Over the years, curious pilots have asked me what aircraft I fly. I’ve had the pleasure to evaluate a great many models; the number crossed 400 a couple years back. My usual quip is that this experience makes me a pilot of many and a master of none. I usually add that anyone with a good number of hours in their own airplane knows far more about it than I do. However, I have gotten to fly a small number of airplanes for a higher number of hours. The most recent such experience is with a Van’s RV-12, because a neighbor of mine at my home airport allows me to enjoy his airplane. It’s a nice arrangement that I value highly; thanks, Joe! I usually avoid identifying what I’m flying for a couple reasons. First, I don’t own a Light-Sport Aircraft because that can get uncomfortable in an industry where I fly one after another to report on them.
Van's Aircraft, Inc.
Phone: (503) 678-6545Aurora, OR 97002 - USA
2019 Is a Good Year (so far)We're only three quarters through the year but extrapolating from the first three quarters and assuming a steady pace (which is not a guarantee, of course), we see that all of 2019 should result in 724 new aircraft registrations in the light aircraft sector defined (by us) as Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot kit-built aircraft. This is up more than 10% over 2018, which was up over 2017. The industry is having a good year and more pilots are flying these aircraft. One caveat in this positive result is that the fourth quarter of the year is typically slower with winter in the north and plenty of non-flying holiday activities drawing interest. Why? We don't claim to have all the answers but regular surveying of exhibitors at airshows revealed that many sellers say, "The market is good. People are buying." Of course, this is anecdotal not scientific but we heard it from enough vendors to believe they're feeling good about their enterprises. Many pilots backed up this finding with their own, personal assessment. If you want to do your own analysis, you certainly can using our completely free-of-charge Tableau Public web page** assembled for us and maintained to perfection by Steve. We vigorously encourage you to look for yourselves. Don't take our word for it. The data comes directly from FAA's aircraft registration database, then expertly massaged by Steve so the rest of us can make sense of it. To this data source, I apply my own decades of experience in the sector to make some observations.
Breaking GoodFirst, let's look at two broad categories: First is a grouping of all Light-Sport Aircraft — both Special (fully built) and Experimental (different from Experimental Amateur Built) — and, secondly, a defined flock of Sport Pilot kit-built aircraft*. This is the first time you've seen this because earlier, we segmented SLSA from ELSA from SP kits. This made it appear kits were growing faster than the LSA groups. In fact, they are nearly matched with kit-built aircraft. Viewing all light aircraft as a group, Steve noted, "The same six brands continue to lead the pack." He refers to the full fleet of light aircraft a Sport Pilot may fly — led by kit-built aircraft producers: Zenair/Zenith, Van's, Rans, Sonex, and Kitfox plus SLSA builder, Icon. Immediately under these six powerhouses of light aviation are five close contenders Searey-maker Progressive Aerodyne, AutoGyro, Just Aircraft, Powrachute, and Magni Gyro. While Progressive Aerodyne does well in both kits and fully built seaplanes and while Powrachute sells both as well, the rest are all kit makers. To look up any producer to learn more, use our Search capability (especially "Advanced Search") or go to our ever-popular SLSA List. Kit aircraft remain strong in the USA. This segment existed for many years before LSA came along although we only count since 2005*, while Light-Sport Aircraft go back no further than 2005. Honestly, one surprise about SP Kits and LSA is how close the two primary groups are.
Diving DeeperSteve made a few other worthwhile observations. Among the increasingly active gyroplane community, "The low-cost Tango is coming on strong. It used to come with a Rotax 582 but their website says it now has a Yamaha FI engine. 4-stroke, 3-cylinder, fuel-injected, 1055cc, 130 horsepower engine." AutoGyro, Magni, and U.S.-based SilverLight lead the among gyroplanes but Tango's appearance suggests the market is open to newcomers, especially when they have good pricing. Using Tableau Public, you can go deep the weeds about any one subgroup by using the blue boxes on the left column to click or unblock lists. The site is amazingly versatile if you spend a bit of time with it. If you own an aircraft included in this analysis, you can absolutely find it; see for yourself. Another newer entry Steve highlighted was the Goat trike. He wrote, "Denny Reed’s [Wild Sky] Goat is a surprise success. He positions it as a super-tough outback machine." Denny is a deeply experienced trike pilot with more than 8,000 hours of instruction given. He finally made his own trike and it is one brute-tough machine. See more in our article and short video. Goat uses wings by North Wing, as do many other trike brands, but the Washington state producer is also having a better year for its SLSA trikes. Evolution Trikes' Revo sales are off a bit but they are highly focused on their fully-built Rev Part 103 trike and their new RevX. The latter is a kit; the former will not show up on FAA's registration database as Part 103 vehicles need not be registered.
