- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Van's Aircraft RV-9 / RV-9A
Van's RV-9A - C-FZRV - Homebuilt Airplane
2006 Van's RV-9A C-FZRV (sn 90668)
Photo taken August 19, 2006
Oliver Airport, BC - Canada (AU3 / CAU3)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Van's RV-9 and RV-9A are two-seat, single-engine, low-wing homebuilt airplanes sold in kit form by Van's Aircraft. The RV-9 is the tail-wheel equipped version while the RV-9A features a nose-wheel.

The RV-9 was built around a newly-designed high aspect ratio wing, featuring a Roncz airfoil. It is similar in size and weight to RV-6 and is externally similar to the RV-6 and the RV-7.


The architect of the line of Van’s aircraft, Richard VanGrunsven, designed the RV-9 as a departure from the concepts of the earlier RV series. The earlier members of the RV series, starting with the single seat RV-3, were all designed to have light handling, aerobatic capabilities along with fast cruise speeds and short field STOL capabilities. The RV-9 was designed from the start as a two-place, side-by-side, touring aircraft and as such it forgoes the aerobatic capabilities and the lighter handling for more stability and economy. As such the design horsepower is 118-160 and the prototype was flown with a Lycoming O-235 powerplant of 118 hp (88 kW) as a proof-of-concept for the lower horsepower.

As a result of the lessons learned over the years in producing the first five RV-series designs and the change in role for this aircraft, the RV-9 design incorporated many changes over previous designs.

The RV-9A was the first to use what Van's calls 'matched-hole' components in that airframe parts are formed to the required contour and have all the rivet holes precisely located. The assembly jigs normally used to ensure alignment are not necessary and build time is much reduced. Later models such as the RV-7 and RV-10 use this same manufacturing technique.

Compared to the similar RV-7, the RV-9 has a wing of increased span and higher aspect ratio using a Roncz airfoil. The RV-9 has a slow stall speed, comparable to the Cessna 150, and docile handling suitable for low-time pilots. The cruise speed is a very respectable 167 mph (269 km/h) TAS even with the 118 hp (88 kW) engine.

The RV-9 shares many common parts with the RV-7 and the RV-8 which reduces production costs. Like those aircraft, the RV-9 uses computer assisted design to produce a kit with pre-drilled rivet holes, thus greatly reducing assembly time for the builder.

The RV-9 is unique in Van’s aircraft history in that the tricycle gear RV-9A version was flown first on June 15, 2000, three years before the tail wheel version flew. The later conventional landing gear equipped RV-9 was first flown by its designer in 2002. The RV-9A features solid circular spring steel landing gear with the nosewheel mounting tube welded to the engine mount. As in all nose-wheel equipped RV aircraft, the nosewheel is free castering and the aircraft is steered with differential braking. The brakes are mounted conventionally on the rudder pedal toes.

By February 2010 562 RV-9s and RV-9As had been completed and were flying.

Specifications (Van's RV-9A with Lycoming O-235)

General characteristics
Crew: one
Capacity: one passenger
Length: 20 ft 5 in (6.22 m)
Wingspan: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Height: 7 ft 10 in (2.39 m)
Wing area: 124 sq ft (11.5 m2)
Empty weight: 1,028 lb (466 kg)
Gross weight: 1,600 lb (726 kg)
Fuel capacity: 36 US gallons (136 litres)
Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming O-235 , 118 hp (88 kW)
Propellers: 2-bladed fixed pitch

Maximum speed: 170 mph (270 km/h; 150 kn)
Cruise speed: 164 mph (143 kn; 264 km/h) at 75% power and 8000 feet
Stall speed: 44 mph (38 kn; 71 km/h)
Range: 1,025 mi (891 nmi; 1,650 km) at 55% power at 8000 feet
Service ceiling: 14,000 ft (4,267 m)
Rate of climb: 950 ft/min (4.8 m/s)
Wing loading: 12.9 lb/ft² (63.24 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 13.6 lb/hp

Last updated January 02, 2011
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Van's Aircraft RV-9".
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