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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 7 August 2008

Welcome

The first UK EMU (Ercoupe Meet-Up) scheduled for Headcorn 9th August was a wash-out and had to be cancelled. We tried to meet the following day but it was too windy - exactly the same weather pattern as for North Weald in June. But the response to the idea of a monthly meet-up has been very encouraging, and the next two are proposed for 30 August at North Weald and 21 September at Popham (Solent Aviation Society Fly-In). More details are in the events listing near the end of the newsletter.

If you have your own ideas of meeting places then do let me know. I suggest the following criteria: Within reasonable flying distance of the South East of England where most 'Coupes are based; a good cafe or restaurant; a bonus is another event such as a fly-in that we can piggy back onto.

Robert travelled to the Ercoupe Owners Convention and then Oshkosh (see his reports below).

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

G-AVIL has a new owner

David Hulks writes:  To update you, I have sold and delivered G-AVIL to Eaglescott, Devon Wednesday 23 July. ‘IL's new owner is Giles Wilson. I will contact him and advise him of the meet-ups. Who knows he might fancy the challenge. Thanks for keeping in touch. Hope to see you soon. Regards David Hulks

Swiss Ercoupe

SamedanChristian Nicca writes:  With great interest I follow your newsletter. Here is a picture of our Ercoupe based in Birrfeld (LSZF) in the process of landing at the Engiadina Classics event that took place in Samedan, St.Moritz in Switzerland.

 

Long lost 'Couper

John Coleman writes: I have just noticed your newsletter. A friend and I had a Forney F1a back in the early seventies G-ASLN. Do you know whether it is still alive? I lost my medical, which was one of the reasons for selling it. If I remember correctly we could not fly it due to fuel restrictions (the 6 day war) it was sold to a flying club in the West Country for if I remember correctly GBP 2,000.

Mike: I checked on the CAA database GINFO and found that sadly it was destroyed or removed from the register 29.2.84, after nearly 10 years with the Cornwall Flying Club.  By coincidence my own ‘Coupe, then registered as G-ATWP was simultaneously owned by the same club from 1975-1978
.

Linda Abrams

LindaLinda is an Ercoupe owner from Los Angeles, who is travelling to the UK especially to meet with us for the last two weeks of August. She will be staying around the Oxford/Cambridge corridor, arriving August 16 and returning September 4. She will be well known for her exploits to anyone who follows the Ercoupe-Tech web forums , such as flying into Los Angeles International, and battling with any engineers who attempt to give poor service or overcharge her!

I met up with her when in Southern California last summer and hope to take her on a few trips, and she will join us for the next EMU. If anyone else would like to take her flying do let me know Mike Willis mike@ercoupe.co.uk or contact her directly - Linda Abrams lasprite@cox.net


History corner

David Vernon's story

G-AHRCDavid Vernon writes: I am a long time Aircoupe owner - 1971 until 2004. The first Forney F1A Aircoupe I flew was in 1961 and the Southport Aero Club operated G-ARHC for nearly four years rented from Air Rent Ltd who brought a number of this model into the UK.

G-AVILI bought my own Aircoupe, an Alon A2 from the original batch constructed - mine was #A5 and registered as G-AVIL.  I flew it for 20 years and it is now still flying I understand.

After selling G-AVIL to Mike Close I bought a Mooney Cadet in Los Angeles and flew it to Miami, then shipped it in a container to Blackpool where I G-BTOJhad it built up and placed on the UK register as G-BTOJ. After five years here I shipped it back to America, to Williamsburg on the East Coast and then flew it to the annual Ercoupe Owners Club meeting at Kalispell in Montana, a trip of 2,000 nm.  After the meeting I flew on over the Rockies to a small airfield Pierce County Thun, south of Seattle.

