Yes, Cessna’s Light-Sport Aircraft entry helps to validate the concept of industry consensus standards in lieu of government certification. They’ll populate airports with their C-162 Skycatcher as shipments ramp up in 2010. Yes, other big companies are looking at LSA — as most LSA enthusiasts know Cirrus offered an entry though work has stalled, and late 2009 rumors hint at entry by another legacy brand. *** While it’s good to see big boys coming into the game, the biggest-of-all kit builder is also playing. And, in their characteristic way, Van’s Aircraft is quietly racking up sales. According to Ken Scott, “We’ve sold 315 [starter kits] for RV-12. Fifteen are flying and judging from the number of powerplant kits we’ve shipped they should start sprouting like mushrooms pretty quick.” *** The company founder likes RV-12, too. Ken added, “Dick VanGrunsven and his brother Jerry recently completed and flew their personal RV-12 and Van often uses it to commute from his home to [the factory in] Aurora. *** Scott also reported that the first Australian RV-12 has flown and that several more are under construction in countries from Brazil to South Africa. *** Van’s recently released an interior package for the airplane, as well as a 2-axis autopilot option. Additional options — including dual EFIS, lighting, and wheel fairing packages — are under development. Wiring and switching for these has been provided in all kits, so they should install easily, even into finished airplanes.
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