Friday, December 8, 2023


Would you buy an airplane made by an RV manufacturer?

Imagine if you were in the market to buy a small airplane and, hypothetically, could buy one made by a large, existing RV manufacturer who opened an airplane-building division. Would you do it if the price was right?

In other words, do you believe the quality would inspire your confidence at 10,000 feet much the same as it might today flying in an aircraft built by Piper, Cessna or Beechcraft?

We realize this is a loaded question, so perhaps use it as a conversation starter in the comment section below. Keep your comment respectful and constructive or it will be dispatched into the far reaches of cyberspace. Thanks. — Chuck Woodbury

Oh, by the way, here is what I think.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Joe M (@guest_116671)
2 years ago

Not one that forest river made that’s for sure, maybe winnebago

Richard (@guest_116619)
2 years ago

All of the a fore mentioned issues echo my own thoughts. I once had a VP of Holiday Rambler say to my face, if they built RVs adequately you couldn’t afford them.
FAA would laugh them out the door.
I have absolutely nothing good to say about RV manufacturers, most repair facilities, or the industry as a whole. I have been full timing for 15+ years.

Scooter (@guest_116600)
2 years ago

As a pilot, I agree with everything in the above article. As cheaply made as these RV’s are built I would not fly in one. With that said, these companies would never be able to build a plane. With the certification requirements and potential litigation if a problem is found to have killed a person, they would never venture into that arena. If they did somehow start making planes, the price point would go up exponentially and most people could not afford that. Even the smallest and simplest brand new plane is priced very steeply.

Dana Lakeman (@guest_116593)
2 years ago

It matters not who owns the aircraft manufacturing company. What matters is all aircraft, engine, propeller, and parts manufacturers must have a manufacturing and quality system that is approved by the FAA and complies with FAA regulations. The FAA regularly audits such manufacturers. I know, I used to be an FAA Inspector.

dave (@guest_116558)
2 years ago

Would we or could we afford these planes or RVs that would be built to such specs ????

Phil Atterbery (@guest_116538)
2 years ago

What I would like to see is an RV builder try to adhere to some of the manufacturing standards used in the aircraft industry.

volnavy007 (@guest_116494)
2 years ago

Aircraft have time limits for inspections, replacement of parts and repairs. There is an hour meter and/or a logbook to track the hours and maintenance. RVs do NOT have these things. Most (in my experience) do NOT have adequate manuals to accomplish the maintenance even if a schedule is provided. These gaps need to be filled before RVs can compete with things that last. This from a retired Navy pilot (over 2400 hours).

Tommy Molnar (@guest_116546)
2 years ago
Reply to  volnavy007

Most trailers and motorhomes don’t even have adequate manuals to operate the unit. It’s a “one-size-fits-all” manual in most cases.

Glen Cowgill (@guest_116478)
2 years ago

The FAA does a pretty fair job of policing the aircraft industry so any aircraft built has to meet the Federal Air Safety Regulations (FAR). FAR are strictly enforced so the practices used by the RV industry would be strictly forbidden.
The FAA has very high fines and lots of power. I would be skeptical but would have no problem flying it after the FAA does their job. As a former pilot and Air Traffic Controller, as long as it has been maintained according to FAR regulations, I would fly it.

JIM SCHICHNER (@guest_76570)
3 years ago

I have said many times, if the Auto industry were anything like the RV industry we would all be WALKING!

Cindy (@guest_75667)
3 years ago

I’m sure there are industry standards they would have to meet, but I’d still be skeptical. A plane and an RV are two different animals. I hope never the leave the ground in an RV.

Alain Tasse (@guest_75828)
3 years ago
Reply to  Cindy

Yes Cindy, now let’s think back to the great ethics shown by both Boeing and the FAA together in the 737 Max debacle….

Bob M (@guest_116512)
2 years ago
Reply to  Alain Tasse

Our government try’s to cut corners with inspection. They feel Quality is a non value added step. They’ll self certify the people making or repairing the product to save money. Fox guarding the hen house. They’ll cut the inspectors time needed to do the inspections. So the inspector won’t have enough time to do adequate inspection. Their switching to industry standards instead of Mil Std’s which may not be as stringent.

Matt Johnson (@guest_116598)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob M

Of course they would, that’s how they run themselves now

Matt Johnson (@guest_116597)
2 years ago
Reply to  Cindy

And I would hope an airplane would last longer than a couple of weeks before starts falling apart, like my brand new grand design solitude.

Dick Wallrich (@guest_75546)
3 years ago

Your polls don’t show up on iPads anymore. All the ads are there for sure but no polls. Your web producer isn’t doing you any favors

RV Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  Dick Wallrich

Sorry, Dick. Here’s what Jessica, one of our IT experts, says: “Sometimes script blockers and ad blockers interfere with our polls since they are from a 3rd party site. If you have one of these try and turn it off and see if that fixes the issue.” I hope that works for you. —Diane

Last edited 2 years ago by RV Staff
Rich (@guest_116505)
2 years ago
Reply to  RV Staff

I’m using an iPad. Just have to keep scrolling through the ads to get to the surveys.

