On this page you will find a lot of Information on how to tackle a task or New Ideas for your Zodiac.


Click on picture for the latest on the Sport Pilot Update ~ Finally approved!!

Zenith CH601

Installing Your Canopy ~ This is a great format for trimming and installing a canopy on the 601 Series aircraft. ~ by Eric Tingley

 Canopy Vents

Weight & Balance - Excel format

Try this one its easy to set up and use daily.  It is graphical in its output and it shows the balance throughout the entire flight as fuel is burned off.
It is also useful for what-if-design calculations. ~ from Gary Ray

Bending the 12 foot Nose Skin ~ Brought to you by Mark & David

 Bending Main Gear Leaf and Nose gear fork

Drilling your Spars ~ Debo Cox

3 Point Harness ~ Updated PDF of Zenith 601XL Harness Installation from Neil Hulin

601 XL Rib Template Drawings in 3 formats Files are stored in zip format, choose the one you can use. either .dwg  .pdf  .dxf  The drawings were done in inches, so when you plot them you will have an idea where to start. You can make a set of formers for the #1 and #6 ribs, then after the ribs are done you can reshape the forms to #2 and #7 and so on.  This will save a lot of material.  Don't forget that #8 and #9 have a smaller hole at the trailing edge. Be sure to check your plots against the Zenith drawings to be sure they are correct ! Remember the disclaimer on the first page! they are YOUR wings

Zodiac 601XL Rear Spar Splice

Zodiac 601XL Spar Cap in two pieces.

Materials List  / Cutting Layout in Excel   Format in Adobe pdf / Format in CAD dwg ~ I recommend the PDF or DWG for an easy to follow layout this is for the older version of 601XL using .016 skins not the new .025 skinned XL Thanks go to Herb Heaton

NEW CH601 XL VERSION LAYOUT SHEETS ~ due to the changes in the 601XL's plans this file needed to be updated. Thanks to Dino Bortolin for stepping up to update this utility. All files are in Zip compression choose eht file extension you can use. 601XL.DWG  601XL.DXF  601XL.PDF

601XL Hardware materials list MS Doc Format, HTML

 601HD Hardware materials list  in .pdf Format

Fitting Fuel Pumps between nose ribs 2 and 3 601XL ~ a neat way to install the pumps in your wings. ~from Joe Motis

Zodiac Kit ~ Here is a couple of pictures of what you get in your Zodiac 601 kit

Removable Fuel Tanks

Alternate Part Sources

AN Fittings -

Buiders Assistance Centers

These folks are the best in the Business, each offers a builders assistance package geared towards getting you in the air as soon as possible.

Can-Zac Aviation Ltd.

Canada ~ Kitplane Builders

South ~ Flight Crafters

West ~ Quality Sport Planes


Zodiac Changes

Matco brake rework ~ a very nice way to increase your brakes usefulness.

Alternate Toe Brake Pedal Design for the XL - By David Barth

Inside Steps ~ by Jack Russell

Bungee Trim

801 nose wheel forks (for 6.00X6 wheels)

Dual Sticks for HD/HDS 3+meg zip file

Aluminum Spring Gear For the 601HD/HDS

 Flour Bomb bay door ~ Bob Miller

 Brake Pedal Geometry - Min. Mechanical Advantage according to Matco.

 Brake Master Cylinder and System Assembly drawings - Also by Matco

Mod to remove Stabilizer at a later date

Behind the Panel Access

New Throttles Quadrants

Parking Brakes

Finishing Touches

Dave’s Aircraft Instrument Panel Stencils For Microsoft Visio

Homemade Tow Bar

Throttle quadrant

Nuvite's polishing procedures

Installing Wheel Pants and Towbar

Installing a VOR Antenna on Zenith’s Flying Rudder ~ PowerPoint presentation 1 meg by Bill Bartlett

Rudder Fairing with Acrylic

Foam Seat Construction

Line Drawings for the CH601XL with a Corvair conversion

Painting your plane

Tail Position Light

Fiberglass Parts ~ Some I bet you never thought of.

