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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 21 October 2009

Welcome

Dear readers,

A relatively short newsletter this time, as I'm afraid little was sent for me to publish. So instead of looking out of your window at bad flying weather, consider sending me something nice to put in the next issue. Everyone has a story to tell, so do share it with us all!

Happy Flying,

Mike

Ercoupe news

2010 - The Fly-Ins year

Robert Rombouts writes: Making propositions for Fly-Ins or Meeting-ups is easy, but it is up to you to join them!

In 2007 I started an European Fly-In in Antwerp because my OO-PUS was build in the USA in 1947 (60 years anniversary) and also assembled in Antwerp as the actual flying Ercoupes: F-AFOV (OO-AIA), HB-ERB (OO-EXA), D-EJOR (OO-EXE), D-EBRA (OO-JDN) and D-ENUC (OO-LXG).

After three years, the Antwerp airport is an Ercoupe base with roots for the remaining Coupes.  We will have again in May 2010 the 4th European Ercoupe Fly-In, the exact date will be confirmed.

As in the USA, the Ercoupe Owners Convention is every year in a different US State; we create also this system and will do our Convention every year in another Country.

I propose to do the first Convention in 2010 at North Weald UK in June 19-20 during the Air Britain Fly-In.  We receive all the support from Phil Kemp (manager of North-Weald), he propose me to organize for the 70th anniversary of the Ercoupe a special treatment for us.  We thank him sincerely for the nice proposition.

Why will the UK be the first location? Because in order of importance of number of known flyable Ercoupes we have nine (9) in the UK, in Germany six (6) and therefore will be in 2011 the next location.

However, in 2010 we will have more Meeting-Ups than this two.  In Belgium, we have the next opportunities to fly to:

• In August the Schaffen-Diest fly-in.  Date will be confirmed but normally around 15th.
• Ursel near Ostend, this is a old NATO airfield.  Date will be confirmed later.
• Zoersel near Antwerp, also an old NATO airfield.  More details will be given later.
• Spa near the German border.

I hope to find more opportunities and excuses to fly in Belgium, but we are not as in the UK an air minded country.  With all the regulations and anti aircraft groups, it is difficult to organize some General Aviation meetings.

In Germany, Hartmut organized already in Schönhagen a Meeting, and I hope that in 2010 he will have the next one.  Perhaps in Worms a Meeting will be organized too, let us hope the three-based Ercoupers will find a date.

Conclusion, ideas and opportunities enough to fly and meet interesting and kind Ercoupers.

Keep Coupers and Coupes Flying.

Robert Rombouts

Vintage Ercoupe film

Christian Nicca writes: Dear Mike, thank you for your newsletter, which I always enjoy reading, and it made me visit your website again today.  I saw that there was a link to YouTube, and remembered this old film showing original footage of HB-ERB on a cross country to Zurich International Airport in 1956 - after about a minute of other scenes.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=INd-6AaavYU

Kind Regards, Christian Nicca

Mike adds: This is amazing colour footage of flying – both GA and commercial – as it used to be, and well worth watching.

Affordable Ercoupe

Ed Benguiat writes:

Hey Coupers, this affordable Ercoupe comes with a free annual too.  Have you ever seen this?

https://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/aircraft/Ercoupe.html

Prof. Ed

You never know who you will bump into

Alan Fairclough writes: The 4th weekend in October in Texas is becoming famous.  For the last 25 years Dave Mason, a retired Delta pilot, has been hosting a fly-in at his ranch in Walker County, Texas called REKLAW, (Walker backwards).  This year there was a record of 500 planes registered.  Many flew in and out but did not register or pay the $5.00 registration fee.

My coupe was parked next to another coupe and I noticed a couple that were looking and smiling and admiring the pair of coupes like only another coupe owner can.  They were in fact from Germany and that is how I got to know Ernst Viehweger and his wife!

Alan Fairclough, texasaviator@yahoo.com, Texas EOC Wing Leader

A good ol’ yarn

Dave Winters, from Clarksville, Tennessee was recently in the UK at a conference, and we had hoped to meet up.  Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, but he did manage to at least visit an airfield while in London. 

