March 25, 2023

by Michael Stephan

Mel Asberry awarding Jay Pratt the Airworthiness
certificate for N6YH

Jay Pratt does it again. This is aircraft number six. Although Jay has helped with countless projects, this is the sixth one he has built for himself. N6YH is Jay’s third RV-8.

Jay Pratt’s wall of First Flight Plaques in the workshop at Hicks

This is not Jay’s first rodeo. The first Flight plaque will sit on the wall next to his other five plaques, four of those were RVs and the other was a Northstar Super Cub kit Named “Shooter”. N46RV was an RV-6 that flew in 1996. N82RV was an RV-8 that flew in 1999. N46RE was an RV-6 that flew in 2000. the Northstar kit “Shooter” N46NS flew in 2004 and N46RX was an RV-8 that flew in 2007.

Jay acquires 6YH from a builder in Houston who had completed the fuselage and tail kits. Jay then added a set of quick build wings from an RV 7. The plans showed that these two wings shared the same part number and Jay assumed they would be interchangeable. Unfortunately, Jay was mistaken, there was some fine print on the plans that differentiated the two wings. After finishing the wings Jay spoke with Rian Johnson of Van’s and he confirmed the RV-7 will not fit on an RV-8. With long lead times for kits from Vans, Jay was on the hunt for a set of RV-8 wings. He found a set here in Texas and finished and installed those.

Another fortunate event happened when Jay found an RV-8 that was being discarded by a widow of the owner. Not wanting the liability of selling the plane, it was destined for the crusher. Jay convinced her to sell him a few parts off that plane and that is where he acquired the wheels, brakes, gear legs and wheel pants.

Jay started the project in May of 2020 and the first flight was July 12, 2021. That is a 14 month build which is pretty impressive. Jay’s previous RV-8 was called “Borrowed Horse”, and Jay will extend that moniker to this RV and it will be the return of “Borrowed Horse”.
Jay is tireless when it comes to building RVs. He has build 6 for himself, but has also helped finished many more than that. But not all his time is spent building, Jay flies a bunch every year, and enjoys Backcountry flying which is why he also has a Cessna 180 and a Super Cub. You can see some of Jay and Carol’s adventures on his Facebook page.

I spoke with Jay in Oshkosh and he recounted the glory days of the 1990s and the RV BC (Butt Crack) Squadron where a group of local RV builders would fly somewhere at the drop of hat, and that was the days before social media and the internet. The number of RV builders in those days was pretty small which made them pretty friendly with each other. When they flew places other pilots were curious about the RVs since the kit was not that well know. Today most just walk past an RV like it was a Cessna 172. Jay told me while on a flight that they were referred on the air-to-air frequency as “a bunch of yahoos”. It became one of those classic BC Squadron stories. Now it lives on in the N Number of Jay’s new RV-8 N6YH.

That squadron is long gone, but those who were in it remember fondly those glory days of the RV. Maybe we can recreate it with some of the up and coming builders in the Chapter.

Congratulations Jay!