Pilots flying Zenith STOL versions of its 70l experimental aircraft took the top two spots overall in the Healthy Bastards Bush Pilots Championships annual short takeoff and landing competition in Omaka last weekend. Deane Philip, whose 701 has a 130-horsepower Viking (Honda Fit) engine took off in as little as 12.6 metres and landed in as little as 14.9 metres during the competition. Chris Anderson was only a few metres longer for second place in the microlight (less than 1356 pounds) category. He uses a souped up 120-horsepower Rotax 512 in his homebuilt.

Zenith, based in Midland, Ontario, designed the 701 30 years ago and has continued to refine the design. The new aircraft have predrilled holes so assembly is much faster and much more precise. The aircraft are in use all over the world and well reviewed. “While the basic design has remained the same, many significant improvements have been introduced over the years, including a higher useful load, easier and quicker build kits, and more detailed drawings and step-by-step assembly instructions,” said Zenith in a news release.