How to Make Stabilizer Tips ~ by Scott Laughlin

How to Make Fiberglass Wheel Pants

Making a Composite Prop - It's a great idea for your test stand

Composite Fuel Tank Construction

How to Make a Cowl From Mike Sinclair's 701 Project

Side-Small-Top-601XL paint scheme plans

Heating/Cooling system for your Zodie

Easy Heating system for your 601

The "Foul Fitting Fuel Filler Fix"

Retracting Steps for your 601

601HD/HDS Landing Light & Gear Box Fairing

Retracting Tie-Downs

Wing Root Fairing

Hinge Idea for Wing Lockers

 Center Channel tube run

Balls holding an aileron


Design your instrument Panel ~ Here is a handy online panel designer for your Zodiac, it can save you both Time and Money

Zenith Panel Design

Center Console Fuel Selector

Make your own AOA Lift Reserve indicator

Lift Reserve faces ~ By Dino

Installing (and flying) the Lift Reserve Indicator


Plumbing your Pitot-Static System

Low Cost Instrument Panel Lighting System.

Aircraft Engravers ~ Specialize in doing work for the home built aircraft market making such products as placards, circuit breaker and switch overlays, vinyl N-numbers, rocker switch and aluminum fuel cap engraving also data plate labeling.

First Flight Checklist

Valuable lessons for everyone to review before their first flight!

Flight Testing Handbook


Terminal Procedures/Airport Diagrams (symbols)
Nearby Airport Locator (HOT)
Entire USA VFR Sectionals Online (HOT)
Avgas Deals
Flight Route Calculator
Airport Diagrams
AWC Product Overlay

Builders Learning

Bend Line Spreadsheet ~ A great tool for figuring out developed length, by Larry Winger

Cutting aluminum on a table saw

Amateur Built Aircraft Reference Material

Surface Preparations for primer and paint

What a Canadian inspector looks for

Riveted Joints ~  a must read for beginners from The Boss

Solid Riveting - Military Specifications (Mil Spec)

Weight & Balance Excel worksheet

Control Cable Basics

CH601 Operating Manual

CH601XL Operating Manual

CH601 HDS Pilot Operating Handbook This manual is from Thilo Kind and is a great basis for making your own manual. ~ Thanks Thilo

Some thoughts on Crimping vs. Soldering vs. Both

Good Soldering Techniques

NTSB Accidents | $100 Hamburger | FAA Databases | N-Number Search | C-Letter Search

Airport Information | Airspace Explained | Equipped to Survive | Potts Bush Flying Ops at Towered Airports | Weather Strategies | See How It Flies | Pilot/Controller Glossary  | AIM



The Bookshelf

Choosing Your Homebuilt: The One You'll Finish And Fly! Amazon in UK.
Kenneth D. Armstrong, 3rd edition
ISBN 0-9325-7927-2
For many Homebuilders, myself included, deciding what to build is the hardest step. This book can help you decide which plane, or even if you should build at all. It will help you find an aircraft you can build, fly and afford. And it provides perspective on almost every aspect of Homebuilding, from deciding whether to go with a kit or plans, to the paperwork involved.

Composite Construction for Homebuilt Aircraft: The Basic Handbook of Composite Aircraft Aerodynamics, Construction, Maintenance and ..... Amazon in UK.
Jack Lambie, 2nd edition, 1996
ISBN 0-9387-1626-3, $20 .
This book is entry level and mostly a summation of various principles. It has an interesting section on the Taylor Paper Glass (TPG) process.

Converting Auto Engines For Experimental Aircraft Amazon in UK.
Richard Finch, 4th edition, 1998
ISBN 0-9661-4571-2, $16
This book helps reduce the high cost of building your own aircraft.
Aircraft homebuilders usually do so to save money. They should read this book to try to get their mind out of the rut that the outrageously overpriced aircraft engine is a necessity. Many homebuilt aircraft have flown for years with auto engines and Finch explains how others have done it and saved big money engines, maintenance and fuel. This book explains what it takes to do it yourself.

