Q & A
There are no dumb questions... only dumb answers.
Q: What is the width of the cockpit?
A: The interior width of the Falco fuselage is 40" at the inside of the canopy tracks and about 42" at the shoulders.
Q: What is the hardest part of building a Falco?
A: Getting started. Just cutting that first piece of wood, getting into the swing of it, and developing a sense of confidence in your ability is often the worst of it. Many people are intimidated by taking the first step, but building an airplane is like climbing a mountain. You just take it one step at a time.
Q: What is the feasibility of making your own parts?
A: Making your own wood parts is very time-consuming but not difficult, and people who do it find that they are 'working' for about a $1.00 an hour when they look at the cost of the kits they could have bought. There are many metal parts (hinges, fittings, etc.) that can be made with a bandsaw, drill press and a file, but there are also many components that are beyond the ability of the average builder because they require machining and welding.
Q: How long does it take to build a Falco?
A: As you may know, claims of quick building times by kit manufacturers are notoriously optimistic and sometimed downright dishonest (much like speed claims). There is no such thing as an instant airplane, and all kit airplanes take a lot of time.
A typical kitplane in the hands of an average builder takes 2,500 to 3,500 hours to build. For most people, that stretches over a period of four to six years. This would apply to all kit airplanes--Glasair, Lancair, LongEze, Christen Eagle, RV-6, or Falco. Every kit manufacturer would like you to believe you can build their airplane in 800 hours, but it just ain't so.
Q:I plan to start construction but the place where I live (Puerto
Rico) is extremely humid and termite damage to wood is very common.
How resistant to termite damage is the wood used in the Falco?
A: Ah, the 'termite' question. Easy asnswer: It's nothing to worry about at all. Termites live in the ground and they are blind. They create tunnels of mud up to wood in buildings, but they aren't going to be able to get to a Falco.
Q: How good is the Falco in adverse weather conditions, specifically
A: Typically, a Falco is built with epoxy or polyurethane coatings on the wood, so the wood is very, very well protected. The epoxies that we use were developed for use on wooden boats, which sit in the water, and Falcos are only rained on from time to time or fly through rain.
Anyone who builds a Falco will treat it like a member of the family, so the idea of leaving the airplane out in the open all year long is something no Falco builder or owner would ever consider.
We will also mention that sometimes people in 'humid' climates worry about an airplane just turning into rotten wood. The airplane will stabilize to a moisture content that is much lower than you would think. Stored in a hangar or under a roof, the wood will stabilize to the same moisture content that you have in the furniture of any unheated house. So if furniture doesn't have a problem, neither will the Falco.
Q: How good is the Falco as an IFR airplane?
A: Some people say a good IFR airplane is one that will go where you want to when you want to. The Falco is this type of plane.
Other people say a good IFR airplane is one that you can sit back, eat a sandwich, read and map and the airplane will happily keep flying with almost no attention. The Cessna 172 or 182 is this type of airplane, and the Falco is definitely not this type. It is very maneuverable, a lot of fun to fly, but it will not fly straight and level without attention.
But the answer is to get a single-axis autopilot and then the Falco becomes a rock-solid IFR airplane with the flick of a switch. This is what you would want to do, and it's what all Falco pilots do, except for the few 'real men', expert pilots and ex-military types.