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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 2 March 2008

Welcome

I was delighted at all of the positive feedback from the first European Ercoupe Newsletter, which has also resulted in much of the content for this issue. I really hope it will continue, so do please keep sending me news, articles, fly-in reports, interesting trips or web links that may be of interest to fellow 'Coupers. And if you prefer, please send in French or German if you prefer, and we will translate into English for you!

I have also set up a page on my web site where you can find all of the newsletters as they are published. Go to www.ercoupe.co.uk and you will now find a "European Newsletter" button once you reach the main page. If you have trouble reading this email then that is the place to go. Incidentally if you cannot read this email correctly could you let me know via email, and let me know which email software you are using on which operating system and I will try and improve it.

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

Ercoupe News

Dormouse nest!
Dormouse nest found in wingJean Flaceliere F-AZDG writes: Bonjour Mike & merci pour votre message qui me permet de mettre à jour mes données, étant dans la communauté Ercoupe depuis 22 ans. I'm very glad to read you here, & I'm also very happy to join our growing European family. Many thanks to my friend Dave Vernon; he guested me at Southport during end of 2006. I don't forgot Tony Smith - Tony wrote me many time since 20 years ago! During the past 20 years I have carried a dormouse family in my wing edge without a passenger pass! See you all in our 2nd Euromeet at Anwerpen airport.

German owner change
Ernst Viehweger D-EHIR writes: Actually there is one web page more with Ercoupes: www.viehweger.org/deutsch/fliegen/erco-0.htm and this page contains a list with all the German registered Ercoupes. There is one exemption: D-ELIX was damaged by the storm Kyrill during January 2007, see the link on my page. Because Karl-Heinz Auerswald is old, just losing his PPL because he couldn't pass the medical check anymore, he sold it to Ralf Kohnen the owner of aircraft structural repair specialists Flugzeugreparaturen Ralf Kohnen GmbH www.flugzeugreparaturen.de. That happened at the end of January 2008. BTW, normally I'm living in Berlin. But during the next 3 month I'll handle my email from my farm in Texas. And there I have another Aircoupe project. Have a look at www.eaa972.org/members/viehweger/index.htm

"New" Ercoupe in France
Jérôme Villand writes: Now, I can inform you of the imminent arrival of my Ercoupe 415D (formerly EI-ICH) of Ray Harper. In France my Ercoupe  will be registered collectors in CNRAC registre and will be the second flying after Jan Flacelière’s F-AZDG! As soon as the plane arrives (near Lyon, ICAO code LFLR) I will send you some pictures and infos for the next newsletter. Long live to EEOC !

Derek's restoration
Derek Tregilgas G-BZNO writes: My machine is currently with Mark Masters at Goodwood and he assures me it will be ready for roll-out before too long. I'll believe it when I see it of course, but in the meantime I really must get my PPL re-validated. Here I am flying 747's around the planet and I have to take a 'Licence skill test' with an examiner to get my PPL back. It does make a lot of sense of course - I really wouldn't know where to start being so close to the ground, and I can only imagine that my first few attempts at landing one of these after so many years will Derek at workbe quite entertaining ! I'm used to being 30 ft up when my wheels make contact! Anyway - I will indeed look forward to meeting up with you all again next year, with or without an Ercoupe of my own to play with!
  
Thought I'd attach this picture of me in my office on my way from Tianjin, China to Anchorage, Alaska recently (pondering the complexities of doing my Ercoupe conversion !)

History Corner

The "Maypole Ercoupes"
Rodney Tapp G-ERCO writes: Mention of G-EGHB is the last newsletter brought back memories. G-EGHB features in my log book 8 times in 1996, during the time when it belonged to the late and lamented Jimmy Spanton. Jimmy had a son who lived in the USA, and the two of them poked around in the late 1980’s looking for a suitable plane to import. He eventually decided it was more economical to import 3 Ercoupes in one large shipping container.

