Van’s Aircraft says customer support in the aftermath of its bankruptcy filing two months ago has been stronger than predicted and the company is getting back to normal business operations. As first reported by our sister publication KITPLANES, in a video update posted Saturday, Van’s founder Dick VanGrunsven and VP Greg Hughes said more than 78 percent of customers who had put deposits on airframe kits have accepted a 30% price increase to continue with the order. More than 93% who had ordered engines with their kits have elected to carry on.

The company had hoped for a 70% reorder rate. “We’ve had an overwhelming response, more than expected,” Hughes said, adding that several of the third-party vendors are offering discounts on certain items ordered with Van’s kits. Deposit holders have until Feb. 22 at 11:59 p.m. to confirm their orders and have their deposits honored. If they don’t reorder they will have to try to claim their deposits back as unsecured creditors.

The spokesmen said work to finalize the restructuring of the company in the bankruptcy process is “going smoothly” and there will be a proposal for the court in March. It’s continuing to work with a consulting firm to review and improve its internal systems and operations. The company is ramping up production and increasing shipments of kits and parts. It’s also working its way through the backlog of parts with laser cut holes that it is replacing. About 9% of those parts have been replaced.

With operations at the plant coming back under control, VanGrunsven said there has been some time to work on development of Van’s much-anticipated high-wing RV-15. He said Oregon winter weather has prevented test flights but he’s looking forward to personally flying the prototype when conditions allow. He said Van’s is skipping Sun ‘n Fun and Aero Friedrichschafen this spring to concentrate on restoring the business but will be in its familiar spot at EAA AirVenture this summer and at several RV-only gatherings.

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. That is great. Looks like Richard VanGrunsven made the right decision. After he said “we hired two new Operations Managers” was all I was waiting to hear. Nice. I am planning on building more of their kits : )

    • “we hired two new Operations Managers” was all I was waiting to hear.

      Spending more money to hire two Operations Managers is not exactly what I would consider a move in the right direction. This isn’t rocket science.

  2. It’s way too early to declare victory here. You have to remember. Many of the same people that allowed the down fall of Van’s to occur are still in place. Failure to recognize the impending disaster and failure to act quickly put this company in the position it now finds itself. I hope they make it. It’s going to take a lot of belt tightening and scaling back administratively.

    • Do you have inside information on their internal organization? Are you second guessing the court appointed overseer(s)?

  3. Holding onto customer loyalty is vital for income, rebuilding trust, and setting the stage for a successful recovery after restructuring. Customer loyalty is apparent. Dick VanGrunsven in the line up is a good thing!

  4. I completed my RV4 35 years ago this summer. It’s been the second longest relationship I’ve had besides my wife. I love them both.