Posted: 6/20/2010 10:12:12
I recently discovered the Zenair Zipper. This ultralight was mad from approximately 1983 to 1987. Does anyone know anything about it? I have some articles on it and they were very positive. Why was production stopped, was there any bad accidents or issues that occurred?
Posted: 6/21/2010 16:34:22
I remember very well when the Zipper came out. I was shopping for an ultralight and was impressed by the design. Back in those days many machines were designed by "eyeball engineering" and general rule of thumb. Here was one designed by a real engineer. It flew well though the wing design was unusual I never had any doubts about it. The big thing the Zipper has was easy quick wing folding compared to the other ultralights of the time. I don't remember hearing about any crashes or design faults.
As to why they did not survive I'd guess one reason was the slow cruising speed of about 40mph. It was about that time that folks realized if they flew 50-55 they could actually go somewhere. The Zipper and the even more impressive Lazair were slow by the standards of 1985.
Posted: 6/21/2010 19:34:53
Thanks for the reply Dan!
Yes the wing is a big part of its attraction for me. Not just the folding part, but the fact that is a sail! Call me silly but I like the fact that it scares some people!
And as for speed, well I was intending around the patch and maybe to Dads, 45 miles is doable on an overnight and Mr Bean videos!
I'm building a CH701 for a little longer flights...ya I know not fast enough... but speed is why we pay the airlines so much money!
Posted: 6/21/2010 21:01:34
If you google Heart of Illinois Ultralights Club, under the members list, their treasurer- Dick Baner- has a picture of a twin engine Zenair Zipper. It was a 2-seater although Dick only flew it solo. He also built a CH701 among other aircraft. I don't know if he still has the Zipper.
Posted: 6/21/2010 22:06:19
I think this airplane is for sale in CA at present, I want a true blue Part 103. The 2 seater didn't make it from the Zenair specs.
So I would guess the FAA would really not like it! Too bad... I hate silly rules!
I just went to look at the Heart of Illinois Ultralights Club and I was pleased to find that Mr Banner built 3 of my favorite airplanes! A CH701 a Zenair Zipper( didn't build, but heck he had one and I don't) and a Kolb Ultrastar or later modle Flyer!
I am sooo jealous!
Well good for him! Better get back to work on the 701 I guess!
Posted: 6/24/2010 22:51:05
They were made in 83 and 84 and production stopped when the bottom fell out of the Ultralight market after the 20/20 show that year. I took a demo ride in the twin at Oshkosh in 1984 and was inmpressed that it took off and flew at the speed of the MX single and roll control was impressive even at the stall speed of 20 mph. There are very few of them around. I have one of them and I am restoring it. I searched for 9 months to find both the single or twin. I found a good single last fall near Montreal and it had 10 hours total time. It was the RX model with the Rotax 277 right from the factory. Serial number 084 and made in 1984. It was in spectacular shape for 25 years old but I am having someone make up drawings and perform a complete restoration for me. In my search I found one twin, it is now for sale again in CA for $2800 with trailer, and 4 singles, 3 of which were basket cases. I got the good one. They had dealers in DC and California that I could find out about. I have two magazines from the times with articles and I could send you copies of them if you e-mail me off line at firstname.lastname@example.org. David started a Yahoo group for the Zipper to see how many we can find. So far I believe there are 3 of us there that own one and there are many pictures of planes I could find. Keep looking there have to be more. I could send you the manual and the sales brochures that Zenair had at Oshkosh that year. I plan to bring mine to either Sun-N-Fun and /or Oshkosh next year if possible to try again to win best Antique Ultralight (did that this year with my Kolb Ultrastar).
Dennis Long in West Tennessee
Dennis "Thumper" Long
Posted: 10/8/2010 15:57:56
Sorry for my very late reply. I had found the Zipper site and didn't check back here.
I am interested only in the single, the RX model would be the thing, If your going to fly an ultralite, it may as well be N number free!
I have the info from the Zipper Yahoo site..so how basket case were the ones you passed on?
Posted: 10/8/2010 15:59:56
I have seen your Kolb..very nice! How are the flying characteristics, compared to the zipper?
Posted: 4/17/2011 12:13:13
I thought that if an ultralight had more than one seat, it could'nt quallify as an ultralight.