Van's Aircraft positive as reorders beat target

Van's Aircraft update February 2024

Van’s Aircraft has issued a positive update following the financial crisis which hit the kitplane company in the second half of 2023.

In a video shared by Van’s founder Dick VanGrunsven and vice-president Greg Hughes, they said the process of customers reordering kits and parts at higher prices was working successfully.

VanGrunsven said, “I wanted to start off on behalf of myself and the entire staff here at Vans aircraft to thank everyone for their continuing support, particularly those that have decided to continue building and reorder their kits, engines and other components.”

Hughes expanded on this, “We had a business goal as part of this restructuring process of hitting 70% reorders and we’ve well exceeded that mark.

“We’re better than 81% overall on reorders and that includes 93% of engines, 78% of kits and better than 80% on propellers so far.”

Over the past six weeks, the factory has created 254 kits and most have been shipped, with a few to go out this week.

The emphasis is on fulfilling orders and shipping replacement parts

The emphasis is on fulfilling orders and shipping replacement parts

They highlighted that some key suppliers had been helpful too.

Hughes said, “We’ve been working with all of our partners throughout this process and there are a couple that we really wanted to especially mention. One of those is Hartzell Propeller and the other is Lycoming Engines. Both companies have really stepped up to try to make things work well for customers and to help further this business relationship that we’ve had with them for so long.

“If you order an engine and a propeller together historically there’s always been a bundle discount. Lycoming has offered $1,000 off the price of the engine when you buy a propeller at the same time and Hartzell added an additional $500 discount.”

Dynon Avionics is also offering ‘a little discount’.

One of the big issues was some faulty laser cut parts. “We’ve already fulfilled 9% of the kits with laser cut parts,” said Hughes.

Grunsven also mentioned the restructuring.

“We contracted a business restructuring expert to help us through this process. He and his assistants are doing very well and helping us to understand and improve our overall operating efficiencies, adding their expertise to our tribal knowledge so that we can maximise our efficiency and output.”

Van's RV15: development slowed but will restart as soon as the weather improves

Van’s RV15. Photos: Van’s Aircraft

There’s also reference to the new high-wing RV15.

VanGrunsven said, “Well, the RV15 is ongoing. Obviously the development process has been slowed by all of the other challenges we’ve had here.

“Personally, I’m looking forward to better weather so I can get out and fly the airplane some more and we will be accelerating that development process very soon.”

Van’s Aircraft will be back at the EAA Airventure at Oshkosh in late July, at its usual location, but won’t be attending either AERO Friedrichshafen or Sun ‘n Fun in April.

“We’re going to focus our energy on the work that we’re doing here, making parts and getting things shipped – that’s our primary focus,” said Hughes.

However factory tours and demo flights will restart in March.

Other positive news is that whole aircraft production of the Van’s RV12 SLSA aircraft is up to three aircraft a month, so lead times have reduced.

Watch the Van’s video here:



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