Having been blessed to fly a wide variety of aircraft I definitely have my favorites. High on the list is the F16 and the RV4. Right there with though is my tried and true Maule M5.
The similarities between Vans Aircraft and Maule Air Inc are to the most casual observer uncanny. Both humbly began with quiet genius engineer dreamers building a prototype aircraft in a barn after the factory built aircraft didn't add up. Both aircraft (M4 and RV3 prototype) won best new design award at the EAA convention. Both are legendary in their own rite.
Where they differed was one went into production as a certified aircraft, the other into the most successful kit aircraft company in history. So why the M5 comparison?
My M5 180's (0-360) GW perf numbers are impressive even today, the 0-540 powered models even more so. With equal power (Vans uses the same engines historically) it's a good bar for the RV15 to match or hopefully raise.
Maule M-5-180C -GW Performance Data
Horsepower: 180 Gross Weight: 2300 lbs
Top Speed: 157 kts Empty Weight: 1300 lbs
Cruise Speed: 136 kts Fuel Capacity: 40 gal (65 with Aux tanks)
Stall Speed (dirty): 33 kts Range: 525 nm
Ground Roll: 200 ft
Over 50 ft obstacle: 800 ft Over 50 ft obstacle: 600 ft
Rate Of Climb: 900 fpm
Ceiling: 15000 ft
So I'm expecting great things from Van with the advent of The Fifteen
, although the M5 (M7 and 9) casts a large albeit similar shadow...