Zenair Begins Deliveries Of Light Weight Aluminum Floats





Zenair Begins Deliveries Of Light Weight Aluminum Floats

By Daniel Baxter

January 20, 2010 - Less than a year after announcing it would be returning its float production to North America, Zenair Ltd. has begun deliveries of its light-weight all-aluminum floats.

Following the announcement at AirVenture 2009, the design upgrades and production tooling took place in the fall of 2009, including preparation of new assembly drawings for floats sold as kits.

Manufacturing of the amphibious floats started in November, with the first ready-to-assemble kit delivered in December. In early January 2010, Zenair delivered its first complete set of amphibious floats. 

"The production of kits and ready-to-mount floats for light-weight aircraft is up and running," says Nicolas Heintz, in charge of the Zenair floats at Zenair ltd; "we are now finalizing drawings and tooling for our larger 1,400 lbs LSA floats, and should be ready to ship in early spring 2010." 

Zenair Floats were first introduced in the mid-eighties and quickly set the standard for all-metal floats for ultralight aircraft. They were the lightest and sleekest floats available for ultralights and were soon seen across the continent on early models of Quicksilver, Kolb and Lazair designs, and later on the popular STOL CH701 aircraft. 

Zenairís trademark aluminum floats designed by Chris Heintz were first introduced in the 1980s with the remarkably strong yet lightweight #550 ultralight floats that weighed just 18 pounds each. These float sets were offered as kits or as ready-to-install fully assembled pontoons; they were popular with owners of true ultalights who appreciated their good looks and excellent handling characteristics, including the ability to carry more than their own weight is straight-and-level flight. Soon, #750 floats were introduced for two-place ultralights, then #950 and #1150 for light recreational aircraft. Amphibious designs followed shortly thereafter. 

The production of Zenair Floats was moved from Canada to the Czech Republic in the mid-nineties and most popular float sizes were manufactured there for the next ten years. In 2009, manufacturing once again went back to the Zenair factory in Midland, Ontario.  

Today, Zenair Floats are installed on a wide variety of aircraft designs. Complete rigging kits are available from Zenair to mount the floats to any Zenair aircraft model; basic elements such as stream-lined spreader-bars and fittings are also available to configure the floats on other brands of light sport aircraft. Always contact your aircraft designer or manufacturer for specific mounting advice or instructions. 


First introduced in 1986, the STOL CH 701 aircraft was developed as an "off-airport" short take-off and landing kit aircraft to fulfill the demanding requirements of both sport pilots and first-time builders. With the STOL CH 701, designer Chris Heintz combined the features and advantages of a "real" airplane with the short-field capabilities of an "ultralight" aircraft. The aircraft features fixed leading-edge slats for high lift, full-span flaperons (both ailerons and flaps), an all-flying rudder, and durable all-metal construction.  

The STOL CH701 design meets the definition of a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) for operation under the FAA's Sport Pilot / Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category.  While the basic design has remained the same, many significant improvements have been introduced over the years, including a higher useful load, easier and quicker build kits, and more detailed drawings and step-by-step assembly instructions. 

Today, Zenair Floats are available in a variety of sizes (displacement) and as straight or amphibious floats (with wheels). With their generic spreader bar/mounting system, the floats will fit most light aircraft.  The 1,400 lbs. LSA float, with rigging, is available for Zenith's popular STOL CH 750 light sport utility aircraft, as well as many other LSA-class aircraft.
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