- About the 701
- Subaru EA81
- Suzuki Spirit 5000
- 2 Stroke Notes
Other Good Stuff:
- Rib Forming
Welcome to Murray Johnson's Hangar of Madness...
This site is a way for me to share the progress of my aircraft projects. I'm building two projects from scratch - a Zenith CH 701 and a "Texas" Parasol.
I guess everybody's heard of someone who gets this wild idea in their head that they can take a bunch of metal and build an airplane out of it. I know of only three people in my life's travels that have gone ahead and actually done it, and I wanted to join them in achieving a dream - to build and fly my own aircraft.
I decided to build the Zenith CH 701 after carefully researching many designs. The analysis phase takes forever, because you want to make sure that you're making the right choice for you. But, once you reach a decision a whole new chapter opens up in your life - you've taken the first step toward the realization of a dream...
Okay, so as long as we're dreaming - here's why I decided to build the CH 701. First, it's a STOL aircraft (short takeoff and landing). This is very handy for getting into (and back out of) small airstrips. The 701 is really a flying jeep - you can't say it's a beautiful airplane. It has it's own sort of charm. It's rugged and slow. I've heard it said that it glides like a piano. But it can take you places most other aircraft can't. There are many 701's in use around the world operating as basic transportation in developing countries - a solid vote of confidence in the design.
The CH 701 was designed by Chris Heintz, who lives and works near Midland, Ontario. The country home shown above belongs to Chris - the 701 was designed and built so that he could take off and land in his back yard.
One thing that really became apparent in my research is that everybody respects Chris Heintz and his work on the Zenith Aircraft designs. Before making my decision I dropped in on Art Mitchell, the former Canadian distributor for Zenith Aircraft, to see an almost completed CH 701 in the shop.
Art was very helpful and took time from his busy day to show me the CH 701. He explained how the aircraft are built, and allowed me to examine the plane from nose to tail. I took many pictures that day.
It was apparent that Art is a great supporter of grass roots aviation in Canada. He loves to fly and he loves his work. Later, when I attended the rudder workshop I found out just how committed he is to making the skies accessible for the average person. It's more of a mission for Art.
All of this just confirmed to me that I had made the right choice in deciding to build the CH 701. I went ahead and ordered the plans, and within 10 days a box appeared with what would be the cause of many hours spent mentally piecing the project together.
The box contained a full set of version 4 drawings and a small binder with a photo manual and assembly instructions. The quality of the plans and the manuals is excellent; all the information is there...
One of the advantages of belonging to groups like EAA or RAA is the opportunity to work with other builders and to learn from each other. I belong to the Kitchener-Waterloo chapter of RAA Canada. Gary Wolf is a major supporter of RAA and enjoys helping others with their projects. One of Gary's initiatives is the building of a number of "Texas Parasol" ultralight aircraft. I had the opportunity to take over one of these projects and so I decided to broaden my experience by building two planes...
Two? At the same time? Why not finish one
first and then move on to another one? This is a reasonable question but there's no
logical answer where aviation madness is concerned. Here's my answer (and I'm
sticking to it) - the 701 is built exactly according to plans.
What a way to learn! So, depending on how I feel (or what the weather is) I can always make progress on my projects. If I just want to form and rivet metal I'll work on the Zenith. If I want to learn about aircraft design and try new ideas I'll work on the Parasol.
So, now you know how I got started. The links on the left will take you to the various sections of the projects, where you'll see pictures and read about my troubles (!).
Thanks for stopping by.
Aviation is a damn-fool idea