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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 44 October 2012

Welcome

Dear readers,

Many thanks to all those who have contributed to this newsletter.  Unfortunately I can’t seem to find the time to publish the newsletter every month like I used to, partly because I’m having so much fun in my Ercoupe!  Over the past few weeks we’ve had several meet-ups, and you can read all about them thanks to Robert Rombouts .

Just a warning - from the next issue of the newsletter I'm going to increase the width slightly and increase the size of the photos. This may mean slightly longer download times for the photos, and you may find it better to click on the link at the top of each issue and view it in a web browser.

I hope you all enjoy reading this newsletter, and please remember we are sure others will enjoy hearing about your story, so please share!

Mike

Ercoupe news

Sad news

Gary Blunden writes: 

Hello Mike, Just to let you know Mercedes Dave, previous owner of G-ARHC didn't make it, the cancer won in the end.  We buried him two months ago.

Best Regards, Gary

 

 

 

French Ercoupe project

Frederic Briere writes: Hi Mike, I'm from Rouen, in Normandy.  I learn to fly in Saint Valery en Caux, LFOS, which was formerly "Camp Lucky Strike", an American camp at the end of WWII.

I really like Ercoupes, actually, we have one in the aeroclub, in parts waiting for a full restoration. This airplane is much more interesting than most of the accessible ones.  I wondered if it was a plane easy to find in France but it seems that it's not so common... what a pity!

Best regards, Frederic

Stansted MTZ

Mike writes: Many will remember back in March 2009 that the Class G airspace under the Stansted stubs in the UK became Mandatory Transponder Zones.  This requires the use of a Mode S transponder.  However for the past few years up until September 2012 there was a concession that Mode C was allowed.  That concession has now ended, so if you only have Mode C then you have to obtain permission from Essex Radar or Farnborough Radar before entering the MTZ.

The main issue is flying into North Weald.  This is still possible without Mode S or permission by entering from the East. There is an excellent briefing pack for North Weald airfield available here.

Wanted - Ercoupe

John Laszlo writes: Hello Mike, I am looking for an Ercoupe.  We are based in North Weald and fly mostly disabled ex-servicemen and women.

Haim and his friend have 2 1/2 Ercoupes in pieces at Panshanger and both are taken, so I thought about going to the US with my friend Barry and flying one back.

We would add a turtle pack 100 litre tank to the fuselage tank feed and wait for a tail wind to take us from US to Greenland to Scotland then undo the turtle pack and hand back the immersion suits and wait a few days until we don't look like prunes any more and fly to North Weald for tea and medals. Does that sound reasonable?

My thoughts are that we could get an Ercoupe in the US for $25,000 and fly to UK then spend another £5,000 to £7,500 on bringing it to G-Reg and standard of D-EJOR.  I don't know how realistic these figures are.

Alternatively I could just hire a Cirrus at £300 per hour and fly 100 and after 6 months have another 100 hours flying experience and no aircraft.

No, I think buying an Ercoupe might be a more sensible option.

All the best, John Laszlo jonlaszlo@hotmail.com

New Ercoupe AD

Rex Ford writes: Morning Mike, The air directive 2012-08-06 may be of interest to your membership?

Kind regards

Rex

The AD requires checking the play in the ailerons, and calibrating the airspeed indicator.  The intention is to reduce the chances of aileron flutter being encountered. The AD should be implemented within 25 hours.

Airspeed indicators can be checked using a GPS using the method described here: http://www.reacomp.com/true_airspeed/index.html

Swedish project update

Göran Stenborg writes: I’m going out to the museum and look at SE-BFY again, the owner says it misses some parts to hold the engine cowling up and the propeller is also missing. The Ercoupe has been stored since 1976 at a mechanic´s place so parts have been taken/misplaced. The mechanic wanted it to be his plane but museum didn’t want to sell, he should just overhaul it. Then time run by, and museum bought a Tiger Moth DH82A SE-FNA in the late 70´s instead, so the Ercoupe cooled down and then nothing happened.

