John Devoe

I wanted to let you know that John died last Thursday, 26 January, 2012. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last summer, and had a stroke in September. He had not returned home after that. He was in the hospital three times, two rehabs, and since mid-November in a nursing home. After his hospital stay just before Christmas, he never really recovered.

Over the ten years that he built the Falco, I watched with amazement how much love he put into building that plane. I was there when he took it on its maiden flight. What a beautiful sight! With a bit of sadness, he knew it was time to sell it. We watched it together as it flew off into the sunset.

I have attached a copy of John's obituary for you to read. He was quite a fellow.

I loved him dearly, and I will miss him not only as my husband, but my best friend, and my love.

Gwen Devoe


N644F is now the property of Gary D. Noble, Captain, U.S.N., Commander of the Navy contingent at the Command and Staff School at Fort Leavenworth KS.

I finally had a visitor who was more than either (1) a tire kicker or (2) one wanting to "steal" a Falco! Thanks for the ad space.

While at 83 I have yet to have used any Medicare benefits (I take no pills or shots, employ no physicians) the words of an RAF Air Marshall of long ago came to mind about a year ago: "Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous but like the sea, is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect." The one in the middle came to mind when I decided to hang up the headset.

There is a time for all things.

My Falco experience really had its beginning some sixty-two years ago, when, like departed friends (of fond memory) Karl Hansen and Tony Bingelis, I graduated from a U.S. Army Air Corps Advanced Flying School (along with 100,000 other pilots that year) in 1944. In the many thousands of hours in the air since then, fortunately but few under enemy fire, two phases of that experience will remain always with me as most cherished; the halcyon days of my Aviation Cadet flying and those with my Falco.

While I may not have always agreed with this guy Alfred Scott on some issues, I owe you (and Dr. Frati) a debt for having made that last flying adventure possible, and at a relatively advanced age (I suspect I was the oldest to have made a first flight in his Falco).

Important: I never ever sought help in the course of building that wind machine, the Wooden Wonder, from Alfred when I did not get a prompt and courteous response; support of builders (and quality of product) has always been much in evidence at Sequoia Aircraft.

Thank you for that as well.

I suspect I shall continue to follow what goes on in the world of Falcos until I Cross Over the River.



This Falco is now owned by

Gary Noble
1 Reynolds Ave
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
(913) 684-4562

John Devoe and his Falco

My hangar is located at Skyhaven Airport, Rochester, New Hampshire at the north end of the prevailing wind/no wind runway 33, near the end of which is the turn-off taxiway which in turn leads to the ramp area. The door faces the runway/taxiway, and when opened displays a silver Falco that cannot but be observed by 95% of visiting traffic. It attracts a lot of visitants from afar as well as from the local area. Other than a few ultralights, it is the only homebuilt aircraft on the field, and I believe it to be only the second or third completed experimental aircraft by a member of the local EAA Chapter in its some 25-year history.

In addition to an area with a 6' work bench and storage shelves, the 42' wide "T" hangar, which dwarfs the 26' wingspan of my 44F, provides room for an inviting 7' couch, a small picnic table, a desk, a 6' planning table, refrigerator and radio in a broad-windowed "office" area. Large blow-ups of everything from a BT-13 to N644F decorate the walls and a thick photograph album chronicling the contruction attracts a good deal of attention. Opposite the door is a small mechanical winch which assists my seventy-five years in bringing in the Falco, engine first, when I am alone. If visitors are present, the chosen one eagerly jumps to assist with tow-bar alone. The Falco is the center of interest, but the ammenities mentioned cause the guest to linger. They include a framed solo certificate from 3 December 1943.

First reaction of vistors? "You built this?", "How long did it take?", "Is it a kit?", "How fast it it?", "What's the engine?", "It is aerobatic?", "Is it fiberglass?" (such mouths are instantly washed out with soap). Expletives: "WOW", "J.C. (a prayer), IT'S BEAUTIFUL", "WHAT A MACHINE!", "PANEL IS IMPRESSIVE", "IT LOOKS LIKE A FIGHTER", "I LIKE IT", "GREAT JOB", "LOOK AT THAT LEATHER!", "NEAT CANOPY".

A select few are allowed to sit in the carpeted cockpit, move the controls, view the panel at close range, lounge on the butter-soft gray calf and inhale its unmistakable aroma. Fewer still are invited for a right seat ride.

The kit question is answered in a qualified manner. Yes, most components are available from Sequoia Aircraft, many in a semi-finished form, but it is not a matter of glueing two halves together, it is very labor intensive and since the structure is wood (you can trust a tree) much fitting and cutting and sanding is needed. And patience. The plywood skins, ranging from 1mm to 2.5mm in thickness, are purchased by the builder from an outside source and, again, a high degree of skin and patience is required in the covering process.

It is explained that such items as the landing gear, control hardware, engine mount, etc, are Sequoia kits and which include everything down to the last cotter pin. An explanation of the time-saving wood kits is explained as well as mention of the fact that the plans are so detailed (I keep a few at the hangar) that, with appropriate skills and machinery, virtually any part can be fabricated by the builder. Since I elected to design and build my own electrical system and instrument panel, schematics and drawings of these are shown to interested parties. A prominent sign declares you are in the presence of an Italian Masterpiece.

Questions of speed are answered honestly (I do not have a high-speed Falco), handling is described as delightful, "like a leaf upon the wayter." The final approach speed is given as 75-80, stall as 58 KIAS, landing difficulty as "it's hard to bounce it, very forgiving" (or my co-pilot wife allows as how "it was a bit gusty, John"), fuel burn just under 8 gph at moderate cruise, it took ten years and perhaps 5,000 hours to build. Cost, including the last recently purchased avionics, just hit six figures or "a lot of Lire." The engine is a 160 hp IO-320-B1A, and I used a rebuilt from Don George Engines of Orlando, Florida.

John Devoe

Tony Bingelis and John Devoe

John Devoe lives in Stratham, New Hampshire. Telephone: (603) 772-5004

Devoe in d'Air

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