The need for speed.

06 Sep

With the falco shipping to the USA I wouldn’t want to spend all of my precious leave from work re-building the plane so I need to make the whole process as painless as possible. The tail will need to be removed in order to get it into the container. That will involve removing the rear fuel tank and disconnecting the rudder and elevator control cables. That becomes an issue getting a duplicate inspection when I reassemble but I should be able to get authority for a local from the EAA to sign that off.

Getting the tank out is a pain and I don’t want to create leaks in the system so I may look for some quick disconnect I can install in the line beforehand. The rest of the wires there should be easy enough to put connectors in the lines. Radio antenna and strobe light cables plus the elt antenna.

Up front the engine will need to come off. Looking at it, I think the best way is to remove the mount and everything attached to it at the four main bolts plus one in the drag link for the nose gear. Then I can retract the mains and the upper drag link without disturbing the gear timing. There are a couple of other feed wires to the alternator and starter that need to come off, a manifold pressure tube, a fuel line and a bunch of electrical items. I figure that if I put circular connectors in the lines for the electrical ancillaries then I can save a bunch of time right there. The biggest pain in the bum is the 4 control cables, namely manifold pressure, Prop and mixture along with cabin heat. I may be able to change the cabin heat method or even remove it just for the trip since it will be summer. I mean it was 39 degrees in Kansas City on the way back this year so I doubt I’ll need heat. 

For now I’ll work on the electrical connectors and maybe ideas will pop into my head as I am working in there.

The only other item to remove would be the canopy.. not a big job.. just needs to be handled carefully.

Of course in all this will be the need for other sets of hands.. especially when it comes to rotating the fuselage to fit it in the container and ditto with the tail.. 

More thinking required but hopefully something will pop into my head.

Filling in the blanks

30 Aug

Now that this thing had my attention I needed to fill in a few blanks. Answer so many questions that had filled my head since this popped in there in the first place.

I mean..

Could I fit the Falco in a container?

If I could, could I do it reasonably quickly? – it would be no point to have to spend a month or even a week for that matter, putting it back together.

It was going to be expensive.. but just how much?

Would I be allowed to do it?

What paperwork did I need and who do I need to tell?

When would I go?

How much time would I need?


So I needed to make a start I guess so I figured I could set a date. Next year seemed a bit close to get this organised so why not 2012. No good reason why not I guess and I needed something to work toward so tentatively, 2012 it is!

I also spun the idea past Mike and Bryn at Parakai. They didn’t look too strangely at me. I think Mike thought I was a bit nuts but then as Bryn got excited about the idea the brainstorm took hold. 

With all the discussion and a bit of web research this was looking more and more doable.

Somewhere along the line the idea came out that I needed to contact the EAA. From all the ideas of people to contact, this seemed like the obvious first point of contact.

That night I put together an email to the EAA information center and within 3 days I had an email back with a lot of the  legal info I needed. In fact the reply even involved words like “simple” and “easy” and had references to website instructions and links to forms.

Most of it was based around aircraft flying into the USA such as Canadian private pilots but from what I could read, I fit a lot of these categories and with EAA sponsorship it was all going to be within the realm of possibility.

A few guys at work looked at me as if I was mad but then pilots are famous for being tight.

They way I figured it, people often spend tens of thousands of dollars on holidays with business class upgrades etc. then I can spend that kind of money on my holdiday too, only with a shipping company !. OK.. that still is weird !

Mental Check-Up

10 Aug

“Am I going nuts?” I thought to myself.

The idea of getting my Falco to Oshkosh was new to me but why hasn’t it been done? If it has, why not more often? I must be nuts!

OK so there was no way I wanted to fly my Falco across the Pacific so that is one thing in my favour of mental stability but it still seemed like I was out on a limb. Yes the exercise would be expensive but given the cost of the ‘hobby’ in the first place I would be surprised if money was the only reason that I was ‘giving birth’ to this idea. An idea that by now seemed so obvious.

I thought I better spin it by someone else.

I felt a bit silly when I first began to air the idea to Darryn but he seemed to pick up the idea with a reasonable amount of enthusiasm himself so surely that was a good sign? Over the next hour or so we started throwing a few ideas back and forth and from then on I knew I had to follow this up.

What a great experience it would be to fly my own creation across the USA to visit the home of the homebuilt. To join in with all the other homebuilders across the USA in such massive numbers seems like it would finally legitimize what I had done by building my own aeroplane in the first place. Maybe after that there would be nothing left to do but what was really exciting was that this has my attention back to how it was when I first started building the Falco. Maybe this is why I did it in the first place but I just didn’t know it.

I can’t let this drop without finding out more


09 Aug

2010 was the first year I had been to Oshkosh. It had been a long time coming really but for most homebuilders it is a bit of a religious experience. The home of the EAA, most homebuilders visit Oshkosh at some stage.

I enjoyed the meet. I call it a meet rather than an airshow since I feel that is what it is really. The air display is OK but that is all, I’ve seen better.

It was the final day of the meet and the daily show had just finished. The place had already begun to empty out the day prior but once the daily show had ended the floodgates openned and every aeroplane on the field was in a departure queue setting the airfield up to be a ghost town.

In front of me I watched as a woman with two battens controlled taxi flow like some kind of ballet when it hit me.

“I need to get more involved with this”

I didn’t really know what I meant. It was like someone was telling me something that hadn’t been thoroughly explained.

Slowly over the next half hour it dawned on me what I needed to do. I needed to have my Falco at Oshkosh