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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 11 December 2008

Welcome

Dear readers,

It is hard to believe that another year has flown past. It has been a wonderful year (except for the weaather). The response to this newsletter has been fantastic. Each month many contributions are sent in and the circulation list is now at 65! We have also had some great fly-ins - excuses to fly and to meet each other. I hope we can continue this through 2009, and as well as England and Belgium we shall see some in France and Germany too.

There is plenty of news and some great stories in this issue, so please keep sending them, and also your photos.

Écrivez-s'il vous plaît moi en français - nous traduirons en anglais et éditerons dans les deux langages.
Schreiben Sie mir bitte auf Deutsch - wir übersetzen ins Englische und veröffentlichen in beiden Sprachen.

So finally I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Je voudrais souhaiter à chacun un Joyeux Noël et une nouvelle année heureuse !
Ich möchte jeder frohen Weihnachten und ein guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr wünschen!
Ik zou iedereen Vrolijke Kerstmis en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar willen wensen!
Vorrei augurare ognuno il Buon Natale e un buon anno!
Jag skulle lik till önskan envar en God Jul och et god nytt år!
Jeg ville like å ønske enhver en Gledelig jul og et godt nytt år!

PS. Sorry Kostas, try as I might I can't get the Greek characters to work!

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

EOC Europe News

French Wing Leader

Robert Rombouts writes: We have in Europe a new "French Wing Leader" - Jean Flaceliere.  He is already a pilot for 22 years, his Ercoupe (415C of 1946) he maintains himself and has the license to do it from the French officials already since 1986.  Jérôme Villand, (French Ercouper), who is training with his newly bought F-AZOV, received from Jean a lot of help for his plane certification.

I am very happy Jean accepts his nomination.

Robert Rombouts, EOC Regional Director, Europe

Today's PilotErcoupe News

Fame at last

Robert Rombouts writes: We are in the "Today's Pilot" magazine issue of December 2008, "Pleasurable Popham" a letter from Malcom Lee, page 51, saying how well the Solent Aviation Fly-in went and how they were fortunate to get 4 Ercoupes! One of the two photos included is one of Robert's OO-PUS taking off for his retrun flight to Ostend.

Jessica’s outstanding achievement

It has been widely reported, including in the above issue of “Today’s Pilot”, that Jessica Cox has become the first person born without any arms to gain a pilot’s licence, and she did it in an Jessica in cockpitErcoupe.

“The Able Flight Scholarship winner passed her checkride Friday October 10th after several months of training with instructor Parrish Traweek in his Ercoupe 415C. With its unique control system, the Ercoupe proved to be the right airplane for her to fly using only her feet (she does not use prosthetic arms).

Jessica's path to becoming the first person born without arms to be certified as a pilot began in Florida when Glen Davis provided her first hours of instruction in his Ercoupe. But since his was not an LSA version, she would have to wait until a suitable LSA model could be located. Enter Parrish Traweek of PC Aircraft Maintenance/Flight Services in the little town of San Manuel to the north of Tucson.

Jessica checks fuelOf her experience in becoming a pilot, Jessica said, "I highly encourage people with disabilities to consider flying. It not only empowers you but also helps others realize that people with disabilities are adept at attaining privileges that a small percentage of society takes part in. Thank you Able Flight for helping me make history as the first licensed pilot to fly with only her feet!" To learn more about Jessica, visit www.rightfooted.com.”

En France

Jean Flaceliere writes: Hi Mike!  I receive and read your newsletter, it is very welcoming for our growing community!

Many thanks to you, Mike for the big job you have done.  I appreciate the article written by Jérôme, my very persevering friend and enthusiast of Ercoupes for many years.  His dream became a reality, and the new French coupe is the second with the special "AZ"registration.

About 10 65 hp Ercoupe 415 CDs were registered in France, and more of them as F-Oscar for "Overseas" (or "Outremer, Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Indian & Pacific Islands;)

I will write later with more details of the French ‘coupes.  I think such an article in the newsletter will be a must if you publish in both English and French, as you did with Jérôme’s. (No problem Jean, send your contribution in French and we will translate and publish in both languages.)

Mike, I will return with the next issue.  All the best for you and EEO friends and members.  Safety first, fly VFR in our little planes! 

