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Thread: Zodiac 601xl-b

  1. #1

    Zodiac 601xl-b

    Hello community,

    I am interested in obtaining my sport pilot license. I have 14 hours in a 152 but this was almost 20 years ago so I am starting over. I like the Zenith 601XL. The one I am interested in one that has had the upgrade kit performed. Anyone have time in the 601? Is the plane a stable flyer, especially for a low time pilot? The airframe had other modifications performed at the same time. My potential CFI is concerned about the original build quality with all the mods. I am trying to get the number of the original A and P that performed the modifications/fixes.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by detectivedrew; 02-26-2015 at 05:17 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    151
    601 is a stable flyer and capable of good cross country flying, assuming the build was of good quality. I would recommend transition flight instruction from a CFI experienced with the 601.
    If you are considering buying the 601, contact the Zenith builder's group and find a couple of Zenith builders to look at the plane and give their opinion. Builders usually have more insight about how well a kit was made than an unfamiliar A&P.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Broadway, North Carolina, United States
    Posts
    11
    I own both a C-150 and a CH601 XL-B. My training was in C-172s and most of my time is in C-172s and C-150s. I just recently bought the CH601. As for the quality of the build goes, I agree with Bob H. You should get someone that is familiar with the CH601 to look it over for the "gotchas" that may not be evident to anyone not familiar. As far as learning to fly, I would say continue in the Cessna for most of the training to learn the basics, especially the stall series. You will really like the CH601 as it is a smooth flyer ( although a lot more sensitive than the Cessna ). The CH601 ( at least mine ) does not much of a stall to it at all ( unless you REALLY get the nose up to make it stall ) so learning in an aircraft that will definitely give you a stall would be best to learn in. Landing the CH601 is also something totally different that someone with that type experience should teach you. Overall.....you should learn to fly a normal aircraft first and then transition into the CH601. You will REALLY like the Zodiac....I do.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    1

    flying the 601XL-B

    Quote Originally Posted by detectivedrew View Post
    Hello community,

    I am interested in obtaining my sport pilot license. I have 14 hours in a 152 but this was almost 20 years ago so I am starting over. I like the Zenith 601XL. The one I am interested in one that has had the upgrade kit performed. Anyone have time in the 601? Is the plane a stable flyer, especially for a low time pilot? The airframe had other modifications performed at the same time. My potential CFI is concerned about the original build quality with all the mods. I am trying to get the number of the original A and P that performed the modifications/fixes.

    Thank you.
    Hi there, i built and fly the Zodiac 601 XL-B and it is the best thing i have ever built and flown, it is not aerobatic as some people think, but it will eat rough air and high wind like no other plain out there. i have been up in 40x k wind and it is smooth as silk and will dead stick like a glider. But i agree with the others, finish your flight training first then cross over. this is not a Cessna, it is a sports car and very light on the stick. i have hundreds of hrs. in 152's 172's and many others. the 601XL-B is by far a very solid plain, and as soon as you lift off you will see what i am talking about. you will not be sorry. i love it. but get the right training first.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    FA40
    Posts
    742
    My 601xl-b experience is in only one airframe. It has a corvair engine, electric aileron and elevator trim, center stick, placarded as experimental light sport. I have about 35 hours in it. Total PIC experience is 47 years, military and civilian, ATP, CFII, AMEL, ASEL, HELO. FlyBaby to C130 and a few in between. Still practicing aviation in general, plus what I know about the make&model is not encyclopedic. All my comments will assume the aircraft you're considering is built to plans with airworthy workmanship. Enough warnings as to applicability or veracity.

    The one I've flown has good responsiveness with average stability. Better than 500 fpm cruise climb rates even at gross weight (sea level, 90F). Trims well for comfortable cross-country flight with great visibility for collision avoidance. Engine-out landing patterns predictable and easily controllable (yes, we had some teething pains). Could go on, but you get the drift. It's a nice little airplane with good manners, a big cockpit, and big windows.

    I respectfully disagree with the advice to learn in a Cessna then transition because this aircraft is unique and too hot (or too stall-insensitive, or whatever) for a novice to handle. You can't get a sport pilot certificate in a 150 or 172. Makes as much sense as renting a 1961 Biscayne station wagon with manual steering and brakes to learn how to drive a 2013 Ford Fiesta. The Navy started newbies (yes, even the gasp girls) in T-28's and T34C's, now is using turbine T6's for primary. But the Zodiac 601xl-b is too hot for a novice? Gimme a break. Just fly the daggone aircraft. With a BIG smile!
    Last edited by Mike M; 02-27-2015 at 09:56 AM.

  6. #6
    Thanks for everyone's input. The problem with the Zenith builders group is you need to be a PRESENT Zenith owner and/or builder to join the group. I am going to contact someone (he may be on this forum and not even know I am going to call) named "Buzz" from TN. Zenith recommended him to check out and fly the plane. The only quirks of the present owner is that the bird is pitch sensitive and yet the ailerons are the opposite. Landing is 60 to 65 knots.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    7
    I built a CH601XL-B and am very happy with it. I flew and evaluated several different airplanes (Piper Warrior, RV-6, Piper Cub, Flight Design CT) before deciding on the Zodiac.

    Wife and I have a lot of fun with it. Flew it to Missouri a couple times (from MN), and to Oshkosh twice. The 6061 aluminum takes a really good shine, and gets attention everywhere we go.

    Google "N63PZ" for pictures, or look in the January 2015 issue of Experimenter.

    I did some Transition Training with Buzz in TN (right before I took my Zodiac up on its first flight ). He's good. I highly recommend him. You will be a better pilot afterwards, and you will have a lot of fun.

    Also nice was going to one of the Rudder Workshops that the Zenith people do at their factory. It was really nice to fly my completed airplane back there a few years later.

    Patrick Hoyt
    N63PZ

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    4
    Hi Drew; I am a new pilot with about 100 hours. Most of my flying time has been in either a Cessna C162 ( an absolute PIG with wings) and an Evektor Harmony (a real dream to fly). After I bought my CH-601 (powered by a Jabiru 3300) I had several mods beside the B-wing mod done. Converted from center stick to dual sticks, with trim controls on-stick instead of on-panel. Hinged-aileron conversion (the original design actually flexes the sheet metal attaching the ailerons to the wings). Also converted to larger elevators for better pitch authority. Also changed out the fixed-pitch wood prop for a ground adjustable composite.

    I did all my initial solo and cross-country flying in my 601, and afterward flew it home from Madison, IA to Allentown, PA (about 550 miles) with one fuel stop. In all of this the plane handled very well; it responds crisply and positively to stick and rudder inputs, and trims out nicely. It handles turbulence pretty well and once you get above the clouds it flies effortlessly.

    All in all, I like my CH-601 - a lot, and I believe you will like one, too.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the reply. Good to know the Zodiac is a good bird. I am not too far from you. I attended undergrad at Muhlenberg right in Allentown. I believe Art may have mentioned your bird at Allentown Airport. Cheers, Drew

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    1
    anyone in, near or around the Ames, Iowa area?? looking at a Zodiac 601 XL and would like some knowledgeable input, that is would you be willing to give it the "once over" for me. I live in Nevada so would be very appreciative if a Zodiac owner could look at if for me.
    Thanks (joel9728"at"yahoo.com).
    Once contacted I will send exact location of airplane.
    Last edited by N3437D; 03-03-2019 at 03:19 PM.

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