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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 20 September 2009

Welcome

Dear readers,

So it has been a good month for Ercoupes, with the three in Europe for sale going to nice new owners, and some great summer fly-ins. And excellent news for the grounded Robert Rombouts who finally got his medical certificate back - read the whole saga below but get a coffee first!

In the UK we will continue with EMUs throughout the rest of the year, and anyone outside the UK is very welcome to join us.

If you have any contributions for this newletter do please send it in. Although I have briefly reported on the Popham fly-in I think it would be great to get a full report from those who visited from overseas!!!

Happy Flying,

Mike

Ercoupe news - Sold, sold, sold!

G-ONHH sold

Richard Tarry’s Forney that was being sold for charity has been bought by Neil Mackay  For the time being it will be based in Gloucester but we understand that it will then be located at Jenkins Farm near Stapleford.  Hopefully Neil will be able to join us for EMUs in the UK before too long.

Thanks to the outstanding generosity of Richard, the proceeds of the sale are going to the Burned Children’s Club.  The club helps children who have suffered burns re-establish their lives and their self-esteem.  Each year a flying day is held at Bourn airfield, and many volunteers take the children for flights.

The October issue of Flyer magazine has a flight test of G-ONHH, well worth getting hold of.  Additional photos can be found at the Flyer web site at:  http://forums.flyer.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=58042

The same issue also has a back page on the Burned Children’s Flying day, and a photo of G-ARHB in another article!

G-COUP sold

Mark Gerrard writes: Hi Mike,  Just got your note about the Popham EMU.  I hope you all have a good time.  This is from a temporary e-mail address I have set up pending me getting properly established in the US.  I have sold G-COUP to Hilde van Haarlem's father, thanks to the wanted ad in your newsletter.  It's very sad, since I had her for such a long time, but is probably for the best.  I'm not sure when they'll come over to pick her up, but if I find out I'll keep you informed. I managed one final trip on the Saturday before I left; I don't know how long it will be before I fly an Ercoupe again!

My local airport in Maryland is St Mary's County, and I went up there at the weekend to check it out. There were two super looking Ercoupes in the hangar; I didn't get the numbers because I didn't want to look like a spotter, but one day I will.

All the best, Mark.

Hilde van Haarlem writes: Dear Mike, Since a couple of weeks, my father is the proud new owner of G-COUP.  He bought it from Mr. Mark Gerrard. Yesterday, my boyfriend and I flew the airplane from Chichester Goodwood Airport to her new homebase Lelystad Airport in the Netherlands.

Thank you very much for helping us to find an Ercoupe. Best regards, Hilde van Haarlem

D-EOPI sold

Robert Robouts writes: I have just heard that the D-EOPI of Peter Nobmann is sold to a pilot who is also based in Worms.  The name of the owner is not known yet, but as soon I have his email I will send you.  Now there are 3 Ercoupes based in Worms, D-EZII / D-EJOR / D-EOPI that's unbelievable without an organized meeting!!!!

Ebay sale of N-3188H

Tony Smith writes: On EBay UK in September the fuselage stripped of anything useful from the Doncaster AeroVenture Ercoupe was for sale.  The starting bid was GBP 160 but it eventually sold for GBP 225 after 7 bids.

 

 

 

UK Airspace news

Stansted MTZ

Those of you who fly in Southern England may know very well the Stansted airport CTR north of London that we must fly around.  At each end of the class D surface region are class D stubs that are class G under 1,500 feet.  Unfortunately many aircraft have infringed the airspace here so Stansted has been able to argue for a transponder mandatory zone from September 24th.  If you wish to fly under the stubs you must have at least a mode C transponder.  Unfortunately North Weald airfield, home of the Air Britain fly-ins, is in the stub region.  You can get an exemption but you still need a radio and somehow you have to try and speak to Essex Radar between the masses of Ryanair and Easyjet flights.

A chart of the region is available here: http://www.nats.co.uk/uploads/StanstedTMZMap.pdf

Trip reports

Schönhagen EDAZ - 1st German Ercoupe Meeting – August 2009

Robert Rombouts writes: Again as for the other Ercoupe Meetings, I drove in by car instead to fly, as it should be.  More than 70 days grounded by an endless Medical Control, I find it more and more stupidly ridiculous.