Fixed WingersSteve is a trike owner and pilot. I also enjoy these "alternative" LSA (trikes, powered parachutes, and gyroplanes). I have enjoyed flying several models of each of these types and find much to love about them …significantly, they can be less expensive than almost any fixed wing aircraft. Are you unsure about "alternative" aircraft? You know the line: "If you haven't tried it, don't knock it." However, fixed wing continue to be, by far, the biggest group of LSA (partly as very few kit-built aircraft are "alternative" types). Among Special (fully built) LSA, Flight Design continues atop the ranking. They enjoyed a phenomenal start back in 2005-2006 and have never lost their leadership position. American Legend, Czech Sport Aircraft, CubCrafters, Tecnam, and Aerotrek (FAA still uses their Aeropro European brand name) remain very strong players in the top ten. However, some newbies are moving up the rankings. Through their start into serial production was long coming, the slickly-marketed A5 LSA seaplane has moved into the #2 position for 2019 (after Van's, which relies heavily on ELSA). Another up-and-comer is Vashon and their well-priced Ranger. BRM Aero and their Bristell are also making good strides upward. TL Aircraft, rep for the Sting and other TL models, is reviving that much-admired stable of aircraft. Meanwhile, Cessna continues to drop following the company's decision to exit the LSA space and crush all remaining aircraft, engines and all. Remos is another that is fading from its earlier strength.
A Quarter to GoAs we head into the final quarter of 2019 — and the final LSA show of the year, the DeLand Showcase — we will report the full year shortly into January 2020. The good news is that aircraft are selling, pilots are flying more than ever, and safety remains quite good. That's reason for celebration. Blue skies!
* "SP Kits" means Sport Pilot kit-built aircraft. Going deeper, "SP Kits" refer to amateur-built aircraft that can be flown by a pilot possessing a Sport Pilot certificate or exercising the privileges of Sport Pilot (meaning, for one, no aviation medical is required) while holding a Private Pilot certificate or higher. Since Sport Pilot, as a form of pilot license, only arrived in late 2004, we count all applicable kit-built aircraft that can be flown by a Sport Pilot. Although some of the same aircraft existed before January 1, 2005, we omit them as it cannot be said those older aircraft could be flown by someone with a Sport Pilot certificate. This also evenly and fairly compares SP Kits with SLSA and ELSA. ** When using Tableau Public — and please do so! — be advised this may work best on your desktop or laptop. The effort called "responsive" to make pages work on smartphones and tablets does not portray the information as conveniently.
This website seeks to offer a reliable source of market information for Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot kit aircraft as a service to the light aircraft sector. If you follow light aviation intently as many readers do, knowing what aircraft and subgroups (within LSA and SP kits*) are thriving or stumbling can be of great interest. Thanks to our fantastic “datastician,” Steve Beste, we know more now than we’ve ever known about aviation’s recreational aircraft segment. You simply cannot find this information anywhere else. With Steve’s superb help, following are a few stories within the numbers. If you don’t care about market shares and just want to hear about aircraft, we won’t keep you waiting long. However, for many, these figures are quite valuable and this is the only place you will find them. Let’s dive in… 2019 Is a Good Year (so far) We’re only three quarters through the year but extrapolating from the first three quarters and assuming a steady pace (which is not a guarantee, of course), we see that all of 2019 should result in 724 new aircraft registrations in the light aircraft sector defined (by us) as Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot kit-built aircraft.
