# Van's announces highwing RV-15

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#### Victor Bravo

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Van's is one of the few companies that are well known to stay away from vaporware. Nobody is 100% immune from it, but Van's comes closest to being free of BS.

#### cheapracer

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
Not yet. Will happen, couple of things stalling some production offers, Covid isn't helping, neither is my woefully slow recovery after the heart surgery (6 months they said, been 2+ years now), and these days the factory is over 100 degrees every day, so I'm not there

#### cheapracer

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
My experience with Van’s RV-12 is that the instructions are pretty good but the complexity and parts count is too high. I’m certainly not saying that it isn’t a great little airplane because it really is. But, building 3 of them is enough.
I got a full set of build plans for an RV6, "Wow" is all I can say, nothing easy about the build.

Have a full set for the comparable Zenith CH650, massively simpler to build.

Just saying, not comparing the two as aircraft.

#### Rhino

##### Well-Known Member
Cub vs Champ; I’ll keep my Champ...
Had training in both. Much preferred the Champ, and not just because it flew from the front.

#### Hot Wings

##### Grumpy Cynic
HBA Supporter
Log Member
and these days the factory is over 100 degrees every day, so I'm not there
Must be hard to keep clean as well with the mop water wanting to boil away.
More of a market for your auto then the plane or engine.............

#### gtae07

##### Well-Known Member
but I don't get why companies pour so much effort in redesigning and improving the Cub when a clean sheet design would be so much better with less effort.
Because to a lot of people, any STOL/backcountry airplane must be a Cub or clone, because reasons. Doesn't matter the performance or buildability, it must be a Cub. It's purely an aesthetics/tradition thing, I think. <shrug>

My experience with Van’s RV-12 is that the instructions are pretty good but the complexity and parts count is too high.
The lighter you want a given structure to be, the more complex it's going to get. Van's really had to dig deep to get a truly LSA-legal airplane with the payload they wanted.
I'd bet you could probably shave at least 50 pounds out of a basic short-wing RV structure, but the cost of the kit would likely go up by 50% or more.

I didn’t catch all the Q&A, did Vans say anything about driven vs drawn rivets in their presentation? I imagine on something slower you could stand some prouder rivet heads, and drawn saves the builder a ton of time and equipment/skill costs.
From my reading they were doing an informal poll of builder preferences.
IMHO blind-vs-solid is blown way out of proportion. Yeah, blind rivets are a little easier and faster... but quite honestly, riveting takes maybe 2% of your actual build time. Prepping for riveting takes just a hair longer, but even with blinds you still need to deburr. And probably 80% of that 2% you can do solo with a little practice. The cost savings is a wash--the blind rivets cost 30-60x what a comparable solid rivet does, balancing out the cost of a rivet gun and bucking bars.
The vast majority of Van's designs are built with solids and I don't see it being a factor in choosing to build an RV-15.

(I have Sonex plans laying around, and if I ever do build it after the RV-7 is complete I'll probably do it with flush solid rivets)

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
Cub vs Champ; I’ll keep my Champ. We should see our version of the RV-15 within the next few weeks; an Outbound kit (S-21) showing up at the Granbury High School for our student build this year.
My experience with Van’s RV-12 is that the instructions are pretty good but the complexity and parts count is too high. I’m certainly not saying that it isn’t a great little airplane because it really is. But, building 3 of them is enough.
Wow S21 was my first choice until we adopted a baby and then I needed the 3rd seat and bought C182P for the time being. We will be starting a CH750 Cruzer for our eaa chapter kids program, but boy wish we could have gone S21. If Randy would mod it a bit to allow 3 or 4 people or 2 with huge baggage then there would be no reason to search out a clean C170 anymore.

#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
I'd bet you could probably shave at least 50 pounds out of a basic short-wing RV structure, but the cost of the kit would likely go up by 50% or more.
Maybe, but I'd bet that *something* would suffer. G-load, gross weight, and/or especially, build tolerance. And that last one's a biggie, as more and more 'newbees' decide to get in on the fun of building.

I've been crawling around RV4s, a -6, and the in-process -7 airframe since 1994, and I don't see much I'd be willing to take out & still do acro.

A lot of RVx-ers have started S21 kits in the past year or so, and I'm sure most of them are quietly kicking themselves right now. From what I'm hearing from a couple of friends, they're nice enough kits, but nothing to compare with Van's current kit state (the 10 & 14).

#### b7gwap

##### Well-Known Member
On the blind vs drawn question, hat tip on all points, I would only offer that some of (obviously not the RV3-10/14 crowd) the market is not always immediately aware of how easy it is to smash a solid rivet, I know of a few builders who leaned toward or chose an RV-12 or a Zenith for this reason.

The other manufacturing engineering question that blind makes much easier is access. Very easy to squeeze a solid rivet when it’s in front of you. You need a (small) (dexterous) buddy with good communication skills, and a nice set of cobalt bucking bars to install some solid rivets where a pop rivet would be a non issue in that location.

Neither of these two points obviates the ones you made about cost per fastener, and time spent deburring vs time installing fastener. All true. Just might make a market impact was my original intent.

solid countersunk rivets certainly look awesome. Make sure to let us see your Sonex if you build it.

#### Aesquire

##### Well-Known Member
Cubs are nostalgic, generations past learned to fly in them. Cute, too.

It would be a mistake for Vans, IMHO, to make another Cub Clone. The list of negatives on the Cub are long and important to avoid in today's world.

