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The RV15 High wing bush plane

The Jodels are also a series of planes I know very little about. Building a plane in wood and fabric from plans is not something you do in “2 weeks” though That’s what interesting with the RV-15. Disregarding what we don’t know (which is pretty much everything), and only looking at what we can assume to be the case with more than 50% certainty based on Vans and other RVs:

  • It will be all metal
  • It will come in the usual kit form (pre-drilled etc) and in QB kit form (same as the modern kits, RV7 +, maybe also a bit of “RV-12” using pop rivets)
  • It will use a O-320 to O-390
  • It will have very good handling
  • It will be equally good at “backcountry” flying and flying any usual cross country flight
  • It will come in standard gear and nose wheel versions.
  • It will be 2 seat and a huge luggage compartment.
  • Long range, maybe an option with even longer range tanks.
  • Large payload

I own a Jodel 140. It’s not a completely useless or unpleasant aeroplane (as one might think, given all the limitations imposed by its heritage) but by no stretch of imagination is it “backcountry capable”.

A D140 does a decent job on all the lovingly-prepared and officially-sanctioned alpine and pyreneen strips and glaciers, but it lacks the qualities with which to operate with confidence on unexplored terrain far from any hope of rescue.

In addition to its low wing and obsolescent little 500 mm diameter tarmac tyres, and its prop clearance which is barely a foot or so better than an RV or similar dry grass strip aeroplane, the standard D140 is quite a poor IFR platform. These features are deal-breakers for a “backcountry” airplane.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

On the other hand, the D140’s wooden cabin is roomy and pleasantly quiet, with a decent prop it manages to haul its main gear off a sea-level runway in about 80 metres, and a coffin-dodger can fly it to France on his PMD “medical”. So it’s not all bad.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

Ha ha @Jacko that about sums it up. I don’t have the urge to go off with a tent and land on some remote river bed to live off the land so I like the D140 for flying onto Alpine glaciers or onto fields which only pass as airstrips because they have a couple of white painted squares at the threshold.
But they are also reasonably cheap to built (although there is no fast build kit) and maintain.
I don’t know of anyone who flies a D140 in IFR but then again I have yet to come across any one who flies an RV or any other kit/plans built aircraft, IFR in France. But some people tell me it is possible but not easy to get such a certification.


I realise operating out of a garimpeiro jungle strip a high wing is preferable, but this successful Alaskan airline started off in hard core backcountry with Cherokees

Oxford (EGTK)

I somehow believe that what Vans is going for is not the extreme, but more “total performance”. That D140 may not be far off IMO.


Indeed. Everyone probably has his or her own interpretation of “backcountry”.

It will be interesting to see what Vans comes up with and how they market it. My impression is that the Vans mindset is to obtain the maximum all-round performance as efficiently as possible (as Joly and Délémontez did with their designs).

Carrying your runway with you (i.e. with 31” or 35” Bushwheels) is not aerodynamically efficient and all-rounders seldom do any one job really well (think Unimog vs a proper tractor).

Last Edited by Jacko at 02 Aug 17:34
Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

RobertL18C wrote:

this successful Alaskan airline started off in hard core backcountry with Cherokees

I know Fred Ball who flew for Pen Air, and is a Grumman seaplane expert sought after worldwide. His personal chariot is a PA-32-301 Saratoga with bigger tires and he keeps a PA20 Pacer for playing off-airport. The taper wing Saratoga works off a 1400ft gravel strip fully loaded. He likes the way the high winds don’t catch the low wing aeroplanes the same, and in this regard, it’s hard to disagree. You can leave the low Pipers parked outside not tied down and they barely move in the wind.

Jacko wrote:

It will be interesting to see what Vans comes up with and how they market it.

It’s quite clever thinking by Vans. Lots of fanatical owners who love the brand, and would love to do something else. Building a Vans off-airport aircraft, as a second aeroplane will appeal to many.

Buying, Selling, Flying
EIBR, Ireland
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
19 Posts
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