THE RV12 BUILD IN PROGRESS
Jim fastidiously recorded the time he and Ben spent building the aircraft, clocking off
whenever anyone stopped by to chat. The final tally—780 hours; well within the 700 to
900 hours Van’s estimates.
BUILDING THE RV- 12 E-LSA
UPDATES ANNOUNCED AT AIRVENTURE 2010
WHEN IT CAME TO BUILDING THE RV- 12, Jim and Ben agreed that the kit was straightforward to
build and has a good manual, though Jim had one significant concern. “The first thing I would have
changed was how the cowling was attached to the fuselage,” he said. “In our kit, the cowling is
attached via a piano hinge pin, and you have to have great finesse wiggling that pin between all those
teeth.” Jim suggested adding a few fasteners to make removing the cowling easier. Also, the teeth
can get dirty after flying, so Jim said he plans to clean them off after each flight. Since Jim and Ben
completed their kit, Van’s has reworked the canopy and cowl connection to reduce those problems.
One item that wasn’t available when Jim and Ben were building was wheel pants. They are
now available for new kit orders, and Ben expects the addition to increase the speed of the RV- 12 by 3
to 5 knots.
To date, Van’s has sold more than 400 RV- 12 kits, with 59 aircraft flying as of EAA Oshkosh
AirVenture 2010. Average payload capacity of the aircraft constructed so far is 430 pounds.
At AirVenture 2010, Van’s announced the availability of some additional options, including AeroLED
lighting (strobe, position, landing), and a Dynon dual-screen. Van’s also exhibited a Super Quick Build
kit for the RV- 12, asking customers if they’d be interested in a kit that was more fully completed. “We’re
essentially doing a market survey,” said Ken Scott of Van’s Aircraft. “We have not decided if we will
offer this, or to what extent the kit will be complete. It might be 60-, 75-, or 90-percent complete. We
need to understand what the market will bear and what makes sense from a production standpoint.”
As compared to the MD- 11, Ben said he
has more information at his fingertips with
the RV- 12. “With a price range of around
$3,000 for the Garmin  compared to
over $50,000 [for comparable avionics] in
the big jets, I don’t mind bragging to my airline pilot buddies about this type of flying,”
Overall, both agree that they made the
right choice in aircraft. “All in all, the RV- 12
kit would make a real good first-time kit for
someone who has never built an airplane
before, as long as you follow the steps and
aren’t afraid to seek some guidance when
you’re stuck,” Jim said.
With the RV- 12 ready to fly and the hands
of Jim’s stopwatch stopped and locked at
780 hours of build time, it was time for the
test flight of the 23rd RV- 12 completed.
Because of Ben’s prior extensive test-flying
qualifications in the Navy and his high RV- 6
time, he was the natural choice to take the
RV- 12 up for the first five hours. After a thorough preflight (don’t tell Jim, but Ben
actually found one screw that needed to be
tightened), Ben followed the Van’s test-flight
guidelines and proceeded to follow the
checklist for each test flight conducted.
There were five separate test flights, and
because of his experience with test flying,