RV demonstration flights are offered on weekdays at our factory in Aurora, Oregon — weather and aircraft availability permitting, of course. We also offer factory tours twice daily, so be sure to take advantage of both opportunities!
There’s a big difference between reading about an airplane in a magazine, or dreaming about one you saw departing a local airfield, and actually flying one yourself. What does a writer mean when he waxes eloquent about “harmonized controls” or a “benign stall?”
Van’s offers the chance to see for yourself…
You can usually arrange a demo ride at major fly-ins like Sun N Fun or Oshkosh, but the logistics of large airshows mean that ride schedules are subject to delays or even cancellation for reasons beyond Van’s control. The best way to experience flight in an RV is to visit Van’s factory. Here we can fly on a more relaxed schedule, answer all your questions and generally show you around. A factory tour to accompany your demo flight is a great way to get an even more complete picture of the RV world.
On any normal business day, assuming the weather is decent and the airplane is available, you can take a demo ride in the RV model of your choice. See the details below to determine if you meet the criteria for a demo ride. There are times of the year that many of the aircraft are away at fly-ins, so it’s best to schedule a visit to Van’s taking those sorts of events into account. See our schedule of events to see where we will be, and when.
A demonstration flight is designed to be an introduction to a new airplane, not a complete demonstration of all its capabilities. After a short pre-flight briefing, the company pilot makes the take off and usually hands over the controls on climb out. The prospective builder/pilot is encouraged to do some gentle maneuvering while he or she learns the control feel – this is usually where the well known “RV grin” starts to show around the edges. Conversation is easy using the noise-cancelling Zulu headsets provided by our friends just down the road at Lightspeed Aviation. Upon reaching a safe altitude, the company pilot will demonstrate the speed range of the airplane, maneuvering at speeds from cruise to just above the stall using varying amounts of control input to demonstrate that ‘RV feel.’ Note that aerobatics are not part of our demonstration flights. The prospective customer gets a chance for a little more stick time and maneuvering on the way back to the airport. Somewhere near final approach, the company pilot will re-assume control and demonstrate the proper approach procedure and a landing like thistle down on a satin sheet.
During taxi-in, the “RV grin” is usually going full blast. On both occupants – we find the RVs just as fun to take you flying in today as they were the first time. The whole flight lasts about fifteen minutes, but these fifteen minutes have completely changed a lot of lives.
The factory demo rides are provided at no cost for our two-place airplanes (RV-7A/9A/12iS/14/14A). A modest $50 deposit is needed to demo the four-place RV-10). That deposit will be applied in full as a discount on your RV-10 kit at time of purchase. Many people order their kits right after their demo flight, before they even leave the factory!
Fair warning: Many of our loyal and happy customers refer to a demo flight at Van’s as the “$50,000 free ride!” (Okay, so maybe we haven’t fully factored inflation into that statement, but you get the idea!)
Demonstration Flight Policy:
Demo flights are conducted weather and time permitting. Because weather and aircraft mechanical concerns are critical to our operations, we cannot ever guarantee a flight will be available until the time of the flight. While many of our aircraft are aerobatic-capable, no aerobatic maneuvers are performed during our demo flights. Tours begin twice daily at 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM, Monday through Friday, scheduled holidays excluded. Van’s Aircraft gladly offers a demonstration ride to a potential customer who meets the following qualifications.
- Holds at least a student pilot license
- Has never previously flown in an RV
- Is at least 18 years of age