Van’s Aircraft Releases Tech Summary on Laser-Cut Parts


Builders of Van’s Aircraft RVs have been waiting since AirVenture 2023, when chief engineer Rian Johnson headed a public briefing on the subject, to learn how laser-cut parts might influence strength and durability of the completed aircraft. Today, Van’s released a series of documents that are the result of hundreds of fatigue-test coupons and countless hours of data examination and reduction.

According to Van’s, “The Engineering team has recorded two presentations related to the acceptability, use, and testing results of laser-cut parts in RV aircraft. The below videos include an 18-minute summary presentation with an introduction by Dick VanGrunsven, as well as a highly-detailed, 2-hour presentation by the Van’s Engineering team. These presentations have been made to groups of civil aviation authorities as well as a group of kit industry experts.”

The company concluded that “the results of extensive testing of laser-cut parts manufactured for Van’s Aircraft shows that the parts are safe for use in aircraft construction. Van’s Aircraft worked with a third-party professional company that specializes in fatigue and materials testing in the design and execution of its test program, which included the same tests being run at both companies to validate methodology and results. Van’s has applied a significant engineering margin to the test results, assuming the combined worst-case scenarios in terms of fatigue and aircraft operational usage.”

Van’s has continued to refine its listing of laser-cut parts used in various kits and has committed to replacing all “red and yellow” parts free of charge.

Previous articleAvionics Shop On a Box
Next articleRoundtable on Van’s Laser-Cut Parts Tech Briefing
Marc Cook
Marc Cook is a veteran special-interest journalist who started as a staffer at AOPA Pilot in the late 1980s. Marc has built two airplanes, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Aviation Sportsman, and now owns a 180-hp, steam-gauge-adjacent GlaStar based in western Oregon. Marc has 5000 hours spread over 200-plus types and four decades of flying.


  1. I’m glad to know that everything I’ve learned about stress-risers in aluminum and good practices in aircraft construction and maintenance can be replaced by the information in Van’s vast experience since 2022. I just have to be more discerning where I leave the defects.

  2. Great work and good news Vans.

    As a ‘hands-on’ hobby manufacturer for 40+ years (lots of cutting, machining, bending, welding and composite work), a 15-year F1 Rocket builder, RV-8 co-owner and SAAA TC (Australia), I was always personally confident that minor dimple cracks at the hole edge wouldn’t manifest in structural failures around the rim where the loads are carried. The data also proves there are significant fatigue life margins, especially in typical use profiles, and that areas of most risk are generally inspectable.

    I believe customers will forgive Vans for the unexpected delays and costs imposed by market forces mostly out of your control, but it is especially refreshing to see the candid sharing of relevant information we have come to experience from the community of SAAA and EAA builders and owners of these truly wonderful aircraft – thank you.

    Kind regards, Stuart


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.