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Old 04-26-2005, 04:13 PM
admin admin is offline
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 78
Default Development of the RV-12


From the RVator. Second Issue, 2005 posted 04/26/05

Now that the RV-10 is well launched and Van?s private-project RV-11 is slowly, slowly wending its way toward flying, it?s time think about what, exactly, comes next.
Well, "exactly" -- we don?t know yet ourselves. But we?re on the way to finding out.

Given the impetus of steadily rising fuel prices (auto diesel in Oregon is currently $2.65/gallon? or the same as 100LL at the local FBO. Go figure.) and the potential new market to pilots licensed in the Light Sport category, it seemed time to pursue the concept of a lighter, simpler, and slightly less expensive airplane. The idea has been around for a long time, given Van?s penchant for light airplanes that perform well on modest power. Several years ago, back when we were in North Plains, he carved a model of such an airplane that?s still on his desk. It?s kinda cute.


We are now in the earliest stages of building a "proof-of-concept" airplane known, if you can believe it, as the RV-12. It bears a strong resemblance to Van?s model. It?s an all metal side-by-side airplane with a low wing. Cabin room will be comparable to the RV-7/9. It uses a tricycle landing gear and has a 100 hp Rotax 912S for power. Fuel is stored in a fuselage tank aft of the occupants. Our construction thoughts at the moment center around pulled rivets rather than driven rivets.

We are trying to achieve a 550 lb payload ? this equates to two 190 lb people, 120 lbs of fuel and 50 lbs of baggage. If you subtract this payload from the maximum 1320 lb gross weight dictated by Light Sport regulations, you can see that the empty weight of the airplane must be around 750 lbs to allow for the inevitable creep or miscalculation.

Naturally, we want an airplane that continues our tradition of "Total Performance" by possessing good handling qualities and good value. Actual performance is more or less defined by the rules of the Light Sport Category:
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 1,320 lbs (599 kg.)
  • Maximum stall speed (clean, unflapped): 51 mph (45 knots)
  • Maximum speed in level flight with maximum continuous power:
    138 mph (120 knots)
  • Two-place maximum (pilot and one passenger)
  • Single, non-turbine engine
  • Fixed or ground adjustable propeller
  • Fixed landing gear
As this is written, a basic design study is under way and a wooden cabin mockup is under construction. We will proceed with the usual back-and-forth between the design staff and the prototype shop and eventually (no, we don?t know when) build a flying "proof-of-concept" airplane. Which will be exactly that ? an airplane to test our ideas and see if they do what we hope and expect. It is a working tool, not a finished product.


Depending on what we learn from this airplane, we may decide to proceed with a kit airplane. The most probable first step would be a kit similar to our current "49%" kits. Finished airplanes would be registered in the current Experimental category. (If the airplane meets the performance standards for an LSA airplane, it can be flown by anyone holding a Light Sport pilot?s license, no matter what category it is registered in.)

After that, we may consider a Special LSA kit. This category allows kits to be completed to far more than 49%, which sounds attractive. But the flip side is that no modifications or variations from the plans are permitted. Every example must be built to the manufacturer?s compliance standard.

The possibility of a fly-away airplane (permitted by the standards of the category) is so remote that we can?t even discuss it at this time.


We live in an internet age, which means we have almost instant access to information. Some of it is even true. We?ve already seen some wildly inaccurate speculation about our next project and we?d like to head it off before it takes permanent root somewhere out there in cyberspace. We will keep you informed through the RVator and our website about the progress of the RV-12, and we?d welcome your written or emailed thoughts on the concept. We can?t answer questions about the RV-12, either on the phone or in any written format. Not only would that take time (something we barely have enough of in a normal workday) but, at this point, we don?t have the solid answers customers have a right to expect.

As they say?watch this space.

Doug Reeves
Owner: Delta Romeo, LLC.

Last edited by DeltaRomeo : 04-26-2005 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 04-26-2005, 07:35 PM
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Captain_John Captain_John is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KPYM
Posts: 2,686


RV-7 Flying - 1,200 Hours in 5 Years!
The experiment works!
TMX-IO-360, G3i ignition & G3X with VP-X
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Old 04-26-2005, 11:23 PM
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n2prise n2prise is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Palm Bay, FL
Posts: 420
Default LSA is Light Sport Aircraft...

Captain John,

There are some older pilots who cannot get a third-class medical anymore due to health reasons and FAA regs. The light sport aircraft with its modest performance and limited flight characteristics allows those who don't or can't get a regular private pilot license (PPL) to have fun in the air as we all do in our "regular certified and experimental" airplanes. There has been plenty of press coverage on this issue at EAA and AOPA web sites.

