The semi-monocoque fuselage is built with wood frame structure covered with plywood, glued with Araldite epoxy and with internal anti-fungal and anti-rotting protection. Manufacture is in two parts: A central section that includes the wings, and an aft section with the empennage. This highly robust structure was calculated to be certified for +6G/-3G in the aerobatics category (maximum gross weight 749 kg or 1,651 lb) or +4.4G/-2.2G in the utility category (maximum gross weight 854 kg or 1,880 lb), with a safety margin of 50% over the mentioned structural load values.

Since freijó is about 10% heavier-and stronger-than spruce, we can conclude that Zulu-Mike-Bravo is more robust than the Italian or other Sequoia Falcos.

With an empty weight of 1,283 lb (582 kg), it is 150 lb (68 kg) heavier than Falcos built with spruce. The Falco's wing, of one piece construction and attached to the central fuselage, has a main spar that spans from wingtip to wingtip, a secondary aft spar and traditional wing ribs and plywood skin. The wing is thin, with an aspect ratio of 6.4 and wing area of ten square meters (107.5 sq ft). The airfoil is a laminar flow design NACA series 642212 in the root and tapering to 642210 towards the wingtips, with a 3° washout and 5° dihedral. Frise-style ailerons are built of aluminum and controlled by stainless steel cables. The flaps are slotted, also made of aluminum and actuated electrically by a jackscrew. Main landing gear is of the trailing link type with shock absorbers and traditional toe-pedal actuated hydraulic disk brakes. The gear retraction is electric with a manual emergency backup system.

The powerplant is a 180 hp Lycoming IO-360 with a Christen kit. A constant speed twin-bladed metallic Hartzell propeller hangs on front. The fuel is carried in two fuselage tanks, one in front of the cockpit and a second in the aft fuselage, with a total capacity of 40 gal. There's also a two gallon header tank for inverted flight. The backsliding canopy is the low-profile model designed by Luciano Nustrini in 1958 for his competition Falco, the most beautiful and fastest of all Falcos, winner of many competitions and speed records with a 150 hp engine and a fixed-pitch prop. That airplane flew as fast as 370 km/h (200 knots!) in straight and level flight! The Nustrini canopy contributes to the overall beauty of ZMB, but it has its drawbacks, as we will see.

We are at the Usina Santa Adélia airport (SDUD), near Jaboticabal (SP). Runway 07/25 is located at an altitude of 2,000 ft, has a hard surface made of asphalt and is 1,000 m (3,281 ft) long by 18 m (59 ft) wide. The white Falco F8L is pulled out of its hangar, capable of inducing in any pilot that rush of anticipation that precedes the change of lights from red to green right at the beginning of a Formula One race.

The quality of the exterior finish is exceptional, and the aesthetic delight is such a pleasure during the pre-flight inspection that it almost clouds our objectivity during a critical evaluation of the airplane.

Atmospheric conditions consist of a thin overcast of stratus-cirrus, with the occasional window of blue here and there. We will take off with two on board, our estimated takeoff weight is 874 kg (1,927 lb).

The air-to-air photo ship is PT-VQI, a Seneca skillfully flown by Captain Boaretto. Access to the cockpit is easy since the wing is very low. I sit on the left seat and buckle the five point aerobatic restraint system after adjusting longitudinally the seat mounted on rails. The pedals are too close together, squeezed by the nose wheel well. The panel, supplied by Sequoia, suffers from some ergonomic problems. The flap lever and its position indicator are kind of hidden under a console with other controls. Same can be said about the three-position fuel selector (F/R/Off). The trim wheel is placed too far forward in the console between the seats, but the trim indicator is very visible. This console also houses the parking brake actuator, a long horizontal lever. The landing gear switch is all the way to the left of the panel, which makes us do some hand shuffling while activating it.



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