Those working on the Modified Zenith Cruzer for pilots with disabilities hope to have it built next year.
Right now, work on the aircraft is focused on the tail section of the Modified Zenith Cruzer. “I didn’t get the whole plane at once, I got components,” says AV84All’s John Robinson. And as the build continues to come together, it’s becoming clear that further donations will be necessary to finish the build. “It’s a sad fact, but the number one need is donations,” Robinson said, adding that money is what seems to keep things moving on the project.
Robinson dreams of making the Modified Zenith Cruzer, which will be based out of Rowan Country Airport (KRUQ), part of a ground school for disabled pilots. However, the airplane will also be available for anyone to rent, once the project is complete. According to Robinson, they hope to have it fully ready in about a year’s time.
EAA Chapter 1083 is working with John Robison, founder of AV84all, to build a modified Zenith CH 750 Cruzer specifically for pilots with disabilities. The members of the EAA chapter will be building the Cruzer in Salisbury, North Carolina, and are planning to start work on the aircraft build on September 10, 2016, at the Rowan County Airport.
Further Details on the Project
EAA Chapter 1083, formed in 1993, is keen to assist with the project. When Chapter 1083 President Jach Neubacher was first contacted by Zenith about helping Robinson with the build, he said, “I felt it was a great chance to help with one of the most important missions of our chapter – to encourage, educate, and promote aviation for all.”
Robinson is excited for the assistance from Neubacher and Chapter 1083. “EAA Chapter 1083 is literally making a dream come true for AV84all.org,” he said. “Without their help, it would take a lot longer to get this project off of the ground and they are making flying for the disabled a reality.”
Robinson, a Desert Storm veteran, was left a quadriplegic after a car accident. However, through working with Able Flight, he earned his Sport Pilot certificate.
Robinson founded AV84All in 2016 after realizing that there were very few options in general aviation for pilots with disabilities. Robinson’s goal is simple: provide more GA opportunities for disabled pilots. Looking down the road, Robinson hopes to create a ground school, trial flights, flight training, simulator sessions and more.
Charles Stites, the Executive Director of Able Flight, is hopeful about how this will influence future work with disabled pilots, saying “It’s wonderful to see this project come together, not as an Able Flight project, but as an initiative of someone who has been through our program.” He noted that it’s especially gratifying to see companies like Zenith and groups like Chapter 1083 lend their help to make projects like this possible, adding that he is “hopeful that the success of this project will inspire similar efforts throughout the country.”
The Modified Zenith Cruzer
Zenith Aircraft is providing an engineering review in order to help better customize the Zenith Cruzer being built to fit the needs of pilots with disabilities. According to Sebastien Heintz, the owner of Zenith Aircraft, “One of the wonderful things about experimental amateur-built airplanes is they can be fully customized by the builder to make it one of a kind.” He adds that the EAA Maker Edition of SolidWorks will be used to customize the necessary hand controls for the build, adding that the software offers a huge advantage to builders and pilots, particularly when they’re designing an aircraft for a specific purpose.
Final Thoughts on the Project
Charlie Becker, who serves as EAA’s Director of Chapters, Director of Communities, and as the Homebuilt Community Manager believes the project is perfect for EAA. “EAA’s mission is to grow participation in aviation and our chapter network delivers on our mission in so many ways and what Chapter 1083 is doing is just another great example. Not only will the members of the chapter get to learn and build, but the finished aircraft will create a wonderful opportunity for pilots with disabilities.”
Featured Images: Zenith Aircraft