Thursday 12 March 2020

Vans RV 12s of New Zealand (1)

Back into the histories of all of our homebuilt and sport aircraft...

The Vans RV 12 was developed by Dick Van Grunsven as a Light Sport Aircraft and it first flew on 9 November 2006.  In New Zealand it can be built as a Light Sport Aircraft or as a Class 2 microlight.  The aircraft can only be built from a series of kits supplied by Vans Aircraft, or it can be purchased as a fly away plane.  The kits come with the wing spar solid rivetted and everything else ready to blind rivet, so it can be assembled by one person. The panels are punched out by computerised machines and are extremely exact, with even the rivet holes being to exact size so they only need to be smoothed before rivetting. The kit also includes all control runs, hoses etc, cowlings and the canopy, and even the complete instrument panel and instruments that the builder has ordered, with everything pre-assembled. The kit includes the motor which is standard. Even the stickers are included with dimension as to where to put them!  In a first for Vans Aircraft, the wings are removeable. 

The RV 12 wingspan is 26 feet 8 inches (8.21 m), the length is 19 feet 11 inches (6.12 m), the wing area is 127 square feet (11.8 square metres).  With a Rotax 912 ULS or iS motor of 100 HP, its maximum speed is around 140 MPH, and the stall speed is around 47 MPH. Empty weight is 750 pounds (340 Kg) and MAUW is 1320 pounds (600 Kg). Interestingly these are almost identical statistics to the Jodel D 11 with a 100 HP Continental 0-200 motor.

The RV 12 has become very successful with 688 being listed as having flown worldwide as at March 2020.  We have had 12 examples registered in New Zealand to date, and there are more coming.

Our first RV 12 was ZK-YRV (c/n 415) (for Yellow RV), which was built by Alan Coubray then of Manakau and it was first registered to him on 19/9/11.  It first flew at Whitianga on 23/10/11.  It has always been based at Whitianga where it is photo'd above on 28/1/12.

And our second RV 12 was Malcolm Belcher's ZK-RVS2 (c/n 12-356) which he built at Hastings and it was first registered to him on 7/12/11.  (The first ZK-RVS was also a Vans but this was a RV 4).  Malcolm's RV 12 was a bit different as it was powered by a Viking Honda engine, as in the above photo taken at Bridge Pa aerodrome during the 2014 SAANZ flyin, on 5/3/14.  The Viking Honda proved to be problematic and Malcolm re-engined ZK-RVS2 with a Rotax 912.

On 29/7/16 the aircraft was sold to the Otago Aero Club and they re-registered it as ZK-OAC3 on 29/9/16.  It quickly underwent refurbishment at Custom Aviation at Taieri and it re-appeared in this new colour scheme as recently photo'd by the Hairy Mole Rat at Taieri, on 2/3/20.  You can see that it has a revised painted top on the rear window and canopy which I think looks quite smart.

Next up was Julian Coles' ZK-JRV2 (c/n 120316) which was registered to him at North Shore on 11/12/12.  It is photo'd above at the 2014 Black Sands flyin at Raglan, on 5/11/14.

ZK-MBA3 (c/n 120592) was built as a project by students of the Mercury Bay Area School with assistance and oversight from a group of retired local aircraft builders and engineers at Whitianga.  The leader of the group was Jim Evans who purchased the kit with the idea that the finished aircraft would be sold to fund the purchase of another RV 12 kit.  ZK-MBA3 was first registered to the James Albert Evans and SEM Evans Family Trust on 11/10/13 and its first flight was on 5/11/13 at Whitianga, flown by Alan Coubray.  It was sold to the Mercury Bay Aero Club on 8/12/14, keeping it on the field at Whitianga, which has become a bit of a hub of RV 12 activity.  The above photo was taken at Dargaville on 16/4/16
ZK-EPM (c/n 120307) is an Australian import, having been constructed as VH-RTR4 by Roger Russell of Newport NSW and being registered over there on 27/1/12.  On 21/11/14 it was cancelled from the Australian register and exported to New Zealand, where it was registered as ZK-EPM on 22/12/14 to Garry Mills of Paihia and later of Kaikohe. It was assembled in Tauranga where the Hairy Mole Rat took the above photo of it on 12/1/15, and this is the only photo I have seen of it.

The last RV 12 of this group is ZK-TFP (c/n 120594) which was built by students of Nayland College in Nelson under the tutelege of Alan Caudwell.  It was registered on 21/7/15 to The Copter Shop Ltd of Nelson (Alan Caudwell) and its first flight was at Nelson on 25/11/15.  Ownership transferred to Grant Nordick of Tauranga on 11/8/18 and it is photo'd above under his ownership at the Northern Aviators Club flyin at Leo Johns' airstrip at Mata near Whangarei, on 18/1/20.

Our next six RV 12s will be covered in the next post.

1 comment:

  1. ZK-TFP is now owned by Graham Gimblett of Dannevirke