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  #1  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:24 AM
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Default Help my decision

I know I will get very biased opinions on this forum but this forum is probably one of the biggest reasons to chose Vanís kits. Donít bash the others too bad but feel free to point out things I should look at.
I will be going to Sebring next week to help decide what kit I would like to build. I am looking for your thoughts and experiences on things I should look at to help my decision. The aircraft that meet my mission are the RV-12, Zenith CH-650 and the Sonex. The factors driving my decision are useable load (I am fat, 235 lbs), ease and time of construction, and I need to be cost conscious. I will be a first time builder and am still a student sport pilot. Following are my current observation:

RV-12.
Pros: Looks like the easiest to build with everything included in the kit and match drilled parts
The support of many in the VAF world.
Cons: Donít care for the Rotax, would probably go E-AB with the Jabaru 2200.
Donít care for the flarerons, prefer standard flaps.
Vans does not support any changes to their perfect design. It says so in one of the first pages of the instruction manual.

CH-650:
Pros: Best looking of the three.
Wing fuel tanks.
Cons: Seems to be more fabrication, skins not cut to size and parts not match drilled.

Sonex
Pros: Built to exceed LSA speed rules, wider safety range in structure strength.
Aerobatic. Not really important but the ability to do a few barrel rolls could be fun.
Cons: Lower Gross weight.
Interior doesnít look too comfy, but I will find out at Sebring.
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:39 AM
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DonFromTX DonFromTX is offline
 
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Location: La Feria Texas
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Well, it looks like you are doing your checks well, and many of us did the same. Several points, Sonex does not exceed the LSA speed limits, check out the requirements a bit closer. While at Sebring try sitting two people in the Sonex, not too comfy if the two you choose will even fit, that was a reason for me to choose the 12. I disliked the squeeze in my Ercoue that was even wider than the Sonex (then again I am a bit broad in the butt).
I see you are only 55, so time to build is less important than it was for me. The high number of 12s in the air in a short time since they became available was a large factor to me, indicating ease of build in addition to total time to build.
In retrospect, I am quite happy I made the RV12 choice back when I was at the same stage you are at.
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2012, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonFromTX View Post
Sonex does not exceed the LSA speed limits, .
Don, I was referring to the Vne of 197, a lot of leeway in worrying about an overspeed. I also like your choice of the Viking and I'm sure I'll see a few flying before I get to where I'll have to make that decision. Viking is just up the road about an hour, I can go lean on them to get your engine shipped.
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Future RV-12 Builder?

Last edited by JoeM : 01-10-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2012, 12:25 PM
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DonFromTX DonFromTX is offline
 
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OK, I see your point there. I would love the faster cross country speed of the Sonex personally, but us old guys have to travel slower I guess. I am anxious to get my engine, would you run up there and build a fire under them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
Don, I was referring to the Vne of 197, a lot of leeway in worrying about an overspeed. I also like your choice of the Viking and I'm sure I'll see a few flying before I get to where I'll have to make that decision. Viking is just up the road about an hour, I can go lean on them to get your engine shipped.
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  #5  
Old 01-10-2012, 01:04 PM
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Bill_H Bill_H is offline
 
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RV-12 - Low build time, comparatively roomy, great view, sprightly performance, completeness of kit. Go EAB if you can't stand the ELSA restriction but (ONCE SKYVIEW IS HERE!) there are very few and probably minor features that you would want to incorporate that would require EAB. And those I can think of are all easy to do post-inspection. Engine choice? Rotax - like it or not for whatever reason - is hugely proven in real-world service.

Some won't like this - but the Zenith is probably irreparably damaged in the marketplace opinion because of the well-publicized structural issues. Fair or not - it doesn't matter (and I say this speaking as a former V-Tail Bonanza owner.) So if resale is any consideration... (and that would apply to Viking or Jabiru RV-12s as well...)

About speed. If you conservatively save even 300 hours of build time compared to some other design, you can be spending that time in the air at (PERHAPS) a slightly lower cruise speed - rather than spending it doing your own match drilling. 300 hours times even a measly 100 mph is 30,000 miles of travel to various places. That's 15 trips coast to coast across the US. Is that more fun than match drilling? Just sayin'.
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  #6  
Old 01-10-2012, 01:26 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
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The RV-12 has absolutely delightful ailerons and plenty of longitudinal and directional stability. Remarkable handling, really. Plus, it's got excellent visibility. In fact, its downward visibility is better than from my Cessna 180, which you might remember, is a high-wing airplane.