(Re)Introducing RV5Truthfully, Van's Aircraft Vice President and Chief Engineer Rian Johnson is only displaying a personal project. RV-5 was never offered for sale and won't be now. Yet the light aircraft enthusiast in me noticed it right away. Probably like most other attendees I wondered, "What is that? "Of course, we want people to focus on our current popular kits such as RV-8, -10, and -12," quickly added, "but I thought Oshkosh visitors might enjoy seeing a bit of Van's history." RV-5 dates way back to 1975 when it was built by Dick VanGrunsven and EAA 105 chapter members to evaluate several design concepts. Among the goals of the group, Rian explained, were light weight and fuel efficiency. RV-5 was never intended for production. RV-5's wings swing back over the flat aft fuselage for easier transport or more space-efficient storage. No control linkages need be disconnected thanks to a clever center-mounted mixer that stays in place when folding the wings. "Some years back, I was up in a loft storage area looking for something and uncovered a dusty airframe. When I asked Dick about it, he asked, 'Do you want it?' Be careful what you ask for," Rian noted although he did eventually tackle the restoration project marrying the airframe of RV-5 to the canopy of RV-2. The single seat design is small. A very lean Rian said he weighs 138 pounds and RV-5 is even somewhat snug for him so this is not an aircraft for pilots who tip the scales beyond FAA's 170-pound reference weight. That hardly matters, however, as this is not an active project for anyone but Rian. Needing only 40 horsepower to perform enthusiastically RV-5 is powered by a Rotax 447. Carrying 10 gallons of fuel, burning three gallons an hour at a 90-mph economy cruise, RV-5 has a range nearly 300 miles.
RV-5 Specifications (provided by Van's Aircraft):
- Empty Weight — 312 pounds
- Gross Weight — 577 pounds
- Length — 16 feet 7.5 inches
- Cockpit Width — 19 inches
- Wing Span — 20 feet
- Wing Area — 75 square feet
- Top Speed — 120-125 mph
- Cruise at 75% Power — 100+ mph
- Stall "Dirty" — 41 mph
- Takeoff Distance — 175 feet
- Landing Distance — 300 feet
- Climb Rate — 1,200+ fpm
Cruising the grounds at Oshkosh, looking for aircraft to report, I looked around the all-new Homebuilt Area. This group has long occupied a fairly spacious grassy area in a good location south of the Warbirds Area, said to be Oshkosh’s biggest draw. However, for 2019 EAA relocated the area bringing vendors closer to the densest customer traffic, which may encourage more attendees to examine their aircraft. Several exhibitors I spoke to seemed content with the new location. The new area had the usual collection of vendors, many of which qualify as Sport Pilot kits that can be flown with the certificate that needs no aviation medical. Quarters looked rather tight compared to past years, with airplanes somewhat shoehorned into the allocated space. Like all changes — and EAA has made a huge number of them in the fifty years the event has been held in Oshkosh — visitors and vendors will adapt quickly enough and soon we’ll forget the old “North 40” where homebuilt kits once displayed.
Who Is Succeeding?In one day, we did not speak to every vendor and we did not get to the inside booths yet. However, those we did approach for news and updates provided feedback that was significantly on the positive side. Here is a partial recap (again cautioning that this is not inclusive): Icon Aircraft's production engine appears to be firing on all cylinders, according to Tampa Regional Sales Director Scott Rodenbeck. We heard about delivery numbers growing from five aircraft a month to 10 a month and a forecast for 15 shipments in December. These numbers will show up on our market share report based on N-number registrations. Increased production has reduced the delivery wait to only seven or eight months, down from literally years back when the California company was taking deposits left and right but not yet manufacturing. Bristell USA is having a banner year that should end close to 20 units sold for the deluxe and superbly equipped Bristell LSA, reported company leader Lou Mancuso and right hand man, John Rathmell. Beside delivering strong sales for Czech producer, Milan Bristela, Lou's growing enterprise is also establishing a flight academy at the Sebring airport to offer younger pilots a lower cost path to careers as pilots. We will have video on this development. Duc Hélices is another company choosing Sebring for their operation, reported Michael Dederian, the company's main face at airshows — after a few seasons nearly all producers know him. The popular French prop maker is opening a subsidiary in early 2019 to better serve U.S. customers. They plan to celebrate the American enterprise at the Sebring Sport Aviation Expo on January 25th. Van's Aircraft made a big change this year. After bringing in ready-to-fly manufacturing to the world's largest manufacturer of aircraft kits — the immensely popular RV line — Van's is backed up for nearly a year, reported Atlanta-based, Vic Syracuse. That wait may come down as the company ramps up its new in-house production, but it's clear RV-12 is a success story. We recorded an interview with Vic about the new model, now known as RV-12iS. Yes, it uses the Rotax engine but that's not all the changes in the renewed model. Paul Mather of M-Squared Aircraft is opening new doors. He continues to build his M-Squared models as he has for many years but now the longtime veteran of light aircraft manufacturing has diversified to provide builder assistance to owners wanting a Zenith CH-750 Cruzer powered by the Continental Motors O-200D engine. After a slow start activity has picked up and Paul is pleased with the aircraft he's added to his stable. We plan a Video Pilot Report using the model seen at DeLand Chip Erwin of Aeromarine-LSA also reported growing sales for his well-priced, fast-assembling Merlin PSA (Personal Sport Aircraft). Besides sales to customers, he is using the single place aircraft for some government duties and these activities are keeping the Florida businessman on the move, literally, and from a business evaluation. We shot a video with Jay Kurtz of South Lakeland Airport (which many Sun 'n Fun attendees know very well). After building 40 (yes, 40!) aircraft, his most recent project has been the Quick-Build Merlin. After just a single day, I'm excited to see what happens in two more days of the DeLand Showcase 2018. Look for another report tomorrow.