N3414GWhen they arrived, frankly they looked a mess. There were two engineers then at Maypole, and they started putting the first one together, with great care and efficiency, under the supervision of another engineer from Manston. While still on the Amercan register a few trial flights were made, but unfortunately not being used to Ercoupes the experienced pilot and engineer did not find enough elevator response at landing speed, and touched down just before the threshold into an open plough furrow, ripping off the undercarriage and writing off the aeroplane.

The second one was rebuilt using some of the better parts from the first one, and was completed at the beginning of 1993. This was registered as G-ERCO. Jimmy was anxious to sell shares in it to raise money for the third one, and my wife and I bought two thirds of it from him, eventually buying the last share when G-EGHB was completed. G-ERCO was a little under-powered at 85 hp on a shortish grass runway, and Jimmy was trying to persuade us to exchange it for G-EGHB with 100 hp at the time when I was flying it. However, we both preferred G-ERCO with its rag wings, and kept it. Sadly Jimmy died, and his widow tried to sell G-EGHB, which by then needed considerable expenditure on its metal wings. It ended up in the museum at Gatwick. I did meet it again at Rochester airport, I think it was last year, when it was having work done on it. Incidentally, EGHB is the ICAO reference for Maypole Airfield (near Herne Bay).

G-EGHBTony Smith adds: I met a guy at an Air-Britain Fly-In at Wroughton many years ago who was a CAA inspector; one of the "old school", a rag and stick man. His name was Ted Dann and he became a good friend. He knew I was keen on Ercoupes and in August 1991 took me down to Maypole Farm where he was "in charge" of signing off various stages in the rebuild of Ercoupe 415-C N3188H (c/n 3812). He introduced me to Jim Spanton and engineer Brian Mayo. Needless to say, my visits to Maypole became regular and I witnessed the rebuilding of all three of Jim's aircraft. I had the broad details of the accident to N3188H and its good to have the whole story - the only thing I don't know now is the exact date. Apparently it had 5 hours flying when it pranged. The stripped out aircraft is now hanging from the roof in the AeroVenture Museum at Doncaster!

The second aircraft, N2585H (c/n 3210), became G-ERCO as Rodney states and Jim brought it to the Air-Britain Fly-In held in June 1993 at Wellesbourne Mountford. He was awarded the Ron Souch Rosebowl for the best amateur restoration!

The third aircraft, c/n 1876, which became G-EGHB has a quite interesting history; as N3414G its was registered as an Aerostar (ERCO) 415-D. I have never been able to work out why despite the tie-up between Mooney and Butler in 1969; the only aircraft of the Ercoupe family then in production was the M-10 Cadet!

Don't forget - G-EGHB is awaiting interested pilots to rent or form a group. Contact Peter Vallance on +44 (0)1293 862915 or email gpvgat@aol.com and save this lovely 'Coupe from becoming a museum exhibit again!

Upcoming events

Europe

Bourn Bacon Butty Fly-In, Bourn EGSN, March 15
Later this year in August pilots based at Bourn and elsewhere will again take a group of young children attending a nearby camp on a short air experience flight. All of these children have been severly burned in accidents and the camp and flights are intended to help them regain self confidence and a sense of achievement. As a fund raiser Bourn is hosting a "Bacon butty" fly-in on Saturday March 15. The Bourn Bacon Butty consists of crispy bacon, eggs, onions, tomatoes all in a crusty sliced Euro stick covered in a generous coating of grated cheese. Healthier and vegetarian options are also available.

All profits will go to the Burned Children's Club Flying Day. You donate what you think the food is worth (we are not selling it), if you don't like it don't donate. If you want to attend this worthy event then please send an email to Trevor Gilpin (for catering numbers).

This is Mike Willis' home field so it would be nice to get a few 'Coupes together! Bourn has 2 hard runways 18/36 and 06/24 so there is absolutely no excuse that we are above an Ercoupe cross wind limit!

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/

Trip reports

Ostend to Berlin Tempelhof
Robert Rombouts OO-PUS writes: In June 2007, Mr.Axel Mebis of my Flying Club, the Royal Antwerp Aviation Club organized a FlyOut to Berlin Tempelhof Germany the 15 -16 September 2007. This Airport will be probably closed in October 2008; it will be the last chance to land on this historical airfield.

