Van's Aircraft Total Performance RV Kit Planes

RV–12 General Information

It's a two-seat all-metal side-by-side airplane with a large cabin that seats the occupants ahead of the wing spar for maximum room and superb visibility. There are several features that make it a unique RV:
The RV-12 meets the certification standards of the Light Sport Aircraft category and the RV-12 is eligible to be licensed as a LSA: E-LSA for aircraft built from one of our kits or S-LSA for the factory built model. (You can find information on the Factory Build RV-12 at
Extensive and thorough testing has demonstrated compliance with LSA performance and structural requirements. It is what we say it is and does what we say it does, and we have the test data to prove it! Extensive testing means the RV-12 is not the first LSA kit on the market, but it might be the best understood. Click on the video below to see testing related to the landing gear.
The wings are quickly and easily removable. Using methods proven over decades in high-performance sailplanes, two people can have the wings off an RV-12 in less than five minutes, making the airplane easy to transport on a trailer and keep off-airport.
It is powered by your choice of a Rotax 912iS Sport or 912ULS 100 hp engine. These rugged little engines have not become the world-wide standard in light sport aircraft by accident. Extended real world experience has shown it to be durable, reliable, and economical with maintenance availability worldwide. It can use either unleaded autogas or 100LL.
The RV-12 is equipped with a ground-adjustable Sensenich composite propeller — light, smooth and affordable. The low empty weight allows a generous useful load — two 185 lb people, 20 gallons of fuel and 50 lbs of baggage — something rare in the Light Sport Category.

How long will it take to build an RV-12iS?
We estimate the average builder will spend about 700-900 hours to complete an un-painted RV-12.
How can an RV-12iS be licensed?
The RV-12 was designed to the ASTM standards governing Light Sport Aircraft category and is intended to be licensed in the Light Sport (LSA) category. The airplane is available as a fly away S-LSA aircraft or may be built from a kit as an E-LSA aircraft.
A design focus of the redesign from RV-12 to RV-12iS was strengthening the aircraft for real world commercial use in a flight school for training as an SLSA aircraft. We believe the safe handling characteristics, economical operation and maintenance and modern technology make the RV-12iS an attractive asset on any flight line.
Although the E-LSA category does not permit builders to alter the design (no unapproved engines, propellers, avionics, etc. are allowed) it does have some attractive features. In the E-LSA category, there is no "51%" rule, and no restriction on who may assist in building the airplane. This allows any amount of assistance or even a fully professionally-built airplane.
The FAA has evaluated the RV-12 kit and found it eligible for registration in the Experimental-Amateur Built (EAB) category. While EAB rules do allow builders to make changes, it is difficult to over-emphasize the difficulties, complications and increased building time that will occur if builders choose to alter any part of the very integrated RV-12 kit. Van's is not able to provide assistance or advice on any deviations from the supplied parts and assembly instructions.
Can Accessories like Lights, or Wheel Fairing be installed?
Yes. Van’s has developed and released several optional packages. An RV-12 equipped with any or all of them is eligible for licensing in the
E-LSA category:

  • A lighting package includes strobes, position lights and a landing light(s)
    with steady or pulse option.
  • A two-axis autopilot.
  • An autopilot control panel independent of the EFIS screens.
  • A complete set of wheel fairings that protect the wings and tail while adding a couple of knots.
  • A complete interior package with carpets, sidewall covers etc. Several color combinations are available.

What's the RV-12iS Kit Like?
The RV-12iS is the culmination of forty-four years’ experience manufacturing the best aircraft kits available. The result is an exceptionally complete kit with parts that fit very, very well. All metal parts are completely formed and pre-punched with fastener holes. All hardware is included. Every detail of the engine installation, instrument panel, fuel system, landing gear and airframe is carefully designed and optimized for performance and building ease. No special tools are required — forget the jokes, it really does assemble with simple hand tools. The instructions and building directions (patterned on the very successful package used for RV-10) are composed of beautifully clear computer-generated drawings with step-by-step instructions.

What is NOT included in the kit?
Fluids and paint. That's it.
Frankly, we are very pleased. We love flying the RV-12!"


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