Trims Product Line, Boosts Production, Intros S-19
RANS, which has shipped over 4,000 aircraft kits (and God knows
how many recumbent bicycles) from its plant, is radically
reorganizing that plant -- in ways that may affect you, if you're a
customer or planning to be one. There are three changes to
First, they're trimming the product line, effective June 1. On
that date, no more orders will be taken for most of what had been
the widest-ranging product line in the industry. Specifically, the
S-4/5, S-9, S-10, S-12S, S-14, S-16, S-17, and S-18 all belong to
history. If you want one, order it now... after June 1, they won't
be making 'em, although they'll still sell products they have in
stock for however long it takes to sell 'em out.
The original list also included the S-12XL, too, but because
buyers begged... and over 1,000 S-12s have been shipped... RANS
reconsidered. "We received enough comments and requests to make a
turn about in this decision. Thanks to all who offered opinions and
support," the company's website now says, where the announcement of
curtains for the S-12 among others sat just last week.
But, what about support, you ask? Not to worry, say company
reps. "These planes are very much a part of our history," they
write. "Support, both technical and parts, will continue for all
models. As stocks are depleted, parts will be fabricated upon
demand." For how long? For "a considerable time," they say. Based
on the reputation of the company, we'd say not to worry.
Isn't this most of the product line? Why would they do that? The
answer is: to get serious about the company's most popular
products: the S-7 LS SLSA, and the S-6ES and S-6S, S-7S, and S-12XL
kits. "Streamline the Line!" came the word from boss Randy
Schlitter (below), and streamline the line they did. A shorter
product line allows a more disciplined and rapid production cycle,
not to mention rationalizing what had to be enormous inventory
The discontinued machines date from as long ago as December,
1983 (the S-4) to just a few years back. The remaining three models
are the latest version of the Courier and Coyote, which also stem
from the 1980s, and the more recent (1990) S-12 Airaile. (While the
S-12S version was discontinued, you will still be able to option an
S-12XL, which normally comes with pre-sewn Dacron skins, with
conventional fabric/dope covering -- a de facto S-12S).
Second, RANS wants you to put a Rotax 912 series engine in your
RANS aircraft. The light S-12XL will still be available with the
503 or 582, but the S-6 won't be. These engines "demonstrate a
better outcome over time. This is true for any model, and
especially true if you fly over fifty hours per year," the company
Third -- and this is big enough news that we will cover it
separately -- RANS is introducing the S-19 (below), a new low-wing
design that pilots can fly under Light Sport privileges, and that
introduces a new form of construction for the RANS line: aluminum
Was there a little foreshadowing of this decision at Lakeland?
Well, you do the math. The company only displayed S-6 and S-7
models with Rotax 4-stroke engines. We saw that at the time, but
didn't see it for the whack upside the head with a clue stick that
it was. Hmmmm.
RANS clearly remains proud of all their designs. You can seem
them all up to last year on the RANS
Timeline (the S-19 is too new to show up... yet).