OPEN HANGAR DAY and Fly-In Gathering Saturday, September 22, 2012 Mexico Memorial Airport, Mexico, Missouri

Follow-Up from Zenith Aircraft Company’s 20th anniversary / Open Hangar Day & Fly-In held this past September 21 & 22, 2012
Thanks to great weather and great company we had a wonderful Open Hangar Day and Fly-In to celebrate Zenith Aircraft Company’s 20th anniversary.  
We thank all visitors and participants for making this a great event.

View Photos from the event  View a video clip of the event

Download & Print the Schedule of Events (Old)

Zenith Aircraft Company‘s 20th anniversary OPEN HANGAR DAY and Fly-In Gathering is scheduled for Saturday, September 22, 2012, at the factory located at Mexico Memorial Airport in Mexico, Missouri. This will be our 21st annual Open Hangar Day and Fly-In Gathering at our kit aircraft factory, celebrating our 20th anniversary.

promote workshop sept 17 & 18 

At right:
The first annual Open Hangar Day
and official Ribbon Cutting in 1992


All aviation enthusiasts, especially builders and owners of Zenith Aircraft kit planes, are invited to drive or fly-in for the day. The Zenith Aircraft kit production facilities will be open for factory tours and Zenith’s factory demonstrator airplanes will be on display – on the ground and in the air!  Company staff will demonstrate kit production and fabrication techniques used in producing the all-metal kit aircraft parts made at the Zenith Aircraft factory.

Click here to view photos and video clips from the 2011 Open Hangar Day

We have many activities planned, including a series of hands-on educational and informative workshops for existing Zenith owners and builders, as well as new builders just getting started (or just thinking of starting).  Beginning on Friday afternoon we have excellent seminars and workshops.  In celebration of Zenith Aircraft Company’s 20th anniversary, an informal “Zenith banquet” dinner and social gathering is planned for Friday evening next to the airport. Rod Hightower, EAA’s president and CEO, will be our special guest

Dynon Pocket Panel

We have many awesome door prizes to give away at the banquet, including a Dynon “Pocket Panel” portable EFIS, courtesy of Dynon Avionics, valued at over $1,400!

Read more on Zenith Aircraft Company’s 20th anniversary.

The Zenith Banquet will be held at the 6 pm on Friday, September 21, at the Mexico Elks Club next to the airport [map]
RSVP now for the banquet (and for workshops and seminars).
PURCHASE your tickets for the Banquet.

Starting on Friday afternoon, September 21, we have some excellent informative seminars / workshops scheduled.  These free seminars are about an hour in length.  The seminar presenters will also be available on Saturday to answer questions. Here is the updated schedule: 09/27/2012

12:30 – 1:45 pm, Friday, September 21, 2012: 

  • Painting Your All-Metal Zenith: Mike Loehle of Loehle Aero Coatings will discuss aircraft painting, covering everything you need to know about painting your own airplane, with in-depth information on painting your Zenith using Loehle Aero Coatings high quality aircraft finishes. (Seminar Location: Hangar A) 
  • Corvair engine guru William Wynne will explain the “how’s and why’s” of a successful Corvair auto conversion installation in Zenith aircraft. (Seminar Location: Zenith factory) 
  • Performing a proper aircraft Weight & Balance on a newly built kit plane is something every builder needs to do before a first flight. Zenith builder Mike Pruett of will show you how this can be done quickly and easily. Mike will weigh an actual Zenith aircraft and work through the Weight and Balance report for the aircraft, using the light aircraft scales offered by (Seminar Location: Zenith factory) 

2:00 – 3:15 pm, Friday, September 21: 

  • Dynon Avionics: Steve Stroh from the Dynon factory will demonstrate and explain the features and capabilities of the popular Dynon SkyView glass panel display system, as well as the new handheld Pocket Panel. (Seminar Location: Hangar A) 
  • Jabiru Aircraft Engines, presented by Zenith builder/owner Mark Stauffer of Jabiru USA. This informative workshop will cover everything you’ve always wanted to know about operating and maintaining the popular Jabiru aircraft engines (Seminar Location: Zenith factory) 
  • Did you know you can provide flight training in your Zenith? Earl Downs will present a seminar titled “Training in an Experimental (kit) Airplane” to discuss the rules about training with kit planes. Earl recently obtained an FAA Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) to provide training in his Zodiac CH 601 XL-B, and he is an ATP rated flight instructor and administers Sport Pilot check rides.

