Builder Workshops

If you’ve always dreamed of building your own airplane, but aren’t sure that you have the required skills, Zenith Aircraft Company will provide you with the opportunity to learn all about building your own Zenith Aircraft kit at one of its factory workshops, where you can actually start building your own airplane. With an emphasis on gaining hands-on building experience, the informal workshops are coordinated by Zenith Aircraft staff and held right in the factory. Small group sizes make the workshops very productive and educational.

As Marc Cook, editor of Kitplanes magazine explains, the workshop “is about more than the tools or the rudder. Two leisurely days spent at the factory will give you an opportunity to see how the company works, fly one or more of the demo aircraft and get a sense of its manufacturing ethos. Here I would describe Zenith as modest but thorough. The young woman who does the bulk of the welding has impeccable credentials-though she wouldn’t be drawn out on whether women create neater beads than men-and I was happy to see quite a lot of test apparatus, including a jig for pressurizing and testing each and every welded-aluminum fuel tank produced.”…from the visitor’s standpoint [Zenith] is also very laid back. I got no sense of the hard sell, even though a couple of the attendees were there to determine whether they wanted to build a Zenith or something else. Another participant, who had never built anything before, was there as a jump-start to his own CH 750 project. Imagine his delight in seeing the birthplace of his kit, the components of which were neatly crated and prepared for him to trailer home that weekend.
“When you get your design choices down to a few, please cash in your airline rewards and go for a visit. It’s the only way to know if you’ll like the company as much as you like the airplane.”- Marc Cook’s Around the Patch editorial: “Starting at the back.” Kitplanes magazine


During the educational workshop you can start building your own Zenith aircraft (the rudder tail section of either the ZODIAC, STOL CH 701, STOL CH 750, or CH 750 Cruzer), and learn about:

– Reading and understanding blue-prints (plans & manuals) and yes, we use the metric system….
– Principles of sheet-metal construction
– The advantages of working with sheet-metal (vs. other materials)
– Metal aircraft building and assembly techniques and tips
– Measuring, drilling and riveting (assembling the Zenair kit)
– Tools, workshop and skills required to build your all-metal aircraft
– Hints and short-cuts in assembling a kit
– Metal kit aircraft maintenance and corrosion protection
– The advantages of building, owning and flying a Zenair aircraft
– and much more…

Click here to view the ZODIAC CH 601 Rudder Assembly Manual.

Come prepared to work and experience first-hand how you can build your own kit airplane! You don’t need any experience, skills or tools to attend. Zenith Aircraft Co.’s factory workshop is structured as an informal “hands-on” workshop, to allow participants to gain introductory hands-on building experience using standard kit parts, drawings and manuals, and basic sheet-metal tools.

The factory workshop makes an excellent getaway for you and your spouse: Spend a couple of days at the Zenith Aircraft factory and meet with fellow aviation enthusiasts – all while gaining valuable hands-on building skills. Demo flights in factory demonstrator aircraft can also be scheduled during the workshop.

Sample Workshop Schedule:

Time Activity
8:00am – 9:00am Registration / Sign-In in the Office. Coffee and donuts.
9:00am Brief Introduction and start of rudder kit assembly
11:30am – 12:00pm Guided factory tour
12:00pm Lunch Break
1:00pm Resume rudder kit assembly
4:30pm – 5:00pm Informal group question and answer session.
6:00pm Group dinner (optional / casual dress).

Builder Workshop Program Options

PROGRAM 1 – This highly recommended program actually gets you started on your own kit aircraft. Build the complete rudder tail section of the Zenith kit aircraft of your choice. Following the detailed instructions from the Drawings and Manuals, you assemble (drill & rivet) the complete rudder section, under the guidance of factory personnel. You get to keep the rudder, and can apply the cost of this program toward purchasing the remainder of the full kit. COST: $375 (plus 7.6% sales tax for Missouri Residents)

PROGRAM 2 – This very affordable program lets you learn about and experience sheet-metal construction, without assembling your own rudder tail section. You work together with a participant of Program 1. This program runs both days but the last day is optional. COST: $150 (plus 7.6% sales tax for Missouri Residents)

Upcoming Workshops and Registration
To register for a workshop, click here.