Now the mechanic died from age and the widow didn’t want the plane to take the space in her garage so finally the museum got it back, but then some parts are missing. At least she found the logbooks yesterday so now all documentation is complete.  I can post some pictures on forum later on.

Best Regards, Göran

Reliving a first solo

Denis Christie writes: Dear Mike, A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of flying again in Ercoupe G-AROO; the one I did my first solo in some 46 years ago.  Double Oscar belongs to James McMeekan who you already know through the newsletter if not in person.  The story and a couple of pictures are attached.  Hope these are of interest.

The first time I flew in an Ercoupe was 1st August 1966.  I was one of the handful of lucky schoolboys who were awarded RAF flying scholarships that year.  My training was done at the Ulster Flying Club in Newtownards under instruction from the legendary Mike Woodgate and Tubby Dash.  The scholarship provided 30 hours flying time that in those days was enough to obtain a PPL.  My first flight was in Ercoupe G-ARHD.  I had never been in an aeroplane of any kind before so the experience was a real thrill for a teenager.  The other club Ercoupe was G-AROO, known to all as double Oscar.  It is a tribute to the docile flying characteristics of the type and the quality of the instruction that I managed my first solo flight on the Friday of my first weeks training after only five hours in the air.  My logbook shows only three flyable days that week.  My solo was in double Oscar and of course no one ever forgets the experience.  But that was all forty-six years ago.  In the meantime I have been living and working in England and have lost all touch with the Ulster Flying Club and the Ercoupes.

Earlier in the summer my brother phoned.  He had been to the Newtownards club and noted that there was an Ercoupe in one of the hangers.  He remembered that I had flown one and further enquiries confirmed that this was indeed GAROO, now privately owned but in fine flying condition and owned by club member James McMeekan.   The only noticeable change was that it had been red and silver in the sixties and was now blue and white but still very smart.   Through Liam Boyle I was able to make contact with James and on 30th August he very kindly took me up for a flight around the Ards peninsula.  We had a perfect day for the flight with blue sky, sunshine and light winds.  I have been doing quite a bit of gliding in recent years but flying the Ercoupe was just as I remembered it; a bit like putting on a favourite pair of shoes.  Like they say, it just does what you tell it.  It's odd however that it has shrunk a bit since I was last in it or could that just be that my waistline has expanded?    

Old memories relived forty odd years on and another day I will never forget.  Many thanks James for your generosity and to Liam for helping set this wonderful day up for me.

The second photo Left to rightis James, Liam and myself.

Regards, Denis Christie

G-ARHC update

Eric Girardi writes: Hi Mike, thanks for a very informative newsletter!  G-ARHC is progressing nicely. I have spent every bit of time off at the workshop helping out, doing as much sanding and stripping as I could, under the supervision of the boss Mark Masters. With wings, tails, ailerons all off, it was a great opportunity to check the condition of the airframe and chase any lurking corrosion. I'm happy to report that there was little in the way of bad news, and now the upper fuselage and sides have got their final coat of white, and the finish is superb. The tails are also painted. I have just finished prepping the wings and ailerons with wet 600 paper on its final coat of primer. The white should go on tomorrow if it's not too cold and damp. Next week, the red should go on, pretty much where it was before, at least on the back of the fuselage. The wings will be white with a red leading edge, same with the tails, and the distinctive logo will be red.

The walkway on the wing root has been narrowed to its original size, stripping the tar paint was two whole days' work! Only the inboard part of the wing root was reinforced for walking on. The outer part is very strong but the skin has no extra support underneath. It will now be painted red.

The deadline for mid September has slipping somewhat, but largely because I'm adding things to the Do-List. One thing leads to another...  We have the new doughnuts and spacers from Univair via Skyport. They look good and thick. Should work a treat.

Here are two pictures of the present state of play with HC, we're now on the home straight - except that I keep finding more jobs to do while we're there - shouldn't be too long. I certainly went a lot further than I anticipated, but I am pleased with the results.  Hopefully it'll fly before the clocks change...

HC is almost done, the various sub-units have been reassembled, we're just waiting for a suitably dry day to trailer the fuselage to Goodwood for the final reassembly. Realistically we should have the wings back on early next week, then I can do the test flight.  I've got a hangar slot in Slinfold now, so she'll be cozy for the winter. 

