Cecil Rives

Cecil's Falco in its latest paint scheme

By what perverted twist of fate does a geologist, one who has spent the past 44 years probing the bowels of the earth for a nasty substance known as oil, end up building an airplane such as the Falco?

Well, it beats me! I do confess to having had a fascination for anything aeronautical all my life. I started building (or trying to build) model airplanes when I was six or seven. Then came World War II. Texas at that time became the incubator of thousands of military pilots. Airplanes were everywhere, and I wanted desperately to be in one. The war ended the year before I graduated from high school and then the dream began to fade.

After discovering the world beneath my feet, the years in college, a marriage, three sons and the responsibilities that go along with all that, the world of aviation became only a fancy.

Then one day I saw it! The ad for the Falco in a magazine! It was like we used to say in high school when a pretty girl walked by. "Gee, I'm in love and I don't even know her name."

Well, as I read the ad I was startled to learn that it was a kit! "That's crazy", I thought,"Who would be foolish enough to build their own airplane? And then fly it?" Well, forget that! The seed, though, had been planted.

I had managed between high school and college to accumulate about 30 or so hours of flight time. So, in 1979,I started flying again and obtained my private license. I joined the EAA, subscribed to several aviation magazines, read every article I could find on the Falco and, finally, sent off for the information kit from Sequoia. After reading all that I knew I was hooked. It looked as if it would be a hell of a lot of fun to build. (I'd worry about flying it later.)

I've always been an irrepressible do-it-yourselfer, working on the family cars, remodeling our house and assembling electronic kits. The thought occured to me that all this experience and all the tools I had acquired over the years was meant for just one thing - to build the Falco! So, one day in 1988 I sat down with my wife and announced my plan. She reacted the same way she had several years earlier when I suggested that we should take scuba diving lessons. Her eyes widened, her jaw dropped, and I'm sure she must have thought that senility had arrived much earlier than she had expected.

The Falco project started in the fall of 1988 and the first flight was in October, 1993. I have since accumulated about 250 hours on the aircraft, and it is a delight to fly. Karen and I have made several cross-country flights; one to Oregon, one to California, two to Oshkosh and one to Georgia.

Looking back, it was it was a hell of a lot of fun to build. It did, however, severely test my perseverance, dedication and patience. It challenged my creativity. And, there were times when it caused me to do some soul-searching. Then, if you look closely, you'll see, literally, the blood, sweat and tears that it took to complete it. But, yeah, I'm in love and her name is Falco.

Cecil Rives

Karen and Cecil Rives

Cecil Rives is a petroleum geologist in Houston, Texas, who is looking for oil and work. Telephone: (713) 467-9894, cell (713) 301-9088. Email him at falco713@earthlink.net

First Flight: Cecil Rives
Cecil's Big Adventure

Cecil at Oshkosh with the Falco in its original paint scheme

And the current paint scheme