Dave writes: Mike, I watched many aircraft climbing out from Denham Field while on my stay (I bunked with a friend in Rickmansworth).  In all the years I lived there, I never visited nearby Denham Field.  They had stories about a pair of brothers based there, one blind and the other deaf.  The blind one, they said, talked on the radio, and the deaf one did the flying.  I guess the intra-cockpit info. got passed by sign-language, but on the whole, the arrangement sounded impractical.  I wonder which one dialled in the frequencies?  Don't know how long ago this was supposed to have been.

Dave

Mike writes: Dave, I think the blind pilot's seeing-eye dog worked the radio! Are you sure they weren’t trying to pull your chain when they heard your accent?


Trip reports

Popham (EGHP) -  20 September 2009

Robert Rombouts writes: Finally back in the sky with OO-PUS after my disastrous medical history. As always, I like to fly one day before an Ercoupe meeting to have the possibility if the weather is bad to fly the next day.

The 19th Ostend (EBOS) meteo was not very promising with 5km visibility, no wind, but becoming 8km visibility during the afternoon.  At Manston, it was only 4km visibility but will also improve later during the afternoon.  This means that I do not have to expect an endless nice horizon during the trip.  With luggage, flight plan filled, and good hope we went direction airport.  The route was from Ostend – direct Dover – Washington (reference point) – Popham, a 2hr20 flight time.

Soon after take-off, I climb out to fly above the haze, but reaching already 3000ft, I still needed the artificial horizon.  The white Dover’s cliffs were nicely visible after 45 minutes flying and as promised, the visibility improved, but I changed my altitude to 2000ft due to low clouds.  I think the UK controllers like to hear my voice, because after leaving Ostend approach for London info, I had to change above the Channel to Manston radar, then - Lydd radar – Farmborough East – Farmborough West till Popham.  However, always very kind and helpful especially when I mention the type of aircraft “Erco”, then I had to explain more details; as I was flying an unknown, two seat shoebox.

Arriving at Popham after only 2hr10 flying, my landing could be more professional; a bad approach, too short final, and too fast, the 550ft elevation of the airfield surprised me. However, the runway 03 is long enough and landed with a soft sweet kiss on the grass.

Tony and Anne where the first to give us a welcome reception on the UK ground, we were very happy to see them again.  With a warm coffee (I think it was) and a relaxing rest on the terrace in a watery sun, we talk after a too long time with Anne and Tony to update everything again.  Booking a hotel, and meeting the kind and fantastic airfield manager Dick Richardson, who brings us with his Mercedes at “The Dove Inn” opposite Mecheldever Station, very nice rooms with good restaurant near the airfield, an address to remember.

Next day, 20th September the weather looked fair at Popham, but who knows elsewhere.  Mike arrived first with his G-HARY and a friend, and a few minutes later Keith and Sid with their G-ARHB.  Glad to see my Couper friends back, chatting and enjoying our stay together how short it also can be.  A tragic fatal crash happened with a two fin aircraft nearby, first we thought it was an Ercoupe because the plane was unrecognisable destroyed, Mike was sure it was not an Ercoupe, afterwards the news arrived that it was a Nord from a close airfield.  Such accidents are always awful; I don’t know more details about it.

Normally we expected more Ercoupes such as Arthur & Mary (G-ERCO) but the weather in Manston was under the flyable minima.  We met also a very interested visitor, Jennifer Hoibraten from Norway, we convinced her that the Ercoupe is the best plane and she will start to learn flying as soon she is back in Norway. 

The Air Britain Bournemouth & District Branch gave me the trophy of the best Ercoupe, that was a good surprise, I was lucky that Hartmut, Heiko, or Stephan were not in Popham.  The point is you have to be in the right place at the right time.  Thanks Paul from Air Britain for the nice trophy.  After Keith and Sid’s departure home, Mike and his friend went also back to Bourn.

On Monday 21st we flew back from Popham, such a beautiful weather on paper I never received, 3kt wind, CAVOK in Lydd – Manston – Ostend, even the flight instructor who intend to fly to Le Touquet (France) made the remark that it was “scaring unbelievable”.

