There are big differences between the light sport airplane models. Not many are really fast - but the RV-3 is. It will easily top 200 miles per hour on 150 horsepower. Even on smaller engines it will cruise at three miles a minute. But speed is only part of the equation. The first thing that starts the RV Grin is the takeoff roll and climb. It doesn't take long to get airborne!
Also, the climb rate is exhilarating. In the air, the RV-3 is a joy. The controls are smooth, powerful, and almost perfectly harmonized. Sport aerobatics are delightful. Flying an airplane that handles this precisely and easily is a new experience for pilots used to flying production airplanes – and even to some used to flying fighters…
Easy landings are straight forward. Simple hinged flaps, an effective wing, and excellent low speed handling let the RV-3 land at almost any airport, and the rugged steel rod landing gear can handle a variety of surfaces; dirt, gravel, grass or pavement. Many RV-3 owners keep their airplanes on private strips at home - some of them as short as 700 feet!
The airplane was designed as a sport airplane, but the RV-3 has proven a capable cross-country traveler too. The fuel capacity allows practical distances, the cockpit is big enough for pilots up to about 6' 3", and there is enough baggage space to carry a reasonable amount of "stuff." The speed, climb rate and STOL performance all enhance the cross-country ability, too. Headwinds don't hurt as much, there's no more grinding around in circles trying to get high enough to get out of mountain valleys, and almost any flat spot can serve as an emergency landing strip.