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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 22 November 2009

Welcome

Dear readers,

Thank you to all of you who send "thank you" emails on receiving this newsletter, but please also consider sending in some small contribution yourselves! Where have you flown recently? Have you seen or heard anything of interest to Ercoupers? Do keep sending me copy - I can't write it all!

Happy Flying,

Mike

Ercoupe news

2010 - The Fly-Ins year

Robert Rombouts writes: A reminder to all the Ercoupers, when you buy a new 2010 Agenda you have to make a red cross about these dates. Making propositions for Fly-Ins or Meeting-ups is easy, but it is up to you to join them!

4th European Ercoupe Fly-In, Antwerp, May 14-15, 2010
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, 14th-15th May, that I can confirm. 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).

European Ercoupe Convention, North Weald, UK, June 19-20, 2010
The big European Ercoupe Convention Fly-In of North-Weald will be 19-20 June. 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.

Other meetings
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

Another Ercoupe for sale

G- EGHB, the Ercoupe that Peter Vallance of the Gatwick Aviation Mseum restored is up for sale. It's an Ercoupe 415D made in 1946 Asking price is £16,000  or near offer. If you are interested contact Peter on +44 1293 862915.

European Federation Historic Aviation

Harry Haas writes: Dear friend of historic aviation, We are happy to sent out newsletter number 4 (download from www.efha.eu). In the 5 months we have been working on the EFHA project a lot has happened. At this moment we are well on our way to one thousand registrations via the website and that means hope for the future of historic aviation.

Our main effort still goes into getting more people involved since, contrary to popular belief, SIZE DOES MATTER! Another path we follow is getting local, National, representation through our “ambassador” program. We now have ambassadors in: Sweden, Germany, Belgium, France, England, Switzerland and Italy. We are very grateful that the ambassadors want to get actively involved.

A lot of you also got active in helping the ambassadors with their task.

In Newsletter 4 some more on strategy and why we have to follow this strategy.

As always we ask you to get everybody around you involved and we stress that you do not need to be an aircraft owner to register. We want everybody with passion for historic aviation to register! Our picture gallery is also filling up and will be a great tool if we want to show our elected representatives what beautiful historic aircraft roam the European skies!

Your comments are welcomed and also any contacts that might you have with media like Newspapers, TV and Magazines. Help us, help you, help yourself…

With regards, Harry Haas, chairman EFHA

Mobile: +31622024754, secretary@efha.eu
www.efha.eu

Great Flying video from OSH

Glen Davis writes: There is a great flying video posted on YouTube of Oshkosh. No Ercoupes feature, but it is still excellent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=nKU0uQki5Dc

A lesson for us all

Ed Burkhead writes: Here’s a newspaper update based on the FAA investigator report about the April Coupe crash in Sandwich, Illinois. It contains a lesson we should all have firmly in mind.

Power loss, pilot misjudgment caused crash

Federal aviation investigators said Monday pilot miscalculation and mechanical failure led to a fatal spring air crash near Sandwich.

The 53-year-old pilot, Randall Hougham of rural Sandwich, and his 22-year-old passenger, Lauren Hamilton of Sandwich, died at 2:50 p.m. April 11 when Hougham's single-engine, 1946-built Ercoupe crashed in a field by Sandwich near the La Salle-DeKalb county line.

Witnesses reported the craft was flying very low and its engine was sputtering and popping in the moments before it hit the tops of hardwood trees near Edgebrook Golf Club and went down nose-first, catching fire, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. There were no irregularities found in the wreckage, although parts of the craft did not survive to be inspected.

There were several open fields along the flight path suitable for a forced landing closer than the spot where the plane crashed.

The NTSB reported Monday the probable causes of the crash were partial loss of engine power for an undetermined reason and that Hougham did not make an immediate forced landing in one of the available fields. The presence of the hardwood trees also contributed.

Beware of bird wardens in The Netherlands!

2 pilots have been found guilty of disturbing wildlife in the court of law under the "Flora and Faunawet" (wildlife act). They were flying at approx. 1450 feet over the "Oostvaardersplassen", which is a nature reserve under Natura-2000. (Natura-2000 is the result of European legislation that requires the member states to identify important wildlife areas and protect these.) The aeronautical charts for this area identify a recommended minimum altitude of 1000 feet, while class A airspace (Schiphol TMA) starts at 1500 feet.

So the pilots were completely adhering to aviation laws and best practices, something the judge admitted. Nevertheless, he found them guilty of breaching the Flora- and Faunawet, and fined each of them 250 euros. They now also have a penal record.

The judge admitted that this is a case of conflicting laws, particularly since the Flora and Faunawet does not have a vertical limit. But this was not a reason for getting these pilots acquitted. Instead, the judge called onto the government to resolve this conflict as soon as possible. Obviously AOPA, KNVvL and a host of other organizations will appeal this decision, as this can have major consequences, not just for GA but for CAT too. (ATC normally vectors planes inbound to Schiphol at 2000 feet over this same area.)

Original article (in Dutch) at http://www.aopa.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=195&Itemid=2

 

Technical issues

Update on mid-air break-up in Florida December 2008

Mike Willis writes: In European Ercoupe Newsletter 20, October 2009 I wrote about the concern that the FAA had raised over spar holes found in an Ercoupe involved in an in-flight break-up last December.

The US NTSB has now published a Factual Report which can be read at the link below. Here is an extract from "Additional Information" that is relevant. It seems the break-up was due to overstressing of the airframe - see the first paragraph. The aircraft was seen attempting either a roll or wing-over. The spar holes then became the weakest part for the fracture to begin.

"The inboard portions of both separated portions of the wing spar were examined in the Safety Board Materials Laboratory. According to the Materials Laboratory report, the deformation to the top spar cap and the appearance of the fracture surfaces along the centerline of the main spar were consistent with ductile overstress in an aft and downward bending of the center wing spar.

Examination of the fracture surfaces revealed an apparent modification to the top spar cap that reduced the cross-sectional area by 10-percent. Three screw holes were observed in the spar cap with the tip of a broken self-tapping screw still in one of the holes. According to information provided by the airframe manufacturer, two screw holes, spaced 1-inch apart, oriented longitudinally across the spar (fore and aft), were specified in the original design of the airplane (to fasten the seat pan to the spar). The broken self-tapping screw was found in the forward-most of these two holes. The third hole, not specified in the design, was located in-between and less than 1 inch from the other holes, and was threaded for a larger size than the other two holes.

The fracture surface on the top spar cap contained radial lines emanating from the screw holes, shear lips at the edges, and necking at the edges consistent with tensile overstress in the top spar cap. There was no evidence of fatigue. The radial lines from the aft screw hole emanated from the top surface of the spar cap. The radial lines on the forward portion of the fracture surface appeared to originate near the tip of the broken screw. The appearance of the aft portion of the fracture surface was consistent with crack face re-contact on both left and right fracture faces.

Markings on the fractures on the top and bottom spar caps were consistent with an initial break at the center of the top spar that progressed outboard. Additional damage noted on both sections of the spar was consistent with ground impact. No evidence of corrosion was observed on any portion of the wing spar."

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?id=ERA09FA087&rpt=fa

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

December
Nothing arranged yet.

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