Van’s unveils fully built RV-12

Honestly, I didn’t expect much LSA news at AOPA’s Aviation Summit in Palm Springs. Despite several LSA on display, including Kitfox, Evektor, Flight Design, Arion, Jabiru, SportCruiser, Skycatcher, and CubCrafters, the AOPA event is not a common place for LSA announcements. Certainly I didn’t expect the world’s largest supplier of kit aircraft to offer a fully built Special LSA.

At Summit, Van’s officials unveiled a new program to build completed, fly-away RV-12s. The Aurora, Ore.-based company detailed a working agreement with Synergy Air to manufacture the airplanes in the U.S.A. Synergy Air is a well-established company providing instructional seminars, videos, and builder assistance to complete kit airplanes, located at the airport in Eugene, Ore.

“Nearly 200 kit-built RV-12s have been completed and flown as ELSA and EAB aircraft, accumulating thousands of hours in the hands of typical pilots,” Van’s officials noted in a prepared statement. “Production SLSA RV-12s will include the benefits of this real-world flight experience, rather than just factory testing done by professional pilots.”

It gets better for those who have lamented the high cost of top-of-the-line models. Introductory price of the completed airplane is targeted at $105,000. Standard equipment will include the Rotax 912ULS engine, Dynon’s Skyview EFIS, which includes a Mode S transponder and GPS; Garmin’s SL-40 comm radio, Flightcom stereo intercom, 406Mhz ELT, Flightline interior, and LED lighting for night flight. Options include wheelpants, ADS-B equipment, a two-axis autopilot, premium paint finishes, and Oregon Aero seats and interior.

Synergy Air is building an initial production run of a dozen aircraft to define and codify the production process. “We plan to offer these 12 aircraft as ‘Signature Edition’ models that will include all options at an introductory price of $115,000, ready for fly-away delivery at the factory,” said Van’s officials. That makes a good deal an even better one for the first buyers.

Van’s officials, who said the company is working to establish a network of service centers to maintain and repair the RV-12, plans to begin accepting orders before the end of this month and expect initial deliveries in early 2013.

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