- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Van's Aircraft RV-4
Harmon Rocket - N977M - Vans RV-4
1998 Harmon Rocket (Van's RV-4)
N977M (sn 002)
Photo taken July 14, 2007
Arlington Northwest EAA Fly-In July 2007
Arlington, WA USA (KAWO)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Van's RV-4 is a light homebuilt aircraft supplied in kit form. It seats two people in a tandem seating configuration with the pilot accommodated in the front seat.

The Van's RV series has become the most popular kit-built aircraft in the world. The RV-4 is the second most popular RV model, outsold only by the now discontinued RV-6.

As of February 2010, 1309 RV-4s had been completed and flown worldwide.


Richard VanGrunsven designed the RV-4 in the mid 1970s as a two-seat development of the single-seat RV-3. The RV-4 prototype first flew in August 1979.

The RV-4 is a new design based upon the concepts proven in the RV-3 and is not merely a stretched RV-3. The RV-4 airframe will accept a range of engines up to 180 hp, including the Lycoming O-360. The RV-4 has a new wing, with increased wingspan and wing area over the RV-3. The RV-4 is designed for sport aerobatics.

The RV-4 has proven to be a capable cross country aircraft in service, able to carry two modest sized people and baggage on longer trips. RV-4s have been flown around the world, notably by an Australian, Jon Johanson, who completed world-girdling RV-4 flights on two occasions.

Many larger people find the RV-4 cockpit design physically constraining, and as a result VanGrunsven has designed an entire family of derivative designs. The RV-6 was designed to allow side-by-side seating, and the RV-8 was created as an enlarged aircraft that follows the RV-4's philosophy and offers tandem seating in a bigger aircraft.

Unlike most later RV series designs, RV-4 kits are only available with conventional landing gear, although some may have been constructed in tricycle configuration by builders. At least two RV-4s have also been built with retractable landing gear (mostly for the engineering challenge, as the performance gains were modest).

Aircraft Type Club

The RV-4 has a very active Aircraft type club Van's Air Force, that provides support for owners and pilots of this type

Specifications (Typical RV-4)

General characteristics
Crew: pilot
Capacity: 1 passenger
Length: 20 ft 4 in (6.20 m)
Wingspan: 23 ft (7.01 m)
Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Wing area: 110 ft² (10.2 m²)
Empty weight: 905-913 lb (410-414 kg)
Loaded weight: 1,500 lb (680 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 1,500 lb (680 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Lycoming O-320, O-360 or IO-360, 150-180hp (110-135 kW)

Never exceed speed: 210 mph (340 km/h)
Maximum speed: 200 mph at sea level (320 km/h)
Range: 725 miles Cruise 55% power at 8,000 ft (1,170 km)
Service ceiling: 23,000 ft (7,000 m)
Rate of climb: 2450 ft/min (12.5 m/s)
Wing loading: 13.64 lb/ft² (67 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.1-0.12 hp/lb (0.16-0.20 kW/kg)

Last updated January 06, 2011
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Van's Aircraft RV-4".
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