Steve and Karl Hansen
It took Karl Hansen 23 months to build his Falco, working about 20 hours a week. His previous experience was limited to balsa-wood models, and he found a great deal of similarity.
Karl did a beautiful job of building the airplane. In preparation for skinning the wing, he spent two weeks sanding the ribs to get it as smooth as possible. The work paid off, and his Falco was fast from the beginning and would cruise at about 190 mph.
Karl has systematically worked on improving the speed of the Falco. Hinge fairings. Nose gear doors. Main gear wheel well doors. A strip of buckskin to seal the cowling door hinge. A piece of rubber to seal around the nose gear screwjack. Flap gap seals. The list goes on. It was a classic drag reduction campaign in a science in which there are no secrets.
The results have been dramatic. In the beginning, the Falco would indicate 132 knots at 20"/2000, and Karl now gets 145-147 knots indicated at the same power setting. He is now able to cruise at 215 mph true at 12,000 feet, full throttle and 2300 rpm-that's about 60% power. At 6,000 feet, 75% power produces 225 mph true. And top speed has increased from 165 knots indicated at 3,000 feet to 182 knots indicated at 6,000 feet-that's 232 mph true.
In the 1987 CAFE 400, Karl finished 5th in the two-place category, 12th overall, and only three planes were faster.
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