12 years of Zenith’s powered by FlyCorvair Conversions.


2015 marks the 12 th year of our work installing Corvairs into Zenith airframes. Today there are almost 100 Corvair powered Zeniths, each representing the craftsmanship of an individual working with our direction, support and components.  Throughout this time we have maintained a close working relationship with the Heintz family, Hosting 4 Corvair Colleges at their facilities, displaying aircraft in their booth at both Sun n Fun and Oshkosh, and being present at 7 of the factory open houses. I am an outspoken supporter of the designs of Chris Heintz, I have followed his teachings closely since I was an  Aeronautical Engineering student at Embry-Riddle, 25 years ago.




Above, a 1971 photo of Chris Heintz with one of his designs. The picture was actually taken in Belgium. Note the French aircraft registry. If you look closely you can see that his modern designs like the 650, have their roots in his early work. He has been an active designer of homebuilts for nearly half the history of powered flight. Chis Heintz earned his education and his start in France, a country with a very strong history of outstanding aeronautical work. Read more: French Aviation to be admired.



Above, Sun n Fun 2004. I stand next to Chris Heintz, in front of our own Corvair powered 601XL, N-1777W, in the Zenith display. I have personally met most of the prolific homebuilt designers, Wittman, Rutan, VanGrunsven, Davis, Monnett and many others. I can say without any hesitation that Chris Heintz is the most approachable, and also the most willing to directly share his understanding in conversation.




Above, fast forward 10 years to Oshkosh 2014:  Myself, Grace and Chris Heintz, inside the “One week wonder” tent where the Zenith 750 was built in a single week. Chris is autographing a copy of his design book to Grace and myself. I consider this man on a plateau with Bernard Pietenpol and Steve Wittman for his commitment to producing affordable designs that provide access to flight to working Americans. In the 43 years between this and the top photo, Chris Heintz made 14 commercially successful designs, and we have built, tested and flown Corvairs on 4 of these designs.




Above, The five Corvair powered Zeniths that flew into Corvair College #30, all parked for a photo in front of the Zenith Factory  The engine installation on these planes are clones of the one we developed in our own 601XL 12 years ago. Since then, we wrote the installation manual for it, produced hundreds of installation parts like mounts, intakes and exhausts, and have taught 800 people at colleges how to clone our engines. The five planes above are a sample of the success of cloning a proven engine set up. We will be returning to the Factory to hold Corvair College #34 this September. Read more here: Corvair College #30 Good Times and here: Corvair College #30 Running Engines



Above, Our industry contacts have long worked to support our Corvair builders.  The photo is from 2004 at Oshkosh: Next to our personal Zenith N-1777W, I explain our dual ignition arrangement two executives from Falcon insurance, The EAA’s provider. To offer real support, an alternative engine provider must be an effective advocate for his builders on many fronts, including meeting the requirements of underwriters. Just being an engine guru is not nearly enough. Corvair engines that follow our design,  including to ones assembled by builders, are fully insurable at the lowest rates, right from the first flight, because they have an outstanding safety record. Having good effective hands on support is a critical element in this outstanding record.




Above, We have new Corvair powered Zeniths taking to the air all the time. Above, Blaine Schwartz and his 750 that made its first flight  a month ago. Blaine built the engine at Corvair College #22. Read his story here: Flying Zenith 750, 2850 cc Corvair, Blaine Schwartz


Above, Phil Maxson of NJ with his Corvair powered 601 XL that has been flying since 2006. We have our own private discussion group, specifically for Zenith builders working with a William Wynne conversion. It is very effectively organized and moderated by Corvair/Zenith pilot Phil Maxson. To learn more read this link: ‘Zenvair’ Information board formed.


Both Grace and I are looking forward to another great year in aviation and building on our long standing success, working with Zenith Builders who select the Corvair for power.



For more information on 601/650s, including pictures of 50 flying planes::

Zenith 601/650 – Corvair reference page November 2013

For more information on 750s, including pictures of flying planes:

Zenith 750 / Corvair reference page, October 2013

For more information on 701s:

Zenith 701- Corvair reference page, November 2013

More stories on Zenith 601s and 650′s, click on any title to read:

16 Flying Corvair powered Zenith 601/ 650s

Woody’s 2,850cc Corvair/601XL hits 400 hours.

New Zenith 601 XL(B), Conventional Gear, Jerry Baak, S.C.

Flying 2700 cc Zenith 601 XL(B), Alan Uhr

 Zenith 650-2700cc Dave Gardea

 Zenith 601XL-2,850cc, Woody Harris

Another new “Zenvair” 601XLB, Jim Ballew, 2700cc

Second “Zenvair”, the McDaniel’s 2700cc 601XLB

 Patrick Hoyt, new Zenith 601XL, now flying, N-63PZ

Guest writer: Phil Maxson, flying a 3100cc Corvair in his 601XL

 601XL-2700cc Dr. Gary Ray

 Zenith 601XL-3100cc Dr. Andy Elliott

One Reply to “12 years of Zenith’s powered by FlyCorvair Conversions.”

  1. I’ve found the same with Zenith; great folks and great designs. We had a chance to visit with Chris Heintz at OSH during the OWW build. He was totally approachable and humble.
    Edi liked the 750 STOL enough that she bought a kit so now it’s on to find another core and while glue sets on the Piet parts, pull rivets on the alu Zenith parts.

    Harold and Edi

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