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Old 03-25-2015, 12:23 PM
smokyray's Avatar
smokyray smokyray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: TX32
Posts: 1,834
Default The RV-16?

RV's are expensive. Yep, I should know, I've built three of them. Having bugged Van and KK for years about designing a 91 octane capable "budget bush-plane" for the RV crowd that would be perfect in today's marketplace, even augment the RV12 would be awesome. Yet the next new design was the opposite, The RV-14. Like the RV9 many years ago I asked myself, why? Well, of course the answer is $$$, they sell.
What's my point?
Van's aircraft over the past 20 years has pursued the high dollar/big budget builder, IMHO. I built my RV4 in 1995 for $20,000, flying. My current RVX was completed in 2005 for $30K, flying. I doubt many builders these days get out the door for under $85K or higher...

Solution? With AvGas prices and hangar rent reaching unattainable levels for many budget minded flyers, I think this little all metal folding wing gem would have been a perfect RV-16...
Van, you listening?
Fun personified...
The Trail
Sure like it...

Last edited by smokyray : 03-25-2015 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:42 PM
rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 8,412

I agree with you Smokey, and have had the same desire (design something economical for people to build) for a while now. The ideal would be an airplane that could once again be built for that $30K price point (ok even $40K).

I don't think the problem is lack of interest by designers, it is lack of economical power plants.

When the most logical (note, I didn't say only) power plant choice for an airplane of this class costs 1/2 to 2/3's of the finished airplanes desired price point, it makes it pretty much unattainable.
Any opinions expressed in this message are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:50 PM
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grubbat grubbat is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Ga
Posts: 621
Default Agreed

A high-wing monocoup all metal utility plane (from Van's) would be a perfect addition to the product line. I'm not so gun-ho about the folding wing deal but that option may appeal to some.

Thanks for the link Smokey and the reminder to Van's that there are some who are still waiting.......

RV-3 Sold
RV-4 Sold
RV-6a Sold
RV-9 IO-360 CS, Efficiency and Fun
Aerostar 600A

Last edited by grubbat : 03-25-2015 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:14 PM
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ChrisF16 ChrisF16 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 57
Default Pick another number...


You of all people should know to pick a different number than RV-16. If there's a "16" in the RV family, it needs to be single-seat, single-engine, fire-breathing, afterburning, 9G, multi-mission capable.

Unless you can design all that for under $30k... Then I'm ALL IN!

Chris Watson
RV-4 (purchased flying)
Mooney 201 (also purchased flying)
Previous F-16 pilot (repo'd by govt upon my retirement)
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:28 PM
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JonJay JonJay is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Battleground
Posts: 4,211

Pretty nice packages out there for reasonable dough. Such as;

And plenty more "do it yourself" options.

Based on air cooled design spanning some 70 plus years.
Variants have been certified in Europe.
Readily available cores and even complete new engines...
60-100 HP

Not sure what more folks would want in a power plant. My neighbor is loving flying his award winning Fornier Motor Glider.

Does this miss the mark somehow?
Smart People do Stupid things all the time. I know, I've seen me do'em.

RV6 - Builder/Flying
Bucker Jungmann
Fiat G.46 -(restoration in progress, if I have enough life left in me)
RV1 - Proud Pilot.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:33 PM
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Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
been here awhile
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 3,995

Originally Posted by rvbuilder2002 View Post
I don't think the problem is lack of interest by designers, it is lack of economical power plants.
Yes, that is the riddle to which an answer hasn't been found.

Building a good, inexpensive airframe is relatively easy even though the cost to produce and market it would most likely be close to the price point of the RV-4 kit. But the deal breaker is the engine.

There aren't any engines that are mass-produced that would meet the reliability and field history requirements of Vans and cost less than the Rotax 912. My Legal Eagle ultralight got a lot of attention from pilots who were interested in that corner of aviation, but the 1/2 VW (or a full VW) doesn't meet quantity and field history needs of a large manufacturer like Vans. It is a highly fabricated engine built in exceedingly low quantities.

The market for a two-stroke powered Vans aircraft would be very small, and I doubt Vans would even consider it. Personally, I would have no interest in it. I don't think Vans would put their reputation and liability at risk with any of the "auto" conversions.

My present project uses a well-known and respected engine. But used small Continentals are difficult to find in any significant quantity. A major rebuild by an engine shop puts an O-200 back into the Rotax 912 price neighborhood. A new O-235 is about the same price as the 912. The UL-Power engines look good but are also $20K+ engines. Jabiru is available but there has been enough negative press about them to keep Vans from staking their reputation on them.

If Vans geared up for the "inexpensive bush plane", interest would be sky-high but I don't know where a large source of new "inexpensive" engines could be found.

Smokey, do you have a powerplant in mind?
Sam Buchanan
1999 RV-6
1918 Fokker D.VII replica

Last edited by Sam Buchanan : 03-25-2015 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:52 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 5,963
Default inflation

It's easy to forget that since 1995 everything has increased in price due to inflation. But I agree, Lycoming's increases have been way more than that. Only way I see a low cost RV is if Vans gets into the auto conversion business - something he has steadfastly maintained is not economical.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:54 PM
rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hubbard Oregon
Posts: 8,412

Originally Posted by JonJay View Post

Does this miss the mark somehow?
Like Sam mentioned, There is no low cost engine in this HP range that has a proven track record.

The Revmaster brand has been around for way longer than the Rotax 912. If it had actually proven it self by now, even though it isn't a huge company, we would see a lot more more of them regularly flying on airplanes, but that is not the case.

The major reason for that is that the VW derivative engine is quite reliable in the 50 HP range but still requires a lot of tinkering (valve adjustments, etc.) which the typical user doesn't want. Once you start pushing the HP output up to wear we need to for a 2 place airplane, the reliability begins to drop off fast.

True, there are certified version (Limbach, etc), but they are not a more economical price point than the Rotax.

If the economical (and dependable) engine question had already been answered, I think the light aircraft kit plane industry would look differently than it does today.
Any opinions expressed in this message are my own and not necessarily those of my employer.

Scott McDaniels
Hubbard, Oregon
RV-6A (aka "Junkyard Special ")
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:24 PM
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Palamedes Palamedes is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Blairsville, GA
Posts: 201

I still like the idea of the RV-11 motorglider. A long winged high glide ratio motorglider would be a great addition to their lineup but I understand the market not being there..
Jason Ellis
RV-10 - Emp. Finished!
RV-10 - Wings Started 1/3/16
Blairsville, GA

RV-10 Build Log
Youtube Channel
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:31 PM
Dmadd Dmadd is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Camas, WA
Posts: 478

I agree with Jason above. Motor glider would be my choice.
As far as this bush plane, I LOVE it, however, comma, the Rans folks would be pretty tough to beat in that market segment... And fabric can be "field dressed" with speed tape to get you home...
Just my opinion, I could be wrong... ;-)

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