Building a Rudder at Zenith | Aviation

When Zenith Aircraft CEO Sebastien Heintz invited me to attend the company’s annual homecoming event at its Missouri headquarters at the Mexico Memorial Airport (KMYJ) in September, he didn’t know I’d been eyeing the company’s designs covetously for over two years—long before I found an editorial home at Plane & Pilot. I eagerly agreed to attend.

A death in my family rerouted my plans, but when Heintz extended a second invitation, this time to attend a rudder-building workshop the first week of October, I didn’t hesitate. I looked forward to visiting the premises (practically in my backyard, an hour’s drive from my house) to see the facility, meet more of the staff (I’d met only Heintz at EAA AirVenture last summer), and—what’s more American?—roll up my sleeves and rivet some airplane parts together.

I took it as a good omen that I was officially welcomed by Cleco the cat, who guards the premises from varmints and inspects newcomers. Apparently I passed muster. When I sat to complete paperwork for my CH-701 rudder project and sign in, Cleco made himself at home in my lap.

Cleco the cat keeps an eye on operations at the Mexico, Missouri factory. [image: Paul Andrews Photography]

Heintz, son Calvin Heintz, and Roger Dubbert welcomed the workshop participants and introduced the tools and parts we would be working with for the next two days….


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