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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 13 February 2009

Welcome

Dear readers,

The weather in the UK has been poor virtually all of this year so far, either wet, hazy, windy, cold or all of these at once! But we live in hope that one day the weather will improve...

So please everyone, while you are looking out of the window waiting for better flying weather, why not write a brief contribution to this newsletter?

I have been very lucky, having been on a business trip to San Francisco, leaving my wife to suffer the heaviest fall of snow in the UK for 18 years. My problem in California was that I didn't take enough T-shirts. But I had a great time flying a Citabria around San Francisco Bay. There are some photos of the trip on my Ercoupe web site at www.ercoupe.co.uk under "Flying Adventures", but here is one just to show you how different the weather was to Europe!

Happy flying,

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

Ercoupe news

Kim Blackseth, pilot

Mike writes: Following the recent news of Jessica Cox - born without arms - getting a licence in a 'Coupe, now another amazing story.  Kim Bleckseth is a quadraplegic who lives in Oakland, California and he has spent the past 18 months learning to fly in a ‘Coupe he bought and had converted.  The photo shows Kim and his CFI, Mike Walcker.  He passed his check ride 20 January.  You can find videos of Kim’s first flight and solo cross country on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBLJpyvitF4 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syxxM487vzQ

I was recently in the San Fransico area on business and had hoped to meet up with Kim, and he was going to take me flying in his 'Coupe which is based at Napa County Airfield.  Unfortunately he had a bad dose of flu so it couldn’t happen. 

Congratulations Kim!  Learning to fly is a magnificent achievement.

Childhood dream comes true!

This was part of a posting on the Ercoupe-Tech discussion forum recently, a truly amazing story!

Robert Worcester:  I recently found an 53-year old picture of myself standing beside an Ercoupe. I was about 4 or 5 years old. Seeing the picture stimulated memories of that day in 1955. I remember the flight. I remember flying over Chance Vought in Grand Prairie TX, where my dad worked. I recall having trouble seeing out the window.

My dad wouldn't let me out of the seat belt and it was a real stretch to see the ground. At the end of the flight, I don't remember posing for the photo, but there I was, standing beside an Ercoupe which had the N-number visible.

I realized that's what sparked my interest in aviation so many years ago. As a child, I would always play with my airplanes much more than my cars and trucks. Since the day of that flight so many years ago, I have dreamed of flying.

After looking up 'N' number on the tail, I discovered it was an Eroupe. I began reading about them and learned this is truly a unique airplane. I printed the picture and mailed it to the guy that now owns the plane. He said he had a heart attack and could not longer fly. We talked for an hour and he finally asked if I would like to buy that plane. After explaining that I wasn't sure if I could afford it, he offered it for $10,000 and said it has been upgraded to a new C-85 engine, rudder pedals installed, all the directives have been completed, now rated at 1,400 lbs, etc., only it's been sitting for 3 years. He said I would need an A&P to kit the carburettor and do the annual.

My friends tell me I could double or triple my investment but I'd simply like to keep it, knowing it might take $5,000 to get it airworthy and $8,000 for my license. After reading about the Ercoupe, I love them, and I must have one.

Robert Worcester

History Corner

Derek Tregilgas writes: I've got a few Ercoupe shots taken around the UK over the years, and now I’ve got my act together and scanned them.

 

 

 

 

These photos show G-ARHB through the years, starting in presumably the original paint scheme at Stapleford February 1971, yellow by May 1978 at Biggin Hill, blue at Cranfield in July 1996 and then back to yellow at North Weald in June 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

Pity I didn't have a better camera back in 1971!  Cheers for now, Derek

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 split it over three issues, and this is the third and final (for now) installment!

Part 3 The later years

2004: The year I retired from work and could spend all my time on flying. Passed the “JAR International PPL” License Nr. 102508 the 22 August 2004 with P.Roosens the examinator. Finally, all tests done and free as a bird in the International air. With the Coupe Dual 1hr20 for test – 9hr58 solo. Now the sky is the limit, and I intend to use it the most I can.

2005:  The annual control, done in December 2004, obliged me to change the fabric of the wings, it ends with a total makeover of the OO-PUS. I wrote an article; ”Wings & Windows” you will find on my website www.ercoupe-be.net or published in the Coupe Capers September 2006. Only 1hr15 flying in a Cessna 152 for the all year, just not to loose the feeling, the OO-PUS was ready after the annual of December 2005.

The same year I went for the first time to an “Ercoupe Owners Convention” (EOC) at Minden Nebraska, 9 until 12 June. Amazing, I could not believe my eyes, 25 Ercoupes, polished and painted in all different schemes. That was for me a real revelation, because I was busy with my OO-PUS restoration all options where possible. The immaculate polished Ercoupes was my favour, with a blue line in the middle, wonderful. With that idea, I went back to Belgium. The result was silver painted with only the elevator and rudders polished; a Minden souvenir and reminder of the hard work stripping the paint. I did not know it was so much work to polish a plane that was previously painted.

My home base is in Ostend (EBOS) because I have a good hangar facility and I like to live on the coast with a nice view on the sea and the Ostend airport. In addition, for flying it is situated close to France, the UK, and Nederland.

2006: Perfect, I did only 1hr Skill Test flight with Marc Teugels (examinator), it is necessary every two years for the JAR License. That year I flew 61hr27 solo with the OO-PUS. Mainly flights were in Belgium and France (Le Touquet-Calais). With all my grandchildren (5) and the ones who trust me. Realizing that it will be nice to contact other Coupers in Europe as in the USA, I start to find out. An article in Coupe Capers (August 2006) written by Tony Smith about the North Weald Air Britain Classic Aircraft Fly-In was the start of a next adventure.

I wrote to Tony and asked him if in the UK there were more such meetings with Ercoupes. My idea was to  join them, as the only Belgian Ercoupe, I feel so lonely. Tony helped me a lot, sending me all his information’s about the European Ercoupes. Ernst Viehweger had a list on his website that I used and Dr. Holger Zinke give me also a few German addresses. With the email or address and my Belgian English, I try to contact all the European Ercoupers. In the beginning, it was growing from a few until I had 32 European registered Ercoupe Owners, but only a few reply me.

2007: With all the addresses, I was able to do an Ercoupe Meeting in Antwerp, why not? I contacted Dany Cabooter who organizes the Antwerp SV4 Fly-In yearly during already 17 years.

He agrees to join them, because Intair assembled the Ercoupe in 1947 in Antwerp and my Ercoupe had his 60th birthday too.

More details about this Fly-In, on my website http://www.ercoupe-be.net/capers.htm

Five Ercoupes and one Mooney Cadet attend, a wonderful experience, all the participants where very enthusiastic and I too, we all agreed for the second meeting in 2008. The photo shows left to right: Anke & Peter Nobmann (DE)/Keith Peacock (UK)/Robert Rombouts (BE)/Sid Turner (UK)/Sven-Eric Pira (SE).

The airfields I flew to in 2007 where: Manston, North-Weald (UK) report written by Tony Smith http://www.ercoupe-be.net/britain.htm , Calais and Le Touquet (FR), Diest-Schaffen (BE), Berlin – Schönhagen (DE) – Goleniow (PL) – Bremen (DE) – Leliestad (NL). About the German trip, you can read more on my website http://www.ercoupe-be.net/flyout.htm

This wonderful trip was my first long journey with the Ercoupe.

The contact with the European Ercoupers intensified and especially with Mike Willis, Tony Smith and Hartmut Beil. I was not a lonely Belgium anymore. I flew a total of 65hr45 with the OO-PUS in 2007.

2008: The good friendly meetings of the Ercoupe Owners family in Europe is now a fact. Mainly the fantastic idea Mike Willis (UK) had to make in February his first and afterwards monthly “European Ercoupe Newsletter”. This wonderful initiative, create the band we Europeans need to know each other better, and also have the opportunity finding helpful support to keep our Coupes flying.

