On this one page you will find my best effort at gathering all of the
high-level info on the RV-15 engineering prototype a) as it is released by
the mothership and b) I find info posted by the various mothership employees in the forums
related to it (meant to
clear up misinformation - they do this occasionally as a courtesy).
Starting off is my favorite picture from OSH'22. We had about 3 seconds to make
it happen before Axel taxied the a/c over to the booth (and the crowd). One last calm
moment before the RV-15 supernova went critical and the RV universe
new info is sent to me by the mothership I'll add it here.
PS: Typing RV-15.com into
your browser will bring you to this page.
Say hello to the RV-15 engineering prototype and some of the folks who designed it.
This pic about 20 minutes before the team showed the RV-15 to the OSH crowd in
L-R: Rob, Scott, Axel, Rian and Brian.
(Greg Hughes: Van's Aircraft COO) We're incredibly proud of our entire team and the work they've put into the
RV-15 prototype aircraft, getting it designed, built, and ready to show the
(Bernardo: Van's Engineer) "64-minute presentation by Van's Aircraft employees at AirVenture 2022 about
the RV-15: the preliminary design, current prototype configuration,
fabrication and assembly, test and analysis, ingenious landing gear
mechanisms, and the many ways in which the airplane will change between the
current prototype and the final kit. Addresses key questions such as engine,
cruise speed, useful load, number of seats, kinds of rivets, choice of some
kinds of high-lift devices rather than others, timeline for the start of kit
FLYER's Ed Hicks talks to Van's President and CTO Rian
(Kitplanes) We checked in with Van's Greg Hughes for an
update on the RV-15's launch at AirVenture. Now that the 15 has been poked
and prodded by thousands of show goers, let's see what's next for the
company's first high-wing airplane.
(Bernardo: Van's Engineer) I placed my time-lapse camera on the upper corner of the Van's tent,
pointed it roughly at the area where I thought the RV-15 would be
parked... and they placed the airplane so that it was perfectly
framed in the shot. I am very pleased by the results, despite the
fact that this beautiful composition was sheer dumb luck!
Oh, and see if you can spot the moment, about 46 or 47 seconds into
the video, where they play the Star-Spangled Banner.
A short video I put together of OSH'22 centered on the RV-15.
12 to 18 months until we release either the wing kit or the empennage kit,
hopefully by Oshkosh 2023.
Utility category: +4.4, -2.2
Engine: From 180 hp to 220 hp.
Goals: 900 lbs useful load, 140 KTAS cruise
Seats: 2+Baggage. Optimized for a mission of
"2 people and a whole lot of gear". The back area could
have a bench seat for two little kids or a third adult
seat. Currently the capacity of the back area is 200
Float kit in early preliminary design
35.5 ft span with the wingtips on the
(re: RV-15 w/215hp vs C170 w/145hp) The C170 weight and the target weight for the kit RV-15 are
essentially the same. We just want to do more.
(re: Gurney flaps on elevator
trailing edge) ...This is an engineering prototype. We had a choice of going quick
or leaving the plane at home. In order to go quick, we can change
the length or height of the tab. That takes hours. Or we can build a
new stab which will take days. After flying the airplane, I provided
the feedback that the stick force per G was too light. So we are
tuning the feedback/forces. When we get the plane home, we will
build a new stab with the hinge 1/8 of an inch from where it is now
and the forces will be what they are now. The final kit will not have those on.
Each flap is over 10 feet.
Cabin width is 46", same as an
RV-10, 4" wider than a Cessna 180.
Trapeze ropes in cockpit: "The rope pull handles are test aircraft feature only, to
enable emergency door jettison if needed."
Fuel Tank: "The fuel tank in the cabin is only for the
test airplane. Certain prototype aircraft design
considerations are there to enable us to make engineering
changes and adjustments (keep in mind, this is an
engineering test prototype airplane), easily change
configurations in weight/balance, loading, etc."
Baggage Door: The kit will have one.
34-percent-chord ailerons (versus 25% in other RVs) in part inspired by the Helio Courier (also true of the stabilator).
Airfoil designed with aerodynamicist Steve Smith to combine high lift with
docile stall. Most STOL airplanes have high-camber airfoils (i.e. you never
fully get rid of the flaps); This one does not, so drag is lower, cruise
speed will be higher.
Stiffness of landing gear shock absorbers is tunable via air pressure.
For easy entry, the seat slides all the way back behind the door, and the
stick has a "D shape" so most of it is under the panel; It's easy to step
in between the seat and the stick.
Cowl will be improved: Right now it's a
slightly modified 14 cowl. Needs bigger openings, would
probably benefit from cowl flaps.
Its unique articulated landing gear, with shock
absorbers hidden in the floor, sets it apart from its competition
and predecessors. Patent pending!
The RV-15 kit will be offered with
domed-head blind rivets, the same LP4 rivets used on the
RV-12, just because they allow for faster assembly and
have more than the required structural capability. For folks who would prefer flush solid rivets, like on
all other RVs, we are hoping to be able to offer the
option of using AN426A4 rivets on the exterior skins.
Most rivets in other RV skins are AN426AD3, where "AD"
means aluminum 2117 - which is quite hard - and "3"
means 3/32" diameter. This new rivet being tested is the
"A4": The "A" by itself means that it's made of aluminum
1100 (pure aluminum) which is softer than conventional
rivets. Lots of tests and structural analysis must be
done to show that the strength and fatigue properties of
AN426A4 rivets - i.e. 1/8", flush, solid, "soft" rivets
- are acceptable for assembling RV-15 structure. These
tests and analyses are still ongoing, but initial
results are promising, and we hope to offer the option
of using these soft flush solid rivets for fastening at
least most of the external skins.
I know it probably seems like worlds away from a lot
of the U.S, but out here in the west, particularly here in the
Pacific north west, there is a huge number of airstrips that are not
particularly short (often times because of their elevation), or
particular rough, but that are located in the "back country" and
having an airplane that is biased more towards the capabilities of a
true back country airplane can still be beneficial.
The RV-15 will be capable of using the rougher / shorter back
country strips, but I think the average user will be someone that
doesn't regularly fly it to that extreme of its capabilities.