tape to the windshield at the “horizon”
level to help gauge pitch.
Because the engine (and the thrust
line) sits so high above the center of gravity, power must be applied carefully on
takeoff to avoid pitching down and nosing
over. And just like a real rooster in flight, it
is very sensitive to wind conditions.
The paint scheme was designed by
Giuliano Basso, an architect. He used an
illustration of a rooster for his inspiration
and completed the painting in stages, like
a true artist. It was very time-consuming
to apply, since every stroke is hand painted
with a brush. I think you’ll agree the result
is a masterpiece.
After some unsuccessful attempts to fly
Il Gallo by other pilots, Ottone came to
Nervesa Della Battaglia, a grass strip airport and home of Giancarlo Zanardo’s
Jonathan Collection of rare aircraft. They
include a 1941 de Havilland Tiger Moth
and replica versions of the Wright Flyer,
Fokker Dr. I, Blériot XI, and P- 51 Mustang.
It’s also where I base my Midget Mustang.
Ottone asked if anyone at the airport
would like to try to fly the airplane. I said,
“No, this cannot fly!” A lot of guys tried
taxiing, and everyone around the airport
had something to say about how Il Gallo
should be handled.
A few months later, in December
2011, Ottone asked me again, and I said,
“Okay, but just to taxi.” The first morning
I tried, it was very foggy—just 1,000 feet
of visibility. The trees at the end of the
runway were just visible through the
mist. I thought it was okay for taxiing,
but not flying.
As we pulled Il Gallo from the hangar, I
noticed there were three hunters in the
woods at the end of the runway. They
looked astounded to see a large bird racing
down the runway toward them. Since it
was still hunting season, I was concerned
they might take a shot at me.
After several high-speed taxi runs, I got
the feel for Il Gallo’s pitch control (using
the tape strip for reference really helped)
and slowly became familiar with how to
Even though Francis
Rogallo was an American,
the fact that his name
includes the Italian word
for “rooster” started the
apply power without nosing over. I
decided that the adventure would continue and accelerated to 85 mph and lifted
off. It was remarkably quiet in flight, and
some people called the police when they
saw such a large bird flying through the
sky. When the police arrived at the airfield, there were smiles all around. Il Gallo
continues to create joy and amusement
whenever it flies.
To contact Daniele, e-mail email@example.com. To see videos
of Il Gallo in flight, visit www.SportAviation.org.