www.wingsmagazine.com

Features Operations
WINGS over Oshkosh Canadians do business at Air Venture 200

Oshkosh is magic. The very word conjures images to delight aviators everywhere


October 24, 2007
By Fred Petrie

Topics

Oshkosh is magic. The very word conjures images to delight aviators
everywhere – 10,000 fly-in airplanes, 750,000 visitors, all at one
small regional airport in Wisconsin, compressed into one week each
year. But this year, on my fifth visit over the past 20 years, I saw a
new side of Oshkosh. Oshkosh is business – very big business. Airbus
and Boeing, even Bombardier, may not be here, but more than 800 other
exhibitors are. And Canada is well represented by some very innovative
companies that exhibit at Oshkosh, not for the magic but to do business.

Chris
Heintz was at Air Venture 2001 for the 28th year. Heintz, president of
Zenair Ltd., said he participated at Oshkosh for the exposure, to show
his aircraft designs and to deliver forums, all aimed at providing
potential customers with the confidence to take on a project. I asked
Heintz why his sons (three are in the business; the other son and
daughter are teachers) had taken production to the US, with Zenith
Aircraft Company in Mexico, Missouri, and AMD (Aircraft Manufacturing
and Development – for the certified CH2000) in Eastman, Georgia. Had
they given up on Canada? The answer was more prosaic. Emigrating to the
US had been Heintz's original plan, after he had worked on the Concorde
and then with Avions in France. Toronto was simply the closest point to
the US for his initial move. However, frequent travel to the US during
the Vietnam War era convinced him to stay in Canada to raise his
family. The logical reason for moving production to the US, while Chris
the patriarch stayed in Midland, Ontario, was that the US is where the
market is. But there could also be an element of giving the boys some
space as they grow the business in their own image.