3:30 – 4:45 pm, Friday, September 21: 

  • Light Aircraft Electrical Systems: Wayne Lanza, of Composite Design, maker of the Power Panel, presents a seminar on aircraft electrical systems. (Seminar Location: Zenith factory) 
  • Aircraft Insurance can be complicated and confusing. Scott “Sky” Smith of SkySmith Insurance Agency (in Iowa) will discuss aircraft insurance as it applies to building and flying a Zenith, and will answer questions from Zenith builders, owners and pilots about insuring their project. (Seminar Location: Hangar A) 
  • Viking Engine: Jan Eggenfellner is back with a STOL CH 750 powered by Viking Honda-based engine. Learn about this popular new engine choice available to power your Zenith. (Seminar Location: in front of Zenith factory)

6:00 – 9:00 pm, Friday, September 21: 

Zenith Builders Banquet at the Elks Lodge (next to the airport). This is an informal social buffet dinner gathering of Zenith enthusiasts, builders, pilots and employees, to celebrate Zenith Aircraft Company’s 20th anniversary, with special guest Rod Hightower, EAA’s president and CEO. We have many awesome door prizes to give away at the banquet, including a Dynon “Pocket Panel” portable EFIS, valued at over $1,400! Cost: $16.00 per person. RSVP. Cash bar, opens at 5 pm.

Zenith factory demo aircraft with new Quick Build Kit assemblies

Saturday, 8 am – 3 pm:  The Zenith Aircraft kit production facilities will be open for factory tours and Zenith’s factory-demonstrator kit aircraft will be on display.  Company staff will demonstrate kit production and fabrication techniques used in producing the all-metal kit aircraft parts made at the Zenith Aircraft factory, including cutting and pre-drilling kit parts on the CNC router, forming and hand finishing wing ribs and other kit parts, and aircraft aluminum welding demonstrations.  We’ll also have aircraft kits and parts on hand, and, once again, we’ll offer visitors a chance to build their own small sheet-metal project in the Zenith factory (see below). 

New seminars: Starting at 9 am, come learn all about the Sport Pilot license and Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) from Earl Downs and Buzz Devoll, and come hear the seminar at 11 am by Rod Hightower, EAA’s president and CEO, on Experimental Amateur-Built (EAB) Aircraft Safety.  Rod’s safety seminar will include a discussion of the causes of EAB accidents, a summary of the NTSB’s recommendations to FAA (as it relates to new  EAB regulation) as well as first flight best practices.
Join us at 10 am in front of the factory for the Zenith Aircraft Company official 20th Anniversary Celebration and Presentation, followed immediately by the annual group photo.  Everyone is welcome!

Participants and activities include:

Hands-on Workshop:  Visitors will be given the opportunity to “build their own” aircraft-aluminum binder for their Zenith documentation, as well as a custom made 3-ring all-metal binder assembly project.

Attend a full “Zenith rudder factory workshop” on September 19 & 20 right before the Open Hangar Day activities.

Experimental Aircraft Association Charlie Becker, EAA’s Director of Communities & Homebuilt Community Manager, will share info on EAA’s available resources to help builders, owners and pilots of amateur-built aircraft, including the technical advisor and flight advisor programs, and he will provide an update from EAA headquarters.

A representative from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty will attend to hand out catalogs and showcase some of the thousands of items offered by this homebuilders and pilots superstore

Mark Stauffer, builder and owner of a Zenith, plans to attend to represent Jabiru USA, distributor of Jabiru engines, the line of lightweight aircraft engines popular in many Zeniths.  Mark will be available to answer Jabiru engine installation, operation and maintenance questions.

Pete Krotje of Tenn-Air plans to attend with a brand-new factory-assembled STOL CH 750 LSA (light sport aircraft), powered by the popular six-cylinder Jabiru 3300 engine. Tenn-Air is headed by the same principals behind Jabiru USA, which has extensive experience is the Light Sport Aircraft industry.

Check out their first STOL CH 750 Light Sport

Scott “Sky” Smith of SkySmith Insurance Agency will answer questions about aircraft insurance as it applies to building and flying a Zenith kit aircraft.


Earl Downs of Golden Age Aviation (Cushing, Oklahoma) is a Zenith builder and flight instructor, and will answer questions on Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft.  Downs is an ATP-rated flight instructor, and he has provided special training in taildraggers, antiques, and classic airplanes for many years. Earl has written numerous articles regarding light sport aircraft and sport pilot operations for EAA publications, and administers sport pilot practical examinations (check rides).  Earl offers transition training in his Zenith CH601XL-B.  Tel: (918) 840-2200

Mike and Sandy Loehle of Loehle Aero Coatings will share information about painting your Zenith aircraft using Loehle Aero Coatings high quality aircraft finishes.

Loehle Aero

Registered visitors will receive a complimentary copy of CONTACT! magazine, a publication about experimental aircraft and engines for designers and builders.  The current issue (#105) is the “Zenith issue” devoted to building and flying Zenith aircraft!

Wick’s Aircraft Supplies is donating a number of door prizes to be awarded at the Zenith Builder Banquet on Friday evening prior to the Open Hangar Day.

Wicks Aircraft will deliver your order for free at the Zenith Open Hangar Day on all orders received by Wednesday morning, September 19. Call for details and to order: 800-221-9425

Corvair Engine guru William Wynne of will attend to show the affordable Corvair auto conversion installation popular on many Zeniths

The FlyCorvair team will have a full complement of parts on hand, including specials on powder-coated CH 601/650 and CH 750 engine mounts. Corvair Builders are invited to bring any part or component with them and William Wynne will personally inspect it. Check the the Corvair newsfeed for details: – Zenith builder Mike Pruett will show his light aircraft weighing equipment and show builders and owners how to properly weigh their aircraft and compute a proper “weight and balance” for their aircraft.

