Gallery: The Evolution of Van’s Aircraft

The company's RV family is known throughout the kit aircraft world and beyond.

Kit manufacturer Van’s Aircraft has produced many remarkable designs in the half-century since it was established. Although the company filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on December 4, it has long been known as the largest and most successful company in the kit-aircraft world. Here’s a look at how its airplanes have evolved over the years.

The Van’s RV family has grown significantly since the company was established by Richard VanGrunsven in 1970. [Courtesy: Van’s Aircraft]
VanGrunsven completed construction of his RV-1, which is based on a Stits SA-3A Playboy, in 1965 prior to launching the company. [Courtesy: Van’s Aircraft]
The RV-4 was the first Van’s model to seat two. [Courtesy: Van’s Aircraft]
The Van’s RV-6 and tricycle gear RV-6A were introduced in 1986. [Scott McDaniels]
Coming onto the scene in 1995, the RV-8/8A offers two baggage compartments as well as more panel space and options for more power than the RV-4. [Courtesy: Van’s Aircraft]
The RV-12iS can be built from a kit or purchased as a factory-built S-LSA. [Courtesy: Van’s Aircraft]
Van’s calls its most recent model, the RV-14, ‘the most successful side-by-side, two-seat kit aircraft in history.’ [Courtesy: Van’s Aircraft]
Still in development, the high-wing RV-15 prototype made its first public appearance at AirVenture 2022. [Stephen Yeates]
A lot of time, effort, and skill go into building a kit aircraft. [Courtesy: Van’s Aircraft]


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