First introduced in 1986, the STOL CH 701 aircraft was developed as an “off-airport” short take-off and landing kit aircraft to fulfill the demanding requirements of both sport pilots and first-time builders. With the STOL CH 701, designer Chris Heintz combined the features and advantages of a “real” airplane with the short-field capabilities of an “ultralight” aircraft. The aircraft features fixed leading-edge slats for high lift, full-span flaperons (both ailerons and flaps), an all-flying rudder, and durable all-metal construction.
While the basic design has remained the same, many significant improvements have been introduced over the years, including a higher useful load, easier and quicker build kits, and more detailed drawings and step-by-step assembly instructions.
Short-field performance is where the STOL CH 701 aircraft truly excels: It is airborne in less than 120 feet of unprepared grass, or 90 feet of hard surface, at gross weight. Rotation is possible by the time full throttle setting is applied, and lift-off can begin at 25 mph (in ground effect, with no wind) – all within less than four seconds from stand still. Of course, any headwind shortens the time and distance required for take off.
The STOL CH 701 was not designed to be just another ‘pretty’ light aircraft, but was engineered to offer outstanding short take-off and landing performance, all-metal durability, and unparalleled ease of construction. With form following function, the STOL CH701 looks like a ‘Sky Jeep’, as it is often called by its owners.
Popular since 1986, there are hundreds of STOL CH 701 aircraft flying around the world! Not many of the more than 500 STOL CH 701’s flying today can be found at airports – most are operated from short off-airport grass fields, in backyard fields and in remote areas. The aircraft’s all-metal construction makes it suitable for continuous outdoor storage – providing their owners with continuous cost savings (no hanger or tie-down fees).
The STOL CH 701 offers comfortable two-place side-by-side seating in an ergonomically designed 40-inch wide cabin. The cabin interior is designed to provide comfort for two adults. Large doors on either side allow easy access to the cabin from both sides, and can be quickly removed.
A new optional single-piece formed acrylic bubble door is available to maximize cabin width. The door is hinged at the top and each door is domed 3 1/4″ (82 mm.) to provide maximum additional cabin space. The full bubble door provides outstanding side and downward visibility. The door is fitted with the standard locking door latch (at bottom front of each door).
The cabin is fitted with a large instrument panel and dual controls accessible from both the left and right seats. The center-mounted control column (stick) can easily be used from either side, and does not limit visibility of the instrument panel. Dual throttle controls are mounted on both sides of the panel for easy access. The panel measures about 34 inches across by 8.5 inches tall in the center to allow for custom avionics installations.
The dual rudder pedals also steer the nose-wheel, and are equipped with standard hydraulic toe-brakes on the pilot’s side. The baggage area is located directly behind the seats for easy access.
South African Flyer, April 2005 notes that “Due to the centrally-positioned stick, there is nothing to impede the legs when getting in. The aircraft tapers out to its widest point under the wings and visibility is enhanced by a clear plexiglass roof. There’s plenty of space and a large luggage area behind the seats is ample for carrying weekend necessities and a flight bag.”
The standard tricycle gear configuration maximizes forward visibility when taxiing, while also providing the added benefit of a level cabin while on the ground, to facilitate access to the cabin and to maximize pilot and passenger comfort.
Unlike other high-wing designs, the STOL CH 701’s wings are positioned above the cabin and fuselage to provide pilot and passengers with superior visibility. The “Above-Cab” wings taper at the wing root to maximize upward visibility while also providing superior side visibility, as the wings are located above the pilot’s head.
As all seasoned bush pilots will confirm, off-airport operations require an aircraft with superior visibility – for operations in tight areas and to allow the pilot to choose suitable landing areas. The large “wrap-around” windows and “Above-Cab” wings allow unparalleled visibility. The tricycle gear configuration also allows excellent forward visibility while on the ground – crucial when operated in off-airport fields.