Kitplane Construction Amazon in UK.
Ronald J. Wanttaja, 2nd edition, 1996
ISBN 0-0706-8161-9, $26
This book is a basic 'primer' covering the basic skills and knowledge necessary to build your own homebuilt aircraft. Chapters cover selecting the right kitplane, engine selection, workshop setup, aircraft-quality workmanship, and specific information on all modes of construction. It doesn't go into such depth that it can be your only guide once you've decided on a plane; if you build a wood plane, you'll need much better guides to carpentry. If you build a composite plane, you'll want to get a good bit more research and practice on laying fibreglass. You'll definitely need separate electronics instruction. Each subject is like that; Wanttaja tells you enough to get you started, but it would take a library to cover in proper detail everything you'll need to know for one plane. What Ronald Wanttaja is mostly doing is giving you as good an idea as possible just what it entails to build your own airplane of one type or another, and helping you decide which, if any, you would have the best chance of completing (Most homebuilt aircraft projects never fly). The first edition won the Aviation/Space Writer's Association 1992 Journalism Award in the Technical/Training books category.

Recommended reading for kit builders, but quite relevant for other builders as well.

The Sportplane Builder: Aircraft Construction Methods Amazon in UK.
Tony Bingelis, 1992
ISBN 0-9400-0057-1
If you are going to build your own aircraft, you should get this book. I can't put it any simpler than that. In fact, this is the first of a series of books by Tony no homebuilder should be without. For more years than I've been a member, EAA members have opened up their issue of Sport Aviation each month to Tony Bingelis' column "Sportplane Builder" for tips, methods and invaluable advice. This book if full of that and more. In these pages you'll find things you may remember from his monthly column, and many new tips, tricks and techniques. Once you read each chapter you'll wonder why you didn't think of it. Tony builds constantly, boats, bows, furniture, gadgets, and more aircraft than anyone I've ever heard of. I can think of no better person to advise you on building your own aircraft.

Sportplane Construction Techniques: A Builder's Handbook
Tony Bingelis
ISBN 0-9400-0031-8
Second in a series of "you gotta have it if you're a homebuilder" books by Tony Bingelis. In this volume you'll find more Bingelis common sense that isn't so common. For example, you find invaluable tips on how to get set up to build while you're waiting for your plans or kit to arrive. Or you'll read how to deal with fittings, and avoid some potentially dangerous pitfalls.

Firewall Forward: Engine Installation Methods Amazon in UK.
Tony Bingelis
ISBN 0-9400-0029-6
Third in a series of "you gotta have it if you're a homebuilder" books by Tony Bingelis. Covering installation of piston engines in homebuilt aircraft, this book is full of information and practices that have proven effective and practical.

SportPlane Resource Guide Amazon in UK.
James R. Campbell, 2nd edition, 1998
ISBN 1-8867-4314-2
This is the second edition of this resource book on Homebuilt Aircraft. It includes a Comprehensive Powerplant Directory, Specs & Reviews of over 800 SportPlanes, and 60 How-To Chapters.

You Want To Build And Fly A What? Or, How I Learned To Fly, Built A WWI Replica, And Stayed Married Amazon in UK.
Dick Starks
ISBN 0-9325-7906-X
This is the funniest book in Homebuilt Aviation. This is the story of how Dick Starks got into aviation, and then Homebuilding, and how he and his wife survived/enjoyed the experience. The funniest thing about this story is it's all true! (Just ask his wife.) Dick has a way of looking at any situation that will make you laugh. For a Homebuilder that is a good trait to have. And to top it off it's illustrated by aviation cartoonist, Bob Stevens. You can't help but enjoy this book.  

Aerodynamics & Design Books

Understanding Aircraft Composite Construction: Basics of Materials and Techniques for the Non-Engineer Amazon in UK.
Zeke Smith, 1996
0-9642-8281-X, $30 .
This book explains, in plain language, without difficult mathematics, how and why composite materials work and how this family of materials achieves high mechanical performance, particularly in small aircraft. The target reader is a builder who is considering an aircraft project but may not have chosen the technology (tube and fabric, wood, aluminum) and needs to learn enough about the principles of composite construction to make an informed choice. This book will be of particular interest to the builder who is considering one of the popular prefab kits like the Glasair, Lancair, or KIS, where most of the structure consists of large, precision-molded sandwich forms. While not a design manual, the book will be of special interest to a builder who wishes to develop his own design and is prepared to do the necessary testing of prototype structures.

