RV12 First Impressions

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by FastEddieB, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Cross-posting from the VansAirForce forum:

    I finally got to fly an RV12 yesterday, one built by a fellow EAA member. It was a flight review for him, and I got maybe 10 minutes of stick time and a couple of landings at our home base of Copperhill, TN (1A3).

    I had asked about anything to look out for on the landings - more on that later. (That thread can be found here: http://www.vansairforce.com/community/showthread.php?t=153887)

    Overall impression is that this is one nice little package. I’ll list some pros and cons I see after this very brief initiation, though the cons are mainly things I would need to adjust to, not inherent flaws.

    Pros:

    1) Very nicely balanced controls. Not too heavy, not too light, just right, and very responsive.

    2) Great visibility - as good as my Sky Arrow in all respects except straight down - and that’s rarely a factor except in aerial photography.

    3) Very comfortable and well-positioned seats.

    4) Very clean aerodynamically, resulting in what appears to be very good performance overall.

    Cons:

    1) The flaps did not seem very effective.

    2) Slipping did not seem very effective.

    3) Pretty sure I’d want steam backup gauges - an altimeter and airspeed at the very least, and maybe a backup attitude indicator as well. If that one SkyView screen ever went blank, you’d be left with virtually no flight instruments at all.

    4) From the right seat it was very hard to see the “ball” on the SkyView. Were it my plane I think I’d install an inclinometer somewhere high in the center of the panel, though admittedly the left-seat pilot could easily make due with what’s already in front of him on the SkyView.

    A lot of the cons I see that way only based on what I’m used to. For the last 10 years and 500 hours I’ve flown my Sky Arrow almost exclusively and have gotten quite used to its flight characteristics. With no wheel pants, wing struts and the engine sitting up above the fuselage, It has a LOT of drag. Not great for performance, but it allows a lot of latitude in various flight regimes: It’s slow to build up speed, and with full flaps and a slip it comes down like the proverbial freight elevator.

    The RV12, not so much. It was way too easy for me or my friend to build up speed inadvertently, and I would have to get used to the much flatter approach that its better glide performance provides. But clearly something one would get used to over time.

    Now, about the landing…

    Folks were right - nothing unusual there that I saw. My friend wanted to focus on his landings, which he thought might be too fast, and they were. On the plus side, the initial ones he showed me were quite smooth, and for his limited hours he showed a very good feel for the plane. Problem was, he was at about 70kts on final and carried maybe 65kts into ground effect, and then touched down way faster than I would have liked - full flaps and safely main wheels first but with a lot of extra energy. When I had him continuing to hold the plane off it resulted in a LOT of float if we tried to hold off for a nice 40kt touch down. I had him decrease his speed in increments of about 5kts, finally arriving at a final approach speed of about 55kts. I think that’s about what I would use for a normal approach - its just over 1.3 Vso. At that speed after rounding out he had no more than about 10 kts to dissipate and he managed a couple of very nice landings with the stall warning sounding just as the mains touched down. Now that he has that image in his mind, I think he’ll be able to safely practice it solo.

    He also successfully completed a “dead stick” simulated emergency landing on the first half of the runway - a skill I think every pilot should have and to practice regularly but one that many (literally) fall short on.

    Someone mentioned the nosewheel tending to drop, but I did not observe that. In fact, power off on my landings, it was easy to hold the nose up throughout the touch and go. His landings were all power off and the nose came down very gently as the speed dissipated, though admittedly he may have been gently lowering it rather that letting it drop. Not sure if its just some planes and/or some loadings that have that issue, but again, I did not see it.

    Oh, and kudos to Vans for producing such solid little aircraft in kit form, and to my friend for having the skill, perseverance and attention to detail to take it to completion.

    Anyway, I’ve been intrigued by the RV12 since I first heard it was being marketed as a “factory-built” S-LSA. Nothing in yesterday’s flight would dissuade me from keeping it high on my list of Sky Arrow replacements - it’s a sweet little bird, and I’m looking forward to more stick time in it.
     
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  2. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Got a few RV12s in north GA. Two at Blairsville that I know of with warbird schemes. Saw one at Calhoun land and the fork failed at the weld line. Seem like good little aircraft with no bad habits.
     
  3. donjohnston

    donjohnston Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A single display glass panel and no backup instruments? Is this a day VFR only plane?

    If it's not, that's just... crazy.
     
  4. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Being LSA one could think of it as day VFR only. Of course a non Sport pilot certainly could fly it at night.
     
  5. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Our adult chapter members are building an RV-12. We started it almost 2 years ago and have paid for it, to date, through member contributions. It usually gets worked on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon. Probably had a dozen plus folks work on it. They're currently working on the flaperons. We have the finishing kit on hand.
     
  6. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    There's one based at FDW, but I haven't seen it up close yet. Climbs well, from what I can tell.
     
  7. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Are you near Blairsville? A family member has a cabin about 30 min from there that I want to fly up to at some point for a night, mostly for the heck of it.
     
  8. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ellijay but work in Blue Ridge. Parents live in Blairsville.
     
  9. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ellijay! lol
    Son and I did a touch and went there years ago, and the flaps wouldn't retract in the 172, taking off to the south. Not many, if any, landing spots there. Told him to fly and I'll troubleshoot the problem. Finally got them to come up. Landed back at Cherokee and told the FBO about the problem, and the guy says, yeah it does that occasionally! Unbelievable.

    I was living in Blue Ridge then.
     
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  10. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yep. Mostly woods except for 515 going through the middle of town.