Regards, Eric Girardi

More news on HC in the next newsletter

News from the colonies

Mark Gerrard (prior owner of G-COUP and now based in Maryland, US where he is Development Manager for the F-35) writes: Hi Mike, Thanks for keeping me up to speed with what's happening! I still miss the old bird a lot more than I thought I would. Not sure if I want to go through the effort of getting and importing another one, but I think I'll be here for a few more years so there's plenty of time to change my mind! I am very please to hear that the Myth coupe has finally arrived. In the process of relocating I've lost Derek's contact details, but please give him my best and I hope he will have many happy hours of 'Couping.

Even though I don't get any Ercoupe time I'm still flying the ropey old 172s.....flying, but not the same! Also this year I've managed to get a ride in a Cub (lots of stick time) and a B-25 (no stick time at all).  Seriously considering getting a tail dragger check out but I need a CAA instructor for it to count. Unless I get a full FAA license, of course.  My local tame instructor rated pilot (one of the F-35 test pilots) has just let his instructor status expire. Damn. This means that when I need to get my revalidation next year I'll probably have to go to Florida. Or California. At least that's what I tell Her Ladyship...... What a shame!

Tomorrow we are off on a week's vacation to upstate New York, and there's a float plane outfit offering rides from one of the lakes we go past........ I'll let you know how that works out. Also plan to visit Old Rheinbeck, which promises to be a fine day out.

So, all the best to you and yours, and to the Great Oakley crowd.

Happy flying and check 6, as they say here,

Mark.

Shared pain

Sid Turner writes: As Mike keeps pestering the lazy readers of his excellent Ercoupe newsletter to contribute I thought I would try and oblige, but (some time later and after much head scratching) have nothing of value to contribute.

I have been a part owner of G-ARHB for some fifteen years and for the past seven half owner with Keith Peacock.  Being half owner of an aircraft is bit like a marriage, the aircraft being the surrogate child or more like a mistress; very high maintenance with rather expensive tastes.

But if you are reading this you are already acquainted with both the pain and the pleasure, both seem to arrive in equal measure.  We have just received the invoice for our Annual and are still in wide-eyed shock.  ‘How much?’ ‘How many Hours?’ ‘They did what?’ And why,  B…...r me and B….y VAT on top!

My first instinct was of self-preservation and hid the offending document from my wife, as from her point of view it represents a new suite, several foreign holidays and numerous dresses not to mention the replacement of the old car she is driving.  Having being married for 46 years she soon detected the dark cloud I was trailing around and after a well-aimed cuff to the ear I was made to confess all.  The following morning after she let me out of the garden shed I was confronted by several cheque stubs - many were written in code but at 67 I am no match for waterboarding and had to spill all.  New suite on order, holiday in South Africa booked and several car brochures lying around, finally peace has descended once more in the little village of Acton. I was going to sell the boat anyway.

We have had many adventures in G-ARHB, and would have had more if it had a bit more room - being 6ft tall and weighing in at 95 kg I have to adopt a foetus like position - getting in is quite challenging, getting out even more so.  Keith is younger, leaner and slightly shorter so we fit comfortably in the cockpit after a liberal application of Vaseline.  We have adopted a unique method of companionable flying - he breathes in after I have breathed out and so on.  We have greatly enjoyed our trips to Antwerp where we meet the international brigade of Coupers under the direction of our Groupen Fuhrer Robert Rombouts.  Robert has achieved more for European harmony than all the politicians put together and with Mike Willis’ UK efforts and newsletter have now galvanised us into a worldwide organisation that may one day entitle us to our own seat at the UN.

Sid Turner

Next newsletter - Sid flies to France and nearly brings the house down!

Letter from the Tropics

Derek Tregilgas writes: Hi Mike, So sorry I couldn't make Popham but I was somewhere over the Bay of Bengal at 38,000ft when you were frolicking amongst the exhibits on Sunday. All going well I'll be able to join you at a few EMU's around the country next year that I have to say I'm really looking forward to already. As we speak a radio and transponder are being installed in '495' along with a few new instruments to replace those that weren't playing ball, and I'm currently in the process of purchasing a nice GPS so I don't have to follow you all over the place whenever I want to go anywhere!

