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Old 08-19-2021, 08:28 PM
Kmdpilot Kmdpilot is offline
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Bend
Posts: 13
Default Why the RV12IS?

Hey all, I bet this has been talked about a lot. But what are people's reasons for going with the RV12IS? I am in the phase of deciding which plant to build. Of course I was immediately drawn to the RV14 and the the cubcrafter. I love the speed and comfort of the RV14 and the short field and versatility of the cubcrafter. I also hate the price of each of them, especially the cubcrafter. I started to break down what I really want:
1. Good Cross country. I don't necessarily have to get there fast, just don't want to watch cars drive past me.
2. I like being able to have a normal full sized passenger and some baggage and not have to take off with half full tanks.
3. Short field capable. I never plan to land on river bars, even though learning to do that would be cool and having a STOL and cross country plane would be cool and all, but I have a budget and 2 planes does not fit. But a short grass strip sub 2K ft length should be doable even at 6K ft msl.
4. Build time. I want to build a plane. I do not want to marry the build. I want to see an fly the plane at some point. Flush riveting is nice but adds a huge amount of time. Pulled rivets are simpler and faster. I am not against the flush, super loud, tedious bucking of 1000s upon 1000s of rivets if the outcome is worth it.
So in short, I guess, my unicorn plane is one I can build quickly, can fly into and out of tighter spots, can comfortable fly long cross country and not break the bank.
I went up in the RV12IS a few weeks ago and it was a super fun plane. Not super fast and the weight limits made it more of a trainer, $100 hamburger plane. But the build time is great for me and it was a super fun plane to fly.
The Rans S21 looks promising for build time and back country ability (for me). Have not flown in one. Looks like it can handle cross country about the same or slightly better than the RV12 but the doors look flimsy. What would it be like to fly that plane in cold weather? Would I need a heated suit? I live in Central Oregon. Not extreme in either cold or hot but winter can be the best flying if I am not freezing to death.
The RV 9 or the 7 are also in the mix. They are great planes with great capability. Obviously the build time is much longer with all 10 million flush rivets (obviously less, but I bet most builders feel all 10 million). The 9 seems to have the cross country and the 7 just adds the sportiness to the 9.
I am torn. Honestly would love to have multiple planes as many of you. But with my above criteria, what are your thoughts? I can go "economical" with the 12 and get a great plane that is fun and can get into most of the places I want to go. I can have the Rans S21 and go nearly everywhere I want to go but maybe a little faster and carry more stuff but costing more money to build. Then there are the 9 and 7 which are great all around planes but are definitely more expensive than the 12 and take much longer to build.
I guess I have time to see what the RV15 end up being.
Sorry for the long rant. I really liked the 12IST I flew out of Twin Oaks. It just need some feedback about building my "forever" plane.

Last edited by Kmdpilot : 08-20-2021 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 08-20-2021, 06:57 AM
Mich48041 Mich48041 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Riley TWP MI
Posts: 3,216

The RV-9 will land and takeoff shorter and cruise faster than the RV-12. The RV-9 can be throttled back for economical fuel consumption. Consider buying used. Other brands to consider are the Zenith 750 STOL and Cruiser; and the Bearhawk.
Joe Gores
RV-12 Flying
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Old 08-20-2021, 02:36 PM
NinerBikes NinerBikes is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Granada Hills
Posts: 1,186

I'd say the RV-12 can be used for XC, if the weather conditions are really good and not too bumpy, and you have the time. Plan on flying solo, for not exceeding gross weight limits.

I'm not aware of anything as economical to fly in the Van's lineup, with as quick a build as the RV-12.

If flying somewhere XC is your goal, the 9-A makes much better time, but fuel consumption will be greater. The older we get, the less time left that we have.

It's up to you, but I'd say flying solo, economically (relatively speaking) the RV-12IS with FADEC engine is hard to beat. The EFIS panel is a joy to work with, in the Dynon HDX package. It's just limited to 120 kts due to the Light Sport category. If you can live with that, it's a great ship to captain. Extremely low pilot workload to operate.

Also, be a smaller pilot, not 6' 5" like me, in my RV-12 Legacy. I have been very happy with my 100 HP Rotax 912 ULS motor and 2 blade ground adjustable Sensenich propeller combo. Pitch it for climb, intermediate, or XC, it's up to you.
RV-12, KWHP based

"Time to Spare, go by Air."

Last edited by NinerBikes : 08-20-2021 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 08-20-2021, 03:04 PM
Carl Froehlich's Avatar
Carl Froehlich Carl Froehlich is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Dogwood Airpark (VA42)
Posts: 3,128

I suggest you examine your aversion to standard rivets. To me, Iíd take a standard rivet any day over a pulled rivet. My point - they do not add all that much more time, and compared to all the other stuff you do riveting is not the big slice of the build time.

