Signor Stelio Frati & Flying Machines
Signor Stelio Frati
The following content may look like a catalogue of airplanes for the readers but one must understand the fact that the creations of Frati cannot be understood without underlying the details of its existence. A freelance designer Frati’s designs resemblance each other in lot many ways including their finishes, the light and delicate controls and their arrow like stability in turbulence creating the mark of their own. The finest of his creation may be attributed to the SF 260, a three
seater bird which in United States merchandised as Waco Meteor. This aircraft is been appreciated and used by many other nations also including Belgium air force, Air France and Sabena because of its 260 hp Lycoming engine with a maximum speed of 235mph and a rate of climbing of 2000 ft/min. It can get on/off at even 1000 ft from ground. But let’s start the journey from the beginning experiencing flights from the early stages of Frati’s creation.
Stelio Frati’s first creation was the FM 1 Passero or sparrow a 20 hp motor glider with a maximum speed of 94 mph. His first monoplane was however in the air in 1951. The F.4. Rondone or swift was a master of art 20 ft all wood bird with its two versions of two seaters, one of which having a 65 hp Walter Mikron engine with a weight of 1212 lbs, maximum speed of 139 mph and a stall speed of 46.5 mph. The other version of 90 hp Continental engine has a weight of 1322 lbs with a maximum speed of 155 mph and a stall speed of 49.5 mph was equally good. The former prototype was build by the gliding section of CVV and the later build by Aeronaut, Lombarda and Ambrosini. The 65 hp Walter Mikron engine F4 reputed Frati for building light planes which could set several world records in 1950’s for its performance of even 169 mph over 100 km.
The next creation of Frati was the F.5. Trento, again all wooden 22 ft two seater art. With its 1653 lbs weight it can pick up a maximum speed of 242 mph. The rate of climb of this bird is 1300 feet per minute (fpm). This was manufactured by Caproni in 1952.
The 24 ft F.6.Airone build by Pasotti was a 3196 lbs four seater with a maximum speed of 176 mph, stall speed of 64 mph and a rate of climbing of 800 fpm.
1955 sky saw the elegant, streamlined and slender Falco hawk, 22 ft F.7.Rondone II. Out of the two prototype the C-90 engine one is a 3 seater 1694 lbs machine with a maximum speed of 150 mph and a stall speed of 44 mph while the 135 hp Lycoming engine version is a four seater weighing 1980 lbs with a maximum speed of 165 mph and a stall speed of 47 mph. Ten models of the three seater version was build by Pasotti.
The first production Falco was the F.8 L series with C 90 engines. Aviamilano produced ten numbers of series I and twenty numbers of series II aircrafts. Later Aeromere were the producers of sixty numbers of series III planes. However the super Falco series IV production credit goes to Laverda motor scooter which developed twenty of its kind, One of its own kind F.9.Sparviero or sparrow hawk took its birth in 1956 in the nest of Pasotti. The 27 ft birdie has a 240 hp Lycoming four seater machine weighing 3307 lbs with a maximum speed of 201 mph, rate of climbing 1200 fpm and a stall speed of 68 mph.
In a span of two years in 1958 Frati’s F.14 Nibbio or kite hawk flew in air. The 24 ft four seater was unique by the way it is built. With 180 hp Lycoming and 2535 lbs weight it can speed maximum up to 200 mph. The rate of climbing is 1200 fpm with a stall speed of 60 mph. ten of these are build and delivered in 1959.
Next year in 1959 it was the time of the latest build F.15.Picchio or woodpecker to fly. This was the first Frati plane have some metal in it. With 160 hp Lycoming it has aeromatic propeller. The three seater weighs 2205 lbs and can fly at a maximum speed of 186 mph having a stall speed of 60 mph and rate of climb of 890 fpm. Procaer produced 15 number of the prototype followed by fifty four numbers of F15 A and thirty number of F15 B.
Procaer in 1960 was also the producer of F.400 Cobra. The wooden two seater jet with metal clad the plane has 880 lbs S.T.Turbomeca Marbore II Turbojet, weights 3748 lbs and can fly at 360 mph with a rate of climb of 2360 fpm and stall speed of 78 mph. It was later remodeled to F.480.
The much favored F.250 flew on air in 1964 which was later build by SIAI Marchetti and thus was renamed as SF 260. Not to mention again of the details we have already discussed the plane was much popular in all ground especially in the military front. The amazing rate of climb of 2000 fpm and a speed of 232 mph the two to three seaters has several variations. The SF 260 A and M series went for bulk production. The SF 260 W and SW gained the reputation of sea warrior. In the sports front also SF 260 created lots of world record.
Stelio Frati set up his own company in 1970 in the name of General Avia with two dozens staff and two workshops to begin with. It was different from other Italian designing company as they never used to design for others. First of its prototypes was the F.20 Pegaso or Pegasus which gained Italian and FAA certification. The bird measured 27 ft with a weight of 5070 lbs and speed of 242 mph can carry 5-6 persons. The workshop also developed the 300 hp continental, four seater, 205 mph F.15E.Picchio, the 200 hp Lycoming 2-4 seater F.15F.Delphino, the 310 hp Lycoming with 210 mph speed F.600 Canguro and the 420 hp F.20 Condor which can speed up to 288 mph to name a few. They have built 18 Falcos among 718 homebuilt. Frati has a record of manufacturing and selling 750 fine and light planes. Latest design is the 1330 lbs thrust Garrette F109-GA-100 engine fitted two seater Jet Squalus.