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Ranger LSA From Vashon Debut at AirVenture

Affordable two-place line features Dynon glass panels

By James Wynbrandt

July 23, 2018 - Vashon Aircraft is publicly unveiling its new Ranger R7 S-LSA aircraft line for the first time at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.

Powered by a 100-hp Continental O-200-D engine, the two-place side-by-side Ranger was designed to be “an aircraft that’s fun to fly, that you could get in with your boots dirty and feel okay, that’s affordable, and has safety features” not common to most LSA, said Scott Taylor, Vashon’s general manager.

Among the design highlights: the landing gear is “extremely robust,” for operating in the bush; the cargo area is large enough to hold a full-size bicycle; and the seats fold down forward, creating a large, flat space large enough to sleep in. It’s also easy to fly, with docile handling characteristics. “Most people come away [from a demo flight] saying, ‘Hey, I’m a pretty good pilot,’” said Scott. “That’s because it’s a pretty good airplane.”

At a maximum weight of 1,320 pounds (basic empty weight is 875 pounds; useful load is 445 pounds), the Ranger can take off in 315 feet, climb at 1,035 fpm, and cruise at 117 knots. Max range is 430 nm.

While in development for five years, the company purposely kept the program under wraps until March 2018, when the Ranger had already earned FAA certification.

“Aviation is littered with companies that say, ‘Look at us,’ but we kept it a secret until we could deliver,” said Scott, noting that three of the four Rangers on display have already been sold. The fourth is the company demo airplane. “Giving us your money means you’ll get an airplane, and not 10 years from now,” he said.

But your Ranger won’t be delivered tomorrow, either. Vashon can produce 20 Rangers per year, and the company has more than 50 orders in hand, said Scott.

The base price of a standard Ranger (the Yellowstone) is $99,500, and to keep the aircraft affordable, just four options — two paint schemes and two instrument panel upgrades — are available. If basic white isn’t your color choice, the Rainier paint scheme adds $2,500 to the price, while a custom or the Founders livery, both depicting a lush wilderness tableau on the fuselage, are $9,500.

All Rangers feature a Dynon glass panel avionics suite with two-axis autopilot, and include dual flight controls and dual hydraulic toe brakes, adjustable rudder pedals, and 6.00-6 size main gear tires. The Glacier panel option includes a 10-inch SkyView HDX, while the Redwood features dual 10-inch SkyView HDX touchscreen displays. The cost of a fully optioned R7 tops out at about $125,000.

It’s not a coincidence the ethos of affordability Dynon emphasizes in its avionics is mirrored in the Ranger. Dynon founder and CEO John Torode also founded and owns Vashon. Both companies are headquartered in Woodinville, Washington.

For Scott, debuting the Ranger at Oshkosh is particularly gratifying. “When I was 16 years old, getting my license and working as a lineboy, my buddy said, ‘What do you want to do in aviation some day?’ I said, ‘One day, I want to have an airplane company with a new airplane and debut it to the world.’”

Vashon has chosen the largest stage in the aviation world upon which to fulfill Scott’s dream — and that of many aspiring aircraft owners.

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