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Old 04-16-2018, 05:43 AM
flyingRV flyingRV is offline
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 10
Default Help for decision


sorry I postet this thread accidentally in the RV12 forum, I closed it there as I haven't found the possibility to delete or move the thread to another forum.

At first thanks for this great forum and for all the information I've already found here.
I'm new to this forum so a short introduction. I live in the northern part of Germany, 38 years, married, 2 small kids and have been flying since more than 20 years. At the moment I own a 4-Seat Vintage Taildragger but decided to sell it and build my own plane in the near future. It should be a 2-Seater as I seldom use the 4 seats.

There are a lot of options nowadays but for me as a first time builder I'd prefer a kit with great builder support and a company behind it which already is in business for some years. So at the moment I have the following aircraft on my list.
RV9, RV12, Europa XS and maybe Rans S21 (maybe too new to get enough support).
My mission profile EXcludes aerobatics. I just need an efficient aircraft, carrying 2 people (together around 330 lbs) for around 500NM at a reasonable speed (at least 110kts) and take some baggage (including tent and sleeping bags) for longer trips (at the moment maybe a weekend only but in the future when the kids are grown up, let's say 1-2 weeks). I know, everything is a compromise.

Although I appreciate comments on the other planes as well, I would stick to the RVs here. The 9 - on paper - would be perfect for me. But I'm wondering about the long build time and the Lycoming. I trust the old engines, no question, but they are more expensive, don't fly on mogas with ethanol, and I always have to order more expensive parts from the U.S. instead of driving to ROTAX. I want to make as little changes as possible to the design so another engine is not an option for me.
I like the 12 more and more but have some concerns.

Can somebody post the dimensions (not the volume) of the baggage bay in the new RV12is and in the 9?
Vans mentions a volume of 5 cubic feet in the 12, this seems to be little tight.
I have found nearly nothing about the touring capability of the 12.

I calculated the W&B for the "old" RV12 with the sample data of the POH provided
by VANS. With only me (185lbs) in the cockpit it seems to be impossible to load any baggage when the tanks are full. Also with my wife it's impossible to make use of the 75lbs in the back. And if I put the 912 instead of the 912is in it it will even become worse I think.
Can you confirm that the 12 is so trim critical?

I've never flown a VANS yet but I hope to get a demo flight on my first visit in OSH this year.

Thank you so much for your help.

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Old 04-16-2018, 06:48 AM
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tomkk tomkk is offline
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Port Orange, Fl
Posts: 798
Default re. "Old RV-12" weight & balance

My "Old" RV-12 came in at:
759.5 pounds empty weight (inc. autopilot, lighting, ADSB, interior trim, fire extinguisher, breakout hammer, excl. wheel fairings)
10.0 pounds for the wheel, leg and intersection fairings
7.0 pounds other stuff I always carry (tools, Decalin, quart of oil, etc.)

I weigh 210 pounds, 140 for wife. That gets me to 1126 pounds. Adding 120 pounds for fuel gets me to 1246 pounds leaving 74 pounds for baggage (the baggage compartment has a max of 50 pounds).

With that configuration, the C.G. is admittedly at the aft edge of the envelop but still within it. I've flown it at max gross weight with the C.G. at the extreme aft edge without any problem, it was quite comfortable.
Port Orange, Fl
RV-12 N121TK ELSA #120845; first flight 06/10/2015
RV-12 N918EN ELSA #120995 Eagles Nest Project
SPA Panther N26TK in progress
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:11 AM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is online now
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 14,375
Default Welcome to VAF

Simon, welcome to VAF
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:14 AM
bhassel's Avatar
bhassel bhassel is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 933

Van's shows the baggage bay as 12+ cubic ft. & 75 pounds on the RV-9. You should also remember that the RV-9 prototype was built with a 118 hp Lycon from a Cessna 152. It still had great performance! Even with the small engine the cruise speed at gross weight is 164 mph.With a 160 hp engine the gross weight cruise speed on the 9 is 186 mph!