    My backyard:


    IMG_0592.JPG
     
  11. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We miss living up there. We were 4 miles outside of BR on Aska Rd, around 2300'. 130s flying that route often came right over the house. ****ing airplanes, can't get away rom them. lol
     
  12. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Wow! Looks like a postcard.
     
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  13. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    You poor bastid!
     
  14. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    If you fly into DZJ, take the courtesy car and drive a couple miles to The Aviator restaurant. Great food and aviation atmosphere.
     
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  15. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Who owns that, Bill Elliot?
     
  16. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Lol! Nope, he's down the road at Dawsonville with his own private strip. Met him at DZJ years ago when he had his CJ based there. Super nice guy.
     
  17. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    One of the RV-12s in the area. Sport Aviation did an article on it years ago. I believe Ben is a retired A-7 guy out of NAS Atlanta.

     
  18. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually he lives between BR and Blairsville, a few miles off that road that parallels 515, guess before 515 was built. Has a little strip next to his house there too. The race shop and airport are just west of Dawsonville. Flew his Brasilia for him some back in '98. I know he used to pop into a restaurant there in B'ville, forget the name, years ago.
     
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  19. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    I'm going to North Georgia in November. Actually, I go there every year once or twice. Driving, not flying though. I'm surprised I've never been to that restaurant for the amount of times I've been in Blairsville. I'll have to make sure to eat there and swing by DZJ while I'm there next month.
     
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  20. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Can you get the RV-12 in a production LSA anymore or are they all 51% homebuilts now?
     
  21. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Do you know of anyone who rents out their plane at DZJ? Would be cool to bring the parents up for a flight around the area while we're there.
     
  22. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I don't believe they do anymore. They used to have a C150 and a C172 but I believe they're long gone. Call the the airport manager (John) and see if they have anything. Gotta brand new FBO there on the north side.
     
  23. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks, I'll give him a call tomorrow.
     
  24. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Flown in them. I've flown in full sized Vans (RV6) and the 12 suffers pretty badly in comparison, though they are nice aircraft. Wouldn't want to travel in one. Moreover, since the passage of Basic Med I don't really see the point of LSA's in the first place. When I go for a Vans it certainly won't be one of those. I want one the breathes fire, flies fast and can scratch my upside down itch. I'll do zoom takeoffs and everything. Like is too damn short to fly an RV12.
     
  25. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    For those pining for the N GA mountains, next Saturday the Blairsville, GA EAA chapter is hosting a chili cook off.

    I hope to be there with the Sky Arrow, weather permitting.
     
  26. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Any chance their doing anything the weekends around Thanksgiving?
     
  27. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    Nice write up Eddie. I had to opportunity to fly an RV-12 last year and what you described is spot on, especially the slip characteristics. It seemed tiny to me but I only have my Cherokee and a Cessna 172 to compare it with. I take a stick instead of a yoke any day. Having said that, I've also flown an RV-7 and as far as performance goes, the 12 doesn't compare except for maybe the fuel burn.
     
  28. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I've flown in one for maybe 15 mins. Go fly a few hundred hours in a 172 then fly that thing, it's got jet-like handling in comparison. I'm a big guy and I fit into it no problem. I found the (free castering??) nosewheel characteristics to take some getting used to, though I did not try to land it, was just along for the ride. Steingar, you and I know a guy who built one who has flown it back & forth to Florida. Quit being a Mooney snob! ;)
     
  29. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

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    kind of like comparing a 150 to a 210? they are two different aircraft designed to fulfill two different roles. would i trade my 4 for a 12 never, but in the LSA world the 12 is a great airplane.

    bob
     
  30. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I cannot disagree with this at all. Like I said, with the passage of Basic Med I don't see the point of LSA aircraft anyway. They aren't that inexpensive and many look like toys to my eye. I'm certain they're nice aircraft and they must fly very well, they've the weight of kites and must be very maneuverable. But I'll take a real aircraft any day.

    That said, were I in the market for such an aircraft the RV12 wins hands down. Btu if I'm going to either spend what it costs to acquire one or do what it takes to build one, I'm going to acquire or build a real airplane.
     
  31. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    I keep hearing that BasicMed somehow substitutes for LSA, and cannot fathom just how people arrive to that. You still have the exam with the BasicMed! Moreover, you have to have the 3rd Class for BasicMed, whereas for SP you don't! What is wrong with you people? Just look at what our own Jessie posted here: https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/what-is-happening-to-us.78938/page-4#post-1689115

    The BasicMed is NOT "flying a 172 with Driver's License". You still have to deal with Feds at least once. Has a ton of limitations too (like No IFR and the idiotic speed limit that rules out the faster RVs BTW). That's why BasicMed is called "a cruel hoax" by AirFacts.
     
  32. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    BasicMed allows IFR and up to 250 knots, am I misunderstanding your post?
     
  33. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Again, it’s easy to take a Light Sport Experimental and do all your own maintenance and to make any mod that does not take it out of the Light Sport Limitations. And even your own Annual Condition Inspections with a 16 hour course.

    This cannot be done in any reasonable manner with a standard category aircraft. And that makes a huge difference for a fair number of owners.
     
  34. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    I was wrong, the actual limit I was thinking about is the prohibition at the Class A.
     
  35. Andrew Morris

    Andrew Morris Filing Flight Plan

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    Haha I love when people like to bash LSA’s as not being “real” airplanes. Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I guess the SubSonex JSX-2 and BD5 jets aren’t “real” airplanes either. They must be remote control. By the way, remote control airplanes are real too. :)
     
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