David E. Carroll
David's Falco project in progress
Falco, S/N 1244, started in June of 1993 with the purchase of the plans and construction manual from Sequoia Aircraft (to my ex-wife's surprise, this was a birthday present to myself). My first Falco parts, the rudder hinges, were completed in February of 1994.
My first homebuilt aircraft was a Rand-Robinson KR-2. The KR-2 evolved over a 5-year period and was very enjoyable to fly, but too small to really enjoy for a long weekend trip. With basic experience in different construction techniques, I began the Falco project with the thinking that as much as possible would be fabricated from scratch (this was also a monetary decision, I had more time than money). Selecting a project that I could complete in 5 years or less was never a consideration, selecting a project that would draw a crowd was a consideration!
As I was nearing the completion of the fuselage a friend notified me of a Falco builder close to Anderson S.C, who wanted to sell their project. I purchased this project and transferred the Nustrini Canopy, forward and aft fuel tanks, control system components, and wing (complete with all hardware except landing gear legs) to my project. It was like adding water to freeze-dried food... poof... instant Falco (or so I thought)! I completely removed all the existing wing skin (top and bottom) to verify proper construction and assembly of spars, ribs, various fittings, antennas and other structures, as well as take the time to do a few things "my way". Though no problems were found, this ended up being a one-year project.
With the wing open, I installed upper and lower static ports that will be connected to the Angle-of-Attack system I purchased (Proprietary Software Systems -- AOA Professional). Although, the location I chose to install these ports, it is easy to retrofit any flying Falco. I took extra time to jig the wing and carefully re-sand the ribs, the goal was to minimize the amount of filler in the later stages, following the application of the wing skins. The foreign wing fit my homegrown fuselage almost perfectly.
I was planning to install an S-TEC autopilot system (instead of the recommended Century System) but have changed my mind. The 2-axis TruTrak Flight System, DFC-200 digital autopilot, will be my choice. The quality, simplicity, functionality and cost are unequaled (my opinion).
Recently I purchased an IO-360 B1A, with 890 hours SMOH, for my Falco. The engine, removed from a Glasair, is complete (I mean 110%) and included many "extras", including an aerobatic crankshaft. I was able to take everything "firewall forward" that I wanted. The engine has completed its visit to the engine shop and now waits to be re-born.
I keep telling myself that in two years I should be flying, but I have played this game before and I know the deadlines I set for myself never work out the way I planned (remember, I bought the plans in JUN1993 and didn't complete the first part until FEB1994). Besides, I enjoy building. This is at least part of the fun of aviation, right? No matter what, I will be at Oshkosh in time for the Falco's 50th birthday, "Dressed to Dance", even if I have to carry it on my back!
David Carroll is a Project Manager for SITA (Society International de Telecommunications Aeronautics, a cooperative with over 600 international member airlines). David lives in Suwanee GA (45 min. north of Atlanta). Telephone (770) 513-9346, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Fuselage Frames Fuselage Assembly
Wing Assembly Canopy Installation
In the Falco Skunkworks
Autopilot Installation and photos