Kitplanes was there for the first flight of the new RV-12iS in early July, and we were given a chance to evaluate the kit and aircraft improvements with a flight soon after. From a pilot's perspective, the RV-12iS handles like the original--responsive and stable, an excellent training or sport platform. The improved cockpit includes a new center-console throttle which feels quite natural, and fast-acting electric flaps to replace the manual flap handle of the original. Both add to the human factors of the cockpit in a positive way. Top speed of the new RV-12iS is limited to 120 knots, per LSA regulations, so the improvement in performance with the iS is most noticeable in an increased climb rate and better efficiency.
The kit improvements include a new wiring harness that should make connecting everything simpler and easier. The airframe has also been beefed up in the landing gear structure, making it an even better trainer for those still learning to return to earth--sometimes with less finesse. The baggage area fuel tank has been redesigned to almost be invisible, making the cargo space easier to use - and allowing a higher baggage weight.
Overall, the RV-12iS impressed us as an evolutionary improvement over the popular original, and we predict that builders and pilots will enjoy the many changes. Read our full review in the November 2017 issue of Kitplanes Magazine.