The RV-12 baggage area is shown as 5 cubic ft. & 75 pounds. Since the RV-12 was built with the LSA limitations in mid, top speed regardless is 136 mph.

The 12is is an easier and quicker build, no doubt about it. It's also a lighter aircraft as it is built for LSA standards in the US. Everything in the plans is laid out for you and it leads you by the hand all the way through. The 12 uses pulled rivets and there is no drilling a smaller hole into a slightly larger hole in the build process. As a matter of fact because its a lighter plane the skins are thinner. You don't even need to dress each hole. If you do you have to be careful not to thin the metal even more. The 12 is more of a cleco the parts together and pull the rivets kind of build. The real advantage of the plans is if you build everything the way Van's wants it built; engine, panel, etc. If you stray from that then you are on your own in those areas just like on most of the other models.

The plans on the 9 are not as advanced as the 12is since the 12 is a newer aircraft. Van's sells the plans separately on their website and they come on a USB drive and full of pdf's, etc. The plans of course come printed out with all of the kits. The 9 kit requires more work, it is a larger plane and has more options during the build.

The plans on the USB drive run $10 for each model. You don't have to be a builder to pick up the usb plans sets. I'd really recommend you grab an RV-9 and an RV-12is set of USB plans and look them over.

There is nothing wrong with either plane, or any of Van's aircraft for that matter. I'd much rather build a Van's kit than any other.

Which one you build is best answered by you and your mission.

A few lifetimes ago, I started with the emp kit for an RV-9 (they were all nose draggers back then). I had never done anything like this before. My wife and I took a class on building a Van's kit one weekend and the next thing you know we had a tail section built. The 9 plans were the most advanced plans set at the time.

Life got in the way, I got older and concerns about a medical left me building an RV-12 because of my ability to still fly an LSA aircraft in the US. We built most of the kit (she should be flying by now) and we really enjoyed it. I beat the medical issue and now I'd think I'd love to get back to that 9.

Which ever choice you make you can't go wrong. It's a Van's kit after all!

Bob Hassel

Subscription Paid for 2018

Home is where the hanger is...
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:23 AM
Mich48041 Mich48041 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Riley TWP MI
Posts: 2,736

I built and Fly a RV-12. I chose that because government regulations in the USA allow me to fly it without having a medical exam.
I would rather have built a RV-9 which has better short field performance and better cruise speed. The RV-12 has flaperons, not separate flaps. The RV-12 floats and floats on landing unless the pilot has precise control over the approach speed.
I think that you made a mistake calculating weight and balance for the RV-12. The pilot and passenger sit forward of the CG. Balance is not a problem. The biggest issue is gross weight.
Have you considered an alternative engine in the RV-9? Perhaps the UL Power? The RV-9 will definitely take longer to build. The RV-12 goes together very quickly.
Joe Gores
RV-12 Flying
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:29 AM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 557
Default My take

I am building a 9A now. My take is if there is a concern about medical, then build a 12. If medical is not an issue, then build a 9. The 9 is much more capable and has a larger future mission capability, namely IFR and high(er) altitude cruising. If you really get into traveling, the IFR ticket will be the natural progression. Some argue the RV12 could be used for IFR, but this is really skirting the rules and sanity, in my opinion. JMHO
John S

WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

Extra dues paid 2018, worth every penny

RV9A- Status: tail feathers done less tips
Wings done less tips and avionics
Fuselage 30%
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:45 AM
control control is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 568

If there is enough money, a quickbuild RV9/A sounds like a way to have everything I interpret that you want.
RV-14 kit #140138
I have entered the 90% done, 90% left to do zone
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:11 AM
rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 7,859

Originally Posted by flyingRV View Post

Can somebody post the dimensions (not the volume) of the baggage bay in the new RV12is and in the 9?
Vans mentions a volume of 5 cubic feet in the 12, this seems to be little tight.
I have found nearly nothing about the touring capability of the 12.