Giving all my best regards to everyone in Popham and go for that Cavok flight.  First leg, Popham – Washington (reference point) at 2500ft.  After 20 minutes, I had to come down to 2000-1500ft poor visibility-low clouds even a nice black one.  Therefore, I decided to lower until 1200ft, and even then I was still crossing a few clouds.  I had the impression that 3kt wind was completely wrong; I could not keep my heading, and was pushed heavily to the right.

Changing from one radar to the other until I had London info and asked the Ostend weather, “Cavok”.  Or the terminology of “Cavok” is changed (from: Ceiling and Visibility OK- to - Care About Visibility Original Killer) or they are right and I was in a bad airspace.  Intending to land at Headcorn if this situation will continue, or waiting to see what the Channel will offer me.  I could not believe it, after Dover it was Cavok, the right significance of it, the French coast was visible and now straight to Ostend over the Channel.  Arriving in Belgian control zone after mid Channel, Ostend approach give me the information that sector D was active (a military airspace west of Ostend) - no problem I will stay over the water at 2500ft.  Approaching more of Ostend, I received the information, sector A was also active (north of Ostend), no problem, will climb to 2700ft and stay over the water. Then the approach ask me if my intention was to pass north of sector A, affirmative, but when I was clear from that military sector A, he give me a vector direct to Ostend with a right hand landing to 26.  The total flight time was 2hr05, amazing how fast an Ercoupe can fly pushed from the tail.

During the Ostend information’s about the active sectors around the airport, I remembered the story of a DC3 pilot coming from Amsterdam with passengers in-flight Antwerp, the Antwerp tower told the pilot that the airport is closed due to fog, the pilot asked “if Brussel was open”, “negative also closed”, then “Ostend”, “also closed”, “what are your intentions”......... pilot - “jump”!

We had a wonderful fly-in in Popham, thanks to Mike and Paul of the Air Britain Bournemouth & District Branch, this after my 86 days medical punishment.

My conclusion of this trip; the Ercoupers are very nice guys, the Ercoupe is a wonderful plane, the meteo was no so accurate, and make a safety stop if you don’t feel able to continue, hoping soon for a next meeting. THANKS to all.

Robert Rombouts

 

Flying instructors birthday treat

Mike Willis writes: Trevor, my ever-patient flying instructor of a few years ago had never been to North Weald, so I decided to take him there and buy him lunch on a Monday recently.  I’ve only visited North Weald for fly-ins, but I thought even on a normal day it would be interesting.

I am finding that Trevor is a jinx where GPS is concerned – he must have some supernatural jamming ability.  When giving him a lift earlier in the year my otherwise reliable GPS packed up, and so it did 5 minutes into this flight.  So we manoeuvred between the London Stansted and Luton airspace by dead reckoning and ground to map.  The final dip under the Stansted stub led us nicely into North Weald and a passable landing.

Trevor decided an all-day breakfast was in order, and as expected it was a large plate full of the fried food that the English are known for.  It turned out that one reason for his choice of a “breakfast” was so that he could tell his long-suffering wife at dinner that he hadn’t had lunch!

Eventually we had to try and stand up after a heavy feed, so I decided a walk around the perimeter track to the old aircraft wrecks and hangars was in order.  We wandered off and had a great time looking around, including Ken’s Jet Provosts, finishing up on the opposite side of the disused runway that we park on during fly-ins.

By now the combination of a heavy lunch and some exercise were taking their toll, so we just cut across the disused runway back to the clubhouse.  Around half way across the runway we noticed a large vehicle with flashing lights coming our way, and went to move out the way.  However it kept coming for us and screeched to a halt.  “Get in immediately!” the driver shouted out (a few other words were used as encouragement).  So we did and we screeched off back to the clubhouse where we got a severe dressing down for walking across an active runway.  It turns out that the cross runway is not used during fly-ins but is otherwise active.

Next time I’ll look at the airfield chart a little more closely before walking around!  I just hope they won’t now introduce an Ercoupe ban, particularly as we hope to have a big attendance at Air Britain next year.

 

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

November
Nothing arranged yet, 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