Zenith Aircraft and Zenair announced Jan. 18 that the businesses had purchased SAM Aircraft, maker of the experimental SAM LS. The U.S.-based Zenith Aircraft and Canadian-based Zenair are owned by aircraft designer Chris Heintz’s sons.
SAM Aircraft Founder Thierry Zibi had initially announced that his Canadian company was for sale in August 2014 and then again in October 2015. In 2015, he announced the sale price of $100,000 for the entire company, including the only fully tested SAM LS prototype, valued at $120,000.
According to the announcement, Zenith and Zenair are considering three configurations for the aircraft: a light sport aircraft, an experimental kit, and a sport aerobatic model that could be offered as an LSA or experimental aircraft. In addition, the companies are looking at different wing spans, tailwheel and nosewheel options, and enclosed or open-cockpit designs.
“The advanced engineering used in developing the SAM is impressive, including extensive use of 3D modeling,” said Zenair’s Matt Heintz. “With us bringing this aircraft to market, the new SAM Aircraft design will benefit from our 40 years of experience manufacturing aircraft kits.”
AOPA flew the SAM LS in 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas, where Zibi showed off the aircraft designed to look like a miniature warbird at AOPA Aviation Summit. Zibi told AOPA in 2014, when he first announced that the company was for sale, that he enjoyed designing aircraft more than running a manufacturing company.