He'll never stop. Stelio Frati is hard at work
on a new design, a four-place, 300-hp turbocharged design much
like the SF.260 for a company
Swing-Wing Virus. Rick Fitzwater reports: "After viewing
multiple pictures of Jonas' swing-wing Falco, I was getting 'Swing-Wing
Envy". I am too far along on my Falco to change the wing,
so I settled on a father/son guitar-building project. The design
includes Ibinez humbucking picks and a Floyd Rose whammie. The
body is solid poplar and the neck/headstock blank was purchased
from Performance Guitar in Hollywood. As for the obvious question,
the answer is: No, it does not play swing music."
Do you ever wonder, sometimes, as you pursue your
passions at the expense of things that you know you really ought
to be doing, that maybe you're just a wee bit over the edge?
Well, if building a Falco seems a little extreme at times, then
take comfort in the case of Paul Moller and his Skycar project.
He's been at it since 1963, pursuing his personal
dream of a machine that you can pull out of your garage, lift
off vertically and cruise at 350 mph completely under computer
control for a range of 900 miles. In 37 years, he's been through
numerous designs and has actually flown one in tethered flight
to an altitude of 40 feet. So if you're bored with your Falco
for a while, check out the Moller Skycar in the June issue of Car & Driver, or at Moller's website at www.Moller.com.
Positions on the waiting list are only $5,000, while "My
Next Car Will Be a Skycar" license-plate frames goes for
|Just call me 'Sparky'.
On the way home from Oshkosh, Bob Bready and Tony Petrulio were
IFR at 7,000 between a couple of cells when it got darker, the
cockpit lit up with St. Elmo's fire, their hair stood on end
and then bang. Touched by the hand of God. A spark jumped
from the control stick to Bob's left hand-"It felt like
you put your hand on a table and someone whaled it with a two-by-four."
The panel lit up like a Christmas tree. The alternator went off.
The fuel totalizer started flashing, the gas gauges read 'full'
for a long time. The GPS lost its position but reset right away.
The VORs were fine and no circuit breakers blew. Bob reset the
alternator field breaker, it came back on, "and other than
the stupid look on our faces, we were off and flying again."
On landing, Bob said the only damage was a slight burn mark on
the right wing tip lens, so it appears that it was not a direct
Style setter? We have a report that a Falco being
built in Milan, Italy, is planned to be finished out with clear
varnish only, so you can see all the wood structure. Hmmm. Interesting
idea, but the finished result may not live up to the imagined
result-stroll through any nudist colony beach and you are quickly
reminded why we all wear clothes.
Now that you've finished your airplane, you not only have to
deal with the FAA, but also with the increasingly rigid requirements
of the insurance companies. The latest: Avemco now requires that
your test pilot-credentials and experience be damned-must have
completed the EAA Flight Advisors course. Which isn't a bad thing
The Corporate Disgrace never looked so good as in this model
made by Luigi and Davide Aldini.
(Davide Aldini offers a 1:32 scale resin model
of the Falco for $220.00 each. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at http://utenti.tripod.it/aldini)
Having your way. Virginia's own
Nancy Langhorne went on to become the famous Lady Astor, and
foil to Winston Churchill. You've all heard the famous quotes.
Winston, if I were married to you, I'd put poison in your tea.
-- Nancy, if I were married to you, I'd drink it. Winston, you're
drunk. -- Nancy, I am and you are ugly, but on the morrow I will
be sober and you will still be ugly.
Her first marriage was short-lived, to Robert Gould Shaw,
a drinker and a philanderer. According to the recently published
"Five Sisters" by James Fox, the marriage got off to
a bad start on their honeymoon at the famous Hot Springs resort.
"Nancy, aged eighteen, and Bob Shaw, twenty-four, knew
so little about each other that their first taste of proximity
shocked them both profoundly, and effectively ended the marriage
quite literally before it had begun. Nancy later, in a rare moment
of candor, told her niece, Nancy Lancaster, that she had slept
on her stomach for three nights before Bob took her back home.
There was the question of sex-a subject that Nancy later put
very low on the scale of human activities. Hot Springs was either
a disastrously failed initiation, which marked her deeply, or
she naturally hated the idea of it."
"Despite fleeing the Shaw home several times, or obeying
her husband's command to get out, three months after her marriage
Nancy was pregnant. The only clue as to how this came about was
Nancy's later claim that she woke up one night to find her husband
in the bedroom with a chloroform-filled sponge."
Why you don't mix greases. We use two types of
synthetic greases on the Falco, the red Mobil 28 for almost everything
and Aeroshell 7 and 17 for the screwjacks and landing gear motor.
When we selected the greases to use, the lubrication specialist
who helped us advised not to mix the two greases because the
mixture will set up corrosion in the metal. This is apparently
the cause of the crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed
into the ocean north of Los Angeles on January 31 killing all
88 on board because a mixture of the two greases set up corrosion
and stripped the threads of the stabilizer jackscrew nut. Even
as they were inverted and completely out of control, one of the
pilots took the time to reassure the doomed passengers that they
were having some control problem but that they should get it
under control. Incredibly cool and heroic crew, two guys in their
Faster than a speed pullet. From Feathers, the publication
of the California Poultry Industry Federation comes the following
story: The FAA has an unusual device for testing the strength
of airplane windshields, the chicken gun, which launches a dead
chicken at the plane's windshield at approximately the speed
the plane is flying. The theory is that if the windshield doesn't
crack from the impact, it will survive a real bird strike.
The British were interested in this method and wanted to test
the windshield of a fast locomotive they're developing. So they
borrowed the FAA's chicken gun, loaded the chicken and fired.
To their surprise, the ballistic bird shattered the windshield,
broke the engineer's chair and embedded itself in the back wall
of the engine's cab. The British engineers were stunned and asked
the FAA to recheck the test to see if everything was done correctly.
The FAA reviewed the report and had only one recommendation:
Next time, use a thawed chicken.
Few people have done more to make aviation journalism
colorful than James Gilbert, who began as an advertising writer,
moved to Flying magazine, and then bought Pilot magazine in England where he has been the publisher for the past
twenty years or so. He is easily one of the most talented writers
ever to hit the aviation scene, and a bit 'stroppy' in his own
words -- a tendency shared by the most talented people in all
fields. He didn't last too long at Flying because of his
temper and fiercely independent mind, but at Pilot he
ran the magazine as he saw fit, and it was fun. So if a young
couple started going at it in a plane and left the mic on, you
were sure to read about it in Pilot. James was also a
snob about airplanes, once owning a Jungmeister, and he was a
passionate admirer of Stelio Frati, the Falco and the SF.260.
Indeed, it was through James Gilbert's articles that I first
learned of the Falco. How many red Falcos exist today because
of his "Red Italian machine" line? James Gilbert recently
sold Pilot to a large publishing company, and all indications
are that they will continue the tone and personality of the magazine.
But this is a man that I will miss. Thank you, James, for all
you've done to enrich our lives.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Sequoia Aircraft
Hoping this is the year you find true happiness.