Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby Sling 2 Pilot » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:53 pm

I concur Wm, looks well built, great Avionics at a great price, but not comfortable IMHO. I think if one is looking for an LSA to train in, the Sling or RV-12 are far superior, again, IMHO.

Wm.Ince wrote:
MrMorden wrote:I seem to be in the minority of folks not impressed with the Vashon. Seems very limited on carrying capacity, to the point where it's not practical for either training or travel. And the weight is not offset by features.

I am in that minority also.
Last week, at Sun n’ Fun, I saw the Vashion up close and personal. I was not impressed.
Three things the Vashion has going for it.

1) It flies.
2) It has a nice avionics package . . . go figure.
3) You can almost play ping-pong in the cargo bay, behind the uncomfortable seats.

That’s about it.

Payload sucks.
Fit and finish really suck.

If price is the break point, I think I would go with Aerotrek.

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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby ShawnM » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:00 am

Wm.Ince wrote:
MrMorden wrote:I seem to be in the minority of folks not impressed with the Vashon. Seems very limited on carrying capacity, to the point where it's not practical for either training or travel. And the weight is not offset by features.

I am in that minority also.
Last week, at Sun n’ Fun, I saw the Vashion up close and personal. I was not impressed.
Three things the Vashion has going for it.

1) It flies.
2) It has a nice avionics package . . . go figure.
3) You can almost play ping-pong in the cargo bay, behind the uncomfortable seats.

That’s about it.

Payload sucks.
Fit and finish really suck.

If price is the break point, I think I would go with Aerotrek.


I also saw it at SNF and Bill's review is spot on for the Ranger. Not impressed with it at all. Now it is designed as more of a "utility" plane with the built in ping-pong table in the back so it doesn't have the fit and finish of a Bristell or SportCruiser but it's not supposed to. I also can't play ping-pong in the back of my SportCruiser either. :mrgreen:

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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby MrMorden » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:52 am

Wm.Ince wrote:3) You can almost play ping-pong in the cargo bay, behind the uncomfortable seats.


I don't see the point of a huge cargo bay that has to stay empty for weight reasons. It would have been better if they had no cargo bay and saved the weight of the structure used for it.

Similar to the Skycatcher, the Vashon designers made the mistake (IMO) of trying to shoehorn a legacy-style engine into an LSA. It can be done and there is nothing wrong with it, but the Lycoming and Continental engines are just too damn heavy for the 1320lb LSA weight limit. If they'd used a Rotax 912 the Vashon would be sitting at 525-535lb useful load like most other Rotax-powered LSA, and combined with price (not sure the price difference between Rotax and Continental powerplants) it would have been attractive to a lot of buyers. Then it would be a "2 x 200lb people and 20 gallons fuel" airplane, perfect for training or light travel. It also would have better fuel economy, meaning it could carry less fuel for the same range, for even more weight savings.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby Warmi » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:07 am

I saw the Dynon founder literally respond to a question about his engine choices that there is nothing wrong with Rotax but him, being an old guy, he prefers to stick with legacy engines .

He literally said that but I think he probably was not so much speaking for himself but for folks running flight schools around the country who are used to legacy engines and are more comfortable ordering planes with these engines ( maintenance , familiarity etc)
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby MrMorden » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:11 am

Warmi wrote:I saw the Dynon founder literally respond to a question about his engine choices that there is nothing wrong with Rotax but him, being an old guy, he prefers to stick with legacy engines .

He literally said that but I think he probably was not so much speaking for himself but for folks running flight schools around the country who are used to legacy engines and are more comfortable ordering planes with these engines ( maintenance , familiarity etc)


I heard that too. But at some point your desire to actually sell airplanes needs to override your old habits... :D

In fact, I think it's amusing how many folks want the old engines for "reliability". It's a rare thing to see a Lycoming/Continental make TBO without replacing a cylinder or two, while it's rare for a Rotax to *not* make TBO without any major repairs.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby Scooper » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:38 am

My Zodiac has a Continental O-200-A engine, and I knew when I bought it that the full fuel (30 gallons) payload would essentially make it a single place airplane for anything more than a 2 hour flight without baggage. I'm fine with that since with just me and 25 pounds of baggage aboard I can conservatively fly over 500 nm without refueling. Flying solo to Palm Springs, Albuquerque, Portland, or San Diego is my most common cross-country mission profile, and I love the way the Zodiac flies.

