The Richmond Rocket – A One-Of-A Kind Jim Richmond Project!


  • Location: Yakima, Washington
  • Serial: N/A
  • Make: Vans Aircraft Kit
  • Model: Richmond Rocket (custom modified RV-8)
  • Year: 2012
  • N Number: N/A
  • TTAF: 0
  • TTE: 0
  • Engine: Lycoming 540 (not assembled, includes new Titan cylinders)
  • Prop: None
  • Fuel Capacity: N/A
  • Empty Weight: N/A
  • Gross Weight: N/A
  • Last Annual: N/A
  • Interior Rating: N/A
  • Exterior Rating: N/A


No matter what the project, Jim Richmond was always about best-of-class performance, and this project was no different. Jim had wanted to complete a Van’s Aircraft project for his personal use and as a possible commercial endeavor by developing it farther than Van’s Aircraft (or others) had, for even higher level performance. He had looked closely at both the Harmon Rocket and the F1 Rocket, and being the innovator he was, he thought even better performance could be attained. His goals were that he wanted to base the project on a stronger airframe than the RV-4, to have a very powerful but lightweight engine, a better CG range than other high-power RV projects, and he wanted to get as much speed out of the aircraft as possible. After talking extensively to Van’s Aircraft founder Dick VanGrunsven about his ideas, he decided on the RV-8 airframe as the base aircraft for what was intended to be the “Richmond Rocket”.

Jim then teamed up with Art Chard for the prototype. Art was the builder of the first customer-built RV-3, then worked at Vans for many years, where he was the Van’s Aircraft prototype builder for their later models, ultimately becoming one of the most well-known RV builders of all time. Art personally customized this kit based on his collaboration with Jim to have a fastback style fuselage and canopy that’s expected to be around 10 knots faster than a regular RV-8. Firewall forward the aircraft is set up for a Lycoming 540, but not just any 540, a customized lightweight 540. This was in the era when CubCrafters had first collaborated with Titan to develop the CC340, the very popular lightweight 4-cylinder 180 HP engine that is in the first generation Carbon Cub. The unassembled 540 included with this project features similar lightweight Titan cylinders, a lightweight custom oil sump, and was going to be the 6-cylinder equivalent to the lightweight CC340 developed for the Carbon Cub.

Even aside from being assembled by a builder that is undeniably one of the best of all time, the kit itself is from the golden era of Van’s Aircraft, long before the company got into trouble with laser cut parts, quick build kit corrosion, or went into bankruptcy protection. It was a fun time for all three, and Jim, Dick, and Art intended this project to take the Vans RV to the next level of performance, a step beyond what had been done before. Unfortunately, Jim Richmond passed away in 2021, and the project has seen no further work since that time.

Now is your chance to own and complete an RV project like none other. The quality of the workmanship is impeccable and the pedigree of the project is unsurpassed. This is a very special project that, when completed, will someday be one of the best performing Vans aircraft in existence, and a project that has a direct link to several of the most innovative entrepreneurs in recent General Aviation history!


Price: $140,000


Brad Damm – VP of Sales / CubCrafters Factory

(509) 961-2313 – Phone or Text

McAllister Field (KYKM)
1918 South 16th Avenue
Yakima, WA 98903