Day One of the third running of DeLand Showcase is complete. As Videoman Dave and I scoured the show grounds looking for good stories, we spoke to a few vendors reporting that 2018 has been a good year. Our video news gathering exercise brought a pleasant discovery. Many companies are reporting a solid year of sales. The light aviation industry is composed of many small companies. None are corporations the size of Cessna or Cirrus so they don’t require hundreds of unit sales to break even. A U.S. importer delivering 20 aircraft can experience a good year from sales and other services they offer. When several companies report noteworthy sales success it suggests the market is healthy and customers are buying airplanes they want to enjoy. In parallel, the used LSA market also appears active and a virtuous circle begins to take form. The show itself enjoyed the great organization we have come to expect from director Jana Filip.
What is happening and why?RV-12 SLSA airplanes will now be built and delivered by Van’s Aircraft at its Aurora, Oregon facility. Several years ago, Van’s set out to implement a comprehensive SLSA program. Synergy and Van’s partnered to build the various components of the complete SLSA program. Synergy worked with Van’s from the onset of the program to apply their expertise related to the marketing and aircraft assembly portions of the program. The natural evolution and success of both businesses has brought us to where we are today. Synergy has become even more focused on the business of assisting Van’s Aircraft’s customers in building their RV airplanes. As the SLSA program has matured, Van’s has expanded its workforce and capabilities to include marketing and aircraft construction. This change represents the next logical step in both companies’ successful business growth.
How does this affect Synergy?Synergy will focus on its popular builder-assist program, which has become that company’s key area of business emphasis and expansion over the past couple years.
What about earlier SLSA purchases? Who will provide support?All SLSA aircraft have been and will continue to be fully supported by Van’s Aircraft. That will not change. Van’s technical and business support teams remain ready to support every customer that owns and flies our airplanes. The Van’s support team serves as your point of contact for any support needs you may have related to the RV-12.
Will the price change? How do I communicate with Van's?Van's does not anticipate or plan to make any price changes as a result of this business change. Just as before, you can contact Van’s Aircraft at 503-678-6545 or you can email the SLSA support team.
What should I expect?You can and should expect excellent quality from a business that continuously strives to improve its products and services. Van's approach is to delivering the highest quality products. Our aircraft assembly and delivery department — a dedicated team focused on just that portion of our business — is staffed by experts with years of RV-12 building experience. Van's will, as always, strive to adopt and leverage new, innovative processes and technology to drive its ongoing quality program.
I have an airplane ordered already. How will this affect delivery?As part of this change, Van's is staffing a dedicated SLSA build team that is co-located at our Oregon factory, the design of which will allow us to increase throughput and enable even quicker delivery of RV-12iS SLSA aircraft. Van's will leverage its existing people, experience and processes to optimize our future ability to deliver more efficiently, as well. We do not anticipate schedule delays as a result of the change in production staffing and location. Any RV-12iS currently in production with Synergy will be finished at Synergy’s Eugene facility. Any aircraft not yet started will be completed at and by Van's Aircraft. Van's anticipates delivering aircraft that are already on the schedule on or before the estimated delivery dates we’ve previously communicated to individual customers.
Was there a problem between the businesses?No, not at all. This change is the result of mutual successes, and represents a natural and positive evolution of both businesses. It will enable both companies to deliver even more, both in partnership and separately.
