chapter president, Dwight Smith, who is also an EAA
Tech Counselor, called to inform me that he was going to
perform an inspection on the construction of a very unique
When he told the type of aircraft I jumped at the
chance to go along with him and view the project. The
airplane is a Prowler. I have admired the Prowler ever
since I first read about it in the plans & kit-built
directory that comes out yearly in the KitPlane Magazine.
This aircraft is being built by Bryan Davies who is a
FedEx pilot of thirty years and has lived in Memphis for
twenty of the thirty year career with FedEx. Bryan is
currently in the MD-11.
Prowler did not have many builders accept the
challenge! In fact, the word challenge may just be an
understatement! As it turned out, the plans set is not a set
scaled drawings but rather a booklet with pages of hand
drawn sketches that roughly show the fabrication of many
lose parts. Also the designer of the Prowler is no longer
supporting the builders and is totally out of the picture.
The kit materials include many prefabricated critical parts such
attach points, landing gear (retractable) and several
parts that have been roughly formed but not to finished
This being an all-metal aircraft, has caused
expand his already wide skills base to include
forming and shaping and even design/re-design of
various assemblies. Bryan's other skills and endeavors
include the restoration of his first car, a Mercury Cougar,
award winning status and a classic Honda motorcycle.
Both look show room perfect. To
date Bryan has the wing fabrication completed to the
final closure. He asked for some suggestions from Dwight
to the final closing process and Dwight having built an
RV-4 was helpful in this area. Bryan has completed approximately
90% of the tail surfaces and, as soon as the
wing is complete, plans to begin building a jig for the
of the attractions of the early Prowler was that it was
designed around and automotive V8 engines up to 400 HP!
However, Bryan is presently focusing on an inverted V-4
diesel power plant of 200+HP. He expects the airplane to
come in around 1300 lbs. empty weight with a 1900 lbs.
don't go looking around every corner for Prowlers at
& Fun or Oshkosh Air Venture since there have been
only three flying Prowlers and currently there are none
The Prowler design has been picked up by a new
supplier and is currently under redesign and Bryan will
play a vita roll in the redesign process since he is
of only a few brave souls attempting this demanding
very challenging project. He has a close working
with the new
Hopefully this fabulous airplane will develop quickly and
other builders will have the desire to build one. Thanks to
Bryan for allowing me to high-lite his beautiful
craftsmanship and this rare and unique airplane.