Van's New RV15 Continues To Evolve
Van's, a company known for its long history of excellent homebuilt aircraft designs, is currently developing a new plane called the RV15. The company reports good results so far in the plane's short landing and takeoff distances and low approach speeds, which they claim make it "The Ultimate Backcountry Adventure Machine". However, with the competition out there, this is a big claim.
Van's considers this a priority over the top end speed, which means that the RV15 is designed to be backcountry capable with a high-wing design, all-metal construction, control sticks, and a tailwheel aircraft option planned first, followed by a tricycle option. The plane also features an innovative gear and suspension system for the main and tail gear, room for two passengers and plenty of gear, and a possible float-plane option in the future.
The RV15 is designed to accommodate four-cylinder Lycoming engines ranging from 180HP to 220HP, with a planned release date for the kits in the next year. The first kit to be available will be the wing kit, followed by the tail kit, fuselage kit, finish kit, and firewall-forward kit. However, the prices for the kits have not been disclosed yet.
The engineering test prototype of the RV15 features a 220HP Lycoming IO-390 EXP-119 engine and a composite Hartzell Trailblazer propeller. Although the exact speeds and useful load for the final design have not been determined yet, the company has set design targets of 140kts and a minimum of 900 pounds, with enough room to carry two full-size mountain bikes in the baggage area.
The RV15 is different than Van's other models, featuring a new wing design and wider fuselage. The fuel capacity of the plane is 60 gallons, and structural designs are promising to save weight. Vans has made many modifications from its original prototype, and the new design will offer better loading flexibility. The RV15's goal is to accommodate a baggage capacity of 200 pounds and a useful load of 900 pounds. The company is also exploring different engine models for the plane, including the IO-390 and O/IO-360.
As the plane continues to develop, Van"s is encouraging enthusiasts to stay tuned for more updates.