Company Shipped First RV-3 Kit In 1973
An ANN News-Spy alerted us Wednesday to a rather significant
accomplishment for Vans Aircraft. In typically understated fashion,
the homebuilt airplane manufacturer didn't shout the news from the
proverbial rooftops... but we will: the 5000th Vans aircraft
builders report was recently submitted!
The news was a nice Valentine's Day gift for the company. On
February 13, RV-8 builder Steve Fromhals of San Antonio, TX
submitted the 5000th "first flight" report, detailing his
experiences since his bird first took flight (above) in April
"I thought the RV-6 that I built previously was a wonderful
machine and I have not been disappointed in any way with the new
RV-8," said Fromhals in his report, posted on the Vans website. "It
is truly amazing! All of the raving about RVs is true. I am already
looking forward to another RV project, even though I still need to
get this one painted!"
That wasn't the end of good news for Vans, either. Later the
same day, another report was received, bringing the total to
Averaged across the
company's 34 year history, that works out to a new airplane in the
air every 2.5 days since the company began shipping kits. Very few
producers of light aircraft, either kitbuilt or certified, have
reached that benchmark.
Van's began shipping kits for the single-seat RV-3 in 1973 --
and the kit is still in production today. Company founder Dick
VanGrunsven (right) followed the RV-3 up with the two-seat RV-4 and
RV-6 (which, at over 2100 flying, is probably the most popular kit
aircraft ever), RV-7, RV-8, and RV-9. In August 2003, the company
introduced their first four-seat aircraft, the RV-10.
More than 700 RV-10s have shipped and about 70 are flying. The
RV-12, Van's entry into the new and exciting light sport aircraft
market, should be available near the end of the year.
"All our designs are excellent airplanes that build on our many
years of direct experience and communication with the folks who
build them," said VanGrunsven. "New technology has allowed us to
improve the kits dramatically, which has resulted in substantially
reduced building times. Our current completion rate is about 500
per year, so we look forward to announcing the six thousandth
completion, probably in 2009 -- but 2008 wouldn't surprise me!"