Fernando Almeida

Fernando Almeida

I am very sorry to report that the Brazilian aviation writer Fernando Almeida died as a result of an aircraft accident on July 5, 2003 at 10:30 AM at Jundiai, about 50 km from Sao Paulo. Also in the aircraft was Fernando Del Nero Landi who is reported to be in very serious condition. The aircraft is reported as a Europa PU LAN.

Fernando was as passionate about the Falco and Stelio Frati designs as any man on this planet. In 1987 he flew Karl Hansen's Falco at Oshkosh and wrote an article entitled "The Best Airplane in the World", and earlier this year he flew Marcelo Bellodi's Falco and wrote "Bravíssimo".

It's also difficult to imagine a more colorful man then Fernando. He has entertained Falco Builder Dinners with his stories of flying a very unstable Mitchell Wing at 5000 feet when he flew into a swarm of tiny bees which packed into his helmet and started stinging him, and later flying in Europe, circling a large building only to find that it was the central military command of NATO and the panic that caused. At one of these dinners, he mentioned "Frati's book" and this was the first I had heard of Stelio Frati's L'Aliante (The Glider), a 1946 engineering textbook on the design of a glider.

The world of the Falco lost a great friend in Fernando Almeida. If you would like to write his family, his address was 244 Rua Rino Levi, Jardim du Glória, Sao Paulo CEP 04114-030, Brazil. His email address f.almeida@durand.com.br may also reach them.

Alfred Scott

Fernando Almeida with Renato Cairo and Stelio Frati at Oshkosh '85

In Brazil, we lost one of the most amazing people we have ever had in aviation down here and a good old friend of everyone.

Sergio Bica

I received this bad news early in the morning and I'm very upset with the loss of a wonderful friend. At least we know he was doing what he likes most.

Marcelo Bellodi

Dear Mr. Scott,

What an incredible, incredible thing. As a past automotive journalist, I was so looking forward to establishing a friendship with Fernando after reading his story "Best Airplane in the World" on your site just recently. Below is the answer I received to my E-mail, sent just hours before he climbed into that Europa PU LAN. I am in absolute shock, and cannot believe he is gone. Just like that.

Guy Mangiamele

From: Fernando Almeida [mailto:f.almeida@durand.com.br]
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2003 11:58 AM
To: Guy Mangiamele

Dear Mr. Mangiamele,

Thanks for your message, I am glad that you liked it! Unfortunatelly, I am not the owner of that Falco. It was built by a friend of mine, Mr.Marcelo Belodi, from the city of Jaboticabal, state of São Paulo, Brazil. Marcelo flew with his Falco to Oshkosh in 1998, if I remember well, and he is not willing to part with that airplane yet! With his brother, he has also built a Lancair-IVP, which I have also flown and helped to get the first IFR homebuilt licensed by our DAC, the Brazilian FAA

All the best,

Fernando Almeida

Dear Mr. Almeida,

I have just read the incredible story of your lovely Falco at http://www.seqair.com/ReadingRoom/Bravissimo/Bravissimo1.html. I so lust after a Falco -- what else is there to say? This is the best-written story on Falcos I've ever had the pleasure to read, and yours is simply the most beautiful example I've seen. Given your engineering expertise, I'm assuming you built it yourself. Although I would never be able to do that, I do hope to own one some day.If you are ever ready to part with your airplane, please keep me in mind.

Guy Mangiamele

In the annals of aviation literature, flying has always been closely associated with all sorts of emotions. The few authors that have been able to touch my heart by putting on paper what I feel when I'm flying are some of my closest friends. After all: "The way to know any writer, of course, is not to meet him in person but to read what he writes" wrote Richard Bach. "Only in print is he most clear, most true, most honest. No matter what he might say in polite society, catering to convention, it is in his writing that we find the real man".

I never had the honor to meet the man in person, but he was nevertheless my friend. He told me in minute detail what I was supposed to expect from a flying machine that he adored. He described most of the technical facts that I would need to be familiar with the machine even before I saw one. But, most important to me, he gave me a glimpse, a taste, of what I was going to feel when strapped inside and slicing through the air like a Japanese sword, aboard what he called "The best airplane in the world", a Sequoia F.8L Falco. It was as if he already knew what I was going to feel, and was trying to warn me. The first time I flew in a Falco, I was indeed feeling like an enormous hawk over a cane field. Who cares if there are no cane fields in Wisconsin?

Through his writing, Fernando Almeida touched many lives and inspired many people, pilots or not. He is the proud carrier of an old aviation tradition in Brazil, started by Santos Dumont during the dawn of powered flight, and continued to this day by "Aero Magazine", publisher of most of his work. This tradition is clearly evident by the accomplishments of all the people that have worked so hard to make the Brazilian aerospace sector the world player that it is now.

The world has lost an exceptional aviation writer. The Falco community will miss one of its most enthusiastic and colorful promoters. I will miss my friend.

David Silchman