What about builders assist at Synergy?Just as it makes sense for Van's to take on SLSA assembly work at this time, it also makes sense for Synergy to focus on its growing and key business: builder-assist services for people who are building their RVs. In fact, Synergy is growing and recently expanded beyond its Eugene, Oregon facility when it opened a second builder-assist center in Georgia. The company concluded, "These changes are great for Van's Aircraft, great for Synergy Air, and good news for our mutual customers."
Building kits for homebuilders and assembling fully built aircraft are two very distinct business models. In the early days of Light-Sport Aircraft, European producers enjoyed a head start in fully-built aircraft as their regulations were more accommodating. American producers were the kings of kits, an effort that calls for good assembly instructions and technical support plus groups that can help each other. These two activities represent night and day differences. However, in the years since the regulation arrived, American companies have significantly caught up. Indeed, as September and the 14th anniversary of the SP/LSA rule arrived, Van’s released news of a major change. “Van’s Aircraft is excited to announce that it is establishing its own aircraft assembly facility and team at its company headquarters in Aurora, Oregon,” the world’s largest kit producer said. “Future RV-12iS and RV-12-iST SLSA aircraft models will be assembled and delivered at this new facility.” As many readers know, nearby Synergy Air was Van’s assembly partner for several years.
Van's Aircraft's Immensely Popular RV-SeriesAccording to a recent report in General Aviation News, "[When] David Porter took his first flight in his RV-7 on Nov. 24, 2017, he probably didn’t know he was making history. The Martinsburg, West Virginia pilot’s kit-built airplane became the official 10,000th Van’s RV-series aircraft." Van's labeled David's first flight as "official" because more than 10,000 RV-series kit aircraft are definitely known to be flying, but the company recognizes it may not know about all of them. President of his local EAA Chapter (# 1071), David spent three and a half years building his RV-7 from a standard kit. It was the first airplane he has built. His airplane was RV-7 #1,662 to fly, according to the Oregon company. Dick van Grunsven's Van’s Aircraft began selling RV-3 plans back in 1973. From this modest start the company now calculates that over the last 44 years a new RV has taken to the air every 1.6 days on average. Now, that is one impressive achievement, I believe. “No one is exactly sure when the 1,000th RV flew — our best guess is around early 1994,” company officials said in a prepared release. “The 2,000 mark was passed in November 1998, 19 years ago. The increase from 9,000 flying RVs to 10,000 took just 33 months or under 1,000 days.” Therefore, "About one new RV airplane leaves the ground each day, with 360 taking to the skies already in 2017." Great job, Team Van's!
Garmin's One Millionth"We’re celebrating the delivery of our one-millionth certified avionics product from our manufacturing facility in Olathe, Kansas," announced the popular avionics producer. This large number does not include the huge number of sports or auto products and more made by Garmin over its three decade history. The milestone product was a GTX 3000 DI-260B compliant Mode S Extended Squitter (ES) transponder, which enables ADS-B Out transmissions, a timely offering given the last two years of push to fit GA aircraft with ADS-B Out before the 2020 FAA deadline. “Since our inception over 28 years ago, Garmin has been committed to providing superior products that are known for their innovation, reliability and intuitive design,” said Phil Straub, Garmin executive vice president, managing director of aviation. “This milestone is a testament to our long-established commitment to making significant investments in research and development, as well as the hard work and dedication of thousands of passionate Garmin team members that I have the pleasure of working with every day.” “As we celebrate this exciting accomplishment, I am very proud of how our teams have managed such significant growth, while maintaining the culture of our company as our founders set forth,” said Carl Wolf, vice president of aviation marketing and sales. “The breadth and depth of our certified aviation product line has expanded greatly over the years, allowing us to develop new markets for Garmin. This incredible milestone doesn’t even include the hundreds of thousands of portable and other non-certified products that our customers use every day. On behalf of Garmin, I wish to express my utmost gratitude to our loyal customers, our dealers and the aircraft manufacturers all around the globe, who have helped us to accomplish such a tremendous achievement in Garmin’s history.” Established by co-founders Gary Burrell and Dr. Min Kao — Gar' and Min, hence the company name — in 1989 in Lenexa, Kansas, Garmin was founded with its core roots in aviation. Today, the central U.S. corporation has evolved into five business segments with more than 11,000 employees around the globe. "From a single product," said Garmin, "the evolution of our avionics solutions has grown to serve multiple segments within the aviation industry, including general aviation, business aviation, helicopter, experimental amateur-built (EAB), defense and air transport." I'm sure Garmin meant to include LSA in that roster but many recent product releases by the company show it is pursuing the high end avionics market aggressively. In the LSA space the G3X Touch and Garmin 796 are the most popular devices with many supporting items benefitting the Garmin ecosystem of avionics. Congratulations to both Van's Aircraft and Garmin. We are lucky both company are involved in the kind aviation enjoyed by sport and recreational pilots. To close, I thought I'd again reference my friends from General Aviation News to show you their recently-offered map of where their readers are located. I submit to this Washington-state-based publication every month and know they provide a journal read enthusiastically by tens of thousands of pilots. As proof of their success at transitioning from only newsprint to electronic communication, GA News can boast the largest Facebook following (around 350,000!) of any aviation publication or organization. Great job publisher Ben Sclair and team mates! Subscribe to GA News and you can also receive their free The Pulse of Aviation e-newsletter.
