July 28, 2014 - Work is underway on the One Week Wonder, a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer that will transform from a crate full of parts into a complete airplane in less than one week’s time.

 “This is a very special day for us,” EAA Chairman Jack J. Pelton said as he started a seven-day countdown promptly at eight o’clock Monday morning at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014.

“We are getting back to our roots and we are going to showcase how people can get into aviation at affordable prices, and also personally build their own airplane,” he added.

Just after the clock started, Pelton exclaimed, “Let’s get this thing built!” and gave the order to open the crates.

The two-seat light sport-qualified Cruzer is Zenith’s latest design. The kit, like many others now available, has all its rivet holes pre-drilled. However, unlike many other kits, the holes are drilled full-size, eliminating the need to drill out and deburr each hole prior to setting a rivet. The kit uses blind rivets, a technique requiring less training and experience to install than traditional bucked rivets.

Once the airframe parts were out of the crate and sorted, work started on each major component.

“We will be working on things in parallel,” said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Company. “We are going to start the tail, one wing, and the fuselage on Monday. Monday and Tuesday, we’ll build the first wing, then Wednesday and Thursday build the second wing. By Thursday, we should have all the parts done and on Friday it’s going to look like an airplane.”

“It is a standard kit,” Heintz added. “It is not a partially built airplane. We didn’t do any cheating behind the scenes at all, other than the fact that we made sure we have a plan in place.”

Power for the project comes from a Rotax 912 iS engine. It too was uncrated Monday morning and is already assembled into a complete firewall-forward package, ready for installation into the airframe.

Dynon is providing the avionics and instrumentation. Much like the powerplant, the panel is already assembled, prewired, and ready to install into the airframe at the appropriate point in the process.

While it will not be possible to paint the airframe by the end of AirVenture 2014, the final scheme has been narrowed down to three choices from among several options Scheme Designers provided. Voting is underway and the airplane will receive its winning scheme shortly after the convention.

Everyone attending AirVenture 2014 is encouraged to stop by the One Week Wonder tent at the corner of Knapp Street and Celebration Way to pull a few rivets. The first 5,000 to do so will receive a commemorative pin, and all who help will be recorded as a builder in the craft’s builder’s log.

The back wall of the tent is a massive checklist that will track project progress as the seconds tick off the countdown clock. The goal is to start up and taxi the airplane on Sunday. The first flight is expected shortly thereafter, once all of the final details are complete.

Pelton made sure to thank the project sponsors, each of which donated components and services necessary to complete the Cruzer. Beyond Zenith, Rotax, Dynon Avionics, and Scheme Designers, they include Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co., Skytek, SteinAir, Sensenich, Poly-Fiber, Sennheiser, Matco Tools, Flightline Interiors, AeroLEDs, the Ray Allen Company, and Cummins Spinners.

 

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