Depending on how you finish out your plane, I donít think there is that much of a price gap between the 7, 9 or 12.

The big advantages of the 12 are the Light Sport rules and the removable wings. You donít mention either so perhaps these are not high on your list. If not, the 12, while a nice plane, may fall short of your other expectations WRT what you can carry and such.

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Old 08-20-2021, 03:05 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,953

What Joe Gores said in post #2.

I flew a slower airplane than an RV-12iS to both coasts and Oshkosh without difficulty. I had to wait for weather more than if I'd had a faster airplane, but those flights were fun.


Last edited by David Paule : 08-21-2021 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 08-21-2021, 07:25 AM
ravenstar ravenstar is offline
Join Date: May 2021
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 19

My opinion may not be worth much, as I haven't started my build yet, and I'm just coming back to flying after a long layoff, but....

I chose the RV12is because it seems to fit my mission best. Most or all of my flying is going to be local, and I don't mind taking my time to enjoy the flight when I do go cross-country. I don't feel a need to push weather minimums, so an LSA's limitations are fine for me. I will probably never want to fly with more than one passenger so the capacity of the 12 is fine for most every flight I've ever made.

In terms of the plane itself, I was attracted to the ability to remove the wings and trailer it. Even if I hangar it, when it comes time to work on it, being able to bring it home will be a major convenience over the half hour drive to the airport. The build fits my skills well so I won't end up staring at the schematics for hours wondering how I'm going to accomplish a task, and Vans supplies complete avionics kits so I won't have to spend many more hours laying out my equipment and wiring. I look forward to the build, but I also want a quality plane that will fly someday, not a collection of parts that occupies my garage forever. My wish list had also included EFIS and a fuel injected engine, and of course a measure of reliability and support. The ability to use relatively inexpensive fuel and potential to cruise at 3-4 galls an hour are also pluses. There are many hundreds of 12s and 12ises already flying, and lots of support from Vans and other builders.

Budget-wise, it's more than I had wanted to spend, but to end up with a new aircraft that I'm intimately familiar with and had everything I wanted, I really didn't see another alternative. In short, it seems Vans designed this plane for me.

Finally, in returning to flying I found a flight school that uses RV-12s and got checked out in them. I found them much more fun to fly than I remember the old Cessna 172s I remembered from 20 years ago. From what I've read, that probably applies to any of the RV models.

The only downside right now to me is the extraordinary lead time on the kits. I haven't even received the first kit and I've already placed orders for the second and third so that I (hopefully) won't have a pause in my build once I start. This isn't unique to Vans, of course.
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Old 08-21-2021, 07:39 AM
thiggins thiggins is offline
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Saluda,NC
Posts: 33

No carburetor.
Donation 2020 paid
ASEL INST COMM Tail-wheeler
RV-12iS (Building it's shop right now...)
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Old 08-21-2021, 09:15 AM
mike newall's Avatar
mike newall mike newall is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Yorkshire, England
Posts: 2,177

Simply put, the RV12 can pretty much be built single handed in 2 years.

Any of the others will take 5 years and need some assistance.

We did 2 in 2 years, side by side in our shop.

They fly well, they are quick enough and they are worth more than the sum of the parts, so after ticking the massive life tick of building your own aeroplane, you can trade up for something sportier if you want.

An excellent entry level aeroplane - simple to build with no vices
"I add a little excitement, a little spice to your lives, and all you do is complain!" - Q

Donated in 2021
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Old 08-21-2021, 10:55 AM
Piper J3's Avatar
Piper J3 Piper J3 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Hinckley, Ohio
Posts: 2,523

Originally Posted by ravenstar View Post
Finally, in returning to flying I found a flight school that uses RV-12s and got checked out in them. I found them much more fun to fly than I remember the old Cessna 172s I remembered from 20 years ago. From what I've read, that probably applies to any of the RV models.
What's even more fun is to out-climb and out-run a C-172 any day of the week...
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 717

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 08-21-2021, 11:41 AM
NinerBikes NinerBikes is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Granada Hills
Posts: 1,186

Originally Posted by Piper J3 View Post
What's even more fun is to out-climb and out-run a C-172 any day of the week...
Also a good idea to keep this in mind to maintain separation on downwind, base and final. Has happened to me 2x, I go further downwind now before turning base if they are in front of me at busier airports, if you fly in such areas.
RV-12, KWHP based

"Time to Spare, go by Air."
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