Recently, a couple major benchmarks were reached by some of our important brand names. These notable achievements deserve mention given their relationship to the LSA and light aircraft sector that this website serves. One is an airframe builder and the other is a avionics giant. Van’s Aircraft’s Immensely Popular RV-Series According to a recent report in General Aviation News, “[When] David Porter took his first flight in his RV-7 on Nov. 24, 2017, he probably didn’t know he was making history. The Martinsburg, West Virginia pilot’s kit-built airplane became the official 10,000th Van’s RV-series aircraft.” Van’s labeled David’s first flight as “official” because more than 10,000 RV-series kit aircraft are definitely known to be flying, but the company recognizes it may not know about all of them. President of his local EAA Chapter (# 1071), David spent three and a half years building his RV-7 from a standard kit.
Video Pilot Reports are some of the most popular of our hundreds of videos. They take more work and they have longer running time; this one on Van's Aircraft's very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts. When you count RV-12 in both kit and SLSA fully manufactured versions, it is one of America's most popular LSA even though it entered the scene a later than some. In this pilot report, we'll try to tell you and show you why RV-12 is such a hit.
Video Pilot Reports are some of the most popular of our hundreds of videos. They take more work and they have longer running time; this one on Van’s Aircraft’s very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts. When you count RV-12 in both kit and SLSA fully manufactured versions, it is one of America’s most popular LSA even though it entered the scene a later than some. In this pilot report, we’ll try to tell you and show you why RV-12 is such a hit.
Here's Part 2 of our Video Pilot Report on Van's Aircraft's very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts. In this second part, Dan Johnson recounts his experience flying Van's RV-12 filling in some details not presented during the in-flight portion of the evaluation. Although doing these VPRs is much more time consuming and take longer to watch, we hope you enjoy all the information they deliver.
Here’s Part 2 of our Video Pilot Report on Van’s Aircraft’s very poplar RV-12 is presented in two parts. In this second part, Dan Johnson recounts his experience flying Van’s RV-12 filling in some details not presented during the in-flight portion of the evaluation. Although doing these VPRs is much more time consuming and take longer to watch, we hope you enjoy all the information they deliver.
Van's Aircraft needs no introduction to most aviators. The company has more than 8,000 aircraft flying. One of these is their RV-12 LSA models. Mostly that design, like all their models, has been built as a kit. Van's wasn't sure they'd make ready-to-fly models when they started. However, through a nearby company, Van's made arrangements to offer the RV-12 as a factory-built Special LSA. Here company rep' Gus Funnel updates us on the latest information about this popular airplane.
Van’s Aircraft needs no introduction to most aviators. The company has more than 8,000 aircraft flying. One of these is their RV-12 LSA models. Mostly that design, like all their models, has been built as a kit. Van’s wasn’t sure they’d make ready-to-fly models when they started. However, through a nearby company, Van’s made arrangements to offer the RV-12 as a factory-built Special LSA. Here company rep’ Gus Funnel updates us on the latest information about this popular airplane.
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 -- One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Van's Aircraft RV-12. Most LSA are factory built SLSA but here is the clear-and-away winner of te Experimental LSA race of kit-assembled Light-Sports. More than 350 of the RV-12 kits have reportedly been sold and many are flying. Here we take a quick look at the RV-12 and place it in the family of RV models that have proven so popular.
