Weebee Air Force
Doubles in Size


At the airport


Empty weight is 1,242 pounds. C of G is right in the zone at 65.2" back from the prop flange. What this means is that there are some C.G. situations where you can't fly with a full front tank and an empty rear tank. This is solved with simple fuel management. Stall speed is 71 mph clean and 65 dirty. There's a very structured method of getting an airplane approved for aerobatics in Canada, and so far I've resisted the urge to break the rules. However, stalls and spins are part of our training curriculum (I don't think they are in the U.S.?), so I wanted to at least experience a stall and recovery. The gentle pre-stall buffet occurred as expected, followed by the nose porpoise. Then we were pointed down-like really down-and going over on our back. I was a little busy at the time, but I think that sound in my headset was Al laughing. A couple dozen more attempts solo since then has made the stall a non-event, but remind yourself of what to expect and how to deal with it, before you try stalling a Falco for the first time.


Jack checks the fuel tank.


Big lazy wingovers don't count as aerobatics, at least to me. So between those, and testing the glue joints to plus 3.5 and minus one G, I'm getting enough giggles to make the price of avgas worth every penny. As I write this in early June, only the weather is preventing us from adding the final four hours of flying required to get the 25-hour clean bill of health. Until that's complete, we're restricted to a 25 mile radius from home with no landings allowed anywhere else. I gotta admit-I'm getting sick of flying in circles. After the test period, we can get Dad checked out, and go places. First on the list are friends on the East Coast. Next up is OSH, and of course, the Oysterfest this fall. Not sure if we'll make the West Coast this year (not enough vacation time), but we'll pee on all four corners of the continent soon enough with this machine.

In the meantime, we've got to finish the interior, fix a couple of paint chips, and get the gear doors and strobe lights operating. Oh yeah, and lighten up that left wing just a little. It's nothing you'd ever notice in a Cessna, but it's obvious in a Falco. What the hell-we need something to fix on those rainy days.

In closing, there are a few people to thank. I know we'll miss some, but here goes. To the local crowd of assorted builders-Les, Ed and others-who attended many a rollover party during our inefficient building process. To Greg, Stan, George, Trevor and especially William-who provided equipment and expertise for some of the more difficult jobs. To the Falco pilots: Dr. Ben Burgoyne, who by giving me a ride, convinced me to scrap the idea of a Glasair or RV; Steve Wilkinson, who did the same thing for Dad; Jim Petty, Joel Shankle and Dave (and Tamara!) Nason, who answered questions endlessly and let us take countless pictures; Steve Bachnak, who flew up for the weekend a year ago to give rides and keep the enthusiasm high. To Don and the unknown ex-Mrs. Adamo, who provided the kick in the butt that allowed us to get started.

And to Al and Nancy Aitken, who helped us finish an important chapter in style. To the spouses -- Lee Anne and Mary -- who (perhaps unwittingly) bankrolled the event, gave up quality time with us, and put up with an untimely aviation conversation at every event from weddings to funerals in the last 35 years. To all of you I say, watch out for our wake turbulence as we blow by at one third the speed of sound, and bring an airsickness bag when you go for a ride! And since I'm the partner stuck writing the article, one other thank you. To Dad, who got me interested in this damned obsession of flying in the first place, and who has-despite the frustration and arguments along the way-been the primary mover to make our Falco dream come true. But let's enjoy this one for a while before we decide on number seven, okay?


Mike and Jack check Al Aitken out for the first flight.