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New SAM Aircraft to be introduced at Oshkosh AirVenture
New SAM Aircraft to be introduced at Oshkosh AirVenture

The new owners of the SAM Aircraft design are pleased to introduce the new SAM-EX airplane at EAA AirVenture 2016.

Based on the prototype SAM Aircraft introduced in 2012 by Thierry Zibi, the new SAM-EX being introduced this week at Oshkosh AirVenture sports an all-new look, now configured as a taildragger and powered by a 180-hp Lycoming O-360.  The EX model has an increased gross weight of 1,800 lbs. (useful load of 650 lbs.), can carry up to 36 gallons (136 litres) of fuel, and can operate in the utility category. Cruise speed is 140 to 150 mph depending on engine size and installed propeller, with stall speed of 50 mph. The SAM-EX is a sleek all-metal low-wing tandem two-seat light aircraft that captures the lines of the legendary trainers of the 1930s - 1950s. The revamped cabin offers comfortable seating, exceptionally wide shoulder width (26-inches in the canopy and more than 31-inches wide inside the roomy fuselage) and a wrap-around canopy which offers outstanding visibility. The demonstrator aircraft is equipped a modern glass panel display system (Dynon Skyview) and a center stick with left-side throttle quadrant, similar to what is found in the cockpits of modern combat or military training aircraft.

For more than 24 years Zenith Aircraft Company has been manufacturing kits for first-time kit builders and has developed proven systems to simplify kit aircraft construction for amateur builders, including the use of Zenair blind (pulled) rivets and industry-leading support.  The SAM-EX is being offered as an easy-to- build complete kit requiring less than 600 hours to assemble, making it an excellent choice for the first time builder. SAM-EX kits are being prepared for delivery following the EAA AirVenture 2016 with deliveries for the complete Quick-Build Kit fuselage assemblies and tail (empennage) sections for the standard kit. While introduced as a taildragger, the tricycle gear configuration option is also immediately available and more kit options will be announced soon.

Continuing Zenith Aircraft's tradition of offering builders engine choices, the SAM-EX will be suitable for a wide range of aircraft engines, from 150 - 200 hp, including traditional Lycoming or Continental aircraft engines, lighter and more modern engines such as Rotax, UL Power, and Jabiru, as well as specialty engines such as the radial Rotec (R2800 or R3600) or automotive conversions to change to look and feel of the retro-styled SAM Aircraft.

SAM Aircraft assets (including the design and flying prototype) were acquired late last year by the sons of aircraft designer Chris Heintz, the owners and operators of Zenith Aircraft Company (in the U.S.) and Zenair Ltd. (in Canada).  Since that time engineers at Zenair Ltd. have been reviewing and updating the design for the SAM-EX,  and kit production specialists at Zenith Aircraft have been preparing parts and assemblies for CNC manufacturing (to produce kit parts with final hole size match drilling, ready for assembly and riveting).  

Earlier this year, SAM enthusiasts were invited to complete a detailed survey about the SAM Aircraft.  “The new SAM-EX model is largely a result of this survey. “First, we were surprised by the sheer number of responses to the survey, and secondly, to the quality of these responses” said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft Company in Mexico, Missouri.  “While the original SAM Aircraft was developed by Mr. Zibi as a light-sport aircraft (meeting the definition of a S-LSA), several different configurations are being developed and engineered.”

With a higher gross weight, the versatility of the SAM-EX increases dramatically as it becomes a platform for different configurations, including utility category. “While we continue to see interest in a LSA model for Sport Pilots, the preference for a higher gross weight reflects the desire for added utility, especially since third class medical reform has become law” adds Heintz.

For more info:


High resolution photos and schematics:

For more information:

Sebastien Heintz, president
Zenith Aircraft Company, Mexico, Missouri 65265
Tel. 573-581- 9000 [ home ]

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