Stress Without Tears: A Primer on Aircraft-Stress Analysis Requiring No Advanced Mathematics Amazon in UK.
Tom Rhodes, 1994
ISBN 0-7881-1343-7, $40 .
I've had this book recommended by several persons.

Aircraft Design: A conceptual Approach (Aiaa Education Series) Amazon in UK.
Daniel P. Raymer, 1989
ISBN 0-9304-0351-7, $67
This book is a college textbook on the subject.

Composite Materials for Aircraft Structures (Aiaa Education Series) Amazon in UK.
Brian Hoskin, 1986
ISBN 0-9304-0311-8, $55
An introduction to virtually all aspects of the technology of composite materials as used in aeronautical design and structure. This text discusses important differences in the technology of composites from that of metals: intrinsic substantive differences and their implications for manufacturing processes, structural design procedures, and in-service performance of the materials, particularly regarding the cause and nature of damage that may be sustained.

Airfoil Selection Amazon in UK.
Barnaby Wainfan, 1997
ISBN 9-9921-4657-5
This book is a reprint of a series of articles first published in Kitplanes magazine. This book gives a basic understanding of airfoil geometry and how that geometry affects the aerodynamic characteristics of an airfoil and the characteristics of an airplane using that airfoil.

Aerodynamics of Wings and Bodies Amazon in UK.
Holt Ashley, 1985
ISBN 0-4866-4899-0, $9 .
Didn't cost much, so I couldn't resist buying it.

The Illustrated Guide to Aerodynamics Amazon in UK.
Hubert "Skip" Smith, 1992
ISBN 0-8306-3901-2
This book clearly explains basic aerodynamics without using pretentious technical jargon and dry scientific explanations. It's perfect for pilots, aircraft owners, homebuilders, and airplane mechanics. This book is a perfect text to read prior to reading a university level textbook.

Airplane Design Amazon in UK.
Donald R. Crawford, 1986
ISBN 0-9603-9341-2
This book is a reprint of a series of articles first published in Kitplanes magazine. These articles focus on "bite-sized" pieces of the overall design problem. Many articles are accompanied by computer program code listings.

A Practical Guide to Airplane Performance and Design Amazon in UK.
Donald R. Crawford, 1979
ISBN 0-9603-9340-4
This book is unusual in that key aerodynamic relationships are clarified with easy to use and easy to understand nomograms. As a result you can immediately make valid performance calculations for a new design, and see the consequences, or benefits, of changing design features.

Theoretical Aerodynamics Amazon in UK.
L.M. Milne-Thomson, 4th edition, 1973
ISBN 0-4866-1980-X
This book is a university text and reference book, and is considered a classic in the field. It covers nearly all aspects of aerodynamics. This is no easy read. It does help to be familiar with the elements of the differential and integral calculus.

Theory of Flight Amazon in UK.
Richard Von Mises, 1959
ISBN 0-4866-0541-8
A balanced, well written account of fundamental fluid dynamics. It is one of the clearer presentations of uncompressed air flow. It is designed for the college senior or beginning graduate student, and assumes a knowledge of the principles of calculus and some familiarity with general mechanics.

Theory of Wing Sections Amazon in UK
Ira H. Abbott & Albert E. Von Doenhoff, 1960
ISBN 0-4866-0586-8, $12 .
Concise compilation of the subsonic aerodynamic characteristics of modern NASA wing sections together with a description of their geometry and associated theory. Intended to be primarily a reference work for engineers and students, the book devotes over 300 pages to theoretical and experimental considerations. Rather heavy reading (have to brush up on my calculus) and perhaps a little outdated. Interesting section on the effect of flaps and wing slats.