It remained there for some maintenance work and after some weeks I went back to Washington State and flew down to Los Angeles where I left it with the previous owner for a few weeks. I went back to LA and flew 2,000 nm across the southern States to North Carolina where I left it with another pal for some weeks.  I then went back there to Bear Creek, near to Charlotte and flew back to Williamsburg ready to fly to the next (1996) Ercoupe annual meeting at Manteo near to Kitty Hawk where the Wright Bros did their first flights. After that in August 1996 I sold it and had another 2,000 nm trip to deliver it to Arizona. It is presently owned by a man in Oregon and re-registered N52WT.

G-BKINI came home and bought the only Alon A2A in Europe (G-BKIN) and flew it here for some time before shipping it to Seattle in 2001 where it was rebuilt.  I flew it out there a number of times before the centre section AD was issued to inspect for corrosion. My US engineer failed it and as it really was beyond economical repair it was scrapped.

I gave up flying in 2004 after flying with a PPL since I was 17 years of age, a total of 12,000 hours and nearly 60 years airborne.

David W Vernon

PS Mike, I also did a C of A Air Test at Blackpool on G-HARY along with previous owner Fred Bolton and I knew the next owner Harry Dodd very well until his untimely death, he had it at Carlisle along with G-ARHA which he reregistered as G-ONHH, he owned Northumberland Horse Holidays.

Trip reports

Ercoupe Owners Convention, Wassau, USA 2008

Robert Rombouts writes: This year I had the opportunity to make a short trip to the USA to visit the Ercoupe Owners Convention of Wausau and the fabulous Oshkosh “Fly Happening”.

Sids CoupeIn 2005 I was also participating for the first time at the Ercoupe Convention at Minden (Louisiana), it was the period I did the restoration of the OO-PUS and my eyes, big as an old 50 Belgian Franc, could not believe it to see 25 Ercoupes together on an airfield with a few polished Coupes shining in the sun, marvelous. I wanted also mine shining as a mirror, but realize later that shining paint is also not so bad, I am really lazy.

Wausau airfield is the home base of Sid Cohen, Director of Region 5 for the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Sid with his meticulous and perfect organization gives the entire participant a wonderful and perfect Convention. Thanks Sid, you did a tremendous and interesting Convention. His Ercoupe is a flying mirror with original dashboard, a Coupe you are scared to touch.

The weather was not so good and all the flying was cancelled, but Sid had his plan B always a perfect solution to keep us busy. He is also restoring a old Waco CG-4A Invasion Glider of the WWII. With all the history, details and photos about the Waco Sid give us an interesting conference.

Mrs. Carolyn Carden asked me if I would accept to be a Regional Director for the European side, this was just before I went to the Convention. Because I didn’t know what the duties and obligations will be, I asked more details of Mr. Skip Carden her husband, and I have accepted it.

EOC CoupesThis Convention was unbelievable, 53 Ercoupes were standing on the Wausau Airfield, and I had bigger eyes than in 2005. We have to congratulate Sid for his effort and all the pilots for participating this event. We have also to consider the fact that the Convention was just before the Oshkosh Happening and a lot of pilots intended to do the two together. The fuel price is also getting up ($5.44 per US Gal) and the weather was full of storms coming from everywhere.

Alan Fairclough, Wing Leader of Texas, who visited me in May at Ostend, did a 1,036 NM distance flight from Houston to Wausau. We in Europe are grasshoppers with our Coupes in comparison with the huge distance they fly in the US. But we have to be proud, our conditions are completely different with all our TMA’s, CTR’s , Restricted zones, Military zones, paperwork and fuel cost who made flying more difficult, but still possible. Conclusion, go to America and taste the real pleasure of flying.

