First Flight:
Ben Burgoyne

by Ben Burgoyne

This article appeared in the December 1989 Falco Builders Letter.

Ben Burgoyne and his Falco, the 25th Sequoia Falco to fly.

My Falco first flew September 19th. John Harns came over from St. Maries and took it up. Only a few minor things like the light for the gear transit did not light up. Also, he said the gear horn did not sound, but I found out later it was because we had jumpered the terminals to cycle the gear on the ground before takeoff. When I removed that by-pass for the pitot switch, the gear horn sounded okay, etc.

John flew my plane about 20 minutes, then took me up and checked me out in his Falco. I did well with landings and stalls, etc, so when we landed he said, "Now, go fly your own." So I did.

It flies beautifully. At speeds of 140 to 160 knots, I need a little right rudder (just the weight of my toe) to keep a heading. Up to 180 knots, I need a little added pressure on the right rudder.

I had some delays in getting my registration numbers. I sent my application in on May 9, and after two months I had received no reply. I phoned Oklahoma and they said-after a long wait on the phone-"Your application is incomplete. There is no notarized form saying you built it."

So I sent them this form and a week later, I called again. They said, "Okay, now we can start your application, but you will have to go to the end of the line. We can't put you ahead of those whose application was complete."

In my instruction sent from the FAA, they said this form was necessary at the final inspection. Then I had another month's delay getting the FAA examiner for the airworthiness certificate. Then another week for John Harns. So it went.

Now I have six hours on the plane and no problems except for the transponder and marker beacon lights (sounds okay though). I was up to 16,100 feet and still climbing when I decided that was enough without oxygen. I have to get 25 hours within 25 miles of home base before departing to parts unknown.

I have the main gear doors ready to put on and the hardware ready. The upholstery was done by a local airplane upholsterer. Also it was painted by a local professional painter. N-7B looks beautiful!

I called Ben Burgoyne the other day to see how things were going with the Falco. He now has 22 hours on the plane and is enjoying the plane. Most people find that the Falco's light, powerful controls take a bit of getting-used-to, and I was a bit worried about how well Ben would do in the plane.

Ben says, "It's very easy to fly. I haven't had any trouble. It is very stable and easy to do instrument approaches. It's easier to fly than a Cessna 182, but of course the stick is much more sensitive. I learned to fly in tail-draggers-Luscombes are harder to fly that this. It lands beautifully; I haven't made a bad landing yet. It flies like a dream. I'm just very happy."

(This is very unusual, and it's rare to see someone with mostly Beech/Piper/Cessna time fall into the Falco with such ease. Please approach your Falco with caution and get someone to check you out first.)

Ben Burgoyne hails from Arlington, Washington, and he built all of the wood parts but used kits for the rest. Ben is a doctor and was just in the process of retiring when he started the Falco in March 1985. Ben is a cheerful man who addressed most of his early letters to me as "Dear Walter"-as in Sir Walter, I suppose, but I was never sure if Ben was joking or confused.

There were numerous problems with understanding the drawings and some of Ben's questions made no sense until I realized he was using both the newest drawings and also the outdated drawings that had been replaced. I kept begging Ben to have a bonfire with the old drawings, but for the longest time he used both sets.

Ben Burgoyne

This laid-back practice coupled with his doctor-prescription handwriting conjured images of being a patient of his-"Lemme see now, I know I had it somewhere in this bag-nurse, have you seen that whatchacallit medicine? Wait a minute, this looks like it. I'm sure this is it-yeah, this is probably it. Okay, now if you'll just roll up your sleeve there...."

Except for the standard canopy, Ben Burgoyne's Falco is identical to Jim DeAngelo's. Same paint scheme. Same colors. The Falco has a factory rebuilt IO-320-B1A engine and weighed in at 1,285 lbs empty with radios.

Right now he is just flying off the required hours and tinkering with the plane to get rid of the inevitable problems. The alternator analyser doesn't work at all. He is installing a new loran antenna and the marker beacon lights still don't work. And he still needs to install a trim tab on the rudder, but otherwise the plane is well balanced and flies with the trim tab in the middle.

Ben says his Falco is not particularly fast, producing 160 to 165 mph at 23/2300 and with no wheel well doors, but "it's a delight to fly."

Alfred Scott