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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 1 February 2008

Welcome

Welcome to the first European Ercoupe Newsletter! There are many sources of news about Ercoupes, but this is an attempt to collect information related to European flying in one place, and to build our community. It is not intended to replace the US-based Ercoupe Owners Club and US mailing lists, but just to provide some local content and news of interest to Ercoupe owners and followers. The European regulations and airspace issues are different to the US, so I hope that this will become of mutual benefit, and encourage us all to fly more.

Although I have put together this first newsletter on my own, I hope that all of you will be kind enough to send in news, photos, stories, trip reports – anything of potential interest. I am happy to compile it and send it out on a regular basis.

If you know of anyone who might like to receive this newsletter then do let me know that too and I will add him or her to the list. And of course if any of you don’t want to receive this then let me know and I will immediately remove you from future mailings.

Mike Willis G-HARY mike@ercoupe.co.uk

Ercoupe News

Tony Smith reported a new Ercoupe in the UK late last year. How he finds out this stuff out is beyond me:

“Just a quick note to let you know that we have a new Aircoupe in the UK!

Alon A-2 N6620W (c/n A-110) arrived at Southampton Docks on board the vessel Stuttgart Express on the 20th October and was transported to Plymouth, Devon, by road 24.10. Whether it has gone to Plymouth Airport or not, I don't know yet (but I have my spies working on it).

The registered owner is Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc, but this is a flag of convenience outfit that owns a large proportion of the US-registered aircraft that operate in the UK.

Meanwhile, if you come across any reference to this aircraft, please let me know! It would be nice to welcome another soul to the Ercoupe Squadron (as Phil Kemp, the organiser of A-B's North Weald Fly-In, christened it!”

*************

Dan Hall, owner of N3968H in Southern California, was one of many Ercoupe owners who understandably took exception to a recent article in US newspaper Aviation Consumer News. The author reviewed 5 legacy aircraft that can meet the US light sports aircraft requirement, and made some disparaging comments about Ercoupes:

“Okay, stop giggling. “Coupes” are cute in a playground way, with their interconnected ailerons and adorable twin rudder. Lacking rudder pedals you drive this low-wing monoplane around the sky. Its ballyhooed “unspinnable” nature is achieved in part by limiting elevator travel.

Flyers used to actively incorporating rudder and opposite aileron in crosswind landings will find themselves mashing the rudderless floorboards as the Ercoupe impacts the runway in a crab. Amazingly, it’ll straighten itself out…the way a dead cow straightens out when dropped off a moving truck. I can’t say we’re crazy about this airplane. But, enough Coupers are (crazy) to make this a viable alternative to the previous four entrants.”

Dan sent in a long response to the article, which the author has now published on his blog site http://bergeflyingtheater.blogspot.com/ However, he also has begun “Ercoupe Wars” by adding two later blogs describing the activities of “PETA” - Pilots for the Ethical Treatment of Aircoupes. These stories describe how this made-up organization rescues ‘Coupe’s mounted over restaurants and the like. Do visit the blog site and have a laugh – it dispels the myth that Americans don’t appreciate satire!

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Ercoupe 415-D G-EGHB was an exhibit in the Gatwick Aviation Museum for a few years. According to their web site www.gatwick-aviation-museum.co.uk/ercoupe/ercoupe.html: "Following the successful completion of outstanding repairs and the issue of a new Certificate of Airworthiness in early 2007 the aircraft was ferried to Redhill in Surrey. During the summer of 2007 it was available for hire and flew from Redhill. In mid-September it was returned to Rochester for a possible annual, this depends upon the possibility of a group interest in flying it from Rochester. Should no interest be expressed and it cannot be flown regularly from Rochester (or anywhere else) it will be returned to the Museum and will become a static exhibit. Anyone interested in taking up the offer of a group flying this aircraft should contact Peter Vallance on +44(0)1293 862915 or email to gpvgat@aol.com."

It would seem a great shame to have an airworthy Ercoupe as a static exhibit so hopefully it will be put to some good use!

