from Chris Heintz limitations), including upgrades detailed on Drawings 6-ZU-1, 6-ZU-2, 6-ZU-3 and 6-ZU-4, and LAA Aileron Balance (these latest revised drawings are dated January 25, 2010). The FAA SAIB document recommends that all owners comply to the AMD Safety Alert / Safety Directive before further flight.

We have drafted the following Questions and Answers with Chris Heintz document to help builders and owners understand these upgrades, which were recently structurally tested and independently verified (Document396). An Upgrade Package is available to all builders and owners of kit versions of the aircraft, and includes detailed drawings and step-by-step installation instructions.

For more information, please contact the Zenith Aircraft Company.


Additional Information:

– 1/20/11: The FAA Kansas City Manufacturing Inspection Office has evaluated the Zenith Aircraft Company Zodiac CH601 XL aircraft kit changes, specifically the 6-ZU Upgrade Package. The MIO has notified AIR-200 that they have found no significant change compared to the original Amateur Built Fabrication and Assembly Checklist, and meets major portion requirements. A memo has been prepared to all FAA Manufacturing Inspection Offices and Flight Standards Offices indicating AIR-200 concurrence. and the upgrade package will be added to the Amateur-built Kit List on the FAA website.

Flight test report of upgrade Zodiac CH 601 XL B by Steve Flattum (posted July 7, 2010)

Aero-TV Video Clip: Zenair’s Mathieu Heintz discusses the Zodiac CH601XL upgrade package… (from the Sebring LSA show in 1/2010).

– Follow along as Zenith Aircraft Company installed and completed the Upgrade Package kit installation to the factory demonstrator Zodiac CH 601 XL. New flying video.

– Applicability: The AMD Safety Alert is to be used for all CH 601 XL / CH 650 aircraft with a gross weight of more than 475 kg. (1,050 lbs), including Canadian Advanced Ultralights (AULA) aircraft.

– European builders and owners: See http://www.zenairulm.com for continued airworthiness updates.

– Updated Zodiac series Checklist: a 601XL-PRE-FLIGHT-INSPECTION-Feb-2010 55-page checklist to help you thoroughly preflight your aircraft (February 2010 Rev 2).

– Check out the first and second Zenair Q&A discussion boards for answers to many of your questions.

– We are committed to working with all builders and owners so that they may resume building and operating their aircraft by incorporating the updates at minimal cost and inconvenience.

We ask for the full cooperation of all builders, owners and pilots with this important information, and we thank them for their continued support through this difficult time.


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