Falco F8L Hawk Designer Stelio Frati Dies
May 20, 2010 — Stelio Frati, best known for his Falco F8L Hawk homebuilt design, died last week at the age of 91. Frati studied mechanical engineering and then taught aircraft design before developing designs of his own.
The look of a Frati design was sleek and fast, with nary a knot of speed wasted by its profile. The first all-wood Falco design debuted in 1955 and spawned many universally admired future designs. A relatively low number of each of his wooden designs was built since they demanded excruciating workmanship from builders. The Falco could reach a blistering 200 knots, which is phenomenal considering most of these aircraft were equipped with 160hp powerplants.
Frati also designed the Trento and the Cobra, two wood (and some metal in the case of the Cobra), jet-powered aircraft. In 1964 he moved on from his wooden designs for good when he debuted the SF250 prototype, which eventually became the SF260, an all-metal production aircraft built by SIAI Marchetti and powered by a 260 hp Lycoming engine. The SF260 had two variants as Frati also produced a military trainer.