Absolute speed was never the primary goal, however RV’s are as aerodynamically efficient as possible, and the top speeds will range from around 190 mph to over 220 mph, depending on the model and engine/prop combination.
One beauty of the RVs high top speed is that, while it is available, it is not necessary. In other words, because of its low wing loading, it can cruise efficiently at speeds well below maximum (but still much higher than most small aircraft) using very fuel efficient power settings. When flying at lower altitudes “just for the fun of it”, fuel mileage at normal cruise power settings isn’t quite as good. When sightseeing or cruising around the lower part of the sky, using a 40-50% power setting, yielding a low noise level, smooth engine operation, and low fuel consumption.
Takeoff and Climb
Under standard sea level atmospheric conditions the takeoff roll at gross weight varies between 300 – 650’. At solo weight, this distance is reduced by as much as 45%. Naturally, larger engines shorten the takeoff roll and increase climb performance. If you enjoy flying into private airstrips and out of the way recreational areas, this capability is most worthwhile. An added benefit is good performance at high density altitudes.
The STOL capabilities of the RVs allow you to operate comfortably from all but the most rugged “bush” strips. The RVs’ excellent climb rate gives an extra margin of safety when operating from such places. Just as the RVs have a wide range of practical cruise speeds, the same is true of climb speeds. Good climb rates and angles are possible at just above takeoff speed (about 60-70 mph) for obstacle clearance. More practical climbs are attained at higher speeds, with the best climb rates coming at 100 to 115 mph, depending on weight and the propeller used. Cross country climbs at 120-150 mph can be made with only a slight decrease in climb rate.