Vashon's Ranger: An Aviation Reset?

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Vashon Aircraft wants to revolutionize light aircraft manufacture with the Vashon Ranger, an all-metal light sport aircraft intended to be both a sort of RV for outback flying and a trainer. In this AVweb video, Paul Bertorelli dives deep into the Vashon story, including an in-depth report on the factory.

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Comments (8)

There is optimism and practicality in Vashon. Like it.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | April 29, 2018 7:12 PM    Report this comment

I agree, Raf. My spontaneous gut reaction was ... WOW! ... this guy is onto something here. I've read about and been piqued by the thing but now seeing the video showing the advanced manufacturing equipment and processes plus a flight eval, I'm even more interested. That it's a cantilever high wing with a "real" engine and was designed for 'older' folks' ingress/egress in mind says much. Normally cynical Larry can't find anything to moan about here ... drats :-) .

Speaking of videos, I'm beginning to think that Michael Moore better watch out ... PB be comin' for him! GREAT video work here, Paul. The only thing missing was YOU ... dancing on the wings while the thing was in flight pointing at accoutrements ... like the AOA/pitot tube. How'd you imbed that horizon and other flight info onto the movie?

Well ... here's my feedback for Vashon ... the very first place I'll be heading to at Airventure this year is your booth. I've seriously flown several LSA's but rejected all of them for one reason or another. SO far, all the shortcomings I found in each seems to have been ameliorated. Most notably, the price. If you can hold the entry level price ... you're gonna have a winner on your hands. Given the reaction to the FlyCatcher more than 10 years ago, I bet quite a few of 'em sell right away. I want to get my mitts on one to see how it handles. This thing is priced correctly such that maybe I should sell my other airplanes and just buy one of these for my remaining years aviating? Instead of updating ... I could spend my time flying.

The SAD part -- I knew I could find something -- is that Textron and everyone else can't build such a machine at that price point. They've all given up or never tried. That it's Hecho en USA is icing on the cake. Lets just hope you know who doesn't come prancing into WA with a big box full of loot and buy this Company. If he's successful, he can thumb his nose at 'em. I wish them luck!

Posted by: Larry Stencel | April 30, 2018 9:57 AM    Report this comment

So were I to err and fill the tanks on this plane the two onboard had best weigh no more than 130# each fully clothed and have NO gear? Or do as the gentleman 'suggests' (wink-wink) and fly it illegally overweight? A poor beginning to an aviation hobby in my humble opinion.

I see no practical use/future for an overweight LSA that limits its market to children and the uber-thin crowd. But that's just chubby old me wanting to learn to fly.

Posted by: Randall Patka | April 30, 2018 10:34 AM    Report this comment

Many, many blogs ago Paul wrote one of his several articles about affordability and the price points of GA/Light Sport. He was attempting to make the argument that essentially, $200K for a LSA is not an affordability barrier.

What followed was days of comments and I remember distinctly some comments suggesting to automate the manufacturing as much as possible to allow the assembly line to function as much as plug and play as possible. More volume to get the price point down. Matched hole drilling. Pre-painted panels. Common automotive and/or experimental avionics connectors. etc..etc..

Mr. Torode seems to have heard the call. Or at least, many of our commenters have similar ideas and those ideas are worth noting. Also note that easy assembly can (but not always) equate to easy repair.

Right now, it's not unheard of to find a "used" RV-12 for $80k. Assuming the Ranger's airframe is sound and the business model is good, if they can get the base model ~$80k, they might just get the volume up to where they desire.

Yep a little on the heavy side. However, I too do not need an airplane to "fly to Florida". Decent shoulder room, enough baggage for a change of clothes and a weekend trip with 2, maybe 3 gas stops would be my bread-and-butter. Not having to mortgage the equivalent of a McMansion makes it just that much more possible.

Posted by: Robert Ore | April 30, 2018 3:58 PM    Report this comment

I would add that if a company REALLY wanted to 'reset aviation'? Their offering would not cost the same as a Porsche 911 Carrera. I agree the gentleman has "old geezer' mentality (I'm one too-lol) but that mentality is NOT going to attract the youth General Aviation NEEDS to survive. and that price tag is not likely to have millennials breaking down the doors with their credit card phone apps out.

Posted by: Randall Patka | April 30, 2018 4:05 PM    Report this comment

I sounds like it will deliver what Cessna failed spectacularly at.
Good on them & wish them well with production.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 1, 2018 7:08 AM    Report this comment

I secretly hope that they have a phase two in mind that, after they've recouped their investment in all this production equipment, that they can do the same with a four place, IFR capable, cruiser. Something like a modern Archer or 172SP only not half a million dollars. $200k is probably a dream, but hey, a man can dream.

I agree with the previous posters that it's not going to change the face of aviation at low six-figure prices but it's at least in range to get the fleet recapitalized. Just getting more of the 1960s and 1970s birds replaced with newer ones will certainly help, especially if they can keep parts prices in line.

Hopefully the first crash and lawsuit won't ruin them.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | May 1, 2018 12:25 PM    Report this comment

"The SAD part -- is that Textron and everyone else can't build such a machine at that price point."

Larry, the sad part is that Textron et al are NOT INTERESTED in building such a machine. They are so enamored (and addicted) to the glitz and profit margins of jets that they have pretty well walked away from what we know as general aviation. At some point they will stop supporting any of their legacy aircraft completely.

I've said it many times that the future of GA does not lie with the big three, but rather with small startups run by smart guys like the Vashon bunch. I wish them great success.

Posted by: John McNamee | May 5, 2018 10:39 AM    Report this comment

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