** UPDATE: 06/23/2021: We are still waiting on to hear from Van’s on which month we can expect delivery of the airplane kits we have on ordered. Once we have that information, we will start accepting applications from students with that start date in mind. We now expect that start date closer to Nov/Dec 2021 than Sept as we had hoped.
Hopefully things will start to get back to a new normal for our 2021-22 program. Although it may take time for our schedule to settle down, we are hoping that it will at least be more predictable, which is hard since we are so dependent on others who are also in the same boat. It will probably take a year or so for vendors such as Van’s Aircraft, to have a more set delivery schedule that we can better plan from. Van’s is also a victim of its own success. Business appears to be booming for Van’s and their ability to deliver, even before the pandemic, made it appear they were facing challenges. Although I suspect the majority of their customers are not on a strict time schedule, it doesn’t work well for organizations like us that are. These delays and extended delivery dates are causing financial burdens on organizations like us who are on tight schedules because it forces us to have to pre-order the entire kit 5-7 months ahead of the next year’s program just to make sure it arrives in August so we can prepare it before the students start in September. Even though some of those kits may not be needed towards the end the program year, you can no longer risk delaying the order and hoping on the “Just in Time” delivery. Unfortunately, we are not there financially and we still rely on the sale of the previously completed airplane to help fund the completion of the current project and help and purchase some of the kits for the next.
I hopes this explains some of the challenges we are facing and why we are vague on when we are going to startup with new students. We’ve learned from the past not to receive applications when we don’t know if/when we can start with new students. We also know that students and parents can not commit to the program if they don’t know exactly when it will actually start. We also don’t want students to miss out on other opportunities that may come their way while they wait to see if TeenFlight starts up because they were accepted into our program but we were never able to start. We also don’t want the reverse to happen in that students that were accepted decided to do something else and decided not to participate once we started. These are the reasons why we are waiting to accept applications based on a known startup date so everyone knows what they are committing too.
What were Building
Our returning students will be finishing TF7. They need to finish the fiberglass fairing skirt on the canopy, install the main wire harness, avionics and engine. On the wings, all they have left is the flaperons.
TeenFlight has a little known skunkworks project we call TFe. It’s our electric airplane conversion project that started by teaching the students the science and math necessary in calculating what it would take to convert a RV-12 ULS model to electric power. The students finished this phase with a set of specifications and we eventually found a source for all the components for the conversion and are waiting on funding approval. We already had a completed RV-12 ULS airframe set aside (TF2) ready to go. Since we knew the conversion was going to take some time and we only needed the fuselage part of the plane right for the conversion, the emp/tailcome and wings would be collecting dust and taking up valuable storage.
After a quick call to Van’s, we got permission to convert TF2 from a RV-12 ULS to a RV-12iS. All we have to do is de-rivet the emp/tailcone and order a new RV-1212iS fuselage and finish kits and then Van’s would change the serial number to reflect the new model change. So we ordered both kits and we are currently waiting on the delivery date. So, the new students will be working on these kits along with additional kits that will be ordered later. The engine and avionics will be purchased as the other planes are sold. If we decide to keep this plane, we will sell TF1 and the proceeds of that sell will fund the engine/avionics.
TFe will continue on as a rolling fuselage. Once the conversion is completed, we will purchase a new emp/tailcone and wing kit for it and it will be certified as E-AB. This will become our electric test aircraft and we will use it to incorporate/test new technology in electric flight such as motors, batteries and control systems. This plane will be available to manufactures to test their equipment on as long as our students are involved in the process.
We’ve recently received word that funding may be approved for the purchase of the components we need so hopefully we will be announcing something soon on that. If so, TFe will also be included as a project this Program year.
TF2 12iS Conversion Project
Empennage/Tailcone Kit: Completed
Wing Kit: Completed
Fuselage Kit: Ordered
Finishing Kit: Ordered
Avionics Kit: TBD
Engine Kit: TBD
First Electrical Power-up:
First Engine Start:
Flight Tests Complete: