My late father (a WWII veteran and fellow Falcoholic) always believed in celebrating the living. I wholeheartedly concur with his sentiment and therefore have embarked penning some drivel which follows.
One naturally thinks that we owe the Falco to Stelio Frati, but on more sober reflection, we owe so much more to Alfred Scott. I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting him but we have had some minor business and intellectual interaction. He has been described as opinionated and brash, but there is so much more reading between the lines that deserve recognition.
Alfred has claimed that he never built a Falco. Whilst technically true this is actually absurd. He has done so much more he should be hailed as the rightful savior of a near forgotten and neglected jewel.
He saw the opportunity and after not trivial negotiations redesigned it from scraps of paper, with expert assistance from one of the world’s leading aircraft designers into the world’s best technical drawings. They set the standard for other amateur aircraft builders for about 35 years if not longer. That is half a lifetime. This alone is a hell of an achievement. Passion.
Then true madness set in. He offered not only plans but at tremendous expense created a warehouse full of parts, all made to detailed drawings. He has produced more parts and has a better understanding of their interaction than any builder. This must have been a hobby to keep him out of the house and pestering his wife as I have little doubt that it ever made much money, if any at all. Passion and obsession.
He has of course built near a hundred Falco’s just not actually glued all the parts together. He has however researched the glues in detail, the various techniques used and simply has a detailed understanding of all the possible subtleties that this can bring.
The real test has been running a business in the litigious society we live in and surviving. I personally would be very hesitant to put my piddly meagre wealth at risk by starting an amateur kit-built aircraft sales business. Yet Alfred did this as a recognized leader in the field. True passion.
And then to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, he gave it all away for free to ensure survival of the Falco. He has purposefully given all his very valuable intellectual property away to ensure the survival of the Falco. To put this into perspective, the electrical diagram design effort alone took 1.5 years of full-time work. That is near half way to building a real Falco. Passion and commitment.
If that was not enough, a very overlooked but key part was his part in saving of EAA from itself. The personal attacks on his character were unwarranted. It would have been so much easier to do nothing. Yet he stood tall when men (not mice) were required. A gentleman and leader.
I would happily publish this as my small contribution to his inevitable epitaph, but why not do it when people are alive and they can appreciate it. This is not an attempt to obtain favour nor put Alfred on a pedestal. I am sure he has his faults like all of us. But just a way to say thank you for your contribution in making our lives a but better and saving the Falco.
Thank you Alfred.
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