Hartmut Beil organizes the first German Ercoupe Meeting at Schönhagen; EDAZ is situated south-west of Berlin.  A wonderful airfield with an asphalt runway 07-25 of 1,200 mtr, surrounded with pine trees, very good restaurant, and very helpful and kind pilot atmosphere.  Free landing fees for vintage aircrafts as the Ercoupe, a very magnificent-healthy-busy airfield with gliders, aircrafts and helicopters, and also the home base of Hartmut.

When I was eating on the upper terrace, Hartmut went with his shiny polished 1946 Ercoupe N-3330H to the fuel station, in the afternoon he had to fly with his examiner his Biannual Flight Review.  When you see his Coupe so perfectly maintained and technically in perfect condition a beauty, you have to know that Hartmut is a technical adviser on the Yahoo Tech website.

We had together a good coffee, and Hartmut had a very nice commemorating pin for every Ercouper who attend the meeting.  Then we saw a yellow and black D-EHIR taxiing, Ernst Viehweger, coming from Merseburg EDAM.  I was happy to meet him personally for the first time.  He attended the 2007 Schaffen-Diest as in 2008 then with his Ercoupe, but I flew back to Ostend and missed him already twice.  In addition, Rainer, Hartmut’s brother who just sold his Ercoupe, who I got to know during the Antwerp Fly-In in 2008.   It was a very nice meeting, friendly with only pilot’s talk.  The main subject was “What must be done to have an Ercoupe meeting with a broader attendance”.

To organize a meeting is a lot of work, waiting the all day without knowing who is coming is frustrating, why is it so difficult to answer “Yes” I am coming or “No”?  Offering a good spot and an excuse to fly to, is all the organizers can offer, the rest is just making a nice route planning and fly with the wonderful Ercoupe, if the weather and your license is valid.

Next years meeting in German will hopefully draw more attendance, we all hope, CONGRATULATION and all our THANKS to Hartmut who had the courage to organize this meeting.

Robert

 

Popham - Solent Aviation Society Fly-In - September 20

Mike Willis writes: What a wonderful day we had at the Solent Aviation Society Fly-In at Popham September 20th.  The weather was good apart from the south east of England, which prevented Rodney and Mary flying in from Manston.  Robert Rombouts and Urzula flew over from Ostend on the Saturday, and myself anfd Graham in G-HARY and Keith and Sid in G-ARHB.  Tony Smith drove in with his wife Anne, and Jennifer Høibråten joined us from Norway.  It was great to meet Jennifer at last – she is very keen on Ercoupes, despite the fact that she hasn’t learnt to fly yet.  However we all got the impression small details like that won’t stop her.

The Popham Ercoupe Love-Fest: from left to right Keith, Graham, Jennifer, Tony, Mike, Paul, Urzula, Robert and Sid.
Next year we will have lessons on how to pose for photos!

It was a bit overcast and chilly to begin with, but the sun crept through the clouds later.  Paul Rushton and his mates from the Bournemouth branch of Air Britain were there to greet us, and later they awarded a trophy and bottle of champagne to the best Ercoupe – won by Robert!

The only thing to spoil the day was when I was summoned to the clubhouse in the afternoon.  There had been a fatal air crash nearby and the fire had completely destroyed the aircraft including the registration.  The Police were anxious to discover who it might be, and the only clue at first was that it had twin fins.  Fortunately I was able to account for all of the UK Ercoupes.  We later found out it was a Nord from a nearby airfield, a terrible tragedy.

Jennifer writes: “It was such a great pleasure meeting you all, and I would like to thank all the members of the Ercoupe club in England and its associates for receiving me so kindly. And the planes themselves....just awesome!

I had a thoroughly lovely day at Popham today, and am returning to Norway with a big happy grin on my face (and even more fuel to the fire to learn to fly as soon as possible!). Thank you all very much again, and I look forward to meeting you all again.  Please convey my thanks and regards to Robert and his wife, Graham, and to Sid and Keith. Also Tony Smith, Anne, Paul at Air-Britain...it was a great pleasure to make the acquaintance of all of you. I look forward to maintaining the contact and to meeting you all again in the future.”