MIDWEST LSA EXPO 2012 — One of our series of many short videos from the fall show, this one on the Van’s Aircraft RV-12. Most LSA are factory built SLSA but here is the clear-and-away winner of te Experimental LSA race of kit-assembled Light-Sports. More than 350 of the RV-12 kits have reportedly been sold and many are flying. Here we take a quick look at the RV-12 and place it in the family of RV models that have proven so popular.
The biggest kit-aircraft builder of them all - Van's Aircraft and their incredibly line of RV airplanes - entered the Light-Sport Aircraft arena with their RV-12. Here we take a look at the kit and its costs while designer Dick VanGrunsven sits on the wing nearby talking to customers. No surprise to anyone, Van's is the biggest success story in Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft or ELSA.
The biggest kit-aircraft builder of them all – Van’s Aircraft and their incredibly line of RV airplanes – entered the Light-Sport Aircraft arena with their RV-12. Here we take a look at the kit and its costs while designer Dick VanGrunsven sits on the wing nearby talking to customers. No surprise to anyone, Van’s is the biggest success story in Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft or ELSA.
At the 2010 Midwest LSA Expo we did something new. We picked several aircraft of a similar description and pointed out their similarities and differences. This time we look at four all-metal high wing LSA: Rans Aircraft S-19 Venterra; Evektor Sportstar Max IFR, Van's Aircraft RV-12, and the Breezer Aircraft Breezer II. If you're searching for a high wing LSA, this video may help show your choices and help you make a purchase decision.
At the 2010 Midwest LSA Expo we did something new. We picked several aircraft of a similar description and pointed out their similarities and differences. This time we look at four all-metal high wing LSA: Rans Aircraft S-19 Venterra; Evektor Sportstar Max IFR, Van’s Aircraft RV-12, and the Breezer Aircraft Breezer II. If you’re searching for a high wing LSA, this video may help show your choices and help you make a purchase decision.
I’ve enjoyed a front row seat for all eleven years that Light-Sport Aircraft have been part of the aviation firmament. In those years of closely following this industry, I’ve only seen companies reach the four digit horizon three times. What does that mean and why might you find it meaningful? First came Cessna’s Skycatcher. More recently it was (quite convincingly) Icon’s A5. Now, welcome Van’s Aircraft. Cessna once claimed more than 1,000 orders for their now-discontinued Skycatcher LSA. The company delivered 271 of them (according to our review of FAA’s N-number database) but we won’t see any more. Icon reports more than 1,300 orders, making them Top Gun in the LSA roost, though they have delivered only one, to EAA’s Young Eagles program. Then, we have Van’s … the undisputed leader of kit aircraft deliveries. In fact, the latter is nearly ready to enter the aviation stratosphere of five digits.
The “Big Show” is just days away, so of course, journalists and readers are asking what will be present? The question is worthwhile, but often the most interesting discoveries are not foretold either to maintain secrecy or due to the last minute scramble to make a new project showable. Here are four products attendees may want to investigate. Watch for more previews. “What a journey so far, wrote Jordan Denitz, spokesman for The Airplane Factory USA! Globetrotters Mike Blyth with Patrick Huang of The Airplane Factory Asia have completed their first three legs on their way around the world in a Sling powered by the Rotax 912iS. Starting in Johannesburg, South Africa, they traveled to Namibia, Ghana, and Cape Verde. On Monday they were taking a well deserved rest after 37 hours and more than 4,000 nautical miles logged so far. “They are gearing up for the biggest hop yet, crossing the Atlantic,” added Jordan.
As spring approaches and with major airshows like Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany and Sun ‘n Fun in Florida about to trigger a new season of recreational flying, it is time for an annual update of Light-Sport Aircraft market shares. Our well-known “fleet” chart appears nearby; this table refers to all Special LSA registered with FAA in the United States since the first aircraft was accepted by FAA almost ten years ago (on April 5, 2005). We again post our Calendar 2014 tally that shows the success only in that year as a means of drawing attention to those brands and models performing the best in the last twelve months. We remind you that these charts use as their source the FAA registration (N-number) database, that is then carefully studied and corrected to make the most reliable report possible. However, two points: (1) this report will still have some errors as the database on which we rely has some faulty information … though we believe this to be modest and, as noted, we correct it where we can; and, (2) aircraft registrations are not likely to be perfectly in sync with company records of sales for a variety of reasons.