If you guess/assume a 2 seat Replacement for Cubs, however, there's both a lot of competition, and opportunity.

Assuming Vans plays to their strengths, their future plane won't get passed by cars like Cubs in cruise. Won't have lots of adverse yaw. Won't have lousy ergonomics. Won't...

#### Victor Bravo

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Won't have lots of adverse yaw. Won't have lousy ergonomics. Won't...
... cruise at 73 miles an hour. Won't be f***ing impossible to climb in the mother-!($#&$& front seat.

I loved my Cub, and it has it's niche, but I agree 100% that Van's would have no need to go after that niche with the RV-15. The Zenith 701/750's and Savannah's and now the AAK Hornets have that pretty well covered.

#### PiperCruisin

##### Well-Known Member
This has been and interesting read. Maybe Vans and company is paying attention so here are my 2 cents from someone who lives in paradise for backcountry flying:
1. There is lots of STOL out there. What is needed is reasonable TO, climb, useful load and cruise at high density altitude. Let's say a DA of 7000 ft, TO less than 1000 ft, climb 400-500 fpm, 850-1050 lbs useful, and cruises at minimum 150-160 mph TAS for cross-country when the wind is unfavorable and you want to go faster than traffic on the highway. Basically C182 or 180hp C172 improved design. 2+2 I think is a reasonable compromise to get the performance with 160-200 hp. Or a 2 place with good baggage capacity but the market is full of them.
2. I like the Bearhawks and Glastars, but prefer the idea of RV type construction. Pick one method rather than a little bit steel tubing, some fabric, some aluminum, some composites, some wood. As a side note, I was an intern at Avid when the Glastar design was announced it killed sales for the Magnum.
3. Nothing against tail draggers, but prefer tri-gear. The commercial guys in the backcountry use tri-gears all the time. However, I don't like the nose gear used on the RVs. Prefer the Cherokee nose gear.
4. High vs low wing. Low wing is fine. It is not going to hang up on stuff. If you're worried about hanging up on stuff you should be worried about prop strikes. Low wings see better in the turn. High wings make it easier to judge distance to the mountains/trees as you fly to the side of the valley.

#### Pilot-34

##### Well-Known Member
Let’s talk loads for a minute. It’s not always people that we are trying to get into an airplane
55 gallon drums
Atv’s
Sheets of plywood
Metal roofing
Boats
Live animals
Stoves

#### Mark Z

##### Well-Known Member
My friend built the S-21 in 7 months by himself. However he has built 3 other Van’s airplanes with his latest being the -8. He likes to do the backcountry stuff but saw the Cub guys were having the most fun going places that he couldn’t in the 8. The Rans fits the niche, with the ground adjustable prop, he can get to places much faster than the Cub guys then a 20 minute pitch change on the prop and he can go anywhere they do. I saw well over 150 when we fed it.

#### TFF

##### Well-Known Member
I think high wing for the extreme crowd is necessity, only about having to worry about prop strikes. Going in where you are on just more than a foot path. To those guys, everything else can be done with a regular airplane. They are not interested in a plane that turns better, only on a plane that takes off and lands shorter than anyone else’s. Vans already has eight low wings. Not much new ground to cover there. As nice as steerable nose wheels are, cost kills it. \$5,000 nose gear would be a fifth of the cost of the kit. Nice but got to call it somewhere. Not one airplane designed has it all. Even Vans. What they do have is a good chunk, and what it’s missing, the pilot is supposed to fill in. Not even stretch fills.

With the new training in homebuilts ruling, it might change some outcome. Something along the lines of a 180 hp Cessna 150 would almost be a disruption. Disturbance in the Force. There would be no way they could keep up until the thousandths kit came off the line. It might not be your airplane, but there would be 40,000 who would want it yesterday, and a good number of those will have cash. It could actually kill his other designs trying to keep up.

#### Sunbird

##### Member

I am sure Van would have had a hard look at Sling, I see only once in the thread the name Sling was mentioned.

Pity they could not get to Oshkosh because of restrictions on South African travellers inbound to USA

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#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
pipercrusin, Van already has your design; the RV10. Unfortunately, it'll get off quicker and cruise a lot faster than your wish list. ;-)

I suspect that an all-aluminum Bearhawk (pick any model) from Van's would just about suck the life out of Bearhawk sales, except for the hard-core 'working' guys that need to be able to field-repair the fuselage with a sledge and duct tape. Probably 90% of all of the 'STOL' designs being sold rarely see grass and likely never see dirt/gravel anyway; just like all the 4wd Jeeps, pickups, etc running around on the highways.

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#### Toobuilder

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
I know a guy who uses his Harmon Rocket for back woods flying. It's using full length RV-4 wings, 600x6 tires and RV-10 wheel pants, and has a LOT of fuel, but is otherwise a Harmon Rocket. He is a regular in the Idaho backcountry and routinely embarrasses the Huskies and SC's. With the fat tires and long wings he can "only" manage 175 KTAS in cruise.

#### Victor Bravo

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Is that "The Scarlet Screamer" guy? I saw that airplane up in Columbia... wow.

#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
An ex-F16 driver who's built multiple RVx-s used to use his stock -4 for back country stuff before he sold it. Most of the Lyc engined RVs will outperform most 4 seat 'bush' planes everywhere except pure payload numbers. RVs typically flip the equation; they can leave places they can't land.