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View Poll Results: Will you, or someone you know, buy a 6 seat kit from Vans?
Yes, I, or someone I know, will buy a 6 seat kit. 38 20.21%
No, I will not buy a 6 seater kit. 150 79.79%
Voters: 188. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-01-2022, 01:33 PM
wjfredericks4 wjfredericks4 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: Williamsburg
Posts: 9
Post Should Vans design a 6 seater?

Hi Vans Community,

I'm new this this forum. (I did read the 'Read Me First'). I should introduce myself first. I have been flying since I was 13 years old. I'm a private pilot rated in gliders, single engine, multi engine, and instrument rating. I have about 850 hrs total time. I currently own a 1978 Piper PA-32 Lance. I used a Mooney M20J, which I loved that airplane, but when my wife and I had our second child, we couldn't fit in the Mooney any more. My wife, 2 kids in car seats, dog, and all of our bags simply would not fit in a 4-seater.

Additionally, in recent years, I have become much more interested in experimental amateur built. Iím now a lifetime EAA member too. Great magazine and I love Oshkosh each summer but I donít get a chance to make it there much anymore. One recent factor is that I read the article in AOPA Pilot about the C182 vs. RV-10 and the RV-10 performed better than the C182 in every respect. Additionally, the new technology that is only available in the experimental market I believe will actually make for a safer airplane too.

I would like to see a modern replacement for the Piper PA-32 Lance/Saratoga and the Cessna 210 Centurion and the Beechcraft A36 Bonanza that is designed by Vans.
Key targets:
-6 seats in a club seating configuration in the back so my wife can have easy access to all the kids.
-1,400 lbs useful load (600 lbs of people, 200 lbs of bags/dogs, 100 gal of gas)
-Lycoming IO-580 (or similar) (~315 hp) (full FADEC and digital ignition would be great too)
-175 KTAS cruise speed @ 65% power (~205 hp) @ ~8,000 ft (more would be better but letís be careful to not over compromise other areas of the design to get a few more knots). Those that want turbo charging could go higher and faster too.
-55 kt stall speed in landing configuration. (Note I think 61 kts is a bit too fast in the event of an off airport landing, kinetic energy is velocity squared, so reducing stall speed by 6 kts is 19% less energy to dissipate)
-ĎRV Total Performanceí (handling qualities, easy of build, robust design, etc.)
-Retractable landing gear for the performance benefits, but I understand that RVs have always been fixed gear to date. A compromise would be to retract only the nose wheel. The nose wheel has more drag than the two mains combined. I would also be open to a 'conventional gear' (aka tail dragger) to mitigate the drag of the nose wheel.
-This would make for an awesome and affordable cross country airplane. 175 KTAS at ~14 gph with 100 gal of gas would be over 7 hours and over 1,200 nm of range. Granted reserves need to be subtracted from these numbers.

I would like to know how many other people would be interested in a 6-seat quick build kit from Vans? Please sound off with your thoughts on this topic. Do you think the above listed Key Targets are about right, or would you propose something different? Ideally this fosters lots of discussion and Vanís would view this as an informal petition to develop a 6-seater after they finish the high wing bush plane. I have decided, if Vans developed this kit, I will absolutely buy it. Who else would buy it?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Bill Fredericks
Williamsburg, VA
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Old 01-01-2022, 01:59 PM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southwest, USA
Posts: 2,532
Default No

I think there is no need for a 6 seater in the recreational market. To me it seems a 6 seater wold be approaching the market for commercial operations, which experimentals cant participate in. JMHO
John S

WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

Dues paid 2022, worth every penny

RV9A- Status:
98% done, 2% left to go
To Go: wing mounting, engine baffles, wing tips, move to airport
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Old 01-01-2022, 02:02 PM
RVbySDI's Avatar
RVbySDI RVbySDI is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tuttle, Oklahoma
Posts: 2,748
Default NO

So, your wish list just described several existing GA 6 seat airplanes on the market now in the $1M + range. What price point would you expect Vans to sell this plane? I am not in that market nor will I ever be.

Live Long And Prosper! 🖖🏻
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Old 01-01-2022, 02:10 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,493

It wouldn't be economical. The market would be small and the cost to develop and produce the kit would be considerable. I expect that this would end up something like the A380, which never had a large enough demand to survive.

