Van's New Secret Project


I recently got a call from Van’s Aircraft saying they had something I really needed to see–so I saddled up my favorite cross-country machine and had a wonderful flight from my Nevada base up to northwestern Oregon this morning. Gorgeous day to fly over the pine forests and among the still-snowy volcanoes along the Pacific rim!

Sure enough, the trip was worth it! Here are the first, exclusive pictures of the latest project in Van’s prototype shop. It’s still a bit rough, but they hope to have it painted by the time Oshkosh rolls around (Oh, I didn’t ask them WHICH Oshkosh…). Performance numbers are still a mystery, but the airspeed indicator shows a certain level of optimism in that department.

The cockpit is, to say the least, spartan –and form fitting. It has the legroom of the RV-3, but the width of the RV-1. Without upholstery, the view over the nose appears to be adequate. Rian Johnson, Van’s Chief Engineer, is hoping to have an engine installed “very soon”, and promised that when it flies, Kitplanes will get a crack at evaluating the airplane. We think that we look forward to the opportunity.

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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 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly 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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