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Speed and Agility
No other RV is faster. With a top speed of around 220 mph, the RV-8 gets you there quickly while delivering excellent performance on the lower end of the scale plus quick, responsive handling.
Centerline Seating
Nothing beats sitting right in the middle of the airplane. Wear it like a glove - it becomes a natural, intuitive extension of your body.
Want to do some loops and rolls? The RV-8 is a fully aerobatic-capable airplane, stable and responsive. You'll even see RV-8's competing in sportsman and intermediate categories.
Pure Good Looks
Let's face it. The RV-8 is one hot-looking machine. Often outfitted in military or other attractive paint schemes, and with a fighter-like slider canopy, this aircraft gets looks wherever it goes.


The RV-8/8A provides the fighter-like feel of center-line seating, with a wide fuselage and cockpit that accommodates large people in comfort. Two baggage compartments, one forward and one aft, keep even large amounts of luggage well within the weight and balance envelope. Pilots up to 6’7″ fit in the front. A Tall Pilot option is available (It was used by one successful builder who describes himself as 6’ 10″, although we think he might be taller). Passengers almost as big find the rear seat fits them, too. Factory pilots have flown demo rides with passengers up to 6’9″ and 260 lbs in the back seat.

The RV-8’s almost-perfect control balance and harmony and the excellent visibility make aerobatics a delight. At the aerobatic gross weight of 1600 lbs., the RV-8/8A complies with the +6/-3G standards of the FAA’s Aerobatic Category and can still carry two people, making it possible for a new pilot to get aerobatic instruction before he or she starts rolling and looping.

With the little wheel mounted on the back, the conventional-gear RV-8 provides the popular combination of great looks and high performance. With a slightly lower drag profile, it may be just a hair faster than its tricycle-gear brother.
Configured to stand on tricycle-gear, the RV-8A retains the model's famous great looks and performance, adding improved visibility on the ground. Once in the air, you'll forget where the wheels are, as both models handle and perform just about identically.


The large 42-gallon fuel capacity and efficient airframe provide long range and high cruise speeds, so long distances can be covered easily. The speed and the excellent climb rate provide options for dealing with weather and terrain that simply aren’t available to most pilots. Handling, on the ground or in the air, is typical RV: exciting and responsive, but never “twitchy” or unpredictable.

The sliding canopy is built around a sturdy steel roll bar and fixed windshield. It must remain closed in flight, but the standard fresh air ducts provide plenty of fresh air to both seats. The RV-8/8A is designed to be flown from the front seat, although a rear stick is provided and a rear throttle and rudder pedals are optional.

Like all RVs, the RV-8/8A climbs well, lands slow and goes fast. Unlike earlier RV models, the RV-8/8A was designed to accept the 200-horsepower IO-360 Lycoming. The prototype outfitted with this engine demonstrated truly remarkable performance. With a single occupant, it would take off in 250’ and climb out at 2600 fpm — performance that had tower controllers asking “what kind of airplane is that?!” In 2020, Van’s approved the 210 HP Lycoming IO-390A for use on the RV-8/8A aircraft as well.

However, the fact that the RV-8 can accept a large engine doesn’t mean that it needs it. Traditional engine options – 150-180 HP Lycomings – have been retained. Probably the majority of flying RV-8/8As are powered by a 180 HP engine, and with these lighter engines performance is still exciting – and handling is even better.

If you like sitting in the middle – and enjoy responsive, agile and capable airplanes – the RV-8/8A should suit you well.


In 1995, Van’s decided to re-visit the tandem seating concept. Even though the side-by-side RV-6/6A had become the most popular homebuilt design ever, there was still a significant percentage of pilots who really wanted centerline seating. The consensus seemed to be that a roomier tandem airplane with better cross-country capability would be popular.

A one-of-a-kind demonstrator was built and introduced at Oshkosh in 1995. The response left no doubt about the desire for an airplane like the RV-8. The ground around the display aircraft was beaten into a trench and Van’s personnel were fending off people waving handfuls of cash…but not for too long. The RV-8 went on the market in 1996 and complete kits were available by the end of 1998. In short order, it was followed by the kit for the tricycle gear RV-8A.

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