I calculated the W&B for the "old" RV12 with the sample data of the POH provided
by VANS. With only me (185lbs) in the cockpit it seems to be impossible to load any baggage when the tanks are full. Also with my wife it's impossible to make use of the 75lbs in the back. And if I put the 912 instead of the 912is in it it will even become worse I think.
Can you confirm that the 12 is so trim critical?
The baggage area volume listed for the RV-12iS is for the space that is below the cross member that the seats lean against (16" X 41" X 13" deep). If the interior area available above that, that can accommodate softer / lower weight items is included, then the total is more on the order of 12 cubic feet or so.

I agree with others that you must have made a calculation error when doing the sample weight and balance. A typical RV-12 with full fuel and 50 lbs of baggage can accommodate two 190 lb people and be just a bit fwd of the aft CG limit. Because the location of the fuel tank is aft of the C.G., the C.G. moves fwd. during the flight as fuel is used, rather than further aft like many other aircraft, so the C.G. at take-off will always be the most critical condition but if the baggage weight limits are observed it is impossible to exceed the aft limit.

Because the new RV-12iS carries its fuel further fwd than the Gen1 RV-12, it allowed for raising the baggage area weight limit to 75 lbs (assuming the weight of the occupants allows for it while staying at or below the 1320 lb weight limit).
Any opinions expressed in this message are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:25 PM
flyingRV flyingRV is offline
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 10

Thank you very much.
The build time, the Rotax and the price are the advantages of the 12 for me.
We here always need a medical, no matter what Aircraft you are flying (ok if it has less than around 230lbs empty weight then you can do it without).
I dont want to put the plane on a trailer, we are not allowed to fly IFR.
So some of the points dont apply to me.
I checked my Numbers for W&B again. The problem is not the fully loaded Aircraft but the flight where there is only me (180lbs) in front of the spar and 20 USG+75lbs of baggage behind it. I also checked on a spreadsheet from the Internet...same result. For landing its getting better of course but takeoff is out of cg Limit.
If Im ok with the smaller baggage (thats why I asked about the touring capability) and the CG the 12 ticks the boxes. But to be save in all aspects the 9 would be right, with or without the small engine, but its a question of build time (so I dont want to put another Engine in it) and money.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:51 PM
Jimbot Jimbot is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: FL & NC
Posts: 129

Hi Simon,

Welcome to these Vans Air Force forums

When I was looking at building an experimental aircraft a few years back, I spent about 2 years studying dozens of models, before I narrowed the search down to a Europa XS or Vans RV 9A, 7A or 12 models.

I really liked a lot of things about the Europa - auto fuel, good cruise speed and fuel efficiency, nice looks. It turned out that when I joined EAA Chapter 309 in Charlotte, NC a few years ago, there was a nice English gentleman who was a member and he built/flies a Europa, and he was kind enough to take me for a flight. The result: I really liked his Europa...but I am six feet tall (1.82 meters) and weigh 170 pounds (77 kg) and unfortunately found that my head pressed uncomfortably against the cockpit's ceiling. Bummer, because it is a neat plane otherwise.

I was at Sun-n-Fun this past week and spent a lot of time checking out the new Vans RV-12is and asking lots of questions. One thing that I noticed on the new RV-12is is that the opening to the cargo area (between the top of the fuel tank and the roll bar) is a little tight - seemed like it was about one foot tall (0.3 meters) or so, if I remember correctly.

I think the new RV-12is might be an excellent plane for your described mission. Heck, I'm even thinking about building one now instead of a larger RV!!! There really are a lot of things to like about Vans new and improved model!

Hope this helps
Jim Hall
2018 VAF Annual Dues Paid; RV-7A project (wings, empennage and 0-320 engine) SOLD...Another RV empennage kit in my future!

President, EAA Chapter 309 - EAA 309

Founder, SUPERBIRD Aircraft & Automotive Cleaning Products, featuring the SUPERBIRD Paint Restoration System
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