Airfield news

Maypole airfield EGHB www.maypoleairfield.com in Kent is up for sale for GBP 1,250,000 (I looked up the details, dreaming for a moment!). It comes with a livery and a load of unappreciative neighbours who continuously moan about the aircraft noise yet when I visited one Sunday all I could hear were motor mowers!!! www.brownscountryproperty.co.uk/property/8 for property details if you want to dream too!

*************

Sheffield City airport EGSY is to close April 22nd 2008. Although developed for passenger traffic, the nearby growth of “Robin Hood” airport at Doncaster meant it never succeeded. I have never flown to Sheffield but want to try and get it in my log book before the close. It is “interesting” due to the surrounding high ground and built up areas, so it has a circuit height of 1,500 feet! Getting down from base without flaps should be interesting, and I will practice my side slipping. If anyone wants to join me on the trip then let me know.

Mode S News

There is lots of confusion over who must have Mode S transponders and where. Robert Rombouts has been trying to find out.

For Germany Peter Nobmann (D-EOPI) sent a email with the details:

The German LBA definition for the Transponder Mode S is required for:
- all flight in airspace C and D (not CTR) but in TMZ (Transponder Mandatory Zones)
- All flights with motor driven airplanes above 5000 feet over see level, or 3500 feet above ground (higher value is mandatory)
- All night flights in controlled airspace (in this case including CTR's)

For the The Netherlands it will be same as Germany.

In Belgium the Mode S is NOT required till 2010 but a Transponder Mode A or C is Mandatory in a TMZ (Transponder Mandatory Zones) as Brussel, Antwerp CTR and Ostend TMA.

For France they will have the same regulation as Belgium.

Mike Willis adds: In the UK there is an exemption for GA until at least 2012, although Mode S will be required for some controllled airspace. More importantly, after March 31, 2008 any new or replacement transponder installations will have to be Mode S. A few weeks ago my ancient KT76 Mode C transponder died so I have very quickly replaced it with another second hand one at around 20% of the cost of a new Mode S. After March it will get much more expensive!

Upcoming events

Europe

2nd Belgian Ercoupe-Aircoupe FlyIn, Antwerp, May 3-4, www.ercoupe-be.net/2nd.htm

AeroExpo 2008, Wycombe Air Park, June 13-15, 2008, www.expo.aero/london/default.asp 

Air Britain Fly-in, North Weald, June 21-22, www.air-britainflyin.co.uk/
This will include, like last year, dedicated parking for Ercoupes. Hopefully as many as possible will arrange to attend!

USA

SUN'nFUN, Lakeland, Florida, USA, April 8-13, 2008 www.sun-n-fun.org/

NATIONAL ERCOUPE CONVENTION, July 23–26, 2008, Wausau, WI, USA. Contact Syd Cohen 715-573-7063 or sydlois@charter.net for registrations forms.

EAA AirVenture 2008, Oshkosk, Wisconsin, USA, July 28-3 August 2008, www.airventure.org/

Visitor from the US
Linda Abrams of southern Cailornia, and owner of N3437H “Sky Sprite” intends to visit the UK later this year and hopefully meet up with Ercoupe owners. She writes: “I am currently targeting August for my find-a-way-to-fly-in-the-UK trip. I may have a business case in court mid-Sept., so if it does not settle before the summer, I may not be able to stay as long as I hoped, but am shooting for at least 3 weeks, to allow time for weather-windows. And when they're not around, I'll move around England or the Borders a bit...always plenty of wonderful stuff to see! I will continue to keep you posted.

BTW, by then I will have two aviation or space shows, plus 2 talks completed and able to deliver to local groups, if you know any UK groups that would enjoy either lectures or dramatic entertainment. One of the talks is the Ercoupe presentation that Dan Hall and I presented at a local EAA chapter. The other one I'm working on this Spring, and will be delivering up in Oregon in late June, "Private Space Ventures & Adventures."  The two dramatic performances are, "First Flights," and "Impatient Wings."  The latter celebrates the men and achievements of the Space Age, in verse; the former was written for the Wright Centennial year, and consists of first-person accounts of the first flight in each of several categories (e.g. balloon, copter, Wrights, Yeager, Apollo 11, etc.)”

