Aircraft Spotlight: Have You Been Naughty or Nice? What New Planes are on Your Club’s Christmas Wish List?

While some children have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads the night before Christmas, your club members are probably dreaming of finding keys to a brand new airplane under the tree.

Perhaps you have a sense of adventure, but like all the trimmings of modern avionics. Consider the Vashon Ranger. Or maybe you like all that and want to get your feet wet. Then the Icon A5 may be what you’re looking for.

If you’ve got some members who prefer a roomy two-seat aircraft and don’t mind building a plane, the RV-14 is the latest offering from Van’s Aircraft. If you’ve got a taste for Italian style, the newly-FAA certified Tecnam P2010 is a sleek, four-seat design with a choice of three different powerplants – including a diesel. We’ll take a look at all three so you know what to put on your club’s wish list. 

The Vashon Ranger R7 is a Light Sport Aircraft with all metal construction, a Continental O-200 engine, and a glass panel, autopilot and ADS-B out. All of that is included in the base model, starting at $119,500.

The goal is to provide a rugged, well-equipped aircraft that can handle the rigors of flight training or backcountry flying at an affordable price. It comes standard with a Dynon avionics suite and includes some nice extras like an angle of attack indicator and Wi-Fi.

The 46.7-inch-wide cabin features a control stick instead of a yoke and adjustable rudder pedals so it can accommodate larger pilots, something other LSAs are not always well suited for. The seats also fold down so you easily sleep in the aircraft – no tent required. The cantilevered high-wing similar to a Cessna Cardinal provides good visibility. First certified in 2018, there are about 65 Rangers that are flying.

Vashon Ranger

Seats:                     2

Engine:                   Continental O-200-D, 100-hp

Fuel Capacity:         28.1 gallons

Range:                    501 nm

Max Cruise:            117 Kts

Empty Weight:         875 lb.

Gross Weight:         1,320 lb.

Useful Load:            445 lb.

Cost:                       $119,500 

Icon A5

While the Vashon Ranger is a newer aircraft that you may not have heard much about, the Icon may be the most talked about new aircraft since the Cirrus debuted 20 years ago. With slick marketing focused on a non-aviation, thrill-seeking audience, as well as to pilots, the plane has literally made a splash.

The retractable tri-cycle gear amphibian with foldable wings is all about fun and adventure. This summer marked the launch of an FAA-certified version to go with the S-LSA version that entered production in 2016. There are about 130 aircraft registered in the US.

The cockpit features a sports car-like panel with a control stick and either the removable Garmin Aera 796 GPS or the Garmin G3X Touch flight display. It also comes standard with an angle of attack indicator, ADS-B out, and a parachute system like a Cirrus for added safety.

For a club looking to add a unique aircraft to its fleet and attract a younger, non-traditional aviation audience, the Icon fits the bill.

Icon A5

Seats:                               2

Engine:                             Rotax 912, 100 hp

Fuel Capacity:                   20 gal (mogas or avgas)

Range:                              427

Max Speed:                      95 kts

Empty Weight:                   1,080 lb.

Max Takeoff Weight:          1,510 lb.

Useful Load:                      430 lb.

Cost:                                 $359,000 

Van’s RV-14

The RV-14 is the latest design from Van’s, the leading manufacturer of homebuilt kits with well over 10,000 aircraft flying. The idea was to provide the roominess of the four-seat RV-10 in a two-seat aircraft. With a 46-inch-wide cabin and a more upright seating design, it’s ideal for larger pilots and passengers. Van’s says the plane comfortably holds people who are 6’-4” or taller with plenty of head room and legroom.

Like many RV models, the RV-14 comes with either conventional gear (RV-14) or tri-cycle gear (RV-14A). The aircraft is fast with a cruise speed greater than 200 mph from either of three engine options, the 200-hp IO-360, the 210-hp IO-390A or the 215-hp IO-390-EXP119. It’s economical to maintain and operate, light on the controls, and fully aerobatic, designed to handle -6/+3Gs – all factors that lead to the “RV Grin.”

The aluminum airframe is lightweight, strong, and easy to build. Van’s estimates a completed aircraft with engine will cost about $90,000. A number of flying clubs operate RVs, particularly the RV-12, which is basically the older, little brother of the RV-14. One of the highlights of the RV-14 is the tip-forward canopy has a new hinge arrangement that provides easy access to the seats and baggage compartment and complete access to the back of the instrument panel. In fact, Van’s says it’s possible to reach everything behind the panel standing on the ground outside the aircraft.

For a club looking for an aircraft that is economical to operate, offers good performance, and is a lot of fun to fly, the RV-14 is worth taking a look at, particularly for a club that is interested in building a plane.

Van’s RV-14

Seats:                     2

Engine:                   IO-360, 200 hp or IO-390, 215 hp

Fuel Capacity:         50 gal

Range:                    815 nm

Max Speed:            203 mph – 218 mph

Empty Weight:         1240 lb.

Gross Weight:         2050 lb.

Useful Load:            850 lbs

Cost:                       approximately $90,000 

$38,335 - $39,540 standard kit plus engine

                               $52,340 - $53,545 quick build kit plus engine 

Tecnam P2010

If your members are dreaming of a sleek, four-seat aircraft with a bit of style – and you have deep enough pockets – the Tecnam P2010 is worth adding to your club’s wish list. The design was certified in the US in November and features a composite fuselage with metal wings.

The Italian styling is obvious with the Alcantara leather interior and electronically adjustable front seats. The cabin is about 45-inches wide, and offers plenty of legroom in both the front and rear seats. There are three passenger doors and a baggage door, making it easy to get in and out.

With two Garmin G1000 flight displays and the Garmin GFC700 autopilot it has a well stacked panel. It comes with three options for the powerplant including the 170-hp Continental CD-170 diesel, which burns just 5.2 gph. With 63 gallons of fuel, that gives the P2010 TDI a range of 960 nm with a max speed of 140 kts. If you prefer, it can also come with a 180-hp IO-360, which burns 10 gph and has a range of 530 nm, or the 215-hp IO-390-C3B6, which burns 11 gph.

All this style and performance costs $545,000 – which might put it out of reach for most clubs.  For about half the price, Tecnam offers the two-seat P2008, which is an LSA. It has a similar look and feel of the newer P2010 in a smaller package.


Tecnam P2010

Seats:                     4

Engine:                   Continental Aero Cd-170 TDI, 170 hp;

Fuel Capacity:         63 gal

Range                     961 nm (TDI) or 530 nm

Max Cruise:             140 Kts

Empty Weight:         1808 lb.

Gross Weight:         2646 lb.

Useful Load:            838 lb.

Cost:                       $545,000


Tecnam P2008

Seats:                     2

Engine:                   Rotax 912 ULS, 100 hp

Fuel Capacity:         32 gal

Fuel Burn                4.5 gph Mogas or Avgas

Range                     514 nm

Max Cruise:             128 kts

Empty Weight:         827 lb.

Gross Weight:         1320 lb.

Useful Load:            496 lb.

Cost:                       $225,000

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