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Old 08-26-2018, 06:56 PM
pstraub's Avatar
pstraub pstraub is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Hensley Airpark, TN
Posts: 129
Default Observations after first loooong cross-country (Oshkosh)

Please excuse the long post....After an approx 4K mile roundtrip from NorCal to Oshkosh, I just wanted to share some of my observations on the RV-12. I flew through 14 states, landed at 15 airports, put 40 hours on the hobbs (worked out to about 33 in-flight, 7 on the ground). Cruise altitudes were between 2500' and 12,500', and maybe a little 600'agl scud-running to get out of Custer, SD which put me at a 'cruise' altitude of 6200' My favorite power setting turned out to be 5200rpm, it just felt easy on the Rotax and consistently gave me 110-115kts TAS at just barely over 4gph. I brought a friend with me, so after each fuel stop, we were back at max gross wt.

I am happy to report that the RV-12 is an amazing little plane (as if most of you didn't already know that!). Even as I was building it, I considered it somewhat of a 'toy' airplane that would be fun and inexpensive to fly with a passenger, low and slow, mostly local sightseeing flights. Well the RV-12 far exceeded its mission was comfortable and capable, even on a trip like this, where I had to cross the Sierras and the Rockies. I am not saying it's a cross-country, high density altitude monster by any stretch, but it really did a great job!

One example....I had to depart Rock Springs, WY at about 3 in the afternoon. Density Altitude was approx 10,400' and I was at max gross. I ran the numbers and figured I should get about 250fpm climb, which was fine. I had a 10,000' runway and no high terrain or obstacles to out-climb. I was able to turn on course towards Devil's Tower, WY and slowly climb up to 12,500msl, which was pretty impressive considering the DA was well over 15K'. I am also super happy that I decided to install the autopilot servos when I was building, it's much better than I am when tracking to a waypoint while holding a steady altitude. It paid for itself on this trip alone.

I had 70 hours on the plane before I left home, so it was already pretty well tested, but the RV-12 (at least the E-LSA version) turned out to be very reliable. Nothing at all against E-AB, I am just saying that if you build it as designed, it's pretty darn good. It's certainly arguable that some of the changes E-AB builders make could make it even better, so please don't get me wrong!

In that first 70 hours, I burned premium unleaded mogas 95% of the time. I pulled and inspected my plugs at 25 and 50 hours, and they were like new. I also did a couple oil and filter changes, exclusively using Aeroshell Sport Plus 4, and the oil looked great at both changes. So, on my Oshkosh trip, I ran 40 straight hours of 100LL avgas. WOW!! what a difference! It ran great the whole trip but I decided that I would change the plugs and oil/filter as soon as I got home. The plugs all had heavy deposits on them, and the oil was much darker (dirtier) and had a 'filmy' look and feel to it. Now I really understand why Rotax recommends 25-hour maint intervals if you run 100% avgas!! I even used the Decalin Runup lead scavenging additive on the entire trip, but it didn't seem to make much difference. In the future, I will use more additive. The bottle recommends 1/2 oz per 10gal of fuel, so that's all I used. They support up to 2 oz per 10 gal, so that's what I will try next time I burn a ton of 100LL.
All in all, what a great airplane!! I still want to build an RV-14A, but I'm no longer in a big hurry to start! The RV-12 can hold its head up high! I would just love to dabble in some aerobatics, and have a solid IFR platform, so the 14A seems perfect for that. If anyone is interested, I put together a 20 minute video about the Oshkosh trip.
Paul Straub, First Flight May 5, 2017
N917PB, SN 120971
175 hours and counting.....
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