The 3-4 May we had our second Antwerp Fly-In in combination with the organization of the SV4 Fly-In. For the 2nd time we had the quality but not the quantity of attendants, with three Ercoupes; SE-BFX of Sven-Erik Pira who came from Sweden, N-3330H of Harmut Beil with his brother of Schönhagen and myself OO-PUS from Ostend. You can read the full report on http://www.ercoupe-be.net/2fly.htm

Already three years ago I attend the USA EOC (Ercoupe Owners Club) Convention, so why not to go again this year? The Oskosh happening was exactly after it and I did the two meetings in one go. I made my subscription, and received in response the proposition, to be the Regional Director for Europe. I was astonished and flattered but waited to give an answer during the Convention. I accepted after discussing the how’s and what’s of the nomination. During two weeks, I had a perfect time in the USA. Read more on the   http://www.ercoupe-be.net/eoc2008.htm and http://www.ercoupe-be.net/oshkosh.htm

During 2008, I did more UK flights than ever before. Twice North-Weald; to the Air Britain Vintage Fly-In http://www.ercoupe-be.net/nw.htm and the Ercoupe Meet-Up Mike organized http://www.ercoupe-be.net/2emu.htm , Popham was also a very good experience  http://www.ercoupe-be.net/3emu.htm. More trips to Calais (France), Belgium, the Ursel Wings & Wheels, Diest-Schaffen http://www.ercoupe-be.net/diest2008.htm and to my previous home base Antwerp and Brasschaat. About those flights, you can also read in the Newsletters or the mentioned websites.  Concerning photos, you can see them all at http://ercoupe4577.multiply.com/photos

For all the amazing work Mike Willis did, he accepted to be “Wing Leader of the UK “, congratulation. Our Jean Flacelière, F-AZDG accepted also to be “Wing Leader for France”, now we wait only to have an “German Wing Leader”.

The year is not finish yet; some changes and the annual of the OO-PUS had to be accomplished in December this year.

To be continued, Robert Rombouts, OO-PUS, 30 November 2008

Tech Corner

Result of “Speed Increase & Pedal less” OO-PUS. January 2009

The annual was 11 December 2008 without remarks, the intended changes was; new instruments (dashboard) and removing the rudder pedals, I was happy it was done and back in shape, it was not as easy as I thought.

Removing the pedals was a piece of cake, Hartmut Beil explained me very accurately how to do it. Now I have more room for my feet, because the central console on the floor for the cables was gone. It looks so empty, the brake is now the only pedal I have, wonderful.

Concerning the instruments; normally I needed more time, and could not do what I intended in the first layout. Removing the mechanical RPM with the driving cable to the motor, the two Venturies and the vacuum driven Artifical Horizon and Gyro was easy, no special skill needed.

Inserting the two new instruments was the electronic RPM and EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System), was not a piece of cake.

Because the space between the dashboard and the front fuel tank is not so deep to fit new long instruments. Therefore, I had to accept some concessions; and moved what I can where I can in the existing holes. In the end, all the instruments must work properly. The tubes from the Pitot and Static were the most difficult. I consider to renew the dashboard with a proper layout, this is the next move.

The dashboard is ready and all functions are working well, on the ground.

Because of all the changes, we had to weight the Ercoupe; now empty weight is 876lbs, we have -20lbs with all the new instruments, but also the Centre of Gravity is more forward, perfect, I can wear heavy shoes.

I have to wait until the weather was flyable; VFR and preferably with no heavy crosswind, because this was my first flight without rudder pedals.

The 15th January was the day, only the regulation of the EFIS compass, and then hop to Ostend. Blue sky, 90° crosswind – 12kts, was acceptable for me.

With the run-up in Kortrijk, I had on my new electronic RPM a fault indication on one magneto. Therefore, taxi back and check, we found nothing. With the next run-up everything was ok; normal drop on the magnetos, ready to fly.