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Old 01-01-2022, 03:48 PM
JDeanda JDeanda is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 363
Default No. My $.02

Longtime A&P here, private pilot ASEL, ASES. The jump from a two seater to a four seater has been demonstrated to be a large jump indeed by the RV-10. The jump to a six seater would be at least as large, again. Someone looking to build a six seat RV would likely be much better served to look into a Cherokee 6 or its descendants, or an A36 Bonanza, or one of the bigger single engine Cessnas.
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Old 01-01-2022, 04:39 PM
1001001's Avatar
1001001 1001001 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Just Minutes from KBVI!
Posts: 1,423

I would absolutely buy and build a 6-seater kit airplane if it were reasonably priced. I like the idea of being able to carry an additional friend or two in comfort, or having the additional cargo capacity.

As the size and weight get bigger, though, the build complexity will change. More weight requires more power, more power requires more fuel, and so on.

Once you get into the power required to drag a heavy six seater around at what people would consider RV-worthy speeds and climb performance, you're talking an engine at least in the TIO-540 range, or maybe the iE2 if you want to get fancy. At that point, you're talking about Piper Malibu Matrix performance, and there are some Malibus out there on the market for reasonable prices--in the $300-$500k price range. If you wanted even more climb and speed performance, you'd be looking into the turboprop range unless you felt like giving an 8-cylinder engine a try.

Looking at some of the other experimentals out there that would compete in speed and complexity (if not in size), like the Lancair Evolution (no longer in production), where the kit price was in the $500k range by itself, excluding the engine, or the Velocity, which is similarly priced, you might be persuaded to simply go buy a used Mirage or Matrix, and keep the money you saved in trust for maintenance expenses on it.

I think if anyone has a chance at making a six-seat, high performing kit aircraft, it would be Van's Aircraft with an all metal design. I would buy one and build it and fly it.

As of when I write this, though, I'm in the minority--according to the poll, there are a number of people here who wouldn't even consider building a six-seat RV. There's nothing wrong with that, as it would be a tough sell to get me to build an RV-15...there are other nice high wing kit planes out there. Where Van's would have the advantage in that market would be their ability to make a kit that is complete and easily buildable.

That's also where Van's would shine in a six-seat homebuilt market--buildability. But there has to be a market for them to enter. If the demand is low, the price has to be high to pay for the development and tooling costs.

I really hope someday there is a bigger demand for such a thing.
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Old 01-01-2022, 04:48 PM
moosepileit moosepileit is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 842

Did Vans not just sell more kits in a DAY than they used to sell in a good MONTH?

Why limit?
RV-6, bought from builder.
O-320, slider, carb, mags, FP
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Old 01-01-2022, 07:16 PM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 16,552
Default Welcome to VAF

Originally Posted by wjfredericks4 View Post
Hi Vans Community,

I'm new this this forum.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Bill Fredericks
Williamsburg, VA
Bill, welcome aboard the good ship VAF
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
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Old 01-01-2022, 07:53 PM
MacCool's Avatar
MacCool MacCool is offline
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: central Minnesota
Posts: 1,355

Originally Posted by moosepileit View Post
Did Vans not just sell more kits in a DAY than they used to sell in a good MONTH?

Why limit?
Selling is one thingÖshipping is another.
RV-9A, 2011, bought flying
IO-320D1A (factory new), C/S
Dual Pmags
IFR equipped
AFS 5400/3500, G5, IFD440 navigator,
bunch of other stuff
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Old 01-01-2022, 08:30 PM
David Z David Z is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario
Posts: 957

I think it would be a great plane. However, RV10s already take considerable more time to build as compared to a 7, 8, 9 or especially the 14. Adding more seats again requires a bigger cabin, which means bigger fuselage structure, bigger wings, bigger tail. Point being, it will be a huge plane that takes 4000hrs to build. How many customers would Van's have with the patience to tackle or complete that project? Not that it wouldn't be do-able, but after so many ribs and so many fuselage bits, people get bored and want to see results. Progress would be too slow and reduce motivation to continue.

Then yes, it would be a very expensive kit. 350hp probably, and since Van's doesn't like turbos (nor do I want to pay for one), we're looking at rare and expensive engines. IO-580 or the IO-720 behemoth.

I'd love to have one. However, I wouldn't want to build it, wouldn't want to feed it, and wouldn't want to maintain it.
Empennage Passed Pre-close Inspection
Wings mostly done
Fuselage assembly, it's a riveting job!
Dash 8 day job is financing the RV8
Donation till September 2023
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