UPDATE: Video on Ranger at bottom…
Often at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh we see improved models among vast displays of showplanes. What we see less of are brand new offerings. Yet given the sheer number of aircraft, something brand new can surprise.
You probably already know about Vashon Aircraft’s Ranger (we reported it here) but attendees saw it for the first time at the big summer airshow.
We shot video with Vashon marketing maven Amy Bellesheim and owner John Torode at the event and you’ll learn more about Ranger from this duo when editing is completed. We recorded our usual large batch of fresh video; please be patient during the editing phase and check Ultralight News YouTube channel to see the latest.
Great Showing and Show
Amy reported, “We were overwhelmed with positive feedback” at Oshkosh. “We are up to 57 deposit holders,” she beamed.
That’s quite admirable for a fresh-out-of-the-gate design entering a marketplace with more than 140 Special Light-Sport Aircraft appearing on our popular list.
Following the event, the west coast producer kept up their pace, putting N133VR in the hands of a private owner.
“Our first Ranger was delivered the Monday after Oshkosh and flown to its new home in Kansas,” reported Amy, one of four pilots moving a small fleet of Rangers to the show and back home to their base in Woodinville, Washington state.
“Our team has been extremely busy since we’ve been back from Oshkosh,” added Amy. “Traveling to the show in four of our Ranger R7s was an awesome experience and we had an easy arrival into Wittman Airport Saturday morning.” Arriving two days before the show began proved wise when heavy arrival traffic delayed many inbound aircraft as the show was starting.
“We flew from Everett, Washington (KPAE) to [Wittman Field], stopping at several airports along the way,” Amy continued. She said “the public release of our aircraft at Oshkosh had been in the plans for years. To have the chance to show off our airplanes was indescribable.”
Now that the staff is back home, Amy finished, “We have our work cut out for us … [as we] continue building and delivering these amazing airplanes!”
Even more recently, another Vashon LSA was delivered. “We delivered our second Ranger to a local flight school right at our home airport at Paine Field,” boasted Amy! Northway Aviation is the new operator.
One criticism that has been observed is an empty weight that limits payload compared to other LSA.
Fortunately for Vashon and other manufacturers, FAA is now actively working on regulation change that could lead to a higher gross weight for Light-Sport Aircraft …but that’s a topic for another article.
Amy and John review Ranger details in the video below, shot at Oshkosh 2018.
Really like the design and Vashon’s design for manufacturing philosophy – the results and pricing are impressive, especially for a North American design & built aircraft.
I’m hoping as the company is selling these like hotcakes. Eventually, I hope they can refine it or create a new model that can accommodate a different engine option (912is?), a ballistic recovery chute, and foldable or detachable wings for storage for those of us who cannot buy a hangar and live in inclement climates. Stuff that is more appealing to new pilots these days.
Tim Jones says
It is a great looking plane and I am sure it is super stable but they are not selling well (less than 100 produced). I think it is the most versatile and best looking of all the LSA but the useful load is not very good for traveling. It would be very helpful if the FAA would revise the regs. To maybe 1,000 pounds empty and 1,800 pounds total. This plane now weighs in about 850 pounds dry and after fuel there is not much left before hitting the 1,320-pound number. Last point that is just a number (picked out of the sky) I would bet that this plane could take off, fly and land perfectly at 2k. A ton of LSA guys fly overweight without thinking about it.
Dan Johnson says
As this article repeats, FA is planning on higher weights for LSA.
Love to have 914 engine option. The Ranger would be a true back country plane with it.
Skot Weidemann says
Dan, I too read about rumors of a possible weight increase in the Light Sport rules (although I will withhold hope or expectations for the moment). In a brief discussion with John Torode at Oshkosh I mentioned a wish for a Ranger engine that can successfully use auto fuel (the same as I am now doing in a Luscombe, Cessna 150 and a Kitfox). My impression is that he would be open to engine options at some point. I and many others have been aware of the auto fuel option for years, which (I believe) is a obvious, viable and economical alternative to the excessively leaded and grossly overpriced 100LL many are forced to use. Mogas is a 100LL fuel replacement that is hiding in plain sight, unfortunately hindered by prejudice of all kinds.
Keep up the great advocacy for light general aviation Dan.