Expand your dreams

Experience the SAM


The New SAM EX Aircraft

About Zenith Aircraft

Zenith Aircraft Company is a market leader in sport kit aircraft manufacturing.  Zenith produces and supports easy-to-build kits for the popular two-seat Chris Heintz designs, including the high-wing CH 750 series (STOL and Cruzer models), the original STOL CH 701, and the low-wing Zenith CH 650 aircraft.  These aircraft have earned an excellent reputation for their flying characteristics and for being both quick and easy to build, well suited for first-time amateur kit builders.  Zenith aircraft may be scratch-built (from blueprints only), or built from component or complete kits (as well as Quick Build kits). 

To demonstrate how quick its kits are to build, Zenith Aircraft donated a kit to EAA for the One Week Wonder project, where a complete Zenith CH 750 Cruzer was built in just one week during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 (with the participation of more than 2,500 volunteers). Zenith hosts monthly workshops at its factory (centrally located in Missouri) to give potential builders the opportunity to experience first-hand and learn about building and flying their own Zenith kit plane.

Aeronautical engineer Chris Heintz founded Zenair Ltd. in Canada in 1974. Now operated by his sons, Zenair continues to design and engineer new light aircraft, and continues to manufacture all-metal light aircraft, including the type-certified CH 2000, the CH 801/8000 four seat sport utility kit plane and the four-seat CH 640, as well as quick-build kits for the two-seat Heintz designs. In 2015, Zenair launched the "Two Week Wonder" accelerated builder assistance program for the high-wing Zenith CH 750 series.

New SAM Aircraft to be introduced at Oshkosh AirVenture 

The new owners of the SAM Aircraft design are pleased to introduce the new SAM-EX airplane at EAA AirVenture 2016.

Based on the prototype SAM Aircraft introduced in 2012 by Thierry Zibi, the new SAM-EX being introduced this week at Oshkosh AirVenture sports an all-new look, now configured as a taildragger and powered by a 180-hp Lycoming O-360. The EX model has an increased gross weight of 1,800 lbs. (useful load of 650 lbs.), can carry up to 36 gallons (136 litres) of fuel, and can operate in the utility category. Cruise speed is 140 to 150 mph depending on engine size and installed propeller, with stall speed of 50 mph.


The SAM-EX is a sleek all-metal low-wing tandem two-seat light aircraft that captures the lines of the legendary trainers of the 1930s - 1950s. The revamped cabin offers comfortable seating, exceptionally wide shoulder width (26-inches in the canopy and more than 31-inches wide inside the roomy fuselage) and a wrap-around canopy which offers outstanding

visibility. The demonstrator aircraft is equipped a modern glass panel display system (Dynon Skyview) and a center stick with left-side throttle quadrant, similar to what is found in the cockpits of modern combat or military training aircraft.


For more than 24 years Zenith Aircraft Company has been manufacturing kits for first-time kit builders and has developed proven systems to simplify kit aircraft construction for amateur builders, including the use of Zenair blind (pulled) rivets and industry-leading support. The SAM-EX is being offered as an easy-to-build complete kit requiring less than

600 hours to assemble, making it an excellent choice for the first time builder. SAM-EX kits are being prepared for delivery following the EAA AirVenture 2016 with deliveries for the complete Quick-Build Kit fuselage assemblies and tail (empennage) sections for the standard kit. While introduced as a taildragger, the tricycle gear configuration option is also

immediately available and more kit options will be announced soon.


Continuing Zenith Aircraft's tradition of offering builders engine choices, the SAM-EX will be suitable for a wide range of aircraft engines, from 150 - 200 hp, including traditional Lycoming or Continental aircraft engines, lighter and more modern engines such as Rotax, UL Power, and Jabiru, as well as specialty engines such as the radial Rotec (R2800 or

R3600) or automotive conversions to change to look and feel of the retro-styled SAM Aircraft.


SAM Aircraft assets (including the design and flying prototype) were acquired late last year by the sons of aircraft designer Chris Heintz, the owners and operators of Zenith Aircraft Company (in the U.S.) and Zenair Ltd. (in Canada). Since that time engineers at Zenair Ltd. have been reviewing and updating the design for the SAM-EX, and kit production

specialists at Zenith Aircraft have been preparing parts and assemblies for CNC manufacturing (to produce kit parts with final hole size match drilling, ready for assembly and riveting).


Earlier this year, SAM enthusiasts were invited to complete a detailed survey about the SAM Aircraft. “The new SAM-EX model is largely a result of this survey. “First, we were surprised by the sheer number of responses to the survey, and secondly, to the quality of these responses” said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Company in Mexico, Missouri.


“While the original SAM Aircraft was developed by Mr. Zibi as a light-sport aircraft (meeting the definition of a S-LSA), several different configurations are being developed and engineered.”


With a higher gross weight, the versatility of the SAM-EX increases dramatically as it becomes a platform for different configurations, including utility category.


“While we continue to see interest in a LSA model for Sport Pilots, the preference for a higher gross weight reflects the desire for added utility, especially since third class medical reform has become law” adds Heintz.


For more information:

Sebastien Heintz, president

Zenith Aircraft Company, Mexico, Missouri 65265

Email: s.heintz@zenithair.com

Tel. 573-581-9000

July 2017 update:

Zenair Ltd engineering is continuing to engineer the SAM-EX. Following SolidWorks drawings are of the new wing. Parts are ready for the CNC machine where the holes will be matched to final hole size. See following drawings.