Rotax Introduces the 915 iS

No one was expecting it, but at AirVenture 2015, Rotax introduced a new engine, the 135-hp turbocharged 915 iS. The company says it's expected to be available by about 2017. Rotax/BRP's Marc Becker gave a briefing on the new engine.

Hangar Policy Lunacy

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faaSometimes, I'm glad our readers are paying attention because I'm not sure we always are. By "we," I mean the editorial we; the crack, watchdog aviation press. Specifically, I'm referring to the FAA's hangar policy toward homebuilding that escaped the Level 4 bio containment last week and never should have.

It set the AVweb (and KITPLANES) mailboxes alight for a couple of days. During AirVenture, we broke the story that the FAA's new airport use policy considers homebuilding to be a "non-aeronautical activity." Absurd on its face, right? Well, yes, but the policy statement still made it alive out of 800 Independence. EAA published this somewhat obscure story on the policy just ahead of AirVenture. Although the policy clearly lists building airplanes as a non-aviation activity, the story wasn't clear on that point. A sharp-eyed AVweb reader, alerted by his airport manager, contacted us and we chased it down.

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Kitplanes Looks at RANS S 20 Raven

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If Vans is the most prolific of experimental aircraft vendors, RANS Designs is right behind them with more than a half dozen airplanes in the line. At the Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring this week, RANS is adding yet another model, the S20 Raven, an evolution of its popular Coyote model.

The S20 will debut as an experimental amateur-built kit, but RANS’ Randy Schlitter told AVweb on Thursday that a ready-to-fly SLSA version will eventually be available, selling fully equipped for prices in the mid-$120,000 range. The S20 shares some components with the S-6 Coyote series but rather than having a steel tube cage around only the forward section of the fuselage, the Raven’s welded tube structure extends the full length of the fuselage.

To provide more interior shoulder room, the S20’s top-hinged doors have an outward curve and a noticeable downline. Schlitter says three engines will be available for the S20, the 100-hp Rotax 912 AVweb flew on Thursday, the UL Power 130-hp offering and eventually a 160-hp powerplant. Given the airplane’s exceptionally light weight—about 735 pounds empty—the higher power engines promise impressive short field performance. The initial kit will cost $25,500, less engine and Schlitter said kits are expected to be shipping in February.

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