After physical and computer meetings, a special website was made to increase the communications between the participant pilots. We expected 9 planes that will takeoff from Antwerp (EBAW), I am based in Ostend (EBOS) and my route was different. One day before Hartmut Beil from Berlin (also an Ercoupe Owner –N333OH 415C) mailed me that we will not be alone in Tempelhof; mainly the German AOPA had a protest meeting with more than 100 planes to prevent the closure of the airfield, that will be fun and crowded to land.

Berlin TempelhofWith all the necessary new German flight maps, computing my route and the GPS (Garmin 295), the route will be: Ostend – Bielefeld (Germany) – Berlin Tempelhof. Departure Ostend 15 September at Zulu 08:34 full of fuel, fair VFR weather, expecting a low visibility in Eindhoven (Holland). Via Holland (Nijmegen) to avoid all military airfields, then direct to Bielefeld (EDLI). Total of 3hr 06 minutes fly time at 2,500ft. After refuelling and a quick meal in Bielefeld, I continued to Berlin via Magdeburg, 2hr 27 at 3,000ft. Beautiful flight in good weather, little hazy, I arrived in the middle of Berlin passing the reference points W1 and W2. Amazing, unique, beautiful. The landing was bumpy; the wind blew in between the buildings around the runway and kicked my poor OO-PUS as a small leaf. I was happy to arrive at local 16:55 with “The Ercoupe of 1947“ it is a reliable, wonderful plane.

After all the paperwork in Tempelhof I went to the Mercure Hotel where some of the other pilots from Antwerp had also booked a room. We met all together at the Alexander Platz and ready for a good meal and a beer. Next day the Landing Fee and handling cost was a surprise, Euro 71,40 plus Euro 12,00 approach taxes. I understand why they have to close.

Schönhagen I planned then to meet Hartmut in Schönhagen (EDAZ), refuelling and oil, for small 36 minutes fly. My meeting with Hartmut was the most interesting; he explained, proposed and convinced me to change some parts of the OO-PUS. He is an Ercouper technical specialist, a person you like to talk with during hours about our nice Coupe, I am very grateful about his knowledge. His daily profession is computer programmer.

So my first concern will be when I am back in Belgium, to make all the recommendations Hartmut told me. The old ADF, which was not working properly, the balance weights on my ailerons willdisappear also, the big antenna which takes a lot of air resistance also, finally I am thinking to change the two vacuum venturies for the artificial horizon and gyro to an electric combined instrument. With all those changes I will fly like a jet!

GoleniowAfter Schönhagen and near of the Polish border I intend to make a small jump to Goleniow (Poland) as one of our members of the RAAC did month ago. From Schönhagen to Goleniow, 1hr 40 in blue sky at 2,500 ft, a real Ercoupers dream weather. With Gdansk Information, very cooperative in English, I arrived at a modern airfield where a nice welcome delegation was waiting for me. As soon I was on the apron four kombi of the local Police made a perfect circle around the OO-PUS. Luckily one of them spoke English and I had to explain my intentions, but as soon I start to tell him that my plane was a 1947 USA Ercoupe, I had to show them all the details about the plane and was not considered anymore as a terrorist. Safety first and that’s the obsession in Goleniow, you cannot walk to your plane or to the planning, even not to the meteo without a person from the handling that had a special badge to open the doors: five doors to the Meteo, four to the planning and a special car to drive you to your plane. I made the next day some short flying around but had to return to the International airport of Goleniow for my return to Belgium.

