The L.O.O.T.M. Archive

Lust Object of the Month

February 2009

The "lighter fluid" that rekindled my old flame, this little guy is for sale on Barnstormers.  And it's LIGHT (690 pounds--lighter than Van's prototype which is lighter that almost all the other RV-3s out there)!

Van's RV-3A aircraft picture

Three fourths of the "Van Guards", these RV-3s are powered by ethanol.  They have their own fuel truck at some of their shows but can burn AvGas (I think) in a pinch.

Van's RV-3 aircraft picture

A New Zealand RV-3 showing the clean lines.  For more information on the RV-3, check Van's site


The "Unofficial" RV-3 web site, maintained by an RV fan, builder and pilot.  Great info:


For more information on the Ethanol-powered RV-3s, including an air show video, try here:


If you want to know how the airplane flies, check Budd Davisson's pilot report.  This was the article that made me fall for this beautiful little airplane:


Try as I might, I couldn't resist getting drawn to this month's LOOTM.  And it happens to be the original LOOTM, too.  Back on college, I fell in love with this little airplane and have been taken with the type ever since.

Richard Van Grunsven ("Van") modified a Stits Playboy with a wing that improved the flight characteristics of the airplane, and dubbed it the RV-1.  By designing an all-metal fuselage to go with the wings he hung on the Playboy, Van came up with the RV-3.

The aircraft had outstanding performance on modest horsepower, could handle both high and low speed flight quite well, and its light control forces made aerobatics a joy.  It had decent short field capabilities, good climb rates, and was economical to build and operate.

There are only about 150 - 160 RV-3s flying in the US, but the lineage of the RVs has run from the RV-3 (single seat) to the RV-4 (tandem two seat), the RV-6 (side-by-side two seat), the RV-7 (redesigned/updated RV-6), the RV-8 (enlarged two seat tandem), the RV-10 (four seat cruiser), and the latest RV-12 (side-by-side two seat Experimental Light Sport).  There are more than 6000 total RVs flying worldwide.  With Van's designs, quality kits and parts, customer support and wonderful flying characteristics, the RV series is some of the most popular homebuilt aircraft in history.

    The LOOTM for February 2009, the Van's RV-3.