Hopefully you would have received my latest batch of pictures of me aviating at Oakley (I did like Ann's comment on Facebook when she tried to re-assure you that I wasn't actually landing in that shot of hers).  Nice comments from all actually - humour rules!

Hope all's well back there and that you're grabbing whatever flying you can before the ice-age sets in again,

All the best for now,

Derek 

Wire model

Rober Rombouts writes: Hi Mike, during the Solent Aviation Society Fly-In at Popham, I saw in one of the showcases in bar a model aircraft made out of wire.

Because I am a gadget freak, I note the address of the artist who made it, wrote him and order such a model plane, but an Ercoupe of course.

I just received it and it is beautiful, photo enclose. The price is £25 deliver home.
It is a marvellous piece, easy to clean, because the dust doesn’t stick and you can put it in water, if you dry it afterwards.

The coordinates of the chap:  Hotwire Crafts, email: air-male@ntlworld.com
Gallery: www.active8studios.co.uk

Best regards
Robert

 

Fly-in reports

Schaffen-Diest, 11 August 2012

Robert Rombouts writes: With an incredible beautiful weather during the Schaffen-Diest weekend this year, the 11th & 12th August, it was a shame not to attend the 29th Oldtimer Fly-In.  This yearly event is a popular by the European Oldtimers. Last year, due to bad weather, the number of aircrafts was at its minimum, but this year it was crowded with beautiful fantastic planes.

I refer the number of aircrafts from the BCARG Newsletter (Belgian Civil Research Group).  The following list proves that attends was huge for Belgian standard, (297): 52 from Germany - 1 from Ireland – 30 from France – 33 from England – 9 from Swiss – 1 from Luxembourg – 22 registered USA – 1 from Austria – 1 Czech – 115 Belgian – 32 from the Nederland’s.

The Schaffen-Diest airfield is only 700m X 30m grass runway 06/24, with a down slope on runway 06.  Departing from Ostend (EBOS), and avoiding the CTR of Antwerp and Brussels, I found a very nice route respecting the maximum allowed altitude of 1500ft, and have only to listen to Brussels Info during the all trip. For me it was only a 1hr20 flight to, and could land after making a 360 to keep a save space between a landing aircraft and myself.

In addition, the Ercoupe was marvellously represented; with the beautiful N-99280 from the Van Haarlem family, who came also with their Piper Cub, OO-PUS was also proud to be present, normal.  When happy Ercoupers meet each other on a not previously planned meeting, it was a very nice surprise to see Roland (Hilde’s father), Hilde and Peter back after our last meeting in Antwerp in May.

During the Fly-In, we could also admire Oldtimers (cars), I didn’t count them but it was between 500 & 600 or more, if I don’t have my flying license anymore, it could be a good idea to switch to an Oldtimer, my dream is a Jaguar MK II, and exactly such a immaculate green one stood between the lot.  Commercial boots with all kind of books and gadgets is a normal for such events.

Each pilot and crew received two drinks and a very good sandwich, during the evening a BBQ was available, but my intention was to return the same day home.

I depart early back to Ostend, and took the same good route but with a headwind that extend my flight time, 1hr40 to reach EBOS, happy of my day, saw nice friends and had a good trip.

Robert & OO-PUS

LAA Rally Sywell, September 1 & 2

Robert Rombouts writes: This year, finally the weather looks perfect in advance to reach the LAA Rally Sywell (UK). The usual flight preparations and planning; route/legal documents/an arrival slot for Sywell/weather forecast/luggage/English Pounds/OO-PUS completely checked/Robert ok…….all seems under control.

Last year, end August 2011, I could not reach with OO-PUS the Sywell LAA Rally; I was sadly and happily stuck in Bourn, Mike Willis and G-HARY home base, due to the hazy weather, this year it will be different.

