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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 6 July 2008

Welcome

Unfortunately the praying last month for good weather for the Air Britain Fly-In at North Weald was not successful. On the Saturday the cloud base was 800 feet, and on the Sunday the wind was gusting 40 knots. The only Ercoupe to make it was Robert Rombouts with OO-PUS from Belgium - see his report on the event below.

Robert will be attending the Ercoupe Owners Covention in Wausau, Wisconsin, USA later this month so we wish him well and hope he will send the regards of the European Ercoupers to all who attend.

In the meantime we should perhaps find other times this year to try and meet up in Europe. During 15-17 August there is the Old Timer Fly-In in Belgium which Robert recommends. It is a small grass field with a steep inclination, and everything depends from where the wind blows. More details can be found below under Upcoming Events.

Another proposal is that we nominate an airfield and a date in the UK and just fly there. Most of the UK 'Coupes are based in the South East of England, so my suggestions are either Headcorn (EGKH) or Panshanger (EGLG). Both are grass and serve good food. If anyone has any other proposals please let me know, otherwise I will come up with some dates and circulate them.

Don't forget - 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, and we will translate into English for you! Many of you have made kind remarks about the usefulness and interest of this newsletter, but please help by making a contribution, no matter how small!

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

Ercoupe News

"New" Ercoupe

Ernst Viehweger writes: Harald Schmidt owns the Ercoupe D-EHCG, Sn 4697. At this time it is stored in the garage beneath his home. Absolutely dry and clean. There are only a few things to make this plane fly: - insert a battery and fuel, the engine will start at once. - attach the wings - get a new annual license, there should be no problems.

Ercoupe project required

Hilde van Haarlem writes: My father is very interested in finding a "project"; an Ercoupe which needs some restoration. Do you know any project available? Thank you in advance for your response. With kind regards, Hilde van Haarlem Netherlands hildevanhaarlem@kpnplanet.nl

From across the pond

Bill Farthing writes: Considering the cost of GA over here in the USA I can't imagine what things cost you in Europe. I used to work at Norwich Airport with Air UK on F 27s but of course that was long ago. There were several GA aircraft there then but they were less than welcome and the airport authorities were not backward in letting their feelings be known. Over here I had to jump over many obstacles to both register my plane and obtain my license as I am still a UK expat. but with that all out of the way things are running smooth. The other thing was my age as I started taking lessons at 73 and have now had my coupe and been flying nearly two years.

Coupe & RollsThe coupe, a 1946 415-C, was sound but ugly so I stripped it and gave it new paint and new interior and now it's one of the nicest around. I don't fly a lot but it's nice to grab my little dog and go up for an hour or so when the mood strikes. I have been widowed for over five years and I find the plane to be a bit of a "bird magnet" which helps on the social side. I of course fly the flag with the car I drive here (see the Rolls Royce in the photo!) but could have never been able to afford it at home. It sucks up petrol like a sponge but that's OK. I am paying $4.18 for premium car petrol and $5.00 for Avgas per US (little) Gal. but the Avgas is at our club rate, it's about $5.80 at other airports. Things at my little airport are slowing down as this depression and high petrol and food prices are putting the bite on the economy. Flying seems to be the first thing to go as it's still pretty much on a cash and carry basis and Americans favour using credit. That's pretty much the reason they are in their present state as it is. Oh well, all the better for me. Well cherio for now, Fly Safe.

Bill Farthing, N-93880

History corner

Lithuanian Ercoupe 415-C LY-ALI

As a folllow-up to the story last month of the laid up Lithuanian Ercoupe, Hartmut Beil asks the obvious questions - Where does one find the Ercoupe ? Anyone to contact? Does Tony Smith know? If not, does anyone else have this information?

Italian Ercoupe

Last month we published the request by Giorgio Pace for news of an Ercoupe for sale, and he thought this would be the first in Italy. However Ercoupe historian Tony Smith has pointed out that if he succeeds in locating one it unfortunately wouldn't count as the first Italian Ercoupe.

