RV demonstration flights are offered on weekdays at our factory in Aurora, Oregon as well as at our East Coast location at New Garden Airport in Pennsylvania — weather and aircraft availability permitting, of course. We also offer factory tours at our Oregon location twice daily, so be sure to take advantage of both opportunities!
Note that demo flights and factory tours have been suspended in keeping with local regulations and to limit risk associated with potential Coronavirus infection. When we resume demos and tours, we will post that information to our web site and Facebook as well as on the Van’s Air Force forums.
There’s a big difference between reading about an airplane in a magazine, dreaming about the 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 sometimes pre-arrange a demo ride at major fly-ins like Oshkosh, but the logistics of large airshows mean that rides re limited in number, and 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 call ahead to check of course, and if you plan to travel from out of town for this purpose we especially recommend doing so), 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 certain times of the year that many of the aircraft are away at fly-ins, and all of our aircraft are scheduled at times for transition training and maintenance periods, so it’s best to schedule a visit to Van’s so we can help make sure your visit has the best chance of success in the demo aircraft that best applies to your needs and desires. You can check our schedule of events to see a partial list of 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 takeoff and usually hands over the controls during 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-canceling Zulu 3 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 the final approach, the company pilot will re-assume control and demonstrate the proper approach procedure and a landing like thistledown 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 our 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 to prospective builders. 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. Factory 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