It was a "triphibian" aircraft dubbed the "world's most versatile plane," hence the MVP moniker. It could land on water, land, and snow and could effectively double as a boat or, if need be, a fully-equipped tent for overnight camping, even on the water. The MVP Aero Model 3 even included camping gear, including a cooking stove you could use inside. No one likes waking up in the morning to the absence of a hot, preferably caffeinated brew.
The Model 3 was the brainchild of Darrell and Michael Lynds, and Steve Pugh, all three passionate aviators and fishermen, with help from former Cirrus Aircraft engineer and designer Mike Van Staagen. They felt the market lacked an aircraft with true multi-functionality, so they founded the MVP Aero company in 2011, introducing the official version of the Model 3 in 2014. It was a true all-encompassing recreational vehicle with the ability to fly, land on any surface, and then set up as basecamp with minimal effort.
In theory, the Model 3 was nothing short of impressive. As an aircraft, it had a side-by-side two-seater configuration, with a pusher propeller and a 115 hp Rotax 914 engine, with a 26-gallon (98.5-liter) fuel tank and an optional auxiliary tank. Maximum speed in flight would be 104 knots (120 mph/193 kph) at sea level, and the aircraft would be able to land on water, land, or snow, depending on options. The body was made of carbon fiber, composite, and fiberglass, with canvas on the wings, measuring 7.24 meters (23.9 feet) in length and 2.44 meters (8 feet) in width.
It was now that the true versatility of the aircraft showed. Swing the glass canopy upward and backward, and then the self-contained, waterproof, carbon fiber instrument panel, turn on the electric thrusters, and you got yourself a boat. Remove the pilot's seat and extend the carbon fiber decking slats over the cockpit, and you've got yourself a fishing platform, which you could use either as it was or with the canvas canopy, to get some relief from the sun.
The Model 3 was also good for camping, even on the water. This was possible through the integration of a tent into the nose, behind the control panel. Once you lifted the glass canopy, you could release the tent at the touch of a button, deploying it in under 20 seconds without having to leave the cockpit. On-water camping mode successfully activated!
In this case, the 9 x 4-foot (2.7 x 1.2-meter) interior with the carbon fiber decking served as a two-person bed. The tent and assorted camping gear, including the AVGAS cooker and sleeping bags, would weigh under 20 lbs (9 kg) but still be capable of providing basic overnight comfort. Maximum useful load was 450 lbs (204 kg).
One year after the official introduction of the aircraft, MVP Aero brought a mockup model with a tent prototype on display at Oshkosh 2015 and was able to show off the camping feature.
The initial plan was to bring the Model 3 to market in 2017 as an E-AB (Experimental Amateur Built Kit) aircraft with a $169,000 price tag, followed by a fully-built model that would cost $189,000. There was some progress, including a successful flight of a 30% scale model in 2013, but the delivery timeline was subject to numerous delays until 2019. Shortly afterward, MVP Aero went offline and officially out of operations, leaving the ambitious Model 3 as only a memory of the most versatile plane that could have been, but never got the chance.