While most people only dream of owning an airplane, George Richards set out to build one from scratch. Jimdo recently chatted with George to learn more about him and his little Falco.
Why build an aeroplane?
My father was a very handy person and passed the interest down to me. When I saw an opportunity to use my handyman skills to build my own aeroplane, it was something I had to do. Initially, the attraction of having my own plane to fly was probably stronger than the attraction to build, but by the time I had finished the build, it was definitely the other way around. It's been an amazing experience and the end result is a fantastic little aeroplane. I still get a huge kick out of taking people for a ride in my own creation and seeing them admire it.
How long did it take you to build?
While the Falco is a brilliant aeroplane, it wasn’t initially designed as a homebuilt aircraft. This means that while possible, of course, it is a little more labor-intensive than a lot of modern homebuilt aircraft designs. I also chose a longer route in that I constructed most of the parts myself from plans rather than buying it as a kit-set. This, as you can imagine, increases the complexity somewhat and at least doubles the time to build it. So I took 9 1/2 years to build my Falco.
What is a Falco?
Italian for “Hawk”, The Falco is a wooden aircraft designed in Italy in 1955. People still struggle to believe both of those statements. It looks as modern as anything designed today and it also looks like it's made from state of the art composite. People always raise an eyebrow when I tell them this. The design was so ahead of its time it won the designer, Stelio Frati, an award for exactly that. It still looks modern and as such is often referred to as the Ferrari of the air.
What's been the most rewarding part of your experience?
I think for me, the most important part of anything is people. I’ve met some great people from all walks of life from all parts of the globe. And I really find it hard to describe the satisfaction, the buzz, the thrill I get when I show someone my plane and watch their reaction, especially after taking them for a ride. There is nothing else like it. Like life, I guess, it's all about sharing.
What do you like most about the Jimdo CMS?
It's the simplicity. I’ve struggled with a lot of systems; as it turns out, prior to becoming an airline pilot I was a computer engineer. I'm not scared of computers, but they can still be frustrating, and some of the other content management systems define the word. Jimdo is super simple and all I have to worry about is my content. With other systems I had to manage the back-end and always seemed to be trying to figure out complex design philosophies. When I was shown Jimdo, I couldn’t believe it could be so simple without there being a catch. Now I can have a great looking website and share all my experiences with minimal time spent and absolutely no worry. It's super simple. I LOVE it.
George has recently packed his bag, and little airplane, and flown to the USA for the Experimental Aircraft Association convention (a homebuilt aircraft expo) in Oshkosh, WIsconsin. To follow George's adventure, check out his blog at falco.co.nz.
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