Tony Smith writes: That piece from Giorgio Pace in EEN No.5 is interesting! However, if he does manage to obtain an Ercoupe, it wouldn't be the first in Italy. C/n 4875, a 1948 415-CD, was sold in South Africa 16.12.47 and became ZS-BRL. Cancelled on sale in Italy, it was registered as I-ZBRL in October 1970 to Soc.Paolini-Villani, Venice/Lido; sold and registered to F.Zopolato by 1st April 1988, still based at Venice/Lido. This Ercoupe was noted still active in June 1991. The CoA expired 6.1.93 and it was cancelled about May 1998. I don't know what happened to it after that. Perhaps Giorgio could begin his search by tracking down this one to see if it is still extant and restorable. I would be interested in its fate for my records also!

Trip reports

Air Britain Classic Fly-In 2008

Robert Rombouts writes: After the 2nd Fly-In at Antwerp from 3 till 4 May, I expected a wonderful meeting of Ercoupes during the Air Britain Classic Fly-In 2008 from 21-22 June in North-Weald. Mike Willis made a lot of advertising in his “newsletter” and Tony Smith contacted the UK Coupers to come to the historical airfield of EGSX.

Because I couldn’t miss this event I went off with the OO-PUS on 20th Friday. Two days before I did a short trip to Calais (LFAC) to be sure I was ready for the trip. Big surprise, the brake was weak when I was taxiing in Calais and flew back to Ostend. An urgent call to my mechanic, who promised me to check the brake on Friday morning. After the repair I took off from Ostend (EBOS) at about 12:25 local with good brakes, full of fuel and luggage.

OO-PUSThe weather was not as perfect as the Meteo told me. The visibility over the channel was misty and my intention was to fly as direct as possible from the VOR of KOK (Koksijde Belgium) to DVR (Dover UK) via the Waypoint KONAN in the middle of the Channel. The route was 270° to Dover at 2,500ft and 48 minutes over the water. Head winds of 20 kts over the channel give me a 56 mph ground speed, which was quite slow over the water but smooth as in an airliner at FL 300. I must admit that the shortest way to cross the channel is straight from Folkestone to Calais with only 23 minutes over the water. But why not try a better route?

Arriving in the UK the weather was fair with a good visibility. Only 41 minutes later I arrived at North-Weald, runway 20 in use with a right hand circuit to land. Total flying time was 1hr 47 from Ostend to EGSX.

On our arrival Philip Kemp welcomed us with his fantastic smile, Tony Smith and his wife Anne where already on the airfield, we felt from the first moment surrounded with good friends.

North WealdNext day, Saturday 21st we had really bad weather, low clouds (700ft), rain till 3 pm, not an ideal situation for a Fly-In. Luckily in the afternoon we had the visit of Mike Willis and Andrew Gardner who came by car, it was impossible to attend by plane in such a lousy meteo. With a nice beer and we chat a lot, I try for the first time a Spitfire beer from Kent - thanks Mike it was delicious. When the rain stopped we went to the OO-PUS and compared the differences of our Coupes. Because no other Ercoupes came that day, I returned to the hotel for a good meal and a rest.

On Sunday the 22nd when I looked out the window of the hotel it was a beautiful blue sky, some white clouds, but the wind was excessive. A cross wind of 40° with speeds up to 25-38 kts predicted a bad Fly-In day. Only two planes came in during the whole day, I was so sorry for the organizers who worked so hard all year to make this event possible. I could not fly back to Belgium in such wild weather, I still fly for fun.

On Monday the 23rd it was a perfect Ercoupe weather, wind 230° / 5-8 Kts, 30 km visibility, CAVOK. At 10hr 46 local I left North-Weald straight to Dover, the Channel at 2,500 ft, the shortest and direct route to Ostend with a wonderful visibility. I could see Dunkirk from Dover. After 1hr 28 I landed at EBOS Ostend on runway 26.