Alan's CoupeBecause I have in the OO-PUS rudder pedals, my interest was to fly an Ercoupe without pedals. Alan’s Fairclough Coupe is a pedal less one and he proposes me to fly it. Amazing, unforgettable, delicious a dream, I pass my test, but it was a scaring test. Before we went off we feel some rain drops, Alan full of confidence told me it was no problem. I taxied out and Alan did the radio and hop, we where in the air, quiet bumping in a left turn, straight downwind all well, then I think Alan received a warning call from the Wausau tower that a storm is coming close to the airfield. Alan give me a sign to turn back on a long final and then we saw a very dark cloud in front of us approaching very quick with a dense rainfall like a curtain on the runway. This was my quickest approach with a Coupe, arriving on the runway the visibility was still good, but then it was an IFR situation. The plane was still in the air and waiting for the tyres to touch the tarmac, the speed was OK so we did a good landing but could not taxi because the Ercoupe doesn’t have screen washers. Waiting a little we taxied back to the apron; this convinced me that I don’t need pedals anymore in my OO-PUS. Thanks Alan that you give me the opportunity and a new experience, I am happy your 1946 Ercoupe is still in good condition.

Sven, Skip & RobertWe had also the Official Meeting of all the Regions, with the Directors and Wing Leaders. The financial balance of the year was discussed, and each explained the situation in their Regions. Because of the fuel cost and the unstable world financial situation the FlyIns are with less attendee, we know also the problem.

We all have to continue to contact each of the Ercoupe Owners and not lose the good contacts and meetings we try to build up. The new EMU’s or Ercoupe Meet-Ups Mike Willis is starting is a very good idea and will move more Coupers to have a goal and opportunity to find friends.

The Sunday morning 27th, about 36 Ercoupes intend to fly to Oshkosh. Again Sid Cohen did the planning and briefing for the formation fly to Oshkosh, and all arrived well in an amazing group as elegant bees. I waited with my video but could not take the approach around 13hr local. This kind of flying is not possible in Belgium. In Oshkosh they used two runways and arrived one after the other with an interval of a minute, a beautiful show, I was very impressed.

Without an Ercoupe you feel naked between so many splendid and well maintained Coupes. Thank Sid Cohen, I had a wonderful and pleasant time in Wausau, I know what it means to organize a FlyIn. Because I cannot send all the photos, I propose you will see them all on the website: http://groups.msn.com/Ercoupe/2008eocamposhkosh.msnw

 

Oshkosh 2008 – (27th -28th -29th  July)

Oshkosh ArrivalsAfter the Ercoupe Convention in Wausau I went to Oshkosh.  Normally the opening of the EEA was July 28th, but because the Ercoupe did their formation flying to Oshkosh on the 27th I was so curious to see them landing.  I will not forget the beauty of all those Ercoupe landing one after the other, magic.

I forgot to tell you that I had in Wausau a big surprise to meet our “Lindbergh” of the European Ercoupe; Sven-Eric Pira from Sweden was standing on the tarmac but not with his Ercoupe. He came as I did in an airliner. The Europeans where present with more than 6%. That was a nice surprise to find an Ercouper friend where you do not expect.

Oshkosh CoupesOSHKOSH, first it is unbelievable and not describable when you see a big airfield full of hundreds or thousand different planes standing one near the other. New and vintage, ultralight & rotorcraft, homebuilt, amphibious, helicopters and warbirds, or basically all flying machines.

There are two parallel runways 36L & 36R / 18L & 18R. A small runway 9 / 27 was also available for individuals landing and departure I suppose. In addition there is a special runway for ultralights.

There are four huge halls with all the latest electronic instruments and gadgets for the pilots. Many big stands outside, Cirrus with their latest Jet, Honda Jet, Pilot magazine, Icom aircraft - a land and amphibious plane with folding wings and a Honda car dashboard.  Booths with second hand instruments and tools, books new and second hand, grass machines, hamburger tents, shops with all kind of cloths, too much to explain.

Ford TrimotorOn static was the 1927 Oldest Flying Airliner, a Ford Tri-Motor C-1077.  The 36 Ercoupes where all together at the vintage parking lot. I took some photos but you cannot see the totality in one shot.

During the day you have an acrobatic display on the runway or the new Rocket Racer, a Canard shape plane with rocket fuel who burns from time to time and glide between the ignitions. A Ford Tri-Motor was doing touch and goes between the displays or continuously on show on the runway.

