Dave Hirschman

Vans RV-12 is creating a swamp

April 9, 2008 by Dave Hirschman, Senior Editor

Vans RV12

What can a mud bog in the shape of an airplane tell you about a particular design?

So far, the amount of grass-stomping foot traffic around the Vans RV-12 has been so impressive that I’m convinced it’s going to be the best seller among Experimental LSAs–by far.

Visitors have surrounded the company’s two RV-12s since Sun ‘n Fun opened, and the green grass around them has been trampled to mud.

Richard Van Grunsven, the airplane’s gruff designer, said the company is doing a brisk business and expects to sell “a couple hundred” RV-12 kits this year. The RV-12 is the first Vans model to use a Rotax engine, and Van Grunsven said he’s convinced it offers the best value, reliability, and performance in its class. But builders–and potential builders–have been expressing interest in other engine options, such as the Continental 0-200 that Cessna is putting in its C162 SkyCatcher.

“People are always asking for something different,” Van Grunsven said. “Usually, it’s just an excuse not to do something they weren’t going to do anyway.”

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4 Responses to “Vans RV-12 is creating a swamp”

  1. David Reinhart Says:

    I don’t like that it doesn’t have lights. If/when I lose my medical, I’ll have to be satisfied with only flying during the day. As a PP, I don’t fly much at night but I do like to have the option of getting home after sundown. I don’t even care if it has a landing light, but navigation lights are a must.

  2. David Says:

    I assume you could put lights on the plane.

    It has become obvious to me that Cessna made a huge mistake going to the continental engine. The useful load with the rotax is so much better, it will put the cessna at a sever disadvantage.

  3. David N Says:

    I own an Evektor Sportstar and have about 250 hours in it. I have, in the past, owned aircraft that have had both Lycoming and Continental engines. I feel that I have enough experience to make the following statements. I find little difference between Lycomings and Continentals. They are good, reliable aircraft engines. They are, however, frightenly expensive to feed (fuel and oil), to maintain (the cost of parts), very noisy, and cause a lot of vibration.

    The Rotax is a revelation. It is far quieter, far smoother, and requires less fuel and oil. Other then changing oil as per the required schedule, I have never had to add oil to the engine. So far, its maintenance costs has been zero. This engine is far beyond anything I have ever flown in before. And, it is light. The sportstar is 700 lbs. You will never get a plain that light flying behind an 0-200.

  4. David N Says:

    One other point, I fly exclusively on 93 octane auto gas. It has ethanol in it. I have never had a problem. And, it is about 40% less cost then avgas.

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