Airplane selection opinions

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Nomore767
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:24 pm

I have 550 hours now on a Rotax 912ULS and have found that it’s an incredible engine.
It starts first time for me, warm or cold, gets an oil change every 50 hours using E-10 premium auto gas, and fuel burn is 4.8 to 5 gph based on actual burn. Oil useage is negligible.

On another site a guy recounted flying his 912ULS powered RV-12 up to 16400’.

The Sport version of the ULS , the iS, gives me the option to upgrade but so far I’m really happy with the ULS and it’s been perfect for me as a retiree who just wants to fly for fun under light sport rules.

I would recommend the RV-12 to the OP except that acro isn’t approved, although all the other items are checked. There are numerous great Rotax powered LSAs to choose from.
I would add that access to a mechanic qualified on Rotax service and repair has been great for me personally and should be a consideration for a prospective buyer, whereas Lycoming/Continental service/repair is much more widespread.

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Wm.Ince » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:52 pm

Nomore767 wrote:I have 550 hours now on a Rotax 912ULS and have found that it’s an incredible engine.
It starts first time for me, warm or cold, gets an oil change every 50 hours using E-10 premium auto gas, and fuel burn is 4.8 to 5 gph based on actual burn. Oil useage is negligible.

On another site a guy recounted flying his 912ULS powered RV-12 up to 16400’.

The Sport version of the ULS , the iS, gives me the option to upgrade but so far I’m really happy with the ULS and it’s been perfect for me as a retiree who just wants to fly for fun under light sport rules.

I would recommend the RV-12 to the OP except that acro isn’t approved, although all the other items are checked. There are numerous great Rotax powered LSAs to choose from.
I would add that access to a mechanic qualified on Rotax service and repair has been great for me personally and should be a consideration for a prospective buyer, whereas Lycoming/Continental service/repair is much more widespread.

Are you still flying your RV-12?
Bill Ince
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:03 pm

Oh yeah! :mrgreen:

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Scooper » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:01 pm

While the Rotax engines have proven themselves quite reliable and have a significant weight advantage over Lycoming O-235s and Continental O-200s, I flew my O-200-A powered C150 for over 1000 hours with nary a hiccup. It always started on the first or second blade and used a quart of oil about every 50 hours. I've flown my Zodiac with a later 2008 manufactured O-200-A for 150 hours, and so far the experience has been the same. My empty weight is 846 pounds so for full fuel cross countries it's basically a single place airplane, but I noticed some Rotax powered LSAs with similar empty weights.
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Warmi » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:03 pm

Scooper wrote:While the Rotax engines have proven themselves quite reliable and have a significant weight advantage over Lycoming O-235s and Continental O-200s, I flew my O-200-A powered C150 for over 1000 hours with nary a hiccup. It always started on the first or second blade and used a quart of oil about every 50 hours. I've flown my Zodiac with a later 2008 manufactured O-200-A for 150 hours, and so far the experience has been the same. My empty weight is 846 pounds so for full fuel cross countries it's basically a single place airplane, but I noticed some Rotax powered LSAs with similar empty weights.


Yes, but these heavier Rotax powered planes usually come with BRS and other goodies so it is not really a fair comparison ...
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:44 pm

I came close to choosing the SkyCatcher and the Legend Cub because of the 200A engine, and I think the Legend had the 200D. Good reliable engines with maintenance available about anywhere.

Empty weight is key with an LSA especially if you intend to fly regularly with a passenger.
Choosing options, including the BRS, can significantly eat into the useful load. I’ve crunched the numbers on some where it left barely enough fuel for an hours cruise plus reserve in an LSA with a pretty high fuel capacity.

From my own experience with the RV-12, with an empty weight of 765lbs I can usually fly with a passenger and full fuel which in my case is just under 20 gallons. I do consider weight and balance with a passenger who has...(ahem)..enjoyed as much of the good life as I have! :cry:

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:56 pm

Sundancer wrote:FNG here; would value your opinions on several aircraft, or nominations for any I haven't considered. I'm a PP/SEL instrument rated, under Basic Med now because it's just more convenient. Also a member in a club with a 'travel' equipped 172 (AP, G530, Powerflow, EIS, etc.). So, I don't need IFR capability.