Jerry K. Thorne
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Old 04-29-2005, 04:54 PM
iluv2fly iluv2fly is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 13

Actually if you have lost your license due to medical reasons you still cannot fly in the LSA category. You have to quit flying before you lose your medical.
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Old 04-29-2005, 06:37 PM
svanarts svanarts is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: California's vast Central Valley
Posts: 571
Default Good move

I think this was a good move on Van's part. I hope the LSA category takes off and I hope he sells a bunch of RV-12 kits and makes a ton of money. There are lots of guys on my field who just gave up because they knew they couldn't pass their medical and they didn't want to fly ultralights. Hopefully this will breathe new life into those guys and into aviation in general.
Scott VanArtsdalen
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Old 04-29-2005, 07:23 PM
Posts: n/a

Personally, I would like to see Van resurrect the four-place high-wing design that he briefly contemplated while exploring possibilities for the RV10. Such an RV would combine the handling and reliability of an RV with the versatility of a high-wing (floats, skiis, back-country, etc.). A long-shot, but as a future RV builder, one can always hope.

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Old 04-29-2005, 08:17 PM
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Captain_John Captain_John is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KPYM
Posts: 2,686

Jerry, yah... I know...

I agree... I think it is a great business decision. I also think that should I somehow fall into the category of pilots who are forced into (or prefer) LSA, I would build one.

Lemme just say, I am glad to be building a -7!

...and I hope to live long enough to enjoy it for all it has to offer!

I am guessing that I will be a repeat offender, anyways.

Maybe the RV-15 will be next for me?

You know, the high wing LSA Float plane one!?!

RV-7 Flying - 1,200 Hours in 5 Years!
The experiment works!
TMX-IO-360, G3i ignition & G3X with VP-X
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Old 05-05-2005, 05:53 AM
elfiero elfiero is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 32
Default RV-12 Thoughts

Hi, I'm a nubie, but I would like to make a comment here. LSA isn't just for "old guys" I'm 47 but I fall into one of the small group of people that the FAA will never give a medical to because of an exsisting condition. Now, I could get a 3rd class medical by just not mentioning my situation to the doctor when I went to see him - but thats cheating. As far as the plane is concerned I have bugged the guys at Vans for over a year so far and hopefully, I'm still #1 one the waiting list. There is going to be a huge market for this type of aircraft in the near future as the current crop of pilots gets to old for there exsisting planes and the next group refuses to spend a hundred grand for something that sits too much because they can't afford fly it. Except for the usual few guys with tons of money, LSA is the future- we should embrace it and welcome it. I belive it will be the only thing that keeps many of our airports open.
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:22 AM
john kelley john kelley is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: NW Chicago Suburbs
Posts: 39
Default RV-12 is a good thing

Even though I am a fan of the 7 I am glad Van is
looking into the LSA market. Several issues are in
his favor.

1.) Looks like most companies are overshooting a
reasonable price point for LSA. Van is the best
price/performance out there and I believe they will
significantly undercut the competition. Think cost of
full size SUV instead of a Hummer H1 for a mostly
prebuilt (past QB stage)w/FWF.

2.) Since no one is going to have top speed braggin
rights the key will be usable speed envelope. If they
can keep the 4:1 ratio fast to stall, they will be in good shape.
Lower is better. Maybe "optional" wheel fairings for
higher top end, I don't know how the rules read.

3. I would like a sliding canopy ala tiger that can open
in flight. Air loads should be much less at the LSA

4. I would rethink the trike only option. I know TW
sales are lower but if the stall speed is ~35 mph it
would be a great first TW bird to learn in. I like the
sportsman reconfigurable gear, change from trike to TW
in a few hours. People will probably never do it but
it is a marketing angle.

5. How about folding wings like a Hellcat? LSA (all)
pilots are looking to lower costs, if I can squeeze
into my friends T hangar next to his RV-7 we both win.
Needs to be ~10 min pre/post flight procedure. It's
not acro capable so carry through loads do not need to
be as robust.

6. I think the wing is going to be the thing. It may
be more complex to do a wider speed range and if
folding as above. Maybe the wing is QB only.

Trying to get the shop set up
for building a 7, maybe this Osh. is the year. Looking at LSA for when I am an Old(er) Pilot

John Kelley
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Old 05-09-2005, 12:21 PM
MGMorden MGMorden is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1
Default Not just for LSA people

Heck I'm glad to see this and I'm 23 years old with a valid medical (issued a week ago) working on a full PPL. I'm not planning on starting a build for a few more years, but I've been doing quite a bit of research. Before I read this I had pretty much decided on either a Sonex or a Zodiac XL. The RV's are nice but I just don't think I could afford to build one. This RV though seems like I could get the best of both worlds: quality of the RV materials/design with the lower cost offered by being able to use engines in the 100hp range. I don't even care about the LSA part, I just like that this kit will be able to be completed for less money in the end. For someone on a more limited budget that's a great help.
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