14 Years of Corvair Powered Zeniths.


In 28 years of working with Corvairs, I can tell you what the best decision I made was: Oshkosh 2003, deciding to buy our own Zenith 601XL kit.  This choice not only gave us a great plane, but started a very rewarding relationship with the Heintz family and over the long run brought us several hundred builders, who’s success brought the Corvair to national recognition.


Today, more than 150 Zeniths have flown on Corvair power, including the HD, HDS, and XL 601s, 701s, 650s , 750 STOLs and 750 Cruiser. Nothing good or lasting in aviation happens quick or easy. Being able to type the sentence above took 14 years of continuous support for our builders, including the 6 free Corvair Colleges we had at Zenith facilities and countless free house calls to builders shops. Today, the Corvair remains an ever popular option for Zenith builders. It isn’t for everyone, but for builders looking to find out how much they can learn, not how little, we have a long proven installation of a simple and rugged American made engine.




Above, Our 601XL with our shop crew in the winter of 2004, in Edgewater Florida. This was the first Corvair powered Zenith. Our plane was the first tail wheel XL model, and it was the first 601 with dual sticks.  L-R, Steve Upson, Dave Vargesko, Gus Warren, Kevin Fahy, Whobiscat, Grace and myself.  N-1777W was displayed in the Zenith booth at both Sun n Fun and Oshkosh, and took more than 125 Zenith builders on their first flight in type.


I have often pointed out that builders may want to read about “new and exciting” but they are much better served by “Old and Proven”, delivered by people who meet this standard:  What defines ‘reputable’ in our industry?


2018 will arrive shortly, with another full year of opportunity to advance your plans and dreams in experimental aviation. All achievements start with imagining the future you want to have, and then making a solid plan to get there. For several hundred builders, we have been the guide on their personal path to success. All it takes is the decision that you will make 2018 your year.





5 Replies to “14 Years of Corvair Powered Zeniths.”

  1. William,Thank you for being you, the first flight of my corvair powered (2850) 650 was Aug 24/17. I have 23hrs on it now and have had no problems. The engine was built by you and installed and maintained as per your manuals. Here is a video link of the first flight.

    and the password is tallyho.She may not be the prettiest 650 but she flies straight and runs great. Once again thank you so much for all you do.

    Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to You, Grace and Family

    John & Susanne

      1. William, here’s a couple of stills that were taken just before the final inspection.  Thanks John

        Sent from Samsung Mobile

  2. Hi William,

    One of the MAIN reasons I decided to build a Cruzer is because Zenith promotes the use of the Corvair engine (thanks to you.)

    I’ve just completed transplanting the 3L from my Merlin to my completed Cruzer Fuselage.

    Using your engine mount for the 750 Cruzer and the cowl kit from Dan’s parents (a piece of sheetmetal art) and the rest of the conversion parts I purchased from you taken from the Merlin made the whole process alarmingly easy.

    Thank you so much for all of the development work you have done and continue to do with this wonderful engine.


  3. I cant wait for my 601 HDS Corvair to take flight. I just got my Special Airworthiness Certificate, Now I need to find a tail-wheel instructor.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: