September 12, 2005

Well, two weekends of traveling and preparing to take a big, important test has distracted me so far in September. But on the good side of things, this last weekend of traveling was Falco related.

It was a West Coast Falco Fly-In that brought me up to Northern California for the weekend. I was really hoping to get to ride in a Falco for the first time and not only did that happen, but it happened multiple times, thanks to Doug Henson and his Grand Champion Falco.

Doug Henson and his Grand Champion, Plans Built Falco at Oshkosh '05.

I can't even describe in words how amazing it was, which is partly why I'm an engineer. I'm so excited that the project I'm working on has such a wonderful airplane at the end of it all.

Last Friday, I flew up to the Bay Area via Southwest and met up with Doug in order to head up to the Fly-In in Doug's Falco which is currently based at the Livermore airport. I brought along a digital camera that had a decent movie mode on it so I got some good videos and pictures of the weekend. Here's the video of our take-off from KLVK and some pictures enroute. You'll get a good look at the panel due to my arm not being so stable on the take-off...

Livermore take-off


While enroute, we shot a GPS approach to the Red Bluff airport. It was great to see the different settings and speeds of the Falco in different configurations. I've been working on a Falco model for X-Plane and I'm trying to confirm the performance of the model compared to a real Falco. So far it seems to be pretty accurate. There are a lot of little things still to tweak so I'm still working on it.

We had a nice group dinner that night at the hotel I was staying at. Near the end, Dave Anders gave a great talk about drag reduction methods he applied to his RV-4. Lots of good ideas here but something I'll not need to worry about for some time.

The next morning started early with everyone meeting up at about 7:30 in order to fly out to a rural airport out there amongst the mountains and lakes. It was a beautiful flight. Again, I rode with Doug and we flew in formation with Larry Black most of the way. I took lots of pictures of Larry and some of the surroundings. Here are those shots and a video of the 3-second formation take-off and formup with Larry.

Formation take-off and form up


The runway we landed at was Trinity center. Here's a video of the landing, coming in over the boats on the lake.

Trinity Center landing


After everyone landed we hiked up a road to a little diner place in the trees. It took them a while to make all the food for everybody, but it was definitely worth the wait. Home cooking to the extreme, I swore I was at my grandparents house for a nice sunday morning feast. This food was damn good! So good, we had to make sure we were still within the CG limit of the Falco on take-off after breakfast. Here are some breakfast shots.

Doug had to fly back to Livermore so we left directly from the breakfast. The flight home was really fun as Doug let me handle the Falco a little bit. It was surprising how responsive the flight stick was. It was really easy to feel the plane with really nice positive feedback at all times. We stopped for fuel somewhere and as we were taxiing back to the runway, another Stelio Frati airplane, an SF-260, rolled up. For some fun we flew by one of Doug's friends places and buzzed them until they came out and waved. And finally here's a video of a couple of aileron rolls that were really a blast. Thanks Doug!

Pair of Aileron rolls


What a great weekend! Now, let's get back to building!!

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