The Zenith CH 801 is a four seat, light sport utility aircraft designed and built by the Zenith Aircraft Company. The short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft was derived from its predecessor STOL CH 701 by increasing the useful load from 225kg to 450kg. About 400 aircraft are currently operational worldwide.

The aircraft can execute both passenger and cargo transportation.


The aircraft uses a special airfoil design to accomplish low stall speeds and high strength. It has been designed to take-off and land on grass and unprepared airstrips, and can operate in off-airport fields as well as city airports.

The aircraft features removable wings fitted on the top of square shaped fuselage section. The tail section design renders maximum control at slow speeds and high angles. The stabiliser is an inverted airfoil section designed to enhance downward lift and accomplish high angles of attack necessary for STOL performance. The short wingspan allows the aircraft to operate in remote areas having obstacles.

The aircraft is constructed with durable and corrosion free aluminium alloys to suit for harsh environments.

“The Zenith CH 801 can climb at a rate of 6.1m/s.”


Zenith Aircraft Company started to build the CH 801 in 1988. Construction of stabiliser, elevator, rudder and wings was completed in 2006. The aircraft is of semi-monocoque structure with each part manufactured separately and later assembled.

The horizontal stabiliser tail is made up of two spars and internal ribs protected with pre-formed aluminium-alloy skin. The two standard welded-aluminium wing tanks carry 15 US gallons of fuel each.


The STOL CH 801 features a large instrument panel, dual control systems, a deep wing chord, hoerner wing tips, fixed leading edge slats and rudder.

It is also equipped with an elevator, inverted stabiliser, full length flaperons, flight control systems, a light speed dual plasma III CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) system, navigation or communication systems and transponder.


The aircraft has a small cabin to accommodate three passengers and bulk cargo. The cabin is made up of chromium-molybdenum welded steel tube frame. It can be accessed through two large removable doors fitted on either side of the fuselage. The aircraft can also be reconfigured to carry a patient on a stretcher on the right side of the cabin by removing the rear seat.

An under-mounted cargo pod allows the aircraft to accommodate additional baggage. The cabin can be easily converted for freight-carrying applications. It is fitted with bubble windows for providing clear visibility to the passengers.


The CH 801 is powered by a single Lycoming O-360 piston engine, which generates 135kW of output power.

“Zenith Aircraft Company started to build the CH 801 in 1988.”

The O-360 is a four cylindered, air-cooled, horizontally opposed aircraft piston engine designed and manufactured by Lycoming Engines. The cylinder heads are constructed with aluminium alloys.

The length and width of the engine are 0.80m and 0.84m respectively. The height is 0.62m. The time between overhaul of the engine are 2,000 hours. The dry weight varies between 129kg and 136kg.

Landing gear

The CH 801 features a tricycle type landing gear equipped with three broad treaded tundra wheels and hydraulic disk brakes.

The robust gear system is built from a Heintz’ ZENITH CH 2000 design. The single heavy duty bungee offers shock absorbancy to the steer-able nose wheel, which aids in ground navigation.


The Zenith CH 801 can climb at a rate of 6.1m/s. The maximum and cruise speeds of the aircraft are 181km/h and 170km/h respectively. The stall speed is 69km/h. The aircraft can fly to a maximum range of 1,030km. The service ceiling is 4,875m.

The take-off and landing distances are 116m and 114m respectively. The aircraft can loiter in air for a maximum of six hours.