 

Shuttleworth Evening Display - Old Warden 26 September

Mike writes: One of my 'right-hand seat' friends Alex was planning to go to this event, so we flew in! The Shuttleworth Collection is a fantastic collection of aircraft, almost all pre-1939, and most of them still flying. The evening shows are dedicated to flying the older aircraft, so the stars of the display were 1st World War aircraft both English and German, and then at dusk in the very calmest conditions the Edwardians - those built before 1911!

We hadn't been there looking around for very long before we bumped into Bob Grimstead, a display pilot who had briefly joined us at Popham the previous week. He flies a Fournier RF4D motor glider and we were delighted to find he was displaying that day. His was easily the most modern aircraft to fly, but the slow aerobatcic display with smoke from the wing tips was magnificent. If you ever get a chance to see his display do not miss it!

However Bob also warned us that to fly the most fragile aircraft they would display until darkness, so the only chance to leave by air that day was before the displays. So we were the only aircraft to fly in then fly out before the show began! As the airfield is only 30 minutes drive from Bourn, G-HARY's home base, we didn't miss much when we drove back after putting the Aircoupe to bed for the night.

After seeing 1930's, then 1920's, then 1st world war aircraft flying, the very old ones were even more unbelievable. Close to the end replicas of a 1910 Bristol Boxkite (maximum speed 50 mph, powered by a Continental C-90) and an 1911 Avro Triplane flew. Both of these aircraft were built especially for the 1965 film "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines". Neither has a stick and rudder control like today (the Avro has wing warping) and so are not easy to fly. To watch them flying so slowly up and down together as the sky darkened and the moon came out will remain with me for a long time.

 

 

 

Technical issues

Spar holes

Recent news from the US is a ACS – Airworthiness Concern Sheet – issued by the FAA for comments.  It is in reaction to some of the findings of a fatal in-flight break up of an Ercoupe at Sebring, Florida late last year.  Inspection of the wreck showed that the wing spar had been drilled to facilitate remounting of a seat pan or something else.  These holes which are considered at present as improper maintenance coincide with the points of failure of the spar.  The ACS is available here:

http://edburkhead.com/Ercoupe/faa_ACS_spar_holes.htm

There has been a long discussion of this issue on the Yahoo Ercoupe-tech web forum (link at the bottom of this newsletter).  It would seem that many Ercoupes have at one time been modified to take either Cessna or Forney/Alon bucket seats and that this may account for the holes.

What has surfaced in the mean time is a letter from Fred Weick concerning drilling the spar.  Bill Yeates writes:  I don't know if this will help, but it is interesting.  A former owner of N94890 removed some Cessna 150 seats from the coupe and asked Fred Weick if the remaining holes were a problem.  Here is Fred's reply – click on the image on the right for a larger readable version.

At the time of writing it is thought that the cause of the break-up was control system play and that the wings failed under negative G.

 

Medical issues

Roberts 2009 Endless Medical Control (a true story)

Robert Rombouts writes: You will not believe my endless problems I had with my “Medical Control” in 2009.

16th June 2009, I had the same day, in the morning my yearly check at the ophthalmologist and in the evening the six months medical control at the Hospital in Bruges.

Four years ago, September 2005, I had a Cataract operation on my right eye and was grounded 3-months, this I could understand but it was not a huge problem; it happens during the winter months and the one year OO-PUS restoration was still not finish.

My ophthalmologist (woman) found this year that the Cataract eye had an opaque film behind the lens.  She told me this happens after three weeks-months-years, or a normal result after a four years operation.  The small intervention is painless, quick and with immediate result, she said.

I mention her that I had my Medical Control in the evening, but “it is a minor intervention”.  She put already some drops in my eye to open the pupil, and with a laser, she burned a hole in that opaque skin. After 30 seconds the intervention done, with a phenomenal result, my visibility was now perfect, a chock when all the fog was gone (a little exaggerated).  Relieved with the result, and my diagnose letter I always received from my ophthalmologist for the Medical Control doctor.

Filling the usual medical papers with the Bruges doctor, and I enclose my eyes diagnose!?!?!?!?  Mayday, Mayday, “What’s that operation you had on your eye”? “No, No it was a small insignificant intervention“.  Without any other control whatsoever, telephone call to Brussel, big discussion, “sorry but I have to send this diagnosis to Brussels and we will contact you asap”. This was day 1.

