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Red-white marked STOL CH801

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Zenith CH801

The Zenith Aircraft STOL CH 801 is designed as a SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) aircraft. While it may not be pretty or fast, it was designed from the beginning with utility features in mind. Mainly, that means the ability to start and land on very short fields with payloads up to 450kg combined with easy construction and maintenance.
The CH 801 is based on the successful CH 701 from 1986 and shares its basic capabilities and features, while having seats for four instead of two people, greater dimensions and a higher speed.

ch801 with floats under construction
A CH 801 with floats under construction
Like its predecessor, the CH 801 was designed as a kit, which makes it very affordable. One can either order a complete kit, that features all the parts or a basic kit, which features only those parts, that a homebuilder can’t construct at home, such as the cowling, the engine and all the equipment.
Yellow CH801 in Brazil
This CH801 has a non-standard cowling and a cargo pod

Inspite of it’s simple structure that allows the CH 801 to be build by aviation enthusiasts at their homes, it was still designed as a rugged and sturdy plane, allowing it to land even on unprepared landing strips, which makes it a true sports utility aircraft, that can land almost anywhere: From gravel strips to soccer fields, to the beach or a glacier.
This is owed to a number of features, such as the special high-lift wing with fixed slats, a flaperon (which combines aileron and flaps into one) and inverted horizontal stabilizers. It’s large wheels and fixed landing gear allow landing on rough terrain.
ch801 on a grass field
A CH801 on a grass field
Another special aspect of the CH 801 as of other kitplanes is its “Open Design“, that allows builders to modify parts where they see fit. The most important aspect here is that the CH 801 was designed to work with a number of different engines, even though the standard engine for the CH 801 is the Lycoming 360 4-cylinder engine.
The CH 801 can be equipped with amphibian floats, which are available from a sub-company of Zenith, Zenair floats. The floats are available as complete floats or as a kit for builders. These floats increase the versatility of the CH 801 even more.
Its ability to land in many different places, even where space is scarce and the ground is rocky, in combination with a payload that is higher than that of typical “Funplanes” and the low cost in purchase and maintenance make the CH 801 a perfect bushplane.
ch801 in tropical waters

CH801 floatplane

The CH 801 can be found in all kinds of remote areas in the bushplane role, flying for small companies or charity organisations. The aircraft being a kit is very helpful, because it not only allows the plane to be assembled on location, but also allows the operator to easily make repairs when needed, without having to return to the factory.
Medicine On The Move is currently building a CH 801 in Ghana to be used for bringing much needed medicals and supplies to remote areas that are hard to be reached on the ground.
ch801 with a yellow wave livery from below
South african CH801
wingspan: 9.55m
length: 7.5m
height: 3.0m
empty weight: 522kg
designed gross weight: 1000kg
maximum speed: 193km/h
range: 515km
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