Jean Flaceliere, Jean.flaceliere@wanadoo.fr

Greek Ercoupe

SX-NAIKostas Tsagdis writes: Good day Mike, Here is some news from the only Greek Couper along with a recent photo (the young eagle is my sun).  SX-NAI just completed a renovation along with an engine re-build and she is back in the air.

Actually she never changes ownership since George Zisis who is a good friend from the past, just handed over the plane to me.

She is presently based at IKAROS airfield www.airsafety.gr north of Athens about 1 1/2 hour away by car.  It’s a nice and not restricted place.  I'm facing some troubles as posted on the Ercoupe-Tech forum but with Hartmut's assistance I'm on the way to solving them and I'll keep you posted.

Kind regards, Kontantinos Tsagdis, Athens, Greece

US ‘couper friend

NC3794HHi Mike! My name is Jack Stanton, born and raised Texan, moved to Chester, Virginia 3 years ago after retiring from State Farm Insurance Companies in Dallas, Texas, after 44 years of service.  I'm glad to have another UK Ercoupe friend.

I love my coupe, even better that my previous Cessna 150M and Cessna 172M, it's more fun and it's LSA.  Just wanted to say HELLO.  I offered Jessica my plane to train in.

A few pictures are attached.  Take care and fly safely!  Jack

Mike adds: Jack, you are making us very jealous with your beautiful ‘Coupe above that airpark!

Ercoupe art

G-ERCOMary and Rodney Tapp write: Hello Mike,  we really enjoy all your news, and would like to meet up at one of your EMUs, but sadly our year has been beset with unfitness to fly, and now the major overhaul which seems to be taking for ever - we are both getting very frustrated.

However, I thought you might like to see a photo of a water-colour painting of our plane coming in to land at Maypole airstrip.  The artist is a good friend of ours, Alan Cashin who used to fly from Maypole.  He is now a microlight instructor, although he was a professional artist.  We like his art, and find it an improvement on his famous half-sister's, Tracey Emin!

Best wishes, Mary and Rodney Tapp

Trip reports

EMU 5 - White Waltham EGLM, November 22 2008

Mike Willis, G-HARY writes: This didn’t look like it would be a well attended EMU from the start, with the regulars so far this year unavailable.  But Mark Gerrard G-COUP promised to come out and play with us at last, and Sid Turner also planned to fly.

The day before, the weather forecast looked possible, although windy and cold.  Then Mark threw in a complication - his battery.  He sent me an email Friday night “I pulled the battery for charging. The thing has a duff cell, but I expect I can get enough charge in it to start her up.” 

Then we found Saturday morning it was really windy and bitterly cold.  At Bourn I found several brave souls were flying or about to go up, including a couple of microlights.  We are fortunate in having two runways, so the cross wind wasn’t so bad.  When I took off I found myself about 1,000 feet high before I had left the airfield boundary, there was such a strong headwind.  But I realised then that Sid was unlikely to make it, as the single runway at Earls Colne was about 90 degrees to the prevailing wind.

HenleyBut one great advantage of the weather was the visibility – fantastic, with the horizon sharp and clear in every direction.  There were few clouds, so the warmth of the sun was shining in my canopy, making the cockpit temperature just bearable with the addition of full cabin heat.

After 50 minutes I arrived at the bend in the river just north of Henley on Thames, and north west of White Waltham, so one of their reporting points.  White Waltham has some strict rules for joining the circuit, necessary as it is half inside the London Heathrow CTA with the other half mainly over the town of Maidenhead.  You have to join overhead at 1,300 feet, then join the circuit at 800 feet, both QFE, and you are required to keep your circuits very tight as well.  There were several planes in the circuit, leaving or joining, it was easy as I just followed someone else in.

G-HARYWhite Waltham also has many runways, so I was able to land roughly into the strong wind.  It was gusting as well so I made a steep approach and side-slipped the last few hundred feet.  I taxied over to the visitor line near the magnificent clubhouse they have there, booked in and found the café.  But I was on my own, no sign of Mark.  So I bought myself a drink, and sat in the sunshine looking through the window to the south west, waiting hopefully to see another Ercoupe coming in.

After about half an hour I could make out a distant shape passing in front of a cloud, and was sure it had to be Mark.  A few minutes later he was closer and I was proved correct.  I went outside and watched him join overhead, fly to the downwind leg, then disappear out of sight behind the buildings before reappearing on short finals.  I was rather pleased to see him fighting the gusts as I had done on short finals, so it wasn’t just me!