The takeoff was normal, nose in the wind as always, but it climbs as a rocket, with 75 mph I was climbing as never before, quickly at 1,000 ft, all the turns are so easy; “just turn the wheel”. I had a problem to find the right course to steer, that I have to learn.

To play with the new instruments in flight was my intention, but when I call Ostend Approach, they inform me it was Special VFR in Ostend. I could not believe it because I was flying in the sunshine, therefore I aborted my flying around, and the playing with the instruments will be for later.

Yes, it was less than 5,000 mtr visibility in Ostend, and could fly straight in, with a long final, on the axis of the runway in crab and the landing was very good. Hartmut Beil explained me how to do and I thank him for his advice.

Why do we need Rudder Pedals? Now I am convinced that Fred Weick is a genius, and I cannot understand why the Ercoupe is the only plane who use this coordinated Aileron and Rudder system.

Now I have to fly a lot to be able to land on small airfields, and calculate more accurately my course to steer.

ERCOUPES ARE WONDERFUL PLANES. Robert Rombouts

Puzzle corner

We have all heard recently about the amazing landing on the Hudson river of an Airbus 320 after its engines were knocked out by a collision with geese.  This reminded me of an old conundrum – did you realise that every time a fly hits your Ercoupe in flight that it stops it?

The thinking goes like this.  You are flying along and hit a fly.  The fly was buzzing along at say 5 kts towards you.  After impact it is flying in the other direction at your airspeed of say 85 kts.  So it slowed up to stationary, then accelerated in the other direction.  So at some stage it wasn’t moving, so therefore neither was your Ercoupe.  So the fly stopped your ‘Coupe!

Happy puzzling, Mike

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

Here are some suggestions for UK EMUs:

February 15 Vintage Aircraft Club Valentine Rally, Turweston
One of the very few events I've found for February. Turweston details can be found at www.turwestonflight.com. PPR Tel 01280 705400 or VAC mobile (on the day only) 07731 991545.

March (date currently unknown), Bourn - The Bourn Butty Fly-In
This is an annual charity raising event held at Mike's home base. It is normally very well attended, mainly from the Flyer Forum crowd. Not much happens at Bourn, so this is your excuse to visit! I'm still waiting to hear what date it will be held.

April - tbd

May - tbd

June 20-21, Air Britain 2009, North Weald
A regular meet-up for Ercoupes as well as everything else. This year the celebration is "Wings across the channel" commemorating the centenary of Bleriot's crossing. Hopefully we shall see some Ercoupes crossing from France, Belgium and Germany also? Details at www.air-britainflyin.co.uk

July - tbd

August - tbd

4-6 September, Sywell LAA (PFA)Annual Rally
The LAA is reintroducing the annual rally this year on , so it would be good to have Ercoupe/Aircoupe representtation there. Unfortunately this now clashes with the rescheduled 3rd European Ercoupe Fly-In (see below).

20 September, Solent Aviation Society Luscombe, Pietenpol, Autogyro and ERCO/FORNEY Fly-In, Popham
Yes, after we got 4 'Coupes to Popham last year, the Solent Aviation Society has put us on the programme. So we have to go!!!

Suggested locations for this year (but please send me your suggestions too, particularly if we can piggy-back on other fly-ins):

Great Oakley, to enable Leslie Miller to attend, and to view the Proctor "twins" under restoration (see Ercoupe News above)
Halfpenny Green (close enough for Jim McMeekan to join us from Newtownwards)

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 (note dates have changed!!!):

21-24 May 2009 Chipmeet, Zoersel, Belgium
This is an old Nato field North-West of Antwerp.

21 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 21 June 2009. New Air happening for all kind of planes, but will be fantastic if I see how they organize it.

15-16 August 2009 Schaffen-Diest
Yearly old timers Fly-In, very interesting but small grass airfield.

5-6 September 2009 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