Workshop Locations and Visiting the Factory

What better way to learn more about Zenith Aircraft Company’s kit planes than by actually visiting the factory where the kits are made? Factory demonstrator kit aircraft are available for demonstration flights to potential builders and scheduled factory workshops allow potential builders to gain hands-on experience in building a kit aircraft. Demo flights are available strictly by appointment, weather permitting, and are to demonstrate to potential builders the normal operating envelope and characteristics of the aircraft.

Centrally located in the United States, Zenith Aircraft Company is conveniently situated 100 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri. The City of Mexico (pop. 12,000) boasts eight parks, 33 churches, several shopping areas, and many recreational activities including golf and fishing. There are several hotels in Mexico (including a Bed & Breakfast) and several camping areas nearby. Scenic Mark Twain Lake is about 30 miles to the north, and the popular Lake of the Ozarks tourist area is 85 miles to the south. The Zenith Aircraft factory is located on Mexico Memorial Airport, making it easy to drive or fly-in to visit the factory.


AIR: See Kansas City Sectional.
Mexico Memorial Airport (MYJ): 39� 09’ 28″ N 91� 49’ 07″ W, 822’ ASL
Two Paved Runways: Rwy 06-24: 5,500’ x 100’, Rwy 18-36: 3,200 x 50’
Unicom (CTAF): 122.9 AWOS: 120.575 (573-581-7868)

FBO: (573) 581-0162. An airport courtesy car is available (by prior arrangement). The new terminal building has a pilot lounge with 24/7 access, with restrooms, showers and internet.

BY ROAD: Mexico Memorial Airport is located on Hwy. 54, three miles east of the City of Mexico. From I-70, Exit 148 northbound on Hwy. 54, and follow Hwy. 54 right to the airport (approximately 15 miles from I-70, and 90 miles west of St. Louis).

Accommodations and Regional Information

APPOINTMENT: Before making travel arrangements to visit the factory, please make an appointment, and schedule appointments during our regular business operating hours (8 AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday). Call (573) 581-9000 to schedule a factory appointment.

Accommodation Contact Info Directions
Best Western Teal Lake Inn (Website) 573-582-0700; 800-780-7234 Request Zenith Corporate Rate (Indoor Pool Health/Fitness Center On-Site) Directions
Days Inn (Website) 800-DAYS INN; 573-581-1860 5 mi. from Zenith Directions
AP Green Bed & Breakfast (Website) 573-567-2223 4 miles from Zenith Directions
Country Hearth Inn & Suites (Website) 573-582-0055; 888-443-2784 Directions
Kingdom City hotels 15 miles south of Mexico
Super 8 in Kingdom City (Website) 573-642-2888 Located 15 miles south of Zenith – Request Zenith Corporate Rate Directions
Comfort Inn (Website) 573-642-7745 Located 15 miles south of Zenith Directions
Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Website) 573-310-6020 Located 15 miles south of Zenith Directions
Days Inn in Kingdom City (Website) 573-642-0050 Located 15 miles south of Zenith Directions

 Additional Information Directions
Mexico Missouri Chamber of Commerce (Website)
Kingdom City / Fulton (Website) Located 20 miles south of Mexico – for directions click here.
Columbia Missouri (Website) Located 40 miles SW of Mexico Columbia is home to the University of Missouri and offers many hotels and restaurants. For location click here.
Lakeview Park (Website) Mexico Missouri – Call 573-581-2100 or e-mail. For directions click here
Mark Twain Lake (Website) 30 miles north of Zenith – For location click here.
Directions from St. Louis Click here
City of Mexico Official Website Click here
Mexico Chamber of Commerce Click here
Placemark for Zenith Aircraft Company Download ( Google Earth)
Current / Forecasted Weather in Mexico Missouri Click here.
AirNav Click here (plan your stops for your flight to Mexico MO)
Commercial Airlines into St. Louis If flying in by commercial airline we recommend that you fly in to St. Louis (STL) and rent a car for the duration of your visit. The St. Louis airport is an easy 2 hour drive. Directions
Commercial Flight into Columbia Missouri Also check for flights into Columbia Missouri (COU). This is a regional airport with several scheduled flights per day and is located about 45 minutes drive from Zenith. Directions

Safety at the Zenith Factory and Builder Workshops

Children under 16 years of age are not permitted in the factory area unless under direct adult supervision. The factory is not a safe play area for children. While in the factory and while working on the rudder kit, please use good common-sense safety practices: Wear the supplied eye protection, and use caution with power tools and around sharp objects. We also highly recommended proper shoes (for in the shop and for the demo flight), and clothing suitable for a “shop” environment.