The RV Journal

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Gary Rodgers and His RV3

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Most of the attention in the last few years has been focused toward the RV4, RV6, and now, RV8 aircraft and their variations. But the RV3 is what put Van's Aircraft on the aviation map. There are quite a few of the RV3s flying in spite of recent concern about the integrity of the wing during vigorous aerobatics.

Gary Rodgers, an instrument-rated pilot based in Brazil, Indiana, used to fly a tri-geared Mustang II, but as he put it, "I missed the little wheel on the back of the airplane". Even though the Mustang was a great cross-country aircraft, when the opportunity arose to do some airplane swappin', he jumped at the chance. This cute little -3 is what followed him home when he dropped off the Mustang.

N5AJ receives its motivation from a 160 hp O-320 twisting a Pacesetter-200 68x79 prop. The plane has zipped its way through 225 hours, and the Lycoming was treated to new jugs 90 hours ago. When Gary slides into the cockpit, he faces a panel that holds VFR gauges, a 720 channel com, Garmin Pilot III GPS, and of course a transponder with encoder.

Completed in 1986 by the Laurel Flying Club of New York, the illusion of piloting a mini fighter plane is continued by the RV3 with the sliding canopy, but the flashy Imron paint is not what is usually sprayed on a military ride. With an empty weight of 807 lbs, even a full load of 24 gallons of go-juice doesn't dampen the fun. In 1992, the wings were beefed up with the addition of three laminations to the spar's original seven. Even though Gary has received the parts and manuals from Van's to convert his RV3 to an "A" wing, the mods have yet to be carried out so he limits recess to 4.5 positive Gs and "NO negative Gs at all!".

This RV3 is the ninth aircraft Gary has owned since 1990. He is enthusiastic about the performance of the -3, citing its 210 mph top speed while still being capable of only consuming 900 feet during the landing rollout. Gary estimates the climb to be around 2500 fpm, which is definitely in "Wow" territory. This is what Van had in mind when he coined the term "Total Performance".

If you are in the area of Brazil, Indiana and see a red and white blur rising out of the corn stalks from a private grass airstrip, it is probably just Gary Rodgers out rediscovering what the RV line of aircraft is all about......FUN!

(Editor's note: If you would like to have your RV featured in an article in the RV Journal, just do what Gary did......send in some sharp, clear photos and a write-up about you and your plane. You too can achieve celebrity status!)

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