Doug Henson

Hayley Grace -- future Falco pilot

91 year old great-grandmother sight-sees over Lawrence, KS in Doug Henson's Falco.

While visiting my mother-in-law last week we were introduced to one of her friends. Maggie is 91 years old and a real dynamo. During our conversation I, of course, had to boast that we flew from CA to KS in my Falco. She got totally into learning about my Falco project, flying, etc. So I offered her a ride. She was ecstatic and called each of her six children the night before to give them your website so they could see what she was going to do. Here are a couple of photos.


I claim that the Falco chapter of my life was drafted back when I was a kid in Kansas City. My love of airplanes, flying, and building complex things started with that first model airplane that flew for several years and many hours before I finally dished out a little too low during an inverted loop. Growing up with NASA's Mercury program center stage, I was intrigued by everything associated with flying and aircraft. I went to the University of Kansas where I received a degree in Aerospace Engineering. During the early 1970s, I spent a few years in the Air Force guarding the skies as a fighter interceptor pilot in the F106 at Langley AFB in Virginia and Homestead AFB in Florida. In 1975, I made a career change and started working at Sandia National Laboratories as a design engineer in our nuclear weapons program. In the late 1970s, Sandia sent me off to Stanford for a few years where I worked part time to complete another degree program. Home projects along the way included that first model airplane and many others, two car restorations, our current home, and now the Falco.

During the summer of 1999, it was time for me to start a new project, so I started looking around at airplane kits. I investigated a couple of ultralight kits, the Lancair, the RV aircraft, and others. My hunt stopped the instant I saw the Falco on Sequoia's website. I quickly contacted Dan Dorr who lives a short 30 minute drive from me and went to see his project. Following that, I visited Larry Black in Hollister. For those of you who've seen his airplane, you can imagine my excitement when I laid eyes on that beautiful project and even more excitement when he offered to give me a flight. That's all I needed. I spent the rest of that year preparing my shop (a three car garage), building a garden shed so that I could move that equipment out of the garage to make room, buying a few tools that I needed, and studying the plans. Another inspirational visit was made to Dave McMurray in Eureka, CA, last summer during a backpacking trip with my son.

Groundbreaking on my project started in January 2000, a new millenium event. I progressed through the tail group in about three months then purchased several more kits. I had decided to build the fuselage first, calculating that I would not need to expand outside of one car slot in my garage until late in the project when I needed to turn the fuselage/wing to the flight attitude. Unfortunately, I had to wait several months for the nose gear assembly which is required for fuselage frame alignment on the assembly jig. During that slow period, I built the ailerons/flaps, assembled the two large wiring harnesses, assembled the main gear and retraction gear box, varnished the wing ribs, closed the wing spar, prepared all of the fuselage frames, and a few other small odd jobs. The nose gear parts finally arrived two days after Christmas, so I am now back in full swing with the fuselage construction.

Things are going along right to plan (whatever that is) and I'm keeping out of trouble by spending my spare time on the Falco. As a visual learner, I find the drawing package and the photographic information on the Sequoia Aircraft website invaluable in providing the information I need. So far I've only had a couple of questions surface that I couldn't sort out with that information and had to resort to an email or phone call to Sequoia.

Doug Henson

Doug and son with new "Tom Cruise" sunglasses.

Doug Henson lives in Livermore, CA. Home: (925) 455-4494 Email:

Construction Photos

Getting Started   Ailerons and Flaps   Fuselage

Wing   First Flight   Paint   In the Air   Painting with Light