The Falco was designed by Ing.Stelio Frati and first flew in 1955; it was a success since the very first flight made by Ettore Wengi.
"The italian race prototype" was flying well,and the italian aviation magazine "ALI" dedicated the cover and the main article of the August 1955 issue."The falco appeared with war intentions as his name.......It's made to take part and win the air races, to bring glory to the italian colours..."
In fact the prototype was built in june 1955 and pepared quckly to take part to the "Giro di Sicilia", a very important race for the times,but "such a quick and hard work was frustrated by a minor drawback to the oil tubing that compromised his partecipation to the hard race".However the falco was presented in Pescara and then in Venice taking part to the fifth Venice aeronautical exposition.
Here I-RAID captured the attention of Jacques Noetinger , an aviation journalist that suddently wanted to fly it,and wrote an enthusiastic article on AVIATION MAGAZINE;
"Today the F8 is there and it's waiting for me..I am not loosing time; I climb on the wing,from the back.The transparent canopy slides backward and i jump on the cockpit finding out a confortable room and nice leather interiors.Althought this plane made his first flight the 15 june, neither one month ago,the falco doesn't have time to rest.It's the prototyipe that has been flying more in this exposition;and it's not surprising that it's necessary to refuel it so often!"
The I-RAID was powered with the 90 HP Continental C-90 and Jacques reports a nervous take off "They told me to allow him taking speed and not to take-off before 100 km\h, the rudder is so nervous, but then, when in the air i feel like having in my hands a small dogfighter, controls are easy but also fast,but the rudder...the rudder is no joke..But i like this, it's perfecly in the spirit of a race airplane as is the F8, but the constructor will change them to make the falco an easier airplane.I make thight turns and at only 2150 RPM i get a good 210 Km\h (130 mph) I make a 360° and then a lazy eight,wonderful and easy..
Then a roll at 250 (155 mph)..All is ok even if in the next one i'll begin with less speed and try to push more when inverted.....I smell some oil so i decide to come back; i have a prototype in the hands and so.. better to be prudent!"
Oil!but the oil pressure "seems to be all right , so i go to landing and at 200 metres i lower flaps and landing gear , but the green light doesn't seem to appear......So i decide to use the manual system...The electric system was made just prior coming to Venice and so needs some time and work.....Final speed is 110 km/h and i touch the ground,a nice flight, on a plane that is going to have success;it only needs a more powerful engine for take off(!)and a constant speed prop, but this is what they're going to do......."