G-COUPMark, in the absence of any instructions from the tower, then decided to make a taxi-tour of the airfield!  Actually, on the soft grass of White Waltham you taxi real slow, unless you have rented a plane of course!  But eventually he pulled G-COUP up alongside G-HARY.  It had been a long time since I had seen Mark last, at Air Britain 2007.  So we found plenty to chat about in the clubhouse over two very large cheeseburgers.  Just so you don’t get the wrong idea, the cuisine at White Waltham is very up-market, with many fancy “dishes of the day” that would shame many restaurants, particularly here in the UK.  It was just a cold day and we wanted some simple comfort food, and they didn’t do bacon sandwiches!

HorizonAbout 2 pm we suddenly remembered that it gets dark rather early at this time of year, so decided to head off.  We taxied and took off one after the other, and I soon lost sight of Mark as we were headed in opposite directions.

About half way home the sun went behind some clouds and stayed there for the rest of the journey.  Boy did I miss the solar heating to supplement the meagre cabin heat!  I will have to buy some warmer shoes for winter flying I think, as my feet were very stiff when I tried to clamber out back at Bourn.  The wind was still gusty and careful control was needed to get HARY down safely.

Not long after I got home two emails arrived. 

The first was from Robert in Belgium: “Hoping the weather is better in the UK than we have here in Ostend.  Wind 19kt gusting 32kt, hail, rain, snow, it was even difficult to drive on the road.  I am sure you didn't fly today, tomorrow it will be the same shit here.  A good weather to keep your slippers on all day.”

So I sent him some photos:  “Beautiful photos Mike, now I cannot believe it, it must be fake!  We are here sitting in the snow with very dangerous roads already 3 days!”

The other email was from Mark Gerrard:   “Got home safely, 45 minutes including a good 5+ in orbits just east of Blackbushe waiting for Farnborough to clear me through. Saw 103 knots ground speed. The fuel gauge broke on the way home! It's a regular occurrence; the thing breaks every two or three years and I fix it with araldite.”

The joys of flying! Mike Willis

Tech corner

Door conversions in UK

Last month Tony Smith wrote: Hello Mike.  I have a question for your readership!

"Coupe Capers" for December 2007 and January 2008 ran a couple of articles about the door conversion of an Ercoupe to make access easier for disabled pilots. Mention is made that there were at least 4 Ercoupes with this conversion, including one in England.

This is the first I've heard of this conversion and I certainly didn't know of the English aircraft.  Does anybody know which UK aircraft had this door conversion?

Power to your elbow; cheers - Tony S.

G-ARHFAndrew Gardner replies: I believe that the aircraft in question is G-ARHF.  Dick Nesbitt-Dufort who worked for the CAA, and who had had a road accident and became a paraplegic owned it.  (Mike: You can find more on Dick Nesbitt-Dufort here) He had the Aircoupe (an F1A) modified to allow him to get in and out by himself.  Along with the door mod he also had an O-200 installed and raced it.  At some point I believe that he won the Kings Cup but I'm not sure if that was in the 'coupe. 

The aircraft was grounded by my engineer a few years ago due to corrosion in the wings and for some time he stored the wings on his hangar wall at Sywell.  Don't know if they've accompanied him to Seething or where the rest of the airframe went.

As an aside, when I was at Oshkosh in 1977 I met a guy from Hawaii who owned a company called Handiflyers who converted Aircoupes for handicapped people to fly.  At the time the Aircoupe was in my future so the significance was lost in me.

Regards, Andrew.

Damage tale

Hans Peter Ehret , owner of D-EHYF writes:  Grundschaden am rechten seitenruder.  Benötige adresse eines kompetenten gutachters und werftbetrieb.  Alternativ eigen-reparatur.technische kenntnisse gut.für einige ratschläge zur demontage der höhenruderfosse wäre ich dankbar.  Kontakt über diese mailadresse oder phone 0049-7247-2744 oder fax 0049-7247-2744.  Die bisher kontaktierten gutachter besitzen nicht die erfoderliche kompetenz.