Small wagons continuously tour around to bring the visitors around the exhibition. There was a special tent for foreigner visitors where I found a friendly lady speaking Flemish - I tested myself, the language not the lady.

Unfortunately I was only 2 days at the fair, which was not enough, as Sven-Eric Pira (Sweden) was the 5 days and you need it. The weather was hot and humid, but they have also mist, clouds and rain.

My impression was, huge, too much to see in a short period, very good marketing people on the organizing board, you have too see it at least once in your life. I hope to go next year but then for more than two days. The photos are on the same website:
http://groups.msn.com/Ercoupe/2008eocamposhkosh.msnw

 

Tech corner

UK maintenance regime

I mentioned last month the suggestion of would we be better off in the UK if Ercoupes were transferred to the LAA to fly under a 'permit'. There have been two opposing responses, but it looks like it won't be possible anyway:

Andrew Gardner writes: I would dearly love to get the Aircoupe on a permit.  Unfortunately, since Univair holds the Type Certificate for the aircraft it is officially a supported type and since the type is currently on a C of A my understanding of the rules is that it will stay on a C of A.
 
The TC for Austers were effectively held by the CAA, but under the EASA regime they are no longer allowed to hold it, so the type becomes effectively unsupported and is therefore eligible to transfer to a permit. I believe that a similar situation exists for Jodels.

Rodney Tapp writes: I am not keen on transferring the Ercoupe/Aircoupes to permits, since this would appear to restrict our flying abroad.   A friend with a permit aircraft has to give 10 days notice to fly to Belgium, and also pay 85 Euro's for the permission.   It may be chickenfeed compared to the cost of the CAA scheme, but the inconvenience would probably put me off flying abroad!

EASA Leisure Pilots Licence


Mike Willis writes: Over the past few years a group within EASA has been drafting a new pilots licence, the Leisure Pilots Licence (LPL).  This is based on the UK National PPL (NPPL) in that it requires fewer training hours, making it more affordable to acquire.  However its major use, I understand, has been to allow those of us unable to obtain a Class 2 medical to still be able to fly. 

For the NPPL you simply ask your doctor to sign a form that you meet the medical requirements for a UK drivers licence.  To carry passengers you need to be able to meet the requirements for professional driving (Group 2 – trucks and busses), but if you are only able to get a normal car licence you can still fly solo or with another pilot.  Getting your medical from your doctor is much cheaper than a Class 2 medical.  Ironically it is considered safer, as your doctor understands your medical history thoroughly, whereas when you take a Class 2 medical only simple tests and questions are asked and it relies on the honesty of your answers.  I also understand not one accident has been attributed to the ‘reduced’ NPPL medical standards since it was introduced.

So, the good news is that if the LPL happens then pilots in all European member states will be able to use this licence if they wish, and fly around Europe.  The ‘standard’ ICAO licence will still exist and enable flying anywhere in the world.

The bad news for me concerns the revised medical requirements for the LPL, which will eventually replace the UK NPPL.  As the medical rules for driving vary widely in each European country, they have specifically defined the medical rules for this licence.  However, they exclude some conditions and it has been accepted that a small number of current NPPL pilots will be sacrificed to get these rules through.  So it could be that around 2012 there will be an Ercoupe for sale!

If you want to check out the draft documents they can be found at the EASA web site at http://www.easa.europa.eu/ws_prod/r/r_npa.php .  The relevant documents are NPA 17 Implementing Rules for Pilot Licensing and cover all licences, not just the LPL, and are in 3 parts:
A. Explanatory Note and Appendices – (85 pages, 1.9 MB)
B. Part-FCL – (647 pages, 4.5 MB) – LPL pages 1-14
C. Part-Medical – (66 pages, 0.6 MB) – LPL pages 60-65

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.

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

August 30, North Weald, PPR +44(0)1992 524510

September 21, Popham, Solent Aviation Society Fly-In

Classified ads

For sale

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

Ercoupe project wanted
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

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