In the 1970s, an engineer, Richard (Van) Van Grunsven’s RV-3 aircraft impressed a lot of people and Van’s Aircraft Inc. began in 1973. After twenty years and several expansions, the company moved to a 60,000 square foot facility and produce several hundred complete aircraft kits a year. The RV “model line” has expanded considerably in thirty-one years. (The RV, of course, stands for Richard Van Grunsven)
RV Aircraft are low-wing monoplanes of traditional aluminum construction. They use simple steel rod or leaf fixed landing gear. Aileron and elevators are controlled by a between-the-knees stick. RV structures are “monocoque” or “stressed skin” designs with the skins providing much of the airframe’s strength. The primary bending loads of the wing are carried by the single main spar. All RV wings are relatively low aspect ratio, constant chord designs with no taper or twist. This planform offers light weight construction with favorable stall characteristics. The low wing loading, allows climb and altitude performance which are unusually good for an airplane of such short span. Two-seat RVs use the proven NACA 230 series airfoil. These are turbulent flow airfoils with very low pitching moments. They do not require perfectly smooth surfaces to achieve good performance, so they remain almost unaffected by bugs and rain. The low pitching moment allows cruise trim drag to be kept to a minimum.
Safety is paramount and forward visibility and safety are close relatives with upright rather than supine seating. Operational safety and crash survivability, are primary concerns. To limit the possibility of accidents, RVs have excellent controllability, gentle stall characteristics, superb visibility and low landing speed. This, along with the rugged cockpit structure and sturdy roll bar should permit you to survive, almost any controlled landing.
Comfort is also important. RV’s provide generous legroom, shoulder room and head room. The RV cockpits are quite roomy and accommodate pilots and passengers up to 6’ 4’’ tall. Minor modifications are possible to allow even taller people to fit.