Fly-in reports

Tibenham
TibenhamMike Willis: On 30th December I was fed up with sitting at home in miserable weather eating Xmas leftovers, and decided to venture out in my Aircoupe. A quick check showed that there was a fly-in that day at Tibenham, just south of Norwich. The forecast from Norwich looked good so I set off. I managed to get a reluctant FIS from Lakenheath but could see lots of low cloud ahead. I had to drop to 1,200 feet at one point, but eventually managed to spot the railway line that led to a downwind join. Now talking to Tibenham, I was astonished to hear a call from the ground "all stations, microlight flying the wrong way downwind" And suddenly there it was in front of me, about 50 feet higher, a damn flexwing!

About 70 attended the fly-in, overwhelming the cafe. However it was fun flying in to the airfield where James Stewart was a Squadron Commander during the war. On the way back Lakenheath had gone home, or at least weren't answering - expecting a quiet shift the ATCO had 70 GA flying by!

Trip reports

North Norfolk
SandringhamMike Willis: It was beautiful flying weather January 8th so I decided to fly a route long planned but never flown - North from Cambridge to the Wash, along the North Nolfolk coast to Cromer, and then back in a striaght line to Cambridge. In the end I set off a little late at 14:00 but the sky was clear and there was hardly anyone else flying. I flew over Sandringham (right), one of the Queen's houses, and pottered along the coastline - lovely! But by the time I turned at Cromer for home it was getting very cold and close to sunset. So I had the final leg with the sun straight ahead on the horizon, yet with the sun low the ground was in shadow after sunset and quite dark. Thank goodness for GPS to find my way over the invisible and feeatureless sky betwen the military zones in the area. The outside temperature ended up -2C and I had lots of carb icing to keep me active. I also found out that the cabin heat is not enough for a couple of hours flying in the cold. My feet were numb by the time I landed. The total flying time was 2 hours, the longest I have managed so far in one leg.

Fun stuff

There is a nice video on Youtube – How to marshall an aircaft – worth watching, very funny! Maybe we should suggest to North Weald that their marshallers train up like this ready for us in June?

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz7FI_S0_NE

Recommended destinations

Mike’s top 5 destinations (so far) in no particular order:

Headcorn - EGKH, www.headcornaerodrome.co.uk/  Bouncy grass field in mid-Kent surrounded by sheep. Busy at weekends with training flights, parachute jumping and aerobatics all around the field, which makes landing fun! Good food and normally plenty of interesting visitors.

North Weald - www.northwealdairfield.org/airfield.html Tucked under Stansted's TMA, a long hard runway used by private jet fighters. Nice clubhouse and food.

Panshangar - EGLG, www.northlondonflyingschool.com/  Grass field run by Haim, an ex-El Al pilot. He likes Ercoupes and would like us to have a fly-in there. Excellent food.

Sywell - EGBK, www.sywellaerodrome.co.uk/  Currently grass but with permission now to install hard as well. Plenty of weekend activity, good food in first floor cafe with veranda.

White Waltham - EGLM, www.wlac.co.uk/  Busy grass airfield close to Heathrow flight path. Amazing restaurant with 10 specials of the day when I visited, incluing mussels!

Send in your top 5 for future newsletters!

Classified ads

For sale

I have a panel mount and cable for a Skymap II or III GPS. Email me if you are interested. Mike Willis mike@ercoupe.co.uk

Wanted

 

Links

Ercoupe mailing lists

For a continuous discussion on Ercoupes, or a daily digest, do register for these Ercoupe mailing groups:

Social and general content http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ercoupe-flyin/
Technical information http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ercoupe-tech/

Ercoupe Web sites

Ercoupe Owners Club www.Ercoupe.org
Robert Rombouts' site www.ercoupe-be.net
Harmut's Ercoupe Maintenance & repair site www.ercoupe.info
Mike Willis' site www.ercoupe.co.uk
SoCal Ercoupe Owners site www.calcoupers.org/ 
Al DeMarzo's site which includes his 'Ercoupe swap page' www.Ercoupe.net 
Ed Burkhead's site http://edburkhead.com/Ercoupe/index.htm

Don’t forget – any contributions to the next newsletter very welcome – email them to me at mike@ercoupe.co.uk