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Old 09-24-2022, 07:34 AM
Blw2 Blw2 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: Saint Johns, FL
Posts: 89
Default RV-12 stability compared?

How stable is an RV-12 in the bumps and wind?

I'm becoming more and more curious about the little RV-12, as I daydream about a retirement project. I guess my question applies to any similar LSA capable aircraft...... but since I've been looking at the RV-14 for a while, van's has my eye....

I'm wondering rough is the ride?
How well does it do in the bumps, crosswind landing, etc...? What kind of IFR platform does it make?

I know it's not all that fast, but trying to wrap my head around the it a calm evening local flyer, or would it be an ok cross country traveler?

I'm curious in a comparison of something I might know....such as a fly-off comparison between an RV-12 and say a Cessna 152 and Cessna 172.
It has an almost identical wing loading as a 152, so that would tell me that it's about the same....but I think there's probably a little more to it than just wing loading...speed, stability, etc...

I'm a rusty pilot and it's been a pretty long time since I've flown a 152, but I still remember the last time I did. I trained initially in 152's and 150's...but hadn't flown any in quite a while. I had been flying 172's mostly, and quite a bit in 172RG's around that time...working on instrument re-currency and just starting work towards a commercial rating. Took the school's 152 up for a joy ride on a windy day...and by comparison to the only slightly larger planes, I really felt like I took a beating. Was taken by surprise a bit in the bumps and crosswind on landing.
So that's my measuring scale.....
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Old 09-24-2022, 09:38 AM
Piper J3's Avatar
Piper J3 Piper J3 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Hinckley, Ohio
Posts: 2,854

Here’s my take at 800TTAF and some 2000 hours PIC…. The RV-12 is a very light SLA which allows a good useful load. The 12 is an absolute delight to fly with beautiful control harmony and excellent power-to-weight. That being said, I have struck my head on the canopy a few times in convection. The ride cannot be called smooth. A 5-point harness is included and shoulder restraints should be cinched tight.

The one quirk that the RV-12 has is a very pronounced yaw oscillation in turbulence. You can see the nose swing L-R maybe 10 degrees. Locking the rudder straight with your feet does not influence this behavior – you just have to accept and overlook it…
Jim Stricker - EAA #499867
PPL/ASEL 1970 - Sport Pilot since 2007
80 hrs Flying Aeronca Chief 11AC N86203
1130 hrs Flying 46 Piper J-3 Cub N6841H
Bought Flying RV-12 #120058 Oct 2015 with 48TT - Hobbs now 830

LSRM-A Certificate 2016 for RV-12 N633CM
Special Thanks... EJ Trucks - USN Crew Chief A-4 Skyhawk
MJ Stricker (Father - CFI) - USAAF 1st Lt. Captain B-17H
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Old 09-24-2022, 01:34 PM
seagull seagull is offline
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Highland, CA
Posts: 552

Originally Posted by Piper J3 View Post
The one quirk that the RV-12 has is a very pronounced yaw oscillation in turbulence. You can see the nose swing L-R maybe 10 degrees. Locking the rudder straight with your feet does not influence this behavior – you just have to accept and overlook it…
I do not experience this in my -12.
I have flown north and south along the east side of the sierras with west winds at 10,000 – 11,500, Mead Valley to Reno, it is turbulent and with feet on the floor the tail will wag a bit but once I put my feet on the pedals it stops. Last month flying from Redlands, CA to Flat Head Lake, Montana, I hit turbulence while avoiding the fire TFR’s I rerouted and flew over the Bitterroot range at 11,500. It was 1 ½ hours of very rough air flying at 85 kts. The plane was getting moved around a lot but the tail was not wagging.
You must understand without feet on the pedals the cables are slack, the rudder will weather vane, If you hold the rudder still the plane does not yaw any more than any other plane in this class.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
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-- Walt --
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Old 09-24-2022, 02:43 PM
mturnerb mturnerb is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 1,682

I owned and flew an RV-12 here in NE FL. Once landed at KCRG when the wind was gusting 12-18 or so and split the runways. It handled the crosswind and the gusts just fine: I just had to fly it all the way to the runway.

Like any very light airplane, it's a leaf in the wind compared to heavier birds, but completely controllable. Has to be actively flown in the bumps and controls handled properly on the ground. But not dangerous or unpredictable in any way. Comparing it to a 152 is like comparing a Miata to an old beat up Ford Ranger: they both handle fine but one is a lot more fun.

I didn't find it to have any negative handling characteristics at all. Visibility is best in class also.
Turner Billingsley

RV-14A built/sold N14VB

Last edited by mturnerb : 09-24-2022 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:06 PM
RFSchaller RFSchaller is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 3,348


If you rest your feet on the rudder pedals the yaw thing disappears.

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Old 09-26-2022, 03:49 PM
Blw2 Blw2 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: Saint Johns, FL
Posts: 89

Thanks all.

I'm still left kind of wondering though..... I guess the short of it is the RV-12 is a light aircraft and that probably sums it up.

Wish I could find one of those fly-off videos where someone compares and contrasts two different aircraft, flying both on the same or similar days and discussing their observations.

I remember a few years ago Flightchops did a really nice one of all the Van's current models but as I recall the 12 didn't seem to be a focus for his interest and left some things unanswered about it...
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Old 09-29-2022, 02:25 PM
hamblin10's Avatar
hamblin10 hamblin10 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 52

Best part of an RV-12 for us older rusty pilots is it only requires a drivers license as our flight medical.
Eric Hamblin
Private Pilot/A&P/Aerospace Engineer
RV-12iS in progress. N993EZ
Build 121398
Empennage kit received 8/11/22
Wing kit completed
Fuselage kit ordered 03/07/22
Finish kit ordered 03/18/2022
Owasso Oklahoma
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Old 09-30-2022, 07:07 AM
RV8iator's Avatar
RV8iator RV8iator is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Saint Simons Island , GA
Posts: 1,717
Default Feet on the floor.???

The good lord gave us feet and we invented rudder pedals. Use them. I fly with a lot of young (new) pilots and it amazes me how many will churn along in light bumps with their feet on the floor while the nose wiggles around.
Remember, if you don’t have a 3 axis autopilot, YOUR FEET are the yaw dampers!
Jerry "Widget" Morris
RV 8, N8JL, 3,200+ hours on my 8.

VAF #818
Saint Simons Island, GA. KSSI
PIF 2007 - 2022

I just wish I could afford to live the way I do
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Old 09-30-2022, 02:03 PM
Blw2 Blw2 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: Saint Johns, FL
Posts: 89

thanks everyone.
The more I think about it the more I realize that unless a person has jumped straight from a flight in aircraft x into a different aircraft Y and repeated the same flight in the same conditions then it would be a pretty hard question to answer... and even then it's so subjective that's it's probably near impossible to put into words.

Relative cruise speed, wingspan, drag coefficient, actual weight and probably other things combine along with the wing loading make one ride more harsh than another....or more stable in one axis than another.
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