Pilots strongly urged not to fly Zodiac CH601XL, CH650

November 7, 2009

In the wake of a Nov. 6 accident involving a Zodiac CH601XL, the FAA issued a special airworthiness information bulletin recommending that before further flight the aircraft be brought into compliance with a safety directive/safety alert from Aircraft Manufacturing & Design, which manufactures the airplanes. The FAA has also issued a memo suspending the issuance of any new airworthiness certificates to any and all variants of the Zodiac CH601XL and CH 650.

AOPA strongly urges pilots not to fly any of the CH601XL or CH650 aircraft in the special light sport, experimental light sport, and experimental amateur-built categories until they have complied with the directive.

Since 2005, five in-flight structural failures of the CH601XL have occurred in the United States. Other accidents have occurred abroad. The FAA studied the wing structure, structural stability, flutter, airspeed calibration, and stick force characteristics. The agency concluded that the aircraft should not be flown until they comply with the anticipated safety directive.

For more information, see AMD’s Web site.