Für vorschlg und oder ratschlag wäre ich dankbar.
type ercoup 415 e h.-p.ehret

Hans Peter Ehret, owner of D-EHYF writes:  I have ground damage on the right rudder.  I need the address of a qualified advisor and workshop.  Alternatively I will do my own repair.  Technical know how and good advice on how to remove the elevator are welcome.   Please contact me at this email address or phone 0049-7247-2744 or fax 0049-7247-2744.  The already contacted advisor does not have the necessary qualification.

For propositions and or advice I will be grateful.

Hans-Peter Ehret D-EHYF, type ercoupe 415 E

rebecca-linder@web.de

Robert’s Flying Microbe

Robert Rombouts has recently completed a fantastic history of his life, or more particularly his flying experience. Rather than publish it in one newsletter, we will split it over three issues, so look forward next month for the second installment!

Part 1 The early years

Cub 1Robert writes: I was happily and easily born in September 1941 at Antwerp, as call sign “Robert”, luckily it was not “Nabukodonosor”. My mother unconsciously, instructs my first flying lessons; she feed me daily imitating a plane with a spoon. I liked it, she confirms, my food gets in like a piece of cake. Now I understand why I am always hungry after a flight.

A few years later, 1952 (at 11), my father took me to the Antwerp Airport and I may sit in a real plane, a Piper Cub OO-AHP with my sister, she was not so convinced about my flying skills. However, I was so happy, imagining I was flying high between the clouds free as a bird, boys dream.

 

Cub 2Trying to make balsa model planes, you will not believe it but I had an Ercoupe Flying Scale from Keil Kraft – Essex, powered with an elastic rubber, it never flew, but was a fair static model. Then next, a more look-alike model aircraft, with motor, mixed fuel, a lot of noise and two strings to fly in a circle. That was during my boarding school period at the age of 12-16, but I was very quick tipsy after a few minutes; concentrated at that small balsa plane turning in full speed 360° around me. After a few crashes I abandoned the model flying for the more real one. I made also a few plastic models, but that was not so dangerous.

At the age of 18, in 1959, I start the glider flying at Keiheuvel (EBKH) with my instructor Mon Van Gestel; look how happy he was to teach me the art of gliding.

GliderMy first fly was on 18 August 1959 with a Rhölerche OO-ZUG, after 6hr32 (14 August 1962) my first solo, a thrilling experience that I never will forget, concentrating on what to do where, 400ft/downwind – 200ft/base – hop and landing.

Gliding was amazing but waiting all day on the airfield and fly, perhaps, a few minutes was not so exciting. The distance from Antwerp to Keiheuvel is 65 km and I intended to fly not to drive back and forwards on the roads.

Therefore, at Antwerp Airport (EBAW) I joined the Royal Antwerp Aviation Club (R.A.A.C.) and started with the real planes. Our Club was founded in 1927 by the famous Antwerp aviator Jan Olieslagers, as Antwerp Aviation Club and became Royal in 1952.

The 8 September 1961-(was 20), I received my first Belgian Training License Nr.4067, my instructor was the famous, legendary, war ace with charisma, Mr.Daniel Jordens and a Piper Cub from R.A.A.C.

He was a real Gentleman; small, thin, perfectionist, and could shout if you did wrong. An intercom or radio for small planes was not common; the Aldis lamp (green, red, white) from the tower was the only communication in use. From September 1961 until September 1962, I did 12hr37 and made my first solo in a Piper Cub. My tie was cut and I was so proud; this was the start of a long journey.

I remember exactly the circumstances, blue open sky with little cross wind, runway 29. I made two circuits, then as short as Daniel could be, he shout me to “go back to the tarmac”. My thought was- Robert that is not a good sign, what did I do wrong again? He let me stop the Cub on the end of the runway and shouted, “go alone”. I was so surprised, was he joking, angry, fed up, was it so bad? He realizes I was astonished and shouted “go solo”, and he stepped out and closed the door. Robert was full of stress with the motor still running, concentrating on all the checks I had to do, lined up and full throttle. Up until 500ft, left turn, 1000ft level out, left turn base, green light from the tower, rocking with the wings to acknowledge and final runway 29. That landing was not very impressive; I taxied until my instructor who was shouting “again and better”. So I did, it was not a three point landing but a smooth gentle one without stress, and believe me I enjoyed it fully.

