Construction of Vans RV8  G-JBTR 

The time has come. I have all the T-Shirts I want and all the bucket list boxes ticked! 

The adventures have come to an end and life moves on as it gets ever shorter!

Although G-JBTR has a new home in Scotland I plan to maintain this website for the benefit of builders

If you find this website useful to you as you build your aircraft please could you make a small donation to my chosen charity Macmillan at my Just Giving page - that will encourage me to keep the site live.

Thank You

Photo by Ed Hicks
Full photo shoot at Flickr

Photo Shoot Video
Large (9Mb) - Small (4Mb)

Through these magnificent photos Ed has captured the spirit of why we fly and show that dreams really do come true!

My favourite Flickr Photos of G-JBTR

First RV8 built in Wales  2012

LAA Rally Sywell 2012
 RAA (Canada) Trophy - Best Kit Aircraft
The Nowicki Trophy - Best RV Aircraft

Aero Expo Sywell 2013
Aero Expo 2013 - Concours D'Elegance

British Air Racing Championship 2015
Ginger Lacey Trophy
Aurigny Air Services Trophy
Schneider Trophy - Runner Up

British Air Racing Champion 2015

British Air Racing Championship 2016
SBAC Trophy
Gower Cup

Air Race Championship 2016
Lisbon, Portugal - Sport Class - Runner Up


This website is a portal for the construction of Vans RV8 (G-JBTR ).  Setting a completion date would have been crazy but I expected the journey of discovery, frustration and joy to take about 6 to 7 years - in the end it took 5 1/2.  If you find this site useful, or if you have suggestions or find errors please contact me.  I do not intend to match the fantastic quality of websites listed on the links page but to add, or reinforce, lessons learned.

Due to accidents occurring to the unmodified/modified nose legs on the Van's A models I believe there is some doubt about the nose leg design. Whilst pilot error often appears to be a contributing factor the RV's tend to flip when the nosewheel collapses, as opposed to Cessna's et al that generally appear to stay upright. When you order the fuselage kit you have to commit to either the tail wheel or the nose wheel. In aviation I have always worked on the premise "where there is doubt - there is no doubt" I therefore decided to change from the 8A to the 8.

More details on building RV aircraft can be found here at Van's Aircraft. A very detailed flight test report on the RV8A (nosewheel version of the RV8) can be downloaded here (555k PDF).
I used/use a software program to log the construction of G-JBTR and you can see the the progress and much more detailed information by clicking the KITLOG Pro logo or "Builder Log Log" on the left hand menu

"Building an airplane is not one hugely expensive, challenging, and enormously time consuming task. It is hundreds of hugely expensive, challenging and enormously time consuming tasks in a series."

Build Hobbs

On 23 May 2012 in the capable hands of Andy Hill G-JBTR broke her earthly chains and went skyward for 20  minutes thus becoming the 7692nd  Vans model to fly and the 1124th RV 8/8A. Historically she is also the very first RV8 to be built in Wales.

G-JBTR = Vans serial No: 82610

"To fly is to know, it is in itself the reason and the justification".
Brian Hope - Editor LAA Magazine


Item Status


RV Training Project Complete (16 Jan 2007) 25

Empennage Complete (25 July 2007) Fibreglass Sep 2010 395

Wings Complete 805

Fuselage Complete 1120

Finish Complete 460

Firewall Forward Complete


Wiring Complete


Smoke Mod Complete 100

Wrap Up Complete 150

Total 3635

Note: The hours above have been extracted from my Excel build log. I log into this when I enter the garage and log off when I leave so these include thinking, faffing & cleaning time so I think are more realistic than some of the hours I've seen published. 

Statistics. I spent 1993 days (5.46 years)  logging these hours from the day the empennage was inventoried to when she was ready to fly and that averages 1 hr 49 min per day. I logged 1447 sessions  (mainly in the garage) and these averaged 2 hr 30 min. 


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2006 Bob Ellis

Updated 07 October 2017