The Zenith Zodiac CH-601 XL is a high-performance single-engine,
two-seat, low-wing, all metal microlight airplane with a fixed tricycle
undercarriage with steerable nosewheel. The CH 601 XL was first flown in 1991
as an improved version of the CH-601 HD; developed for the amateur-built market
and also for the American Light Sport Aircraft category. The CH-601 was developed in the early
1990s by Chris Heintz, founder and chief designer of Zenair. The Zodiac
CH 601 HD (heavy-duty model) is the basic Zodiac model, based on the
original CH 600 aircraft developed in 1984 as a primary trainer. With a
reduced gross weight, the specifications of the CH-601 UL model are very
similar to those of the CH 601 HD model. In 1992, Heintz licensed the kit manufacturing and
marketing rights to Zenith Aircraft Company for the Zodiac CH 601 and
the STOL CH 701 designs. In 1992, Heintz also entered into a
license agreement with Czech Aircraft Works of Stare Mesto, Czech
Republic, to produce and market his Zodiac CH 601 and STOL CH 701
designs for the European market. The Czech-produced Zodiacs were
modified and lightened to meet European rules for microlight aircraft.
CZAW produced some 750 such machines under this agreement. On 31
December 2006, after the license agreement, under which the Zenair Zodiac CH 601 and
STOL CH 701 light aircraft designs were produced by CZAW, was terminated
the Czech production came to an end. The Zenair CH-601 is nowadays manufactured
in kit form by Zenith Aircraft Company, Mexico, Missouri in the USA and as
factory-produced Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) by Aircraft Manufacturing and Development Co.
in Georgia, USA. In kit form, the aircraft is deliverable as a Basic kit and as an Quickbuild
kit. The Basic kit, or 49% Zodiac airframe kit requires about one year (or about
450 hours) to build the aircraft, the quikbuild kit just 120 hours. Recommended
power for the CH-601 UL is the four cylinder four stroke 80 HP Rotax 912 UL engine,
other alternative power units with a recommended power of 65 to 100 HP and up to
265 lbs. installed weight can be installed. Over 3000 CH-601 airframes are sold all around the world.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the Zenith Zodiac CH-601 XL aircraft is CH60.
On 16 February 2006, the under licence by Czech Aircraft Works built Zenith Zodiac CH-601 XL c/n 6-9809 was registered PH-3Y5
by a privat owner in the Netherlands. The 2006-built Zenith Zodiac CH-601 XL PH-3Y5 is powered by a Rotax 912 ULS engine. On
2 September 2018, the aircraft was seen at its home base the MLA-aerodrome Stadskanaal in Vledderveen, the Netherlands.