Doug and Lori Dugger of Quality Sport Planes (in Cloverdale, California) will attend to meet with West Coast Zenith builders, and discuss their builder assistance programs.

Viking Aircraft produces a low-cost Honda-based 110-hp engine, and offers complete firewall-forward packages of the Viking-110 engine for installation in Zeniths.

Viking Aircarft

“Viking Aircraft Engines will participate with a fully operational CH-750 Viking Aircraft. This is your chance to see / feel this engine in action, for yourself.  Expect the airplane to be more in the air, than on the ground. Get your demo ride in the fantastic CH-750 AND at the same time, experience the fun of Viking flying. Rides are free of charge and we will fly all day Saturday, with short breaks to show the engine.” offers a complete line of “how-to” videos available on DVD, and will have the popular DVDs available for preview and purchase. 

Aumie and Buzz Devoll of Buzz Air Flight Academy (located in Tennessee) will be attending to discuss Sport Pilot flight training as well as transition training to Zeniths.  The flight school operates a ZODIAC CH 601 XL-B / CH 650 S-LSA aircraft.

George & Martha Happ from Matco Mfg., maker of light aircraft wheels and brakes used on many Zeniths, will be on hand to discuss the company’s products and how to best install and operate them on your Zenith.

Wayne Lanza of Composite Design will showcase the company’s new Light Sport Power Panel used by Zenith Aircraft Co. and supplied in the Zenith instrument panel kit.

Chuck Preston from Kitplanes magazine (“The Homebuilt Aircraft Authority”) will attend to meet with Zenith builders and suppliers.

Zenith Aircraft kits, options, and parts will be on display and available to order.

Customer Projects:  Existing Zenith Aircraft builders and owners enjoy sharing information and details about building and flying their aircraft, and will be available to discuss construction, finishing (paint, upholstery, avionics, alternative engines, etc.) and flying their aircraft creations. Builders and pilots:  Bring your photos to share with fellow builders, and let us know if you would like some indoor space for a display or presentation.
Other products and services for Zenith builders and flyers. (Contact us if you are interested in showcasing products or services that are of interest to Zenith builders and flyers).

Factory demonstrator aircraft:

The popular Zenith CH 650STOL CH 701, and STOL CH 750 factory demonstrator aircraft will be parked at the factory.  Demonstrations flights may be available by prior arrangement only.

Food and refreshments will be available at the airport:  The local high school Mexico Bulldog Boosters club will be providing lunch on Saturday at the airport, with their famous rib-eye steak sandwiches (as well as hamburgers, hotdogs, refreshments, etc.)

Note: Zenith will be holding a Rudder Workshop on Thursday and Friday prior to the Open Hangar Day activities.Accommodations:  Due to the large number of visitors to Mexico on September 20 & 21, local hotels may fill up quickly.  There are numerous additional hotels in the general area, as well as camping sites.  Click here for additional information on accommodations.
We can help you to carpool if you are flying in and need a ride to and from a local hotel.  Let us know how we can help you.
Zenith Builders and Pilots:
Owners of completed Zenith Aircraft are encouraged to fly-in for the activities and to show off their completed project to fellow builders (we will provide tie-down space and help facilitate ground transportation if possible).  Mexico’s airport (KMYJ) offers 24-hr self serve fuel at competitive prices, and has a new terminal building with 24 hour access to the pilot lounge (with showers and internet access!).  Let us know of any special needs or requirements.  
If flying in, please bring your own aircraft tie-downs, especially if staying overnight. Zenith owners: please park your airplane as close to the Zenith factory as possible on Saturday. We’ll try to position and group all Zeniths in front of the factory for the group photo at 10:30 am.  If driving in, please bring yourself a folding (lawn) chair if possible. We will have chairs and picnic tables, but we sometimes run out…
There is no charge to attend the Open Hangar Day or any seminars, with the exception of the banquet dinner on Friday evening.  Check this page for the latest updates and schedule.  Please contact us if you have ideas, requests or capabilities to make the Open Hangar and Fly-In Gathering both a fun and educational event.  
Note to builders: You can arrange to pick-up parts and kits at the Open Hangar Day if the parts have been ordered, paid for and confirmed prior to the Open Hangar Day.
Hundreds of builders and enthusiasts attended last year’s Open Hangar Day in Mexico, Missouri. The gathering is an excellent opportunity for owners and builders of Zenith Aircraft kits to meet each other and to tour the Zenith Aircraft facilities. Located in scenic mid-Missouri, all pilots and aviation enthusiasts are invited to drive or fly in to attend Zenith Aircraft Co.’s annual �Open Hangar and Fly-In� day. For more information on attending, please call Zenith Aircraft at (573) 581-9000 or the Mexico Airport at (573) 581-0162.

Photos from previous Open Hangar Days

Photos from past events:

More Info:

Related Info:

Note:  All scheduled events and times are subject to cancellation or change without prior notice.



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