Thank you Air Britain and Philip Kemp - North-Weald 2008 was because of mother nature not a good year, but we have to accept the weather we receive. I had a very good trip and enjoy always flying in the UK.

Dear European Ercoupers, the honour of our Coupe was safe during the Fly-In even though I was the only one present in North-Weald with an Ercoupe. Next year I hope to see and meet more Erco’s.

Our Trip to Alderney with D-EOPI, June 2008

Peter Nobmann writes:
Preparation
: As always, besides watching the weather forecast we started the discussion about the luggage. This time we had two small bags and I provided one to Anke with the remark: After filling the bag the zipper shall not explode. Result: She got some extra space in my bag!

Monday 16th The forecast was fine for the route and we left Bremen (EDDW) to Stadtlohn (EDLS) After refuelling we filed the flight plan to Kotrijk Wevelgem. While we had a coffee I got a call from ATS that with the equipment (S/C) I stated in the flight plan, I am not allowed to pass the Nederland's, due to the fact that in the Nederlands transponder mode S is required. It cost me some time to convince the lady that this is true only above 1,200ft; below, in the uncontrolled airspace, no transponder is required.

The flight was bumpy under CAVOK conditions, and we passed the airspace north of Endhoven and crossed Antwerp airport midfield. At Kotrijk airport we refuelled the plane again and studied the charts for the last leg of the day to Rouen (LFOP). It was a long but successful flight with the computer until the flight plan was in the pipeline.

Since the visibility was around 5 km I asked Brussels Information for traffic information. The handover to Lille approach was perfect but Paris north ignored me. It's absolutely strange that even airliners were talking some times English some time French.

Rouen airport was like a ghost town - a big but almost empty terminal. A helicopter pilot was very helpful to help us find a hotel for the night. He called several hotels and finally he drove us to the hotel. With a nice, tasteful diner we finished the day.

Omaha BeachTuesday 17th The first task after waking up was to look out of the window to check the weather. Blue sky, no clouds light moving leaves on the trees. After breakfast I prepared the flight plan and we checked the charts for the trip to Alderney. At the airport I saw at least 15 employees but except for our Coupe only 3 private plans, in other words we got an exclusive service. After take off we headed to the coast line, along Omaha beach. White puffy clouds light head wind and a view more than 20km, it was a perfect day to fly.

AlderneyAt Valognes we called Jersey approach and were guided to Alderney for runway 26 like an IFR plane. The big concrete blocks for tie down are significant indications that you can have real strong wind on the island. Tourists use the Britten Norman Trislander service to come to Alderney. With 17 passengers per plane the total number of tourists on the island is limited.

BikeWednesday 18th Anke and I rented bikes at the harbour and explored the island. We were happy to have a well working gear lever on the bike because we had to climb a lot of hills along the route. At noon we rounded the island and reached the harbour. The Guinness we had in a small pub was one of the best I ever had (actually I ordered another one).



Thursday 19th The weather forecast on TV mentioned a front coming in from northwest with a stronger wind and a lot of rain. We informed our landlady that we decided to leave one day earlier. She told us:"It's fine with me, if I am not at home please leave money on the table in the kitchen" (exact words). Refuelling the airplane on a duty free island is like having a nice dream; we paid £ 1,11 per liter.

CoastlineThe take off clearance was special VFR to Amiens! Peter, what about your weather briefing? We had still perfect conditions on Alderney, first grey clouds south of Le Havre, more low clouds and rain east of Rouen and a dark black wall in front us just 20 miles prior the final destination.

The idea was to pass the weather on the northwest side, but there was no end. South of Abbeville we decided to go to Le Touquet (LFAT) - we got runway 32 with turbulent heavy crosswind from the southwest.

During final approach I was praying for rudder pedals, without success! Like the Guinness on Alderney it was a landing I will never forget. The support on the airport was expensive but perfect, the flight plan was closed and we had a nice evening in the town.

