Celebrating the RV-6

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    This month, along with the EAA, we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Van’s RV-6, the most popular kit design to hit the sky. This month’s EAA AirVenture will feature tributes to the ubiquitous side-by-side airplane that Dick VanGrunsven at one time felt had no appeal—why would someone choose a side-by-side airplane when they had the two-place RV-4 tandem to carry a passenger? Fortunately for many a pilot whose spouse didn’t want to take a backseat, Van was proven wrong this time, and thousands of the kits have been sold, with over 2,500 complete airplanes having been reported to the company as of spring of this year.

    While the RV-6 kit has been superseded by the RV-7 and its later, younger siblings, Van’s Aircraft still produces parts and full support for the many RV-6 kits still out there in garages and workshops around the world. So long as you have a tail kit and a serial number, the factory will provide everything you need to bring your project to completion.

    Rather than doing yet another pilot report on an airplane that many have already experienced, we’d like to put the airplane in perspective by bringing you four articles: one on the history of the design, one by an early builder, one by a pilot who went shopping for an RV-6, and an interview with the original builder/owner of the oldest flying RV-6.

    There are a lot of RV-6s still out there, both under construction and completed. If you think the airplane might be the right fit for you, read on and discover the world of the original side-by-side RV.

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    Paul Dye
    Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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