Return 20 September from Goleniow to Bremen with a fuel stop at Rechin-Lärz (Germany). Good visibility, 10 kt head wind, expects 1hr 20 fly time at 2,000ft to Rechin-Lärz. After 20 minutes flying I saw the front tank wire gauge completely down, this mean normally no fuel in the most important tank who feed by gravity the motor. Quick thinking, no fuel (impossible, was just full), leak in the tank (impossible, my pants must be soaking wet), fuel pump not working (perhaps after 20 minutes of flying). Then the safest was to land as quickly as possible when the motor is still running. Pushing the nearest on the GPS that was Dabie (Poland). I cancelled the flight plan and explained the situation on Gdansk Information, calling Dabie radio without any reply in English, German and French, then straight in. Very high grass with a lot of hidden water pools but landed safe, I didn’t have to use my brakes it stops pretty well. No one was present on that airfield.

The wire gauge was broken inside and I could take the still existing top just out. Tank was full so no problem, but impossible to continue without gauge. Then I decide to fly back to Goleniow for repair. The fly out was remarkable, first taxi to the end of the runway when grinding a lot of grass and evidence on the windshield as the water splashed as in a carwash. Full power, brakes on, release the brake and !!! when the speed could not catch up and the motorway on an elevation at the end of the runway came closer, I decide to abort and take off with the wind in the tail. That was the best idea, I went off at 60 mph close to the ground until I had enough speed to climb at 1,000 fpm and back to Goleniow.

In Goleniow, the guy from handling with minibus was very friendly and help me to repair with the wire of a iron coathanger he found. I still fly with it. Next day again, meteo, flightplan all fees paid, again back to Rechin-Lärz and Bremen. But the weather was around Bremen not so perfect, low visibility. Until Rechin-Lärz, 1hr 20 as planned in good weather conditions. After refuelling in Rechin-Lärz I flew to Bremen, in 2hr 20 at 1,500ft, even around Bremen 1,000ft due to bad visibility. I can compare Bremen airfield with Antwerp and feel a little bit home; my previous base was Antwerp.

BremenIn Bremen I met Peter Nobmann (D-EOPI a 415C sernr: 541 the oldest Ercoupe in Europe). Peter and his wife Anke give me VIP hospitality, delicious BBQ with very good wine in the evening, a good bed that gave me the power for the last leg to Ostend the next day. In the morning a VIP+ breakfast was waiting for me with even a computer to check the weather for the fly to Leliestad (Holland). I thank Peter and Anke very much for their kind hospitality, in such occasions you realise that the Ercoupe family is real. Same passion and interest, Thank you.

Last legs Bremen - Leliestad – Ostend. Bad start, fog in Bremen, I waited till 12:30 before the visibility was more than 6Km, Leliestad was 10Km. Peter arranged everything for my check out, the flying was fair but in Leliestad I had the sun in front of me. 2hr 02 at 2,000ft with 15 kts head wind. It was my first flying in Germany with the Ercoupe and I had during the all journey, kind and cooperative controllers and approaches, it is a dream to fly in Germany. Leliestad (Holland) is a busy and nice airfield, good food, beautiful museum with kind and helpful people. I had just a snack, refuelling and oil check then the last leg.

Back to the home base of Ostend, 2hr 20 at 1,500ft between all the CTR of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Arriving time 18:10 local in EBOS. The total flying time was 16hr 40; the cost is secret and the feeling wonderful, with the determination to do it again as soon as possible.

But now first to the UK then to Nangis (France) where Jean Flacelière (F-AZDG 415C - 1946) is still waiting for me. As Jean always sign his mail, KFC (Keep Flying Coupe)

Robert Rombouts OO-PUS - 415D – sernr: 4577 – 1947

Fun stuff

For those of you who haven't seen it, take a look at the crosswind landing at Hamburg a week ago (OK maybe this isn't fun stuff). This has caused a lot of discussion within the Ercoupe community about the merits of landing in crosswinds in an Ercoupe.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkQo4jO7EmY

It is therefore worth watching an Ercoupe landing in a crosswind - this is Dan Hall in N3968H landing in a 30 kt 90 degree crosswind!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=4Ob7toBLP2I

For those with a short attention span the action really starts around 4 minutes in! It has also come out that pilots used Ercoupes as part of their type rating for the Boeing 707 in the early days, as the way to land it was crabbed just likean Ercoupe!

Recommended destinations

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
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