Friday 20th We called the German weather frogs to be better prepared than the day before. The answer was perfect: Still a strong wind from southwest, no rain, no clouds below 2,000ft. The tailwind was considered in our flight planning and Stadtlohn (EDLS) was the stop, like on the first day.

After reaching Belgian we called Brussels Information, but during my report I recognised that the radio was no longer transmitting. By luck we had a handheld ICOM with us which we used from that point, very limited to save battery energy. The average ground speed was around 105 nm/h, later close to the German border around 95 nm/h.

Refuelling at Stadtlohn airport we had to pay € 2,54 per liter- insanity, madness, craziness, lunacy, mania - I may find some more words! We reached Bremen in the early afternoon, and while we removed thousands of flies it started to rain.

Retrospect The travel guide about the Channel Island was a birthday present to Anke nine years ago, and finally we made the trip. We have met some nice people on the way and especially on Alderney. It was one of my best trips I have ever had with the Coupe. In the meantime the radio is out for repair and I have to prepare the coupe for the annual inspection which is due this month.

Anke and Peter Nobmann, D-EOPI

Tech corner

Engine cowling

Mike Willis writes: As a follow-up to last month's story about my split engine cowling, I ordered a new part from Univair thinking it would be best to have the "original" part. Unfortunately it seems that the rest of the engine cowlings have been hand made at some point, so it required some modifications to get it to fit.

UK maintenance regime

Ercoupes have not been adopted by EASA, so in the UK maintenance still falls under the national CAA scheme. Other types in a similar position, such as Austers, are being transferred to the LAA to fly under a 'permit'. This has the advantage of being much less costly from a paperwork point of view, and allows owner maintenance. So the question is, should we in the UK propose that 'Coupes move to 'Permit to Fly' status? Please send your views to Mike Willis at mike@ercoupe.co.uk and I will publish the concensus in the next newsletter.

Fun stuff

In case you didn't read it on the ercoupe-tech forum:

A blind former 90 year old Ercoupe pilot wearing dark glasses and using a guide dog which he placed in the Ercoupe's baggage area was sure he could get his license back under FAA regulations for "Blind Flying."

He had previously flown with several other CFI's paying triple the rate with a big tip. Humouring him, the new CFI Instructor really needed the money and figured he would be pilot in command anyway. Since he was a nice old guy it would make him happy to take him up. The old blind guy said, "Just line me up with the runway and I'll take off without any help. Please don't touch the controls, Bob my trained seeing-eye dog will bark once to steer left of the line and twice to steer right."

The plane moved faster and faster down the runway. The instructor realises they're headed straight for the water at the edge of the airport. And it begins to look as though the plane will plough off the end of the runway into the water. Panicked the new instructor screams!

At that moment, the plane lifts smoothly into the air. The instructor relaxes and laughs a little sheepishly in the knowledge that the plane is in the air. The blind pilot says to his dog, "Ya know Bob, one of these days the instructor's scream will be too late and we're going to die."

Recommended destinations

Send in your top 5 for future newsletters!

Upcoming events

Europe

Old Timer Fly-In, August 15-17 2008, Diest-Schaffen, Belgium www.dac.be
During August there is a famous Fly-In in Belgium where German pilots love to come. It is a small grass field with a steep inclination, and all depends from where the wind blows. Location : DIEST - SCHAFFEN EBDT

Robert Rombouts writes: Last year Ernst came with a camper because his plane was not ready. I have flown there already 3 years to this Fly-In, with good weather, you can see a lot of planes.

USA

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/

Classified ads

For sale

David Hulk's G-AVIL - Alon A2 Based in Kent. New 3 year C of A. Unique paint scheme featured in Feb. 05 Pilot magazine. GBP 19,000. Contact David tel +44 1233 637515 email alediv@sky.com

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

Cri-Cri plans for Hartmut
Hartmut has now got his plans, and we look forward to hearing about the building of his "twin"!

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