Aircraft Review

July 2011 Issue

Eastman’s CH650: Son of Zenith

Based on the CH601, the design is sporty and fast and has a new, beefed-up wing structure.

For taxonomy purposes, the aviation press seems to sort light sport aircraft into two broad categories—fun flyers and cruisers or "go-places airplanes." Ostensibly, the divider is speed. Fun flyers like the Cub clones cruise a little faster than 100 MPH and the cruisers seem to manage as much as 125 MPH. Not a huge difference to be sure, but enough to make short VFR cross-countries tolerable, if not expediently routine. Another way to look at the sorting of LSAs is sports car versus utility vehicle. Into this marketing equation, Eastman Aviation has inserted its CH650 low-wing LSA, a cruiser that’s decidedly on the sports car end of the spectrum. If you’ve noted a certain sameness in the look of low-wing cruisers, there’s a reason for it. Against the limitation of a 132 MPH limit, there are only so many places a design can go and the CH650 has been there—for years.

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