Susan Arruda and Ronny Joyner loading things into the dumpster
The economy and the passage of time have conspired to force us to make some decisions about the Falco, Sequoia Aircraft Corporation, Falco plans, kits and components. Susan Arruda and I are both in good health, we love what we do and neither of us tolerate inactivity well, but for some time it has become clear to us that we will have to shut things down. Wait too long, and things can get messy. We would prefer to do it on our own schedule and to leave the aviation scene on good terms with everyone.
We have not produced any new kits or components in a few years, so our inventory is limited and declining. Our first priority has been to contact existing builders and to make sure they have everything they need to finish their projects. We've offered a discount for a large order. Everyone gets the same deal, and we're not interested in dealing with people who bargain.
It now costs about $500.00 to print the Falco drawings and construction manual, which we have sold for $500 and often have to ship overseas for even more money. I would like our legacy to be that the Falco will still be built and flown 50 and 100 years from now. We have put the Falco drawings on the Internet and available to anyone at no cost. We want there to be a curated reference set of drawings (free of wild ideas, irresponsible changes and untested modifications) to be widely available. Initially we have published the curated reference set, and we encourage others to keep the drawings available over the very long term. The Model T Ford was introduced in 1908 and the Model A Ford in 1927. You can build either one of these today from new parts produced independently. The Falco should have the same future.
Some designs are only intended to last for a limited length of time, but the Falco is designed and manufactured for a very long life. Because of the operating environment, the nose gear screwjack sleeve tends to wear over time and requires replacement. We have done a limited production run of these. We are filling orders first come, first serve and these new screwjacks are gone. The pitot pressure switch tends to fail over time because of ozone acting on the rubber diaphragm.
We are working on setting up a cottage industry for the Falco that will operate when we no longer offer Falco parts and kits. To that end, we have set up three suppliers:
Craig Gunder, Gunder Restoration and Design, will offer fabricated components. We're turned all of the jigs, fixtures, tooling and stampings for welded Falco components over to Craig. We are getting things set up, and you can find information on our website at Skunkworks, Sources, and we will have a link from the home page.
Fred Jiran, Composite Developments, will offer composite components, such as the cowling, seats, wing fairings, etc. Fred has been making the Falco composite parts all along. We are getting things set up, and you can find information on our website at Skunkworks, Sources, and we will have a link from the home page.
Jeff and Becky Rogers
Jeff and Becky Rogers have been operating Airplane Plastics and making the Falco windshield, canopy and wing tip lenses for us all along, and they will continue to offer these acrylic parts. Again, we are getting things set up, and you can find information on our website at Skunkworks, Sources, and we will have a link from the home page.
Everyone recognizes that the Falco is a classic, timeless design that is admired all over the world. The Falco will be 60 next June, and there is no other design of anything that is still relevant 60 years from when it was created.
The Falco website will continue on, and we will be publishing more drawings and working to support the Falco so it will go on and on.
It's been the privilege of a lifetime to have created and built the world of the Falco and to have crossed paths with so many wonderful people. May the F.8L Falco live forever.