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Old 08-19-2012, 09:07 PM
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milt1492 milt1492 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Smithfield, UT
Posts: 41
Lightbulb My dream not the RV-3

Like many of you, I am enamored with the idea of building an RV-3. I followed along closely with Paul & Louise as Tsam came to fruition, and was just as pumped as anyone else after reading the first flight reports and seeing Tsam emerge from from the paint shop.

Based solely on what I've read in the forums regarding the resurgence in popularity on the RV-3, I can't help but feel that a revisit to the classic design by Van's is in order. I'm also encouraged by the new RV-14. It shows that Van's is willing to acknowledge the market and change things up in order to remain viable and flexible in today's economic environment.

With that said, I think it's inevitable that the RV-3 as we know it is destined to become the proverbial -6 to the then new -7. It's true that building an RV-3 is not for the faint of heart, and just maybe it truly separates the builders from the assemblers. The -4 was essentially replaced by the -8. Why not do the same for the -3? Would it really be that difficult? Basically just shorten the -8 fuselage and call it a day is my idea.

Some of you out there may be saying, "That's a sacrilege! How dare you change (what is arguably) the purest RV of them all." I realize that change may be difficult for some, but these days the -3 is basically a 2nd aircraft for those who have built before. It WILL be the case for me as well. I'm currently saving for tools and the tail kit of a 'pay as you go ' -7. We all want a match hole -3, and I believe that it would sell even better if it were a little bigger.

Call it the RV-16, because I want DR's dream of a high wing bush plane from Van's to be realized, and to kind of tie it in with the -8. Let the flames begin
Milton Stephenson
Smithfield, UT
Husband and Father of 4
RV-7 and RV-8 Preview Plans
Instrument Rating - Complete!!!!

Last edited by milt1492 : 08-20-2012 at 12:16 AM. Reason: emphasis added
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:23 PM
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ColoRv ColoRv is offline
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Location: Tampa (BKV)
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Pre-punched rv-3....

I'd build one.
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:35 PM
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SmilingJack SmilingJack is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Naples,FL
Posts: 943

Foldable wings, 4 gallon an hour engine, 200+MPH.....

To be able to trailer it to the airport and save on hangar costs and get a lower fuel burn would be great!

I'm in!
John Mastro
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:26 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dayton, NV
Posts: 11,585

Well, the RV-3 went away once, and then came back with a new "B" wing....but Van has said publicly several times that he just can't see a big enough market to warrant a redesign, and I think he's a pretty smart guy. The truth is that (as mentioned above), the RV-3 is a pretty good "second" (or third...) airplane, but it takes a very special (young and single?) person to be satisfied with it as their only craft.

If you have built an RV already, then building a -3 is well within your capabilities as the kit stands now - it really isn't that difficult, and if you don't like doing wings, buy them QB. The fuselage is several hundred hours of work to the canoe stage...and you'll put more than half the building time into systems and finishing anyway.

We seemed to generate a lot of enthusiasm for the RV-3, so I asked the Van's guys if that was reflected in sales last year. The response was that they thought they might have sold three tail lots of talk, little action on the part of buyers. Like I said - Van is pretty smart about his business.

I'd love to see everyone build one - they are just that great of an airplane - but if folks really want one, they are well within a repeat offender's skill set right now.
Paul F. Dye
Editor in Chief - KITPLANES Magazine
RV-8 - N188PD - "Valkyrie"
RV-6 (By Marriage) - N164MS - "Mikey"
RV-3B - N13PL - "Tsamsiyu"
A&P, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor
Dayton Valley Airpark (A34)
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:43 PM
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Andy Hill Andy Hill is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 976

Hi Milton...

As Paul suggests, I also doubt Vans would spend much time about building a "new" RV-3. For the longest running model, it has 275 flying, against even 1347 for the (later) RV-4 - the latter I suspect "harder" to build (same techniques, more of it!).

To invest in the CAD / tooling etc. I suspect Vans needs to see a sales run of ~1000.

As Paul also says, please do not get hung up on the "pre-punched" etc. It just takes a bit longer, and a bit more care, than the pre-punched models.

Apart from the lack of popularity of the single seat, it also ends up pretty expensive - it is hardly cheaper than a bigger 2 seater to build.

Finally, the design is probably somewhat impractical in today's world. Without opening old debates, it is almost impossible to build an RV-3 to it's design weights - especially if you want modern instruments / engine/prop combination etc. Weight has even grown at Vans' end (B wings) - and so a more fundamental design overhaul is needed.

Just my 2cs worth
Andy & Ellie Hill
RV-3B G-HILI very slow build
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:23 AM
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GusBiz GusBiz is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 211
Default I want one too but....

Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
.... so I asked the Van's guys if that was reflected in sales last year. The response was that they thought they might have sold three tail kits.....
Right there is the answer.

Most people would have a ferrari is someone is giving them out. However most people could buy one if they set a fianncial plan early, kept to it and kept at it for 10 years.

But not many want one THAT badly.

Lots of people like the -3, virtually no one wants to build and own one and if you think I am wrong... then show me the money sweat heart....

Prove me wrong.
Gus Bisbal


Obsession only exists when someone else isn't doing it too.
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:58 AM
ReadyRV ReadyRV is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: beaverton oregon
Posts: 13

I can't imagine spending the time and money to build an RV-3 when the RV-4 would be the same procedure and you would end up with a "better" aircraft. Simply change it up to single seat and single controls, and register it as a single place.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:05 AM
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humptybump humptybump is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia
Posts: 3,022

It probable is safe to describe an RV-3B as "within the repeat offender's skill set". For a zero-builder, that translated to something close to a 5,000-6,000 hours of build to have an RV-3B.

I do see the RV-3B as a second plane.

Here's the rub ...

Many RV "buyers and flyers" now want to build. Since they already have the first plane, the RV-3B is an attractive second plane but an unacceptable first built.

It's why I will likely build, but not an RV.
- Glen, ESVA
RV-8 FP IFR | Track my RV-8 | 53VG
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:22 PM
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txaviator txaviator is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Arlington, TX (DFW)
Posts: 1,164

Originally Posted by milt1492 View Post
Call it the RV-16, because I want DR's dream of a high wing bush plane from Van's to be realized, and to kind of tie it in with the -8. Let the flames begin
I'll bet you a dollar to a donut that Ken Krueger has this exact type of plane in mind, at the new company.....???
Gary Robertson
Arlington, TX

RV-12 Built / Sold / Flying
Currently Flying: Cessna Skyhawk 172
Rebuilding a true barn find J-3 Cub
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:50 PM
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N8RV N8RV is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Elkhart, Indiana
Posts: 1,171

After flying an -8 for three years now, and with 99% of my flights solo, I find the idea of an RV-3 very appealing. If Van's made a match-hole -3 kit, I'd give serious consideration to building one in a few years.

With over 7,600 RVs flying out there, it dawned on me that there is an underserved segment of the RV community -- builders who want something smaller, lighter, more economical and single-seat as a retirement project.

I posed that to Ken Scott at Oshkosh and he replied, "Yeah, you and 12 of your friends." Apparently there isn't the market that I imagined for the tooling required to make the RV-3 kit comparable with the other RVs.
Don McNamara
Peoria, AZ

Builder: RV-8 "Smokey"
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