When I first started renting LSAs in 2007, I mostly flew a Dova DV-1 Skylark with a Rotax 912 and just couldn't get comfortable with the high engine RPM and pulling the prop through to hear the oil burble in the gearbox during the pre-flight. In the mid-sixties I flew a Cessna 175 with a geared GO-300 and never liked flying it. Call me a dinosaur. :)

I had owned a C-150 with an O-200-A and a C-172 with an O-300-C and like the Continentals, so familiarity with the Continental engines played a role in choosing to buy the factory built AMD Zodiac.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby Wm.Ince » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:48 am

Count me in as a firm advocate of the Rotax 912 engine.
Several years back, I attended a Sun n’ Fun seminar, on the Rotax 912 engine. The presentation was given by Phil Lockwood.
During the FAQ portion, at the tail end, a question was ask about what the 912’s looked like at the end of TBO.
Phil responded by saying, his company has torn down many Rotax 912 engines, some well past TBO, and just about every single one of them only had noticeable wear. He commented that most could easily have gone past 3000 hours. He said if the engine is well taken care of (oil/filter changed on schedule), it makes a world of difference in the life of the engine. The 912 is a tough little bugger.

Be kind to your Rotax.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby TimTaylor » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:05 am

There are pros and cons, but 435 pounds useful load is just too low for most people.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby rcpilot » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:52 am

Scooper wrote:......When I first started renting LSAs in 2007, I mostly flew a Dova DV-1 Skylark with a Rotax 912 and just couldn't get comfortable with the high engine RPM and pulling the prop through to hear the oil burble in the gearbox during the pre-flight......


You don't like burping the Rotax? :) I admit in the Winter it does take a bit on a cold engine. I have to admit though, it sips the gas(in an hour of solo flying I use a little over 4 gallons) and being able to use auto gas(even if I do have to hump it to the field myself) is a plus.

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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby drseti » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:35 pm

Scooper wrote:familiarity with the Continental engines played a role in choosing to buy the factory built AMD Zodiac.


Ten years ago, when I came very close to buying an AMD Zodiac SLSA (the purchase fell through for reasons not related to the engine), I considered the O200 a definite plus. That was before I knew much about the Rotax 912. After a decade of training on, and operating experience with, the Rotax, my opinion has changed considerably. What they say about old dogs and new tricks isn't necessarily true. ;)
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby Half Fast » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:53 pm

MrMorden wrote:I seem to be in the minority of folks not impressed with the Vashon. Seems very limited on carrying capacity, to the point where it's not practical for either training or travel. And the weight is not offset by features.



I spoke with the Vashon guy at SNF about the limited load. Sounds like they are counting on an LSA weight increase to make their plane more practical. He told me it was designed for a higher weight (I don’t recall the number). Makes me wonder whether Vashon’s timing was off and they expected an increase sooner.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby drseti » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:46 pm

Seems like a pretty big gamble to me, since they don't know:

(1) if a weight increase will be granted,
(2) what the new weight will be,
(3) when the rules will change,
(4) if they will be retroactive to planes already built,
(5) if other limits (like stall speed) will also change.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:48 am

I think the "if and when" questions are what matters. I doubt they would increase the weight limit for only newly built aircraft. They certainly would not lower the stall speeds. Any increase in weight would be helpful. Obviously, all we can do is speculate at this point.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby drseti » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:01 am

TimTaylor wrote: They certainly would not lower the stall speeds.


I wouldn't expect them to. My concern is the opposite - the changes would have to allow for higher stall speeds in order to be meaningful. This is because stall speed varies with weight.
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Re: Piper 100 vs Vashon Ranger

Postby TimTaylor » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:14 am

True. If Vashon is counting on a weight increase, maybe they are also counting on a stall speed increase. That does seem like a risky proposition. Or, maybe they already know they can meet a higher weight limit within the existing stall speed limits?? Or, maybe they just designed and built an LSA that is too heavy for most people.
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