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Sat, Nov 11, 2006

Van's RV-12 Flies!

Prototype Kit LSA Entry Makes First Hop

Van's Aircraft flew its RV-12 prototype for the first time Thursday, November 9, with Dick "Van" VanGrunsven at the controls.

The RV-12 is the newest design in Van's line of kit planes marketed to the experimental crowd. It's intended to meet FAA requirements for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA).

All of the Van's designs have earned a reputation among builders and pilots alike for their simplicity, ruggedness and efficiency, and because they're just plane (sp) fun.

The company added some new design features to the RV-12 prototype such as removable wings, full-span flaperons and a fully-moving stabilator. All or none of these might make it to the production kit depending on how each performs during flight testing.

Van's advertised performance goals for the RV-12 include:

  • Flying qualities equal to or better than the RV-9A
  • A 550 lb  payload
  • 750 lb empty weight

Design goals to help builders include:

  • A low parts count, to reduce kit costs and assembly time
  • Systems installation at the lowest possible level of structural subassembly
  • Minimal use of composites
  • Maximum use of simple hand tools

Tentative data on the company's website lists the RV-12 as having a wing span just over 26 feet, total lenth of just under 20 feet, 20-gallons of fuel capacity, a Rotax 912S 100 hp engine and a ground-adjustable Sensenich propeller.

Van took off and flew the RV-12 over the Aurora, OR airport Thursday morning sampling its takeoff, landing and slow flight characteristics. A short blurb on the company website wouldn't go into details about how the prototype flew, but it did say Van was grinning when he popped the canopy after landing!



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