The Garbage of Fools


I was alerted by a friend of this item on eBay:



I have no idea who’s plane this was. If someone knows, please message me.


Wentworth , the seller, is a very well known salvage operation, but the copy on this add sounds like it was written by someone who knows nothing about planes. It is listed as easily repairable, but I have built the same model plane, and I’m calling it 100% destroyed.


Problems with the engine; it is listed as built my me, but I really doubt it. The plane is said to be a 2014 model, but the Gold Oil filter housing is not anodized, it is a preproduction item from 2006. Notice it has no 5th bearing.


Ask yourself why anyone would be registering a Corvair powered plane without a 5th bearing in 2014. Sound like a person with good judgement? Read the ad about how only one prop blade is broken, so the engine is good. Sure. Just assume the engine is junk.


I’m going to call Wentworth in the morning and ask what evidence they have i built the engine, and if the answer is ‘none’, watch how the add changes tomorrow.


I hope not, but I’m sure someone will buy this for $4,500 and want to know if they can just put another prop on it and go flying. Just make sure it isn’t you.





15 Replies to “The Garbage of Fools”

  1. I am no expert on metal airframes or the Zenith but to my eye as an engineer there is way too much crumpled and/or buckled skin for that fuselage to be returned to service without significant rebuilding. There are also the issues of the mangled nosegear and what forces that it represents which were transferred to the airframe. Just how much damage could be done to rivets that got stressed along the way and might be loose in the holes now assuming that is a valid concern. If Caveat Emptor ever applied it is to this 3D aluminum scrap pile. The common wisdom I have always heard is that any sudden engine stoppage from a prop strike comes with a mandatory tear-down so the true state of the crank and other high stress components can be objectively assessed. I really doubt that this engine could break a prop blade and not have that apply.

    I think WW is doing the community a good service by identifying this item so that anyone can know just how big a hole they are digging for themselves if they think this is a quick and inexpensive to get a flyable aircraft.

    1. Sarah, Here is what most people who work outside aviation don’t get: It is a completely different skill set to evaluate a damaged part and decide if it is ok or needs to be replaced. I person can build 4 kits, and learn none of this because every part they have touched is new and airworthy. It takes some training to evaluate any non-new part.

      1. William, I was looking at what I saw and based on 4 years of book learning which included aircraft structures and various classes on materials. From what I know of the related CH-650, the fuselage is the typical semi-monocoque type of structure. Some aircraft types have an underlying steel tube structure in the cockpit section but I am not aware of that in any contemporary low wing Zenith designs. Since it has relatively thin skin forming the load path one would need to look at how the structure is loaded locally under normal conditions. If it is loaded in tension then the wrinkles might be considered acceptable although a potential for a fatigue failure with repeatable loading and unloading. If there is any compression loading a wrinkle is a fault that lets the skin buckle easily. For my own comfort level there were too many wrinkled areas where abnormal loading was probably applied during the flip over.

        I cannot say that it is the correct analysis and you certainly have the greater understanding of this aircraft types structure as well as the practical applied experience. I just wanted to provide a little bit of the “Why” that shows just how bad a deal any buyer might be into if they want it for anything other than a collection of parts and fittings for use in a new build, essentially a scrap pile. I do pity anyone who is foolish enough to think it is anything other than a collection of reusable parts and a core engine.

      2. Sarah, I was really just agreeing with your observation, just from a mechanic’s perspective and level, and saying that the person most likely to buy it has no appreciation for the fact an expert in practical structural repairs would have a very hard time accurately evaluating the extent of the damage.

        Hope to see you in person at some point during this years flying season.

      3. I really wish I could be flying in the next year but with an impending relocation to Oklahoma City my plans are slowed. Worse yet my past two years of detailed design work on my computer got lost to a drive failure that was deemed unrecoverable even with an expensive look into the drive itself. I am in the software business but I committed the ultimate sin of not making backups so my design drops back to 2016 and I have a lot of redesign to work out. Fortunately I had put a lot of the drawings I created onto my KitLog website so I have low resolution copies of them that could be downloaded. The plywood forward fuselage mock-up is going to be useful as I recreate the side-stick control design and a fairly complex (robust) electrical system that is not hidden away under the instrument panel glare-shield. As they say in the carpentry business, Measure Twice and Cut Once which is very relevant to a composite aircraft design..

  2. WEWjr. :

    I hope you haven’t forgotten your friend in the frozen north of Minnesota/Twin Cities.

    Wentworth is based at Crystal Airport here in the Twin Cities. My 85hp Cub, N25WF, is based at Crystal. I would gladly, at no cost to you, do whatever you want me to. (Pump Wentworth for ownership information, get registration info, take lots of pictures, drive somewhere, etc…). The earliest I can be at Wentworth is Thursday afternoon or Friday morning; I am pretty booked over the next 24 hours. You can call me anytime between 6am and 2am, 7 days per week.

    John Schmidt EAA 250021 651 373 3779 c


    1. John, thanks, I called Wentworth and explained that I would like them to change the wording which claims I’m the engine manufacturer. We will see what happens.

  3. Well, who it belongs to is clear. It is N38AA and according to the FAA is owned by Ralph J. Sonnicksen, 506 N 22nd St, Fort Dodge, Iowa
    Ed Lee

  4. William there something similar for sale on barnstromers. A corvair engine said to be built and one of your workshops with a WW ground crank. It is a rear starter does not look like a fifth bearing. I messaged the seller letting him know I think his info is wrong.

    Timothy Shupert CADD Technician

    Office: 715.834.3161 * Direct: 715.831.7642

  5. At $1900 bid currently and 3 days left on the bidding, someone is looking to get badly “what they want”! William..I recently purchased a total from Wentworth, and in general I agree they are reasonable folks as far as auctioneers go. In my deal there was no mis-representation and I do have the correct paperwork in hand. No complaints. Just so everyone is aware I paid $1995 for the Capella XLS less the 912S. The folks at the airport in Alabama where I picked up the airframe stated the owner who groundlooped the aircraft was not very pleased that the engine was sold off separately prior to the aircraft. I do not know if that was Wentworth or not, but I suspect so. What is clear is that your name should be cleared of this auction description. I imagine John can clear the haze about the facts on the powerplant NOT being to spec.

  6. It would provide quite a sense of accomplishment to see it fly again. But I find it incredible that on this planet anybody exists that would look at that and suggest it to be worthy to rebuild. It should already be a beer can.

    1. Thanks for the link. Notice how the original Wentworth add said the plane made a hard landing, neatly forgetting to mention that it had a power failure of some sort.

    1. Wentworth is evidently a really funny bunch of guys because I called them and they sure sounded like they were going to fix this, perhaps they just want to see how viral a story I can write.

Leave a Reply

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

%d bloggers like this: