October 11, 2012
By Sarah Brown
An RV-12 was on display at AOPA Aviation Summit. Van's Aircraft expects to deliver the first factory-built “Signature Edition” RV-12s in early 2013.
Aurora, Ore., kitplane manufacturer Van's Aircraft jumped into the factory-built market with the announcement Oct. 11 that it will produce a special light sport RV-12.
The company announced at AOPA Aviation Summit that it will work with Synergy Air of Eugene, Ore., a company that currently offers builder assistance programs, to manufacture an initial production run of 12 special light sport aircraft (S-LSAs) with all available options, offered as “Signature Edition” models for an introductory price of $115,000. The company expects to offer a standard model at $105,000.
After a recent visit to the Van's factory, AOPA President Craig Fuller (right) was impressed with Van's founder Dick VanGrunsven's (left) efforts in the realm of pilot training and safety.
Offering a factory-built aircraft is a departure for the company, which has close to 7,900 experimental aircraft in its line of RVs flying today. Nearly 200 kitbuilt RV-12s have been completed and flown as experimental light sport aircraft or experimental amateur-built aircraft; sales manager Gus Funnell said the company was able to learn from this field experience, making incremental improvements that are reflected in the S-LSA. Initial deliveries are planned for early 2013.
Powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS, the RV-12 is equipped standard with Dynon Skyview electronic flight instrument system, Garmin SL-40 com radio, Flightcom stereo intercom, 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter, Flightline interior, and LED lighting. Options—all included in the “Signature Edition”—include wheel pants, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, a two-axis autopilot, premium paint finishes, and Oregon Aero seats and interior.
AOPA President Craig Fuller joined company founder and CEO Dick VanGrunsven at the Summit press conference, offering insight from a recent visit to the Van's factory. “You cannot spend time with these folks and not be impressed with the quality of the aircraft that's being turned out”—and with the quality of the company, he said.
Experimental amateur-built aircraft are prohibited from being used for flight instruction for hire; an S-LSA RV will make transition training more widely available to builders of the popular kitplanes, although VanGrunsven said this wasn't a driving force in the decision to offer an S-LSA. Transition training in an amateur-built aircraft is available by letter of deviation authority, and VanGrunsven has stressed the importance of the training as president of the newly formed Aircraft Kit Industry Association.
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