November 20, 2013 - If you attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013, you might have seen the newly completed Van's RV-12 parked prominently near Homebuilders Headquarters. The airplane was assembled by a group of teenagers from Oregon through the local Airway Science for Kids program in conjunction with Project Teen Flight.
The airplane, named TeenFlight 2 by the project team, was recently sold, and proceeds will help provide resources to continue the program. That means more airplane projects, more local youths learning new skills, and more science-technology-engineering-math (STEM) education opportunities. The group has already started assembling its third airplane.
The buyer, longtime EAAer Bernie Pitz, EAA 145578, of West Linn, Oregon, learned about the airplane from Ken Scott of Van's Aircraft. (Van's is about a 20-minute drive away from Pitz's home.)
Pitz explained that he was in the process of searching for a new airplane to replace the Grumman AA-1C Lynx he'd flown for the past 17 years. And at age 71 he was leaning toward flying as a sport pilot, considering the kind of recreational flying he does.
"Ken informed me of the online auction for the RV-12," he said. After some demo flights in the new LSA, he was impressed - so much so that he decided to pay the "Buy it Now" price of $105,000 to acquire it and end the auction. Pitz took possession of the airplane (N212TF) on October 24.
"It's a wonderful airplane," said Pietz, who made the short hop in N212TF to Hillsboro County Airport last weekend to meet the new project team working on the third RV-12. "It's easy to fly, but different" than the Lynx, he added. "It performs extremely well for a 100-hp engine."
Also on hand was Dick VanGrunsven, founder of Van's, enthusiastic supporter of the Project Teen Flight efforts, and a mentor for the kids.
Pitz said he had no qualms about buying an airplane built by teens. "They're a great bunch of kids, and Dick was monitoring the building project, so I felt pretty good about it," he said.
Pitz learned to fly in Stockton, California, earning his private ticket in 1970. He holds commercial, instrument, multiengine, and seaplane ratings and is also is a CFI (although not current). All told he's flown more than 2,700 hours.
Pitz has been to the annual EAA convention about eight times, including some in the Rockford days when he lived in Geneva, Illinois. He intends to fly his new RV-12 to Oshkosh one day, as well as Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida.