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Thread: Zenith CH 640?

  1. #1

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    Zenith CH 640?

    Why isn't the Zenith Zodiac CH640 more popular in the United States.?

    I'm currently working on my PPL and plotting what aircraft I'll ultimately buy. I'm considering both experimental and certified. My mission is for an economical 4place family cruiser and by the numbers the 640 looks very appealing, with cruise around the 150s and a useful load of 1k pounds.

    I know my needs are not unique. What gives?

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  2. #2
    Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outrider View Post
    Why isn't the Zenith Zodiac CH640 more popular in the United States.?

    I'm currently working on my PPL and plotting what aircraft I'll ultimately buy. I'm considering both experimental and certified. My mission is for an economical 4place family cruiser and by the numbers the 640 looks very appealing, with cruise around the 150s and a useful load of 1k pounds.

    I know my needs are not unique. What gives?

    Sent from my SM-G970U1 using Tapatalk
    For the average size American adult, the CH640 is more like a 2+2 than a true four place. Even with the lowered floor and extended rear seat options, there won't be much legroom for back seat passengers. The CH640 is actually derived from the part 23 certified 2 place CH2000/Alarus trainer.

    Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with it except some people may have difficulty getting into and out of the back seats. Personally, I'm a Zenith fanboy.

    Photo from the Zenith CH640 website:

    Name:  CH640 Rear Seats.jpg
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    Last edited by Scooper; 08-19-2019 at 06:24 PM.
    - Stan, Private Pilot ASEL, LSR-I, EAA 115792 (since 1966)
    Zenith CH601XLi-B, N601KE, KSTS



  3. #3

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    Thanks for the picture. I was imagining more like the CH801 in the back, which looks like the back of a 4 door Ford pickup.

    Still though this looks like a lot more leg room than the back seat of most older 4 seat singles on out there. We're not a tall family. I am a wide guy though, and in the Piper Warrior I'm currently renting, it's a very close quarters with my CFI.

    How is the width in the CH 640 compared to older planes? The gap between those front seats looks promising.



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  4. #4
    Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outrider View Post
    Thanks for the picture. I was imagining more like the CH801 in the back, which looks like the back of a 4 door Ford pickup.

    Still though this looks like a lot more leg room than the back seat of most older 4 seat singles on out there. We're not a tall family. I am a wide guy though, and in the Piper Warrior I'm currently renting, it's a very close quarters with my CFI.

    How is the width in the CH 640 compared to older planes? The gap between those front seats looks promising.



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    The CH640 front seat cabin width is 46 inches. It compares quite favorably with C172s and PA-28s. The Warrior is 41.5 inches.

    CH640 Comparison Chart
    Last edited by Scooper; 08-20-2019 at 08:12 AM.
    - Stan, Private Pilot ASEL, LSR-I, EAA 115792 (since 1966)
    Zenith CH601XLi-B, N601KE, KSTS



  5. #5

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    Wow your research skills are far superior to mine. That comparison chart is the single most useful piece of information I've seen so far.

    It looks like the CH 640 has advantages over just about every common comparable certified aircraft available. That extra shoulder space would be a real benefit to me.

    I guess the problem is that there are just so many old certified aircraft out there that can be bought right now, rather than investing thousands of hours into a project, that most GA guys just go with something already flying, even if they're aware of the CH 640. Whereas with the CH 750 etc there is really nothing comparable out there for what they do.

    I still really like the all around advantages of the CH640 though. Are there any major roadblocks to getting a kit to the US from Canada, which appears to be the only place they're available? Any FAA special hurdles to getting its air worthiness certified once its built compared to other kits?

    Also, I read somewhere that the CH 640 doesn't have a build plan manual like the other Zeniths but that information might be old. Is there a good manual available to guide through the build process or is it pretty much a figure it out as you go arrangement? Id hate to walk into any pitfalls.

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  6. #6
    Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outrider View Post
    Wow your research skills are far superior to mine. That comparison chart is the single most useful piece of information I've seen so far.

    It looks like the CH 640 has advantages over just about every common comparable certified aircraft available. That extra shoulder space would be a real benefit to me.

    I guess the problem is that there are just so many old certified aircraft out there that can be bought right now, rather than investing thousands of hours into a project, that most GA guys just go with something already flying, even if they're aware of the CH 640. Whereas with the CH 750 etc there is really nothing comparable out there for what they do.

    I still really like the all around advantages of the CH640 though. Are there any major roadblocks to getting a kit to the US from Canada, which appears to be the only place they're available? Any FAA special hurdles to getting its air worthiness certified once its built compared to other kits?

    Also, I read somewhere that the CH 640 doesn't have a build plan manual like the other Zeniths but that information might be old. Is there a good manual available to guide through the build process or is it pretty much a figure it out as you go arrangement? Id hate to walk into any pitfalls.
    Those are all good questions, but I'm sorry I don't have any answers. I think your best bet would be to give the U.S. factory in Mexico, Missouri a call (573-581-9000) and get the answers from the company. We actually have a CH640 (N317ST) tied down here at KSTS, although I haven't met the owner.
    - Stan, Private Pilot ASEL, LSR-I, EAA 115792 (since 1966)
    Zenith CH601XLi-B, N601KE, KSTS



  7. #7

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    Thanks for the great info Scooper. I'll give them a call when I get a little closer to making my decision.

    If you come across anything else cool about the CH 640, please do share!

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