After two-three-four weeks, asking every week “No news?”, yes, no news!!!

Then during that period, my dentist extracts a tooth and made a provisory bridge to look decent, if that is still possible.  A week after I had so much pain in my ear, like needles and ice water was dropping in.  Immediately I visit my home doctor, who expects fluid after the tympanum.  With antibiotic this will be cured, with a lot of fear, what do I have to explain on the next Medical?  That pain didn’t go after a week, so back to doctor, new antibiotic and a few bad nights with pain.  No result after two weeks, then visit an otologist who did all the tests during one hour and explain me that my ears was perfect, but my left jawbone muscle had an inflammation due to the provisory tooth prosthesis;  I chew always on one site and hurt my jaw muscle.  No fears anymore for my Medical, even my ears are perfect too.

The doctor’s secretary was on holiday and back the 3rd August.  I asked her that day, if I could not phone Brussels, and find out myself how long I have still to wait, she did it for me and.......... again Mayday-Mayday.........  Brussels was waiting to receive the forms of my general Medical Control, then they can  decide what to do as a total package, what is logic, good eyes and a catastrophic body is not evident.  Every Thursday the Medical board have their meeting in Brussels, and decide about all the special cases as mine.  The doctor was also waiting until Brussels will send the result of the eye diagnosis before my general control. Perfect understanding, everybody was waiting, I too.

Question: ”When can I pass The Medical”? The doctor is until 11th August on holiday, but that day is already fully booked, the 18th will be next (only on Tuesdays does he do controls).  Insisting that I lost already all the summer; polishing, caring and sitting in my plane, then the doctor was so kind to take me as first on the 11th. (day 56)  Finally I pass “The Medical” and all papers will be send the same day to Brussels for the medical meeting of 13th.  Hoops, problem, the papers arrived too late and will be discussed the next, or 20th .  I could not wait anymore and phoned the 21st, no problem the secretary assures me, she will phone the doctor and he will reply me immediately.  No answer, no reply.  Monday 24th I phone again to the secretary, “We are so sorry but your papers were sent to a wrong address, but no panic your papers will be found back”.  Eureka, papers found and shall be discussed on Thursday 27th. (day 72).

Friday 28th, without news I phoned the chief doctor in Brussels.  My case could not be discussed because my Medical forms were wrongly and incompletely filled in, such a form is useless.  On Monday 31st August a telephone meeting will be organized to straighten all the faulty papers, and then I will receive the 1st September the result of it. (day 77).

Answer: “New forms will be generated and those will be discussed again Thursday 3rd September in Brussels. Without news I phoned the secretary again the 4th, “Yes you may come the 8th, or next Tuesday to collect your license”.  Not trusting the answer, I phone Brussels. “We are very sorry, until now your papers are not right, but we understand that everything went wrong with your control and the doctor will give you the blue Cat 2 medical form”.

EUREKA – The 10th September I finally received after 86 days of waiting and grounded my one-year valuable license back.

I missed all the best Fly-Ins.  In June North-Weald (A big shame), Schönhagen (I am so sorry Hartmut, but he postponed for me the meeting for end July), in July Tannkosh (weather was lousy), in August Spa 100 years, Schaffen-Diest and now Zoersel, Grimbergen, Great Oakley, ..... What is left of the nice sunny summer? My 2009 is ruined, hoping of a nice autumn.

Sorry to all of you, I promised visiting different meetings and I was chained here due to a small blue form Cat 2 that I miss.

Robert -  OO-PUS

Fly-Ins

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

October
I am trying to find a date to possibly meet up with Mark Gerrard when he temporarily retruns from the USA. I suggest we take the opportunity to fly to Goodwood. When I hear from Mark (hint!) I'll let everyone know.

The Vintage Aircraft Club 2009 All Hallows Fly-In is at Leicester 31 October. I'm happy to coordinate this, but won' be able to fly there due to being in sunny Barcelona!

November
How about visiting Headcorn in Kent and trying to take some good flying weather in Rodney and Mary's direction?

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/ 
Ercoupe photo album 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