The Jabiru has after-market liquid-cooled cylinder heads available from another reputable company. Any time something like that happens, there's a reason. While a lot of people don't seem to like the Rotax, it's a proven, reliable engine.

The Sonex has that round canopy and turtledeck, and that tends to reduce a person's headroom to the side. Look at the photos of people inside them and you'll see.

Of these, to my mind the only factor is that the RV-12 is a nose-wheel aircraft only, and I prefer taildraggers. For me, that's an issue. Otherwise, it would be the RV-12, hands down, with nothing coming in second.

Dave
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2012, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Paule View Post
The Sonex has that round canopy and turtledeck, and that tends to reduce a person's headroom to the side. Look at the photos of people inside them and you'll see.
I'm building an RV10, but I sat in the Sonex at OSH 2010 and compared it the RV-12 for giggles. The mockup they had at their tent was tight even without the canopy. Now I know why they don't have a closable canopy on the mockup!
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2012, 02:22 PM
RatMan RatMan is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
The aircraft that meet my mission are the RV-12, Zenith CH-650 and the Sonex. The factors driving my decision are useable load (I am fat, 235 lbs), ease and time of construction, and I need to be cost conscious. I will be a first time builder and am still a student sport pilot.
Two 220-235lbs bodies will fit comfortably in a -12, I've seen it done. It's more about shape than weight. The cost should be dictated by your budget, for example you can build a Sonex for under 30 grand, the RV-12 can't come close to that. If you have a sub-60K budget, the decisions get a lot easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
RV-12.
Pros: Looks like the easiest to build with everything included in the kit and match drilled parts
The support of many in the VAF world.
Cons: Don’t care for the Rotax, would probably go E-AB with the Jabaru 2200.
Don’t care for the flarerons, prefer standard flaps.
Vans does not support any changes to their perfect design. It says so in one of the first pages of the instruction manual.
It is easy to assemble. You don't really "build" an RV-12, you assemble it, Vans is the manufacturer. No comment on your dislike for the Rotax, there is over 40,000 of the 900 series out there. Pretty good run so far. Vans doesn't support any changes as the RV-12 is an E-LSA. You have to assemble it according to the plans because it's part of the certification process to be an E-LSA

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
CH-650:
Pros: Best looking of the three.
Wing fuel tanks.
Cons: Seems to be more fabrication, skins not cut to size and parts not match drilled.
Before making the decision to purchase a CH650, (or any other aircraft) do a bit of research on the accident history of said design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
Sonex
Pros: Built to exceed LSA speed rules, wider safety range in structure strength.
Aerobatic. Not really important but the ability to do a few barrel rolls could be fun.
Cons: Lower Gross weight.
Interior doesn’t look too comfy, but I will find out at Sebring.
I don't buy into the VNE relating to the safety of an aircraft. Sure the structure of the aircraft has to withstand the VNE but that doesn't make a Cub with a VNE of 100 any less safe than a Sonex with a VNE of 197. Aerobatic, sure. A 220lbs pilot can fly aerobatics in a Sonex, full of fuel and no baggage IF within the CG limits ALONE AND AT GROSS. Half tank of gas would be a lot more fun.

If you would, take a look at the main spar in a Sonex and then the RV-12, then lets have a discussion about structure.
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Last edited by RatMan : 01-10-2012 at 02:40 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2012, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RatMan View Post
Thinking of going E-AB? Apparently this has/is being done but (in my humble opinion) the -12 in no way qualifies as a E-AB. I question the legality of this, .
From what I understand the aircraft does not need the "LSA" label to be flown by a Sport Pilot, it just needs to be registered E-AB inside the LSA rule limits.

Thanks for all of the input, cant wait to try them all on.
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Student Sport Pilot
Future RV-12 Builder?
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2012, 02:44 PM
RatMan RatMan is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
From what I understand the aircraft does not need the "LSA" label to be flown by a Sport Pilot, it just needs to be registered E-AB inside the LSA rule limits.

Thanks for all of the input, cant wait to try them all on.
You are correct. I have built 2 E-AB aircrft and they both fall into the LSA performance catagory.

I did check with Vans and the RV-12 can be certified as E-AB as well. It's on the FAA list as well. Still, to be an E-LSA it has to be built to the plans. Also edited my post as I was incorrect.
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Last edited by RatMan : 01-10-2012 at 02:47 PM.
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