My slot at Sywell 14:15 UK time, had to be respected as much as possible, a 2hr06 expected fly time, so block off in Ostend at 12:09 UK time or 13:09 EBOS time or 11:09 UTC, very simple, good to know for your Flight plan.  After a last inquiry by the Ostend Méteo; he confirm me at Stansted a tempo visibility of 4000 + rain drizzle + cloud base 900ft, but will improve, that’s not very reassuring.

As promise, I send a SMS to Mike that I depart (13:15 Local), this is a little later as intended. Suppose the weather conditions are bad in the UK, I can always divert to Earls Colne, as Mike suggested during his phone call in the morning.  Full sunshine and haze in Ostend, this is not the first time, we continue.  Beautiful trip at 2500ft over the Channel, Manston covered in clouds, only a vertical view of the Channel’s salt water to admire, very romantic.  After 1hr12 Clacton VOR, poor ground visibilities oblige me to decent at 1500ft.

Stansted was reasonable clear, and a better visibility as at Clacton, at Bourn I flew again 2000ft, Sywell came up after +2hrs flight time. Turning to the holding at Pitsford, looking around and find no other colleagues in the holding, then the standard procedure for runway 21 Right hand grass. Conclusion, a very nice 2hrs35 trip and happy I finally reach Sywell.

Mike Willis landed 10 minutes before with his G-HARY from Bourn, and Andrew Gardner and Derek Tregilgas (without his mythical N-99495), all enthusiast Ercoupers gave me a very warm Welcome. Surprisingly Phil Kemp, the organizer of the Britain Fly-In at North Weald was the Marshaller, this year I could not fly to North Weald due to very strong wind; I had now the chance to excuse personally my unfortunate absence at this year Britain Fly-In.

Because I came from Belgium, and send the GAR form for the customs by email, the first time I did so, I must park my lovely OO-PUS under the tower, my first thought was, “how nice to welcome a Belgian Ercoupe”. Wrong, the customs did a complete identity check, probably my email with a scanned GAR form was unreadable, but after his long official phone call, I was allowed to walk free in the UK. I looked perhaps awful after my flight, or is it my natural suspicious behaviour, don’t comment, I have also a mirror.

A cold drink and a good chat with Mike, Derek and Andrew is so wonderful after a long flight, a real friendship due we all are enthusiast Coupers.

Amazing is the number and diversity of planes who attend the Rally. Phil told me that this year 1,500 will be figure, that’s huge, in comparison with the Belgian meetings we are happy with 1/5th, Britain is a real aircraft country. All the different types from homebuilt to manufactured you can admire, it is an unbelievable aviation delight.

Multitude booths in tents and outside on the grass, where you can buy beautiful planes, build/repair/all accessories/gadgets/clothes…..all nice things for your plane and yourself accordingly the budget you intend to spend.

Around 17:30, Mike and I we flew to Bourn (EGSN), he and his wife Loraine invite me to spend the night at their home in Histon. I thank you both for the kind and warm hospitality you gave me, I appreciate it very much. We dined wonderfully together in the Indian Ocean restaurant at Histon, and I didn’t need a lullaby before sleep.

Next day, Sunday 2nd September, during breakfast we consult the méteo, but didn’t look so hopeful as yesterday. Mike drove me to the Bourn airfield in drizzle rain, arrived in Bourn it rains. Consulting again with Wifi and iPad the latest weather evolution and revolution; a rain front moving exactly on my route and will reach Clacton around midday, where I intend to cross the Channel.
Immediate departure was the best decision to have a chance reaching Ostend today. For security, I made a second route following the UK coast Southend-Manston-Calais.

Rain during takeoff, but gradually the rain disappear, the visibility improving and didn’t flew higher as 1,500ft, Cambridge radar give me the QNH and the wind was 270° or a tailwind, so my ground speed was +100MPH. Until Clacton, I had a reasonable and enjoyable flight.

When crossing the UK border at Clacton I could not believe my eyes, sun and heavy haze, I had the impression I was flying in a sunny balloon with all around haze. Even the sea was hazy; the coast covered with a nice duvet.

