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Zenith Founder Chris Heintz To Be Honored At AirVenture

“Zeniths To Oshkosh” At This Year’s EAA Convention

On the first day of the upcoming EAA convention in Oshkosh, members will honor an accomplished aeronautical engineer and designer of many certified and homebuilt aircraft ... including the Zenith 650 XLB and the Zenith 750. July 25th has been designated “Chris Heintz Day” by the EAA, and will be celebrated with a homebuilt review and ceremony, along with a Zenith banquet honoring Chris on Wednesday, July 27th in the EAA Nature Center.

On Monday, July 25th, EAA will honor Chris Heintz with a special presentation in the ConocoPhillips Plaza, formerly known as Aeroshell Square. One of each kind of aircraft design will be on hand for the ceremony and a special homebuilt review will follow. Although the official time has not been set, it will be around 1300 CDT.

It all started as a grass roots movement of Zenith homebuilders under the direction of Zenith 601 builder Joe Scheibinger.  50 Zenith Aircraft from all over the country will be on display in a special location in Showplane Parking on the flightline. Gruenhagen Hall at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has reserved an entire floor for accommodations for Zenith enthusiasts from all over the world. Builders from New Zeeland, Australia, and Africa will be there to honor Chris.

Chris Heintz is a graduate of the E.T.H. Institute in Switzerland. After serving in the Air Force, Heintz worked for Aerospatiale on the supersonic Concorde jetliner, and later became chief engineer at Avions Robin (France) where he designed several fully-certified two and four seat all-metal production aircraft. In his spare time, Heintz began to design and build his own aircraft, which he named the ZENITH, anagram of Heintz. Being an engineer and not a craftsman, his all-metal homebuilt aircraft incorporated simple construction methods throughout. After a little more than a year’s work, the two-place low-wing Zenith was rolled out and successfully flown in 1969.  Soon after, detailed blueprints and construction manuals of the aircraft were drawn up and offered to the growing number of interested builders and flyers.

In 1973, Chris Heintz, his family and the Zenith moved to North America, where Heintz worked for de Havilland as a stress engineer on the Dash 7 commuter. Chris decided to form his own aircraft company in 1974, and under the name of Zenair Ltd. started to manufacture Zenith kits himself from his two-car garage. Through the company, Heintz has introduced more than twelve successful kit aircraft designs over the years.

In 1992, Heintz licensed the kit manufacturing and marketing rights to Zenith Aircraft Company for the STOL CH 701 and the ZODIAC CH 601 designs, and subsequently developed the STOL CH 801, the ZODIAC XL, and the new STOL CH 750 light sport utility kit airplane.

With a career-long dedication to aviation, Chris Heintz is a past recipient of the EAA’s coveted Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award "for outstanding contribution to the advancement of the design of light aircraft," and his designs have been honored with numerous awards around the world. In 1995, the Federation Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) awarded Zenair Ltd. the prestigious Honorary Group Diploma for "greatly contributing to the progress of aviation" and Chris Heintz was inducted into the EAA "Hall of Fame" in 1999.

The honorary banquet for Chris will be held on Wednesday, July 27th in the Nature Center, on the grounds of EAA. Sponsors for the event are the EAA, Contact Magazine, Aircraft Spruce, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, and David Clark Headsets. Attending will be Tom Poberezny, Chairman of the Board at EAA. Zenith Aircraft also has 4 forums for this year’s EAA convention. On Wednesday, July 27th, Sebastien Heintz will give a talk on “Light Sport STOL Aircraft” in Forum Pavilion 9 at 1000 CDT, and Mathieu Heintz will discuss in Forum Pavilion 3 “Floats for Light Aircraft” at 1430.  On Friday, July 29th, Sebastien will speak in Forum Pavilion 11 about the “CH 650” at 1130, and Mathieu will discuss “Sheet Metal Construction” at 1300.

FMI: www.zenithair.com


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