Monday, April 26, 2010

It has been done!

After quite an odyssey, analyzing the various features of the different LSA kits and comparing with my list requirements, I finally settled on an RV-12 from Van's Aircraft. I mailed my order for the tail kit out today.
The aircraft considered were (in this order): Van's RV-12, Zenith Zodiac CH-650, RANS S-19, Van's RV-12.
My requirements were:
- all aluminum construction
- mainly using pop rivets
- must be suitable for Cross Country
- must be possible to fly with two (2 x 200lbs), full fuel, and baggage AND stay within the legal limit of 1320 lbs gross weight.
- should cruise at the speed limit for LSAs

Initially I thought the fuel tank in the cabin would be a complete no-no with the RV-12. And I didn't think I'd need the removable wing option while having to pay that price with the tank being inside. Later I learned, that it really isn't a problem. Even the room for baggage is not reduced to a point where I'd get concerned. Light stuff can be stored on top of the tank and the heavier baggage can go right next to it.
I had almost settled for the S-19 from RANS but I wasn't happy with the useful load of only 500lbs. Assuming I would add some additional pounds by adding lighting, auto-pilot and other nice features I wouldn't have been able to stay within the legal limit for the gross weight on Cross Country flights. Well, even without those features I couldn't stay within the limits with two people on board...
The kit from Van's is not just way lighter, it also has a level of prefabrication that just amazed me. Building the kit is more like matching the holes in the skins and rivet it than the usual building process of aligning, pre-drilling, drilling to full size, etc.

This and the fact that you can easily stay within legal limits was the reason to choose the RV-12 over the competitors.

But what do I know? I'm just a 1st time builder. Let's see how this goes...


Please be aware that I am a FIRST time builder and far from being any type of expert in aircraft construction. REMEMBER ... I'm a newbie builder ... be sure to check with Van's Aircraft before you do anything you read in this builder's log that might differ from those shown or implied the RV-12 plans. So reader beware ... and refer to my builder's log with CAUTION ... !!

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