Sebring is history, which says the aviation year is now underway. On whole it was a good show and a solid start to 2015. Sebring’s weather was overcast and cool to start though even that didn’t seem to dampen buying enthusiasm. About a dozen airplanes were sold plus numerous vendors reported finding many good prospects. By Friday afternoon the skies went to deep blue and the Sunshine State earned its nickname. “It was a great Saturday,” wrote U.S. Sport Aviation Expo organizers. The 11th annual Expo nearly filled the auto parking lot and the transient aircraft parking area was hopping with activity, officials said. While I write about the good news of Sebring, I want to pay respect to two fallen aviators. Dennis Day and Jason Spinks of the Aero Adventures company lost their lives in an unfortunate accident during the event. I offer my sincerest regret for this loss to their families and to the DeLand Airport business team.
Van’s Aircraft has been creating highly successful designs for decades; more than 8,750 RV kits have been completed and are flying. Over 20,000 kits have been sold, cementing this Oregon company as the most successful kit aircraft company in history. In the last couple years, Van’s has enlisted Synergy Air to fully build and deliver their RV-12 Light-Sport Entry. Before the ready-to-fly project began Van’s had delivered more than 250 kit versions; the fleet of both kit and factory built RV-12s keeps growing. When that happens, many buyers — especially those who elected to purchase a factory-built ’12 — need quality places to obtain services for their airplane. Recently a Texas aviation powerhouse, US Aviation and their US Sport Planes division, was approved as a Factory Authorized service center for the RV-12. Company executive Scott Severen, a longtime recreational aircraft enthusiast and businessman, has been very successful at securing similar approvals from many of the top LSA manufacturers.
Two key members of AKIA stopped by the LSA Mall at the new & improved Paradise City last week. AKIA? The Aircraft Kit Industry Association is a new group formed in July last year seeking cooperation between kit aircraft builders. Leaders include Van’s Aircraft and Sonex. Both have been making Light-Sport models, or what more correctly might be called “Sport Pilot eligible” or “Light-Sport-compliant aircraft.” Experimental Amateur Built (EAB) aircraft are technically not LSA even if they meet all parameters. Sonex and Van’s are upstanding producers of very popular aircraft and they have their eyes clearly on the light aircraft sector that is showing great resilience in a perpetually sluggish economy. Each company has too much info to fully cover here but a birds-eye view may encourage you to seek more. Sonex Aircraft is based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, right across the field from EAA’s headquarters. The company is so active on so many fronts that I will only provide a general view.
Garmin has a new smaller version of their very impressive G3X Touch. I examined this at Sun ‘n Fun when it was debuted in the 10-inch screen and came away highly impressed after two reviews on videos. For a billion-dollar company Garmin remains passionately inventive and surprisingly nimble. They keep the heat on now introducing a 7-inch G3X Touch display, described as “a high-resolution infrared touchscreen display designed for experimental amateur-built and Light-Sport Aircraft to compliments their existing 10.6-inch G3X Touch system.” Pilots and homebuilders concerned about instrument panel height and width constraints should be pleased to have the 7-inch option. All G3X Touch displays support Connext that allows wireless flight plan transfer between the company’s Garmin Pilot app on an iOS or select Android mobile device. “A well-equipped 7-inch G3X Touch system, which includes SVX, video input, a built-in WAAS GPS receiver, ADAHRS, magnetometer, OAT probe, interactive mapping and more, starts at $4,599,” said Garmin officials.
Forty years and more than 8,000 airplanes flying easily makes Van’s Aircraft the most prolific kit aircraft supplier in the history of aviation. Does anyone in flying not know about the RV-series? What everyone may not know (or remember) is that Van’s entered into a deal with Synergy Air to fully build an initial run of a dozen ready-to-fly RV-12s as they enter into the new and quite different realm of manufactured aircraft under the Light-Sport Aircraft rule. “We’re kind of taking it gradually into this new arena,” admitted company founder, Dick VanGrunsven as reported by our friends over at AVweb. Synergy Air is a well-established company providing instructional seminars, videos, and builder assistance to complete kit airplanes and is located at the Eugene, Oregon airport. Van’s noted that, “A total of twelve Signature Series airplanes have been completed or are under construction. All have been sold and are expected to be delivered to their new owners before the end of the year.” On May 31st 2013 the first fly-away RV-12 went to customer George Longino.