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Major Announcement from Van’s Aircraft Admits To Serious Issues

Company to Reorganize Under Mounting Challenges

Van’s Aircraft, the famed light-sport aircraft marque and maker of the perennially popular RV6/6A, RV7/7A, and numerous additional kit aircraft models, is facing serious cash-flow issues resultant of a confluence of unfavorable events and circumstances, principal among which are:

Pandemic Driven Costs: The shutdowns and supply-chain issues by which the COVID exigency was characterized drove up Van’s costs, doubled the company’s inventory levels, slowed deliveries, and severely strained cash-flow. Ironically, resurgent post-COVID markets dramatically increased Van’s orders, requiring the company to hire and train more staff. However, a global shortage of workers occasioned increased wages and a five-fold increase in shipping costs. In short-order, through no fault of its own, Van’s found itself selling kits below its own costs.

Subcontractor Issues: While attempting to ride-out COVID’s repercussions, Van’s learned one of its overseas contractors had used an inferior primer, resulting in aluminum corrosion by which a great many quick-build kits were adversely affected. Scrapping subject kits worsened Van’s position, as did the necessity to ramp up production to replace such.

Outsourced Parts Issues: As Van’s fell behind shipping orders, the company was compelled to subcontract the manufacturing of some aluminum parts—albeit at increased cost. Vans determined the only timely option was to have some parts laser-cut rather than CNC-punched, as is Van’s convention. According to Vans, the decision was “ … made after completing a formal manufacturing process evaluation and extensive fatigue testing of materials used in the manufacturing process, with the purpose of increasing the production capacity for some parts during a period of high demand.”

Regrettably, between February and June 2022, a significant number of Van’s customers reported cracks having formed in parts with laser-cut holes. Van’s immediately commenced researching the issue and engaging in apposite testing. Over time, the Van’s personnel discovered many of the parts in fact met established design requirements. Nevertheless, many builders deemed the parts unsuitable for use, thereby inundating Van’s with requests for replacement parts and, worse yet, canceled orders. Currently, upwards of 1,800 Van’s customers are affected by the described issue.

Van’s Aircraft faces numerous challenges requiring the company to perform an internal assessment of its inventory, production, and shipping capabilities, as well as its overall operating efficiencies. During this time, which will span 27 October through mid-November 2023, Van’s will evaluate means by which to most comprehensively and efficiently satisfy builder concerns regarding laser-cut parts. Also, the company will review the costs of its parts and kits.

During the aforementioned period, shipments of Van’s parts will be delayed, kit orders will not be processed, and refunds will not be issued. Additionally, and with regret, Van’s will conduct neither factory tours nor demo flights.

Finally, Van’s is adjusting its daily operating hours. Starting Monday, 30 October 2023, the company’s offices and facility will be open Monday through Friday from 08:00 to 16:00 Pacific Time. Van’s builder technical support hours will shift from 08:00 to 09:30 and 15:00 to 16:00 PDT each business day. The latter change is permanent.

Van’s is storied among kit aircraft marques, having built its reputation on superb design, utmost quality, and excellent customer service and support. In keeping with its guiding ethos, the overtly transparent company expressed gratitude to its customers, thanking them, one and all, for their ongoing confidence, and pledged to provide further information in the coming weeks.



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