Warren G (@guest_116533)
2 years ago
Reply to  Dick Wallrich

I usually read these daily newsletters on my iPad and never have a problem with the polls.

Phil Atterbery (@guest_75533)
3 years ago

Nice survey Chuck. All of my adult work history (40ish years) is in the military & civilian aircraft industry. The one constant to quality has been designing an assembly to a federal mandated standard. If the RV industry adopted aircraft quality material & assembly standards the result would be a well built coach no one could afford. Even SAE standards would be hard for most builders to meet.

Ron (@guest_75518)
3 years ago

I’d fly in a plane made by Lazy Daze Motorhomes (the originators of the Class C) I’ve owned three. No problems.

Roger (@guest_75507)
3 years ago

The first thing would be with the RV industry build practices they would never be able to pass FAA standards for aircraft manufacturing. If by chance they found a way to avoid FAA scrutiny after the first crash and going through a NTSB investigation they would be out of business.

Walker (@guest_75499)
3 years ago

I wonder if a little Piper or Cessna airplane would also include a king bed, shower and head, dual-use refer, oven, range, microwave, pantry, dinette, ability to haul extra toys, and affordability to Joe Blow, who is anyone who simply wants one. Now, if something significant goes wrong in that little Cessna or Piper the result is often ‘Oblivion’; whereas if something significant goes south on a Thor, it’s ‘Inconvenient’.

Rick Sorrenti (@guest_49657)
4 years ago

I wouldn’t have any problem flying in a Newmar manufactured aircraft if:
A. They were certified by the FAA
B. Employed the requisite number of FAA Designated Engineering Representatives
C. If their engineering and manufacturing processes were ISO 9001/2020 certified

Steve (@guest_49605)
4 years ago

I appreciate the discussion, but as a pilot many RV’ers don’t understand the aircraft industry. In the 50’s there were many aircraft builders, but today there are few. Most of it is because of cost. Government regs and liability insurance have driven the cost out of most peoples ability to buy and keep in mind the pilot license requirements. Half the RV drivers on the road today would not be on the road if we required a RV driver license. So would this be bad, maybe and everyone will have opinions. But like everyone, I believe the RV industry needs to improve but getting these improvements will not be free. And may put the RV experience out of reach to many. So which is worse. Hard to say, but the RV industry needs to step it up with out the door quality. But I also believe RV buyers need to be more involved in the maintenance of their RV’s. Taking you RV in to the dealer saying it squeaks will not help how quickly it gets repaired. You are pulling you house on poor roads and many go to fast and then expect everything to be perfect. I recall a saying about RVs, that you are pulling your house in a hurricane during an earthquake. I am not trying to be down on (new) RV’ers, but when I read some questions on the blogs and book face (as my brother calls it), it is obvious that people do not do their basic homework before buying and heading out. So I agree that the industry needs to do better, but we as consumers (buyers) we need to be better informed and better owners. Thanks

Tom (@guest_116482)
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve

RV driver class license would be an excellent idea. Look to Europe with their multi-level licenses.

Henry Dorn (@guest_49601)
4 years ago

Yes I would.

I am impressed with the build quality of our used 2011 Jayco RD19 .

No, the trailer does not use aircraft-styled steel fasteners, expensive machined castings or fittings, titanium skin, expensive black boxes and that’s what made it affordable to me.

My trailer is made out of carefully selected lumber strips, accurately assembled roof trusses, quality NSF grade plumbing. It uses correct AWG wire (everywhere I looked), is mounted on a very well-designed frame and rolls on quality vendor-sourced axles. The aluminum sides are beautifully installed and painted and the windows let a beautiful view in. The refrigeration, heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems are from top notch manufacturers. My trailer came configured with a customer selectable option of winter insulation and also with vendor-provided operating manuals and warranties.

The workmanship is superb, from behind the walls and under the floor. Kudos to Jayco and its hardworking employees in Indiana and Idaho.

When I asked to see the plumbing and electrical and build schematics for my 2011 Jayco RD19, the manufacturer quickly and professionally delivered them to me. These are top-notch engineering plans that match the drafting standards of commercial airplane manufacturers (zone callouts, title blocks, revision history and signed with the engineer’s initials.)

I would buy a Jayco airplane and know it would not be built like a trailer!

Airplanes fly. Trailers camp.

Ray Leissner (@guest_75497)
3 years ago
Reply to  Henry Dorn

Glad to hear of the quality in your 2011. Thor bought out Jayco in 2016.

bill b (@guest_49599)
4 years ago

as a pilot who owns a RV.
happy to fly. but always disappointed in the cheap manufacturing process used to build Rvs.

buy used. check it front to back.
expect to fix and repair as a normal course of ownership

Joe (@guest_49588)
4 years ago

I would not fly in any plane build by an RV manufacturer nor would I purchase a boat from one of them.

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