First Foray Into The Production Airplane World For The Legendary Kit Maker
Vans Aircraft announced at the AOPA Summit in Palm Springs, CA, that it is planning to offer a factory-built version of its RV-12 LSA beginning next year. The aircraft will be built by Synergy Air of Eugene, OR, which currently offers a builders assistance program for kit builders.
The initial factory run will consist of 12 S-LSA airplanes with all the bells and whistles, offered as "Signature Edition" models. One of these first airplanes will set the buyer back $115,000, but the company expect to offer a base model in the future starting at about $105,000.
Vans has a fleet of some 7,900 kit-built airplanes flying, so offering a "ready-to-fly" aircraft is quite a departure for the company. Nearly 200 RV-12 kits have been completed and flown as EA-B or experimental LSA airplanes, and sales manager Gus Funnell said that experience provided the base of knowledge the company needed to make incremental improvement in the airplane for the S-LSA.
The airplane will be powered by a Rotax 100-hp ULS engine. A Dynon Skyview EFIS will be standard on the S-LSA, as will the Garmin SL-40 com radio, Flightcom stereo intercom, 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter, Flightline interior, and LED lighting. The "Signature Edition" airplanes will also come with wheel pants, ADS-B capability, two-axis autopilot, and other premium touches.
Offering the airplane as an S-LSA will allow flight schools to use the factory-built RV-12 for flight instruction, which is prohibited with kit-built airplanes. That will give those who still want to build the airplane from a kit an opportunity to get transition training in a similar airplane. While Vans founder and CEO Dick VanGrunsven said this wasn't the driving force behind the move to a factory-built airplane, as the president of the newly-formed Aircraft Kit Industry Association, he feels the increased measure of safety is a very important consideration.
(100th Kit RV-12 Image from file)