Up in the air over Waupaca
Plane Guys Aviation now represents Vans Aircraft
By Angie Landsverk
Plane Guys Aviation is now representing the Van’s Aircraft RV-12.
Van’s Aircraft is the largest kit plane manufacturer in the world and recently entered the factory-built aircraft market with its RV-12 special light sport aircraft, said Peter Andersen, of Plane Guys Aviation.
“This is not only good for Plane Guys but also for the airport, too,” he said of the new affiliation.
Plane Guys Aviation is located at Waupaca Municipal Airport-Brunner Field.
It got an RV-12 last March, and already, people from as far away as New Mexico, Kentucky, Ohio, Iowa, Maine and North Dakota either flew or drove here to fly the airplane.
“They want to become familiar with this aircraft,” Andersen said. “When they come here, it’s usually for a couple days.”
As an authorized dealer, Plane Guys Aviation will provide RV-12 training, service and rental.
The RV-12 is a two-seat, single-engine, low-wing airplane that is available both as a build-your-own kit or as factory built.
Kaitlyn Tepe, of the Van’s Aircraft RV-12 team, arrived in Waupaca last month to complete the paperwork, so Plane Guys Aviation could become a dealer for the company, Andersen said.
Van’s Aircraft is located in Aurora, Oregon.
Richard VanGrunsven started the company in the early 1970s after years earlier deciding to modify a single-seater design.
The engineer began selling plans for what was called the RV-1 (taken from his initials) to kit builders and soon started work on the design which became the RV-2.
Of the company’s first factory-built aircraft, Tepe said some people may opt to visit Waupaca to see a RV-12 rather than make the trip to Oregon.
Pilots are able to receive the necessary training closer to home, she said.
Three years ago Van’s Aircraft announced it would build a certified light sport factory plane.
The remainder of the company’s fleet is experimental aircraft, so this was its first move into the certified world, Tepe said.
Representatives from Van’s Aircraft had been in touch with Andersen since making that announcement.
“In March, when he got a plane, we were able to see them in action. We got great feedback from his students,” Tepe said. “Based on that, we knew Plane Guys is the one we wanted to work with, to represent the RV-12 in this part of the country.”
She said Plane Guys Aviation will now be the Van’s Aircraft factory built RV-12 representative for the area.
“We will have a plane here. People can come, fly and then work directly with the team here to work out buying a plane,” Tepe said.
Andersen said Plane Guys Aviation will also be able to service the planes.
In addition, with seven businesses on the field at Waupaca’s airport, “Everyone looks at it as a big step for all the companies out there,” he said.
Based on the conversations he has had with those who have visited from other states, Andersen suspects this affiliation will draw many more people to Waupaca’s airport until Van’s Aircraft gets more venues for dealerships.
He said his business ethics match those of Van’s Aircraft.
“Really and truly, it’s the people who are here,” she said. “We’ve been incredibly impressed with the customer service and attention to detail the crew has.”
With their values lining up, it results in a good experience for the customers, Tepe said.
Andersen said Van’s Aircraft is well known.
“Van’s, as a whole, flies extremely well,” he said. “I think it’s been designed with what we intend to do with it, from students to renters.”
Andersen said Plane Guys Aviation wants to be part of the RV-12 family.
“One thing that is really neat about this is that’s it not a makeshift, overnight decision,” he said. “It’s been planned for years, and because of that, it makes us pretty proud.”