Gordon Cook


The Falco under construction.

We move!

The housing market in the lower mainland area of BC has been red hot of late and I decided to cash in on my the equity I have in my home in Surrey and purchase elsewhere at a much reduced price. I tell our friends here I have to sell the house to finish the Falco. Not quite true, but it's not going to hurt having a few extra bucks. We chose Trail BC because my wife and I have friends (including Dan Martinelli, a Falco builder) in the area and hanger rent is less than it is in Surrey not to mention house prices.

This move was the fourth for the project since I started and it's going to be the last, at least the last on the ground. I have to move it to a hanger because I've gone as far with the project as I can at home and need the extra space to assemble it. The first move came with a change in jobs, a move from Langley to Gibsons, about 60 km or 40 miles. This one was easy since all I had were spars and ribs constructed. The next was a little more difficult with the fuselage being in one piece and the wing unskinned. This move was from Gibsons to Surrey, also a change of jobs. The plane went to a high school in Langley where they had an aviation class. The reason it went there was I had no place to put it at home. As part of their course they were to work on it and be marked on their work. Since I was assured by the teacher that no unsatisfactory work would be allowed it seemed like a good opportunity to see progress on it until I had a place at home for it. Unfortunately they did far more damage than work and when I finally got it home (another move, but not very far) I spent several months doing more fixing than building.

The planning for this latest move started in February 2004 and I quickly realized the most difficult part was moving the airplane. I've got to admit I was very concerned about moving my baby since it had grown considerably and put on a bit of weight since the last move. After much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth I came up with a plan. On June 14 I rented a 5 ton moving van (for the size, not the weight) to move the tail section and other bits and pieces. The next day we set off for the Trail airport. Since we packed everything very securely the trip was quite uneventful. However the next move, that of the forward section complete with the wing, was going to be more difficult. It was too big for the van and heavier than the tail (570 lb.) so an open trailer was chosen as the moving vehicle where it would ride tail down like an Apollo rocket ready for launch. Fortunately a friend has a pick-up and a trailer designed for hauling cars and also very fortunately he offered to loan it to me for the trip. I bolted a 4' X 4' piece of 3/4" plywood to the aft end which would be fastened to the trailer deck. It took eight men to load it onto the trailer and then two of us tied it down with the same web clamps that I used to skin the fuselage.



Leaving Surrey

June 19 at 0700 we left Surrey bound for Trail 600 kms or almost 400 miles away. I was on pins and needles at first but after the first couple of hours on the road and a few load checks with no problems I began to relax a bit. The route from Surrey to Trail includes six mountain passes, the highest at 1575 meters or 5160 feet, is Nancy Greene Summit and is about 40 kms from Trail. Probably the most spectacular climb is a little better than half way, at the town of Osoyoos, where the highway winds up side of Anarchist mountain. Part way up is a place to pull off the road and survey the vista below, which is what we did. The Osoyoos area is the only desert area in Canada and is home to some of the finest vineyards and wineries in the country.


At the summit

The lady is Doreen, my wife.


Osoyoos Lookout

We arrived at the Trail airport at about 1700 and began the unloading procedure. The plan was to back the trailer into an aircraft shop and use their ceiling hoist to lift the Falco free of the trailer by the engine mount, pull the trailer out of shop and slowly lower the plane while three of us pulled on the aft end lowering it gently to the ground on it's wheels. Robby Burns said it best when he said, "the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft a gley". The door was too low to allow the trailer and plane into the shop, so now it's plan B. The problem was we didn't have a plan B so had to quickly develope one. There was a large John Deere tracked back hoe at the airport but no keys for it. After looking for about an hour none was found so there goes plan B. Plan C was to get a crane truck the next morning and pluck my little bird off the trailer. This is the plan that finally worked even though it cost about $170. The little one is now safely in a hanger at the Trail airport along side Dan Martinelli's Falco so it's in good company.


The two Falcos

I have to thank my friends in Surrey (especially Bruce Langille, supplier of the truck and trailer) who did such a wonderful job of loading the bird and the guys at the Trail airport, whom I had just met, for their efforts in unloading. Without their generous help I would still be wondering how to get from here to there - and my wife says, "and getting crabbier by the hour".

PS The West Coast Fly-In will be held in Nelson, which is in the same area as Trail, on Sept. 17 to when ever you decide to go home. I say that because the area is so beautiful and people so friendly you may want to stay on for a week or longer!