Van's LSA Concept Unveiled

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Cessna was not the only big player to bring a new "proof-of-concept LSA" to this year's show. Van's Aircraft, which has sold thousands of kit airplanes (and has thousands flying), brought out its RV-12, a work in progress that it expects to fly later this year. It has two side-by-side seats, an all-metal airframe, and a Rotax 912S 100-hp engine. Van's said it won't offer the kits for sale until flight testing is complete and they are satisfied with the performance and handling characteristics, which would be late 2007, at the earliest. The LSA would most likely be offered as a standard kit, with a quick-build version to come later. An LSA kit, which allows for the airplane to be completed to greater than 49 percent, might come later. What about a factory-built version? "The possibility of a fly-away airplane (permitted by the standards of the category) is so remote that we can't even discuss it at this time," says Van's Web site. The cost should be similar to other RV kits, the company said. For more about Light Sport Aircraft at AirVenture, check out AVweb's audio news interview with Dan Johnson, who was there running the LSA Mall.