Most Van’s Customers Agree To Price Increases


About 60 percent of the first Van’s Aircraft customers contacted have immediately agreed to continue with their orders despite an average 32 percent price increase and reduced flexibility in customizing their aircraft. At a bankruptcy court hearing into the company’s Chapter 11 filing on Tuesday, the company reported about 300 of the first 500 customers on the notification list signed new agreements within 24 hours of receiving formal notification from Van’s. There are about 1,000 more emails to be sent and the deadline for agreeing to the new terms is Jan. 15. Those who agree will have any deposits they paid for kits or parts applied to the final cost of their orders. Those who don’t accept the new deal will lose their deposit to the pool of unsecured creditors and will have to try to recoup their money through the bankruptcy creditor disbursement process.

When it informed the court of the price increase plan at a hearing two weeks ago, the company said it estimated that about 70 percent of customers would go for the new deal. KITPLANES reported the company began sending out the notices on Monday. Only those with orders for items produced by Van’s got the notices. Those who put money down on engines, avionics and some other third-party-supplied merchandise did not get notices. Van’s is still taking to the vendors of those goods about the offers to customers.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Not much of a choice. Agree to the price increase and you get to see what happens, whatever that may be. Don’t agree to the price increase and I don’t really care what Van’s says, you essentially lose everything. Hmmm. I guess they’re calling that choice.

    • This is how it works. Vans has to do what it will take to satisfy the bankruptcy court and make a profit. If they kept prices as they are, they would surely be doomed.

    • I’m not a big fan of how our bankruptcy system works, but I’ll take it over nothing. That’s a choice.
      I get a choice on elections, and my choice now involves voting against incumbent politicians and mostly against former office holders.

    • I wouldn’t put one dime more on anything. Call it a loss and move on. A company that got to this situation now says it will fix it? LOL. Blaming COVID? LOL. My company has survived COVID. Did not fire any one. We did not lose one customer on the contrary. Mismanagement is not fixed with more money. Money does not solve money problems. This company has serious management problems. As much as I like my RV-8 and I would like to see Van’s out of this hole, I don’t think they are acknowledging the problem and second, not taking the actions needed to fix the problems that got them where they are in the first place.

  2. Keep in mind while outwardly we can look at it as “what Van’s says”, but in reality it is what the bankruptcy trustee says. When Vans filed Chapter 11 it effectively turned the controls over to the third-party trustee who now calls the shots and Vans and his employees were sent back to coach and the cockpit door was secured. There actually little he or his employees can do but hang on and hope that new guy can land the bird.

  3. So far it appears that this is being done openly and professionally. Other major aerospace companies that have been on the brink include Boeing, Douglas, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GE, etc. I predict Vans comes out of this well. Note the shockingly high recent price increases from Lycoming, not Van’s fault.

  4. Van makes a great product. Hopefully they get good financial advice moving fwd and prosper via the second chance.

  5. Unfortunately, no matter how you cut it, even best case scenario the customer will get the short end of the stick. It’s a lose lose affair. The customer just has to determine how far they want to go down the rabbit hole. Get out now and cut you losses that are known, or, throw more money at the project not really knowing what your going to get regarding what you thought you were going to get. Hoping for the best. Welcome to aviation.

  6. The part that I don’t understand and was not elaborated on ” reduced flexibility in customizing their aircraft ” Just what does this mean??? It’s an E/AB aircraft not an ELSA how can they say you can’t customize it???

    • In order to save money by streamlining, many options are getting deleted from the catalog. Obviously, if you are the builder, you can still do what you can do, but you simply won’t be getting the parts from Van’s.

    • Van’s allowed extreme flexibility in kit options, which took time to put together. The ‘limited options’ approach will allow them to put together kits in advance.

      But no restrictions on builder mods.

  7. We don’t know what the future holds in store for Vans, and of course we wish them — and their customers — the best possible outcome. Just wondering though, would you like chow mein with that rudder kit?

  8. If the Chinese taking control of the company was the only option for the survival of the company, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

    • 300 may be more than half of 500, but 500 is only one third of their customer list. It is too early to draw overall conclusions.

  9. Yes. Too early to draw conclusions about what all customers will do. The article was addressing what those taking actions so far have done.

    Some will infer if 3 out of 5 applies to a sample then 3 out of 5 will apply to the whole. Seems to work most of the time. We shall see.

  10. It’s really hard to walk away from bad money especially when you’ve already spent not just a lot of money, but, a lot of time, effort and emotion on what pretty much is a life long dream for most people. A big decision clouded by a lot of emotion.

  11. Gee, you foks are tough. This is a company that was very sucessful for decades and has fallen on hard times. If the reason is that their prices did not keep up with rising costs, why should they not adjust prices to a level that will allow the company to prosper and therefore continue the viability of a great product?

  12. Guys, is it only me that wondering how come ‘’Van’s Aircraft (Van’s)’’ have ‘’LYCOMING, Engine (as 1st Creditor for $598,323)’’ and ‘’Hartzell, Propellers (as 3rd Creditor for $130,056.34)’’ as ‘’Creditors’’?

    I don’t ‘’Understand’’? As I figure it out, ‘’Van’s’’ was the ‘’Middleman’’ between ‘’LYCOMING, & HARTZELL’’ and their ‘’ (Van’s) Clients’’. As I see it, ‘’Van’s’’ have negotiated an ‘’Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) with ‘’LYCOMING, & HARTZELL’’ for all ‘’Van’s’’ sales. So, I don’t understand how come ‘’Van’s’’ own as much to ‘’LYCOMING & HARTZELL’’? ‘’Van’s’’, must have received payment from those ‘’Customers’’ that have made a ‘’Deposit’’ and then the ‘’Full Payment’’ prior to ship them ‘’Engine’s & Propeller’s Ordered’’! So, how come ‘’Van’s’’ own so much money to ‘’LYCOMING & HARTZELL?

    I use to work for ‘’Pratt & Whitney, Canada (P&WC)’’ in the nineties, their selling structure was, for the ‘’Customer, ‘’List Price’’, minus (-) 15 to 25%’’ and for ‘’Approve Overhaul Shop (AOS), ‘’List Price’’, minus (-) 40%’’. So, the ‘’AOS’’, where at least doing 15% margin on ‘’ P&WC Parts’’ sale. I don’t say it is the same for ‘’Van’s’’, but it should be something as a ‘’Middleman’’?

    Jacques (pronounce as Jack).

  13. Customers who sent Van’s the whole amount for a new engine, prop or avionics package are who are really the biggest losers. Unless they sent the full amount for a complete kit and never got it. To get the OEM price on things like Lycoming engines, should be set up differently. The customer should not have to send all the money to Van’s. It should be put in escrow, or go directly to Lycoming. Van’s may take a small % as profit, that could be paid directly to them and once received they could release the escrow money, and the engine shipped directly to the customer. It’s asking too much to expect customers to trust Vans to forward the money to Lycoming. Since when they get low on funds they tend to use it for other things, and it’s never sent to Lycoming. Or the other vendors of the big ticket items. I tell these kit makers that I like their planes, but don’t completely trust them. And we must demand protection, like escrow accounts. Their track record has proven the need for this.