Straight ahead I saw different colours of clouds in a multitude of layers. Having the chance to climb until 3,000ft without crossing clouds, for a better look of the situation, I could still not judge how low or high those bastards blocking my route. I change from London Info to Manston Radar, hoping to receive more information’s about the other planes that are crossing the Channel. One after the other are descending to 1,500-1,300ft due to clouds, I was still on 2,700-3,000ft and a little suspicious, but continue on my altitude until Vabik, a little close by the cloud-base, but save and flyable. The other aircraft were crossing at Calais; this was different with my direct route.

Because I know that Ostend had an 1,800ft cloud-base this morning, I decide to descent to 1,500ft to fly under the approaching clouds, but that was not enough, 1,000ft was right and even an artificial horizon is very handy. Ostend was only 20 minutes away, and still could not see the coast; in addition, Ostend Approach could not intercept my transponder. Fiddling with that instrument, joking with the Ostend approach, “he could see all European transponders on his screen, but not the OO-PUS who is flying in the middle of the North Sea”, luckily 10 minutes before I was in right-hand downwind for runway 26 at Ostend my transponder emits correctly, ouf!

Astonishing discovery; Ostend was a real “CAVOK”, all my efforts to get under the clouds were wasted manoeuvres. If I was cleverer, I could ask Ostend before trying to get under the clouds, for an actual weather at Ostend, too late.  1hr32-flight time from Bourn to Ostend was also for me a new record.

Conclusion, I have to learn more about clouds, or are my eyes not reflecting the exact situation I don’t know, but what I learned during this trip was tremendous.  With each trip you encounter new situations, the weather is a very important factor, and sadly, we don’t have any influence on it “take it or leave it”, this make our flying so challenging and interesting.

Sywell I will not forget you; having again a wonderful safe trip, and now I know how to reach you, an enjoyable trip with a lot of variations, thanks to you I had a marvellous excuse to fly your destination.

Robert & OO-PUS

Solent Aviation Society Fly-In, Popham, 15th & 16th September 2012

Robert Rombouts writes: A yearly Fly-In organized by “The Solent Aviation Society” that I don’t miss if possible.  Very kind people, a special airfield concerning approach, friendly atmosphere, a must to attend and for me the third time.

This year the weather looks good for the weekend, and already Saturday 15th September I depart for a weekend at Popham. Beautiful sunny weather in Ostend until mid-Channel where low clouds and haze blocked my horizon at 2,000ft, so I climb until 3,000ft; 12 minutes before Dover I could see the cliffs and the same open sunny condition as in Ostend. A flyable dream you wish to encounter for each trip.

With a 270° 12 kts wind, or a headwind who extend, with pleasure my fly time, 2hrs20 exactly to join Ostend to Popham. Runway right-hand 26 in use, with a negligent wind in the runway, but you must fly a sideway approach to avoid a road gas station situate near the 26 threshold. I always refuel immediately to be ready for my next day departure. Dick Richardson, the airfield Manager, welcomes me as usual very friendly and arranges my Hotel accommodation at the “Dove Inn”.  Dick drove me in the evening, in his amazing Mercedes to the Hotel in such a quick speed to show me how powerful, his bolide can go.

Next day, Sunday 16th , Mike & Alex arrived around midday in his G-HARY with heavy clouds at 2500ft, happy to see both arriving now on runway 21, the runway 26 used for departure, fantastic possibilities they have in Popham. Before we depart Mike & myself we received a nice trophies - mine was “Most Meritorious Journey”, I was the only Belgian who attend, a very kind attention.

I filed a flight plan for departure 15:00 local time, Mike & Alex followed me immediately. Same clouds at 2500ft but very good visibility, again a delight to fly back to Ostend. Only around Dover, I had haze, a normal situation around the coastline, but persisted in the direction I intend to fly mid-Channel. I could see clearly Calais but not the Belgian coast. Climbing until 3500ft above the crap and small fluffy clouds was the best option. Now with a tail wind I landed at Ostend in 1hr50, amazing how quick an Ercoupe can cruise with a 75HP Continental, and one person on board.