I'd like an all metal, low wing nose dragger, w/canopy and stick, with one or two seats (no more than two!) that handles "well", meaning a lot better than the pig-sickle like Cessna 172-182 types. Not necessarily balancing on the head of a pin handling, but crisp. If it helps in the description, my favorite handling airplane I've flown was a SF-260. Which I would buy, except I can't afford the $300K plus price.

My mission is fun, and my major requirements are astounding visibility, an engine that elicits trust, and basic acro. My teeth will start chattering once the price range exceeds the mid-$40K range. I've researched these:

RV-4 Tail dragger, I know, but incredibly good press.
Thorpedo - I think the LSA uses a Jabiru, the production airplanes an O-200
Pazmany PL-2 - good press, real airplane engine, acro capable.
LongEZ - rocket ship, real traveler. Also slippery going down-hill.
Thatcher CX-4 - not acro, but cute as a button. Dunno about the VW powerplant, though.
Sonex - butt ugly, but fills the bill, except VW, Jabiru, or sonmething called 'UL Power Aero' engines.

Am I missing a good alternative? Are the VW/Jabiru engines legit? I am NOT a gear-head, and NOT interested in being my own powerplant engineer.


Looking at your requirements I would weigh how much fun flying you’d like to do in the low wing, tricycle gear aircraft with good visibility against how much time you do basic acro.

Might be easier to find the plane you want at the price you want, and just get your acro fix from time to time when you need to scratch the itch.

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby snaproll » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:19 am

Thinking of the various aircraft to fill your need and price range, one comes to mind - the Shinn 2150 ( Morrisey, Varga) designed in the late 50’s, all metal, low wing, tri gear, two place tandem, good flying utility bird. There are a few for sale usually. Good performer with later production which used the 150 and 180 Lycoming.
Would rule out the Thorpedo - owner embezzled deposits, closed doors, and is hiding out in Colorado.
Best of luck... Don Stits

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby drseti » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:16 am

Hey, Don, nice to see you on the forums. Long time no see. Hope you're doing well.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby snaproll » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:16 am

Paul,
Still going.... Had to hang up my wings after 51 years after last cancer round but doing well now. Had weird reactions which made flying difficult. I still follow the forum and enjoy seeing what is going on. Best always... Don Stits

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby drseti » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:29 am

Glad you're still going, Don. I'm still flying after almost 59 years, but I fully realize we're all just one illness away from having to give it up. Nice to know you're still lurking on the forums. I really need to get out to Flabob on one of my West Coast trips.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby drseti » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:34 am

Oh, and I agree with you about the Varga. Nice platform for gentle aerobatics. Brian and Carol Carpenter have several of them up north in Corning CA (Rainbow Aviation).
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Scooper » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:50 am

I've been a Varga Kachina fan for decades; it's like an affordable fixed gear Beech T-34. When Brian and Carol converted my Zodiac to experimental I got a close look at one of theirs.
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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Sundancer » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:04 pm

For the Varga responses - it's an airplane I have been interested in, but presumed it wasn't something to be rolled or looped, and the handling was in the Cessna 172 class; Am I misinformed?

Having a "real' aircraft engine and conventional construction make it attractive to me, as does the configuration, with canopy and stick. I don't have a requirement to carry a passenger (happiness is a one-holer) and on those very rare occasions I might, I'd used the 172 I have access to.

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Re: Airplane selection opinions

Postby Sundancer » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:18 pm

Scooper wrote:I've been a Varga Kachina fan for decades; it's like an affordable fixed gear Beech T-34. When Brian and Carol converted my Zodiac to experimental I got a close look at one of theirs.

Curious about your Zodiac - engine, handling? The odd "Y" stick (I'm guessing you get used to it quickly and it's not an issue?) There are a LOT of models/variations. I see then fairly regularly on Barnstormers, Controller, etc. My impression is it may be easy to maintain? I see 'em with a variety of engines, from Jabiru to Rotax to Continentals.


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