Van’s Aircraft introduced an S-LSA version of the RV-12 on Thursday at AOPA Summit in Palm Springs, California. The new model will come completely built, unlike the current RV-12, which is an Experimental LSA (E-LSA). E-LSAs are essentially LSAs that comes in kit form. Van’s president and CEO Dick Van Grunsven said the new model would be available early next year -- in a matter of months, that is.
For the new RV-12, Van’s will team with another Oregon company, Synergy Air of Eugene. Van’s Aircraft will build the components at its headquarters facility at Aurora State Airport, and assembly work will be done at Synergy Air. Van’s will conduct the quality assurance on the completed RV-12s.
The first factory-built RV-12s will be a batch of 12 special edition models that will include Oregon Aero memory foam seats, autopilots, and special edition paint.
The introductory price will be $115,000, a price that Van Grunsven says is reasonable and that it “hopes to hold” as they move beyond those initial 12 examples. He did admit that since the new RV-12 will be the first customer airplane the company will produce, it would be “an exploratory venture” to some degree.
Unlike E-LSAs, which are heavily restricted in their use for flight training, S-LSAs like the new RV-12 can be used with few restrictions on flight training, including Sport Pilot training programs, a fact that Van’s hopes will inspire sales of the new RV-12 to flight schools.
Van’s has already sold around 600 kits for the Rotax 912-ULS-powered E-LSA RV-12. There are an estimated 200 of them already flying, a fact that Van’s says has helped the company make continual small improvements in the model.