This was again a very nice trip without any problems, enormously enjoyable and still I have post-pleasure.
Greetings from the Belgian Coast,

Robert & OO-PUS

EMU LYDD (EGMD), 6 October 2012

Robert Rombouts writes: What looks as a disaster turn out as a delight. Mike Willis, proposed all the Ercoupers to have an Ercoupe Meet-Up at Headcorn this 6 October 2012.  As usual, I prepare all my legal documents; GAR form for the English Customs, flight plan, and luggage for one night at Headcorn (Lashenden EGKH)……

From early in the morning it was pouring rain, low ceiling, dark clouds and my expectations were even darker. Without joy, I went to the Ostend airport, but in England, the weather was good as méteo told me on my iPad, so you never know. Passing the Belgian security and customs, I went to the méteo for a final check before pushing the OO-PUS out of the hangar. When I was talking with the navigation office, I received a telephone call from the Brussels flight plan office, that Headcorn is closed due to flooded runway. Mike sends me a SMS with the same sad news, and the alternative he propose was: Manston or Lydd.  Cancel the Headcorn flight plan, and make a new one for Lydd (EGMD), depart at 12:30 Ostend time. In the meantime, the same desolated grey sky persists, but England was perfect, only few 700ft clouds at Lydd with improvement to 1700ft.  Not really convinced, I push the PUS out of the hangar and prepare my entire cross Channel flight. Strange, but I was the only plane and pilot on the apron.

Depart at 12:34 local on runway 26, with the idea that if it is not possible I return to base. After airborne I could not believe my eyes; unbelievable visibility, could see from Ostend the Dover Cliffs, this is the first time I have such a weather condition over the Channel. Starting securely at 1500ft, then with full faith climbing to 2000ft, a save crossing altitude under the clouds. Approaching Dover was unique; full sunshine on those white Cliffs was amazing. My route was from Ostend to Konan (Mid Channel), then Dover VOR, Lydd VOR, and landing nearly without wind (5kts) at Lydd, on runway 03 in an open sunny sky. Flight-time was 1hr15, not so bad for an old Ercoupe. Looking afterwards at my achievement, this was exact the 40th crossing of the Channel, that’s the reason they give me such a tremendous weather.

Mike & Graham with the G-HARY and Sid & Keith with the G-ARHB were already parked on the Apron, so I did the same in a perfect line for the souvenir photo of the day.

Mike’s brother Roger with his wife Trina, Eric Giraldi with his daughter, owner and restoring his G-ARHC, gave me a very warm welcome, all fervent Ercoupe fans.

We had a small bite, nice chats, as we always do, exchanging all the latest news. My intention was to stay one night, but at this beautiful desolated airport it was not a very good idea. Refuelling the OO-PUS (tax-free), refilling a flight plan, and up we return back. Sid & Keith were gone the first, then Mike & Graham and myself.

This return was for me so beautiful that I cannot explain it with words. I decide to simplify my route; cut all the legs and fly direct from Lydd to Konan (mid Channel), in a beautiful sunshine incredible visibility, smooth over the Channel, on the right the French and left the English coast, really an unique experience, an orgasmic flight situation……

When this extraordinary feeling was over, I was already in Mid-Channel and in the Belgian FIR. Ostend was very kind or full of compassion, I didn’t figure it out yet, but I may land straight in on runway 08, curious because another plane was in the circuit on runway 26. Even with my direct flight, it was 1hr05 and so sorry that I arrive already. What started as a drama came out as a beautiful delight, so you must never give up, after rain come sunshine.

Thanks to Mike, who proposes this Meet-Up, and the fantastic beautiful weather, I had a gorgeous flying day.

When looking at my achievements, I realize that this year it is exactly 50 years that I did my first solo flight in a Piper Cub. I am so sorry that I find this event so late, but I will offer a nice surprise for all the Ercoupers who come with their Coupe to the Antwerp Fly-In next year; you will not be disappointed, if you come.

Robert & OO-PUS

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
California Ercoupe Owners site www.calcoupers.org/ 
Ercoupe photo album www.Ercoupe.net 
Dave Abrams' site http://ercoupe.com
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