CommandosDuring that same year (1961) in July, I went to a parachute-jumping course as civilian in the military Para Commando base of Diest-Schaffen. With eleven other tourists, we followed the third civilian course or “A3”. After one week ground training, we made our first automatic jump out of a balloon. I had some books about this matter and they all mention a solid shock when the parachute gets open. With the first jump, we had to count “101-102-103” but only “hund....” came out, the rest was stuck in my throat, I was also afraid to look up if the parachute was open. However, I was slowing down and balancing from left to right and the earth was coming slowly closer, I am safe. On the ground the instructor, Charles Coremans, was shouting in an megaphone instructions I could not understand; perhaps the stress and joy that I am still alive. The landing was hard, and hurt my head on the ground, splitting my helmet. Definitely, the instructor was shouting some good advice, too late. Immediately we all received a new chute and back in the balloon, the second jump was much better. Then the euphoric good feeling, hanging in the smooth air and slowly down, it was always too short. Additionally we start shouting such things as “Geronimo” or “Banzaï” in the free dive, and felt terrific, as a super man. Only eight jumps I made, only one out of a military Flying Boxcar - you where happy to jump, so noisy. Unfortunately my mother and my girlfriend where so anxious about that jumping thing, they could not sleep at night, and I am not so egoist, so I had to abort the parachute.

The type of chute was the round white or khaki “Irwin” I think, also used during the 40-45 war.

My intention was to join the Para Commando in the Army, but as soon as my mother heard about it, she faint practically. The Para Troops where sent to the ex Belgian Congo during the troubles in the sixties, and I was sure to go, that I missed also. I did my 12 months obliged Army service 6 months in Belgium, and 6 months in Germany (Soest and Werl), in a fuel depot as 1st sergeant, the useless period of my youth, that is another story.

Next newsletter - The Middle Years. Robert gets his pilot's licence, ambitiously applies to be Belgium's astronaut, and gets his first Ercoupe.

Upcoming events

UK EMU's

These monthly Ercoupe Meet-Ups are designed as an excuse to fly! There is a separate email list consisting of UK owners and known Ercoupe enthusiasts who are updated 1 week and 1 day ahead so you know who will be there (weather providing). If anyone else would like to be included on the EMU email list then please let me know. mike@ercoupe.co.uk

EMU 6 - December 13 Duxford EGSU

This is Duxford's Xmas Dinner Bonus Day. Reduced landing field and museum entrance, plus a discounted Xmas dinner. We could all pull crackers together! Fly-in or drive-in.

The Bonus days offer great discounted prices: On 13th December, all aircraft and their pilots and passengers will enjoy half-price landing fees and much reduced museum admission. Single or twin can land for £7; museum entry is £7 for most adults and children come in free, and there will be some discount on the turkey.

On Bonus days only, the Briefing Room and balcony on the first floor of the historic Control Tower is freely available for Bonus pilots and their passengers. The £22+ million ‘AirSpace’ project is now fully open – really a ‘must-see.’ Call for PPR and briefing 01223 833376, and of course let Mike know you are planning on going at mike@ercoupe.co.uk .

EMU 7 - January 3rd North Coates or January 4th North Weald

North Coates holds their annual Brass Monkey Fly-In. This is quite a trek for most UK 'Coupes, so an alternative could be North Weald who have a fly-in Sunday 4th January.

Belgium 2009

Next year we have in Belgium the 100th anniversary of the 1st flying aircraft, we are getting old (Mike: England had her 100th in 2008!).  The following Fly-Ins or meetings I know already are :

12 June 2009 AVIA Show & International Fly-In, Ursel, Belgium

Ursel EBUL an Navo airfield (3200 mtr long) near Ostend will have an AVIA Show or International Fly-In the 12 June 2009.  I have only to fly 15 minutes, they are trying to make it fabulous, very kind people and 1st class service for pilots.

19-20 September Third European Ercoupe Fly-In, Antwerp EBAW

We will have the third European Ercoupe Fly-In !!!!!!

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

Ercoupe project wanted
Hilde van Haarlem writes: My father is very interested in finding a "project"; an Ercoupe which needs some restoration. Do you know any project available? Thank you in advance for your response. With kind regards, Hilde van Haarlem Netherlands hildevanhaarlem@kpnplanet.nl

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
Ernst Viehweger's German Ercoupe web site www.viehweger.org/deutsch/fliegen/erco-0.htm
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