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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 14 March 2009


Dear readers,

Well at least in the UK the sun has put his hat on at last and we have had a few good flying days at last.  However for me personally I have had two setbacks to getting out and enjoying myself!  First I was without my Ercoupe for 6 long weeks due to a technical problem – see below.  And then when I get it back it coincides with a horrendous business workload plus the start of 6 months of building work in our house.  So my apologies for not getting this newsletter finished and with you before, but I have been busy!

But in any case we are now starting what some people call the flying season, and following the success last year of the EMUs (Ercoupe Meet-Ups) we are making sure there are plenty of excuses to get your Ercoupe from the hangar or remove the tie downs and meet some fellow aviators.

Therefore I make no excuse for a rather long section at the end of this newsletter listing events coming up in the UK, Belgium and Germany.  These are all great occasions and you will have a good time, even if you arrive by other means than an Ercoupe.  Also note that the 3rd European Ercoupe will now be held in May 23-24 in Antwerp.  This is the big event in the year and as before Robert Rombouts is making every effort to make it a success, so please try and get there.

Thank you everyone who has contributed to this newsletter.  Please do send in letters, articles, photos, anything that might be of interest to others no matter how small.

Happy flying,

Mike Willis G-HARY

Ercoupe news

RAF invades Texas

Alan Fairclough writes:  Once again, congratulations on the great newsletter and everything you are doing there.  Makes me want to spit. I wish I had the time to do something as professional.  But then, the weather here is simply perfect so I spend more time flying...

I did want to let you know that flying around a couple of months ago I landed in Liberty Texas (where fuel is $2.45 a gallon) and took a peek into one of the closed hangars. This was more than a peek, it was closer to breaking and entering, but let’s not dwell on that.

In the hangar there was a coupe covered with a thin layer of dust with a strange tail number, so I took a better look and some pictures.  I am sure there is a story behind this. What do you know about this plane?  How did it end up in Texas?

Cheers; Alan Fairclough, Wing Leader, TX. EOC N87333, N94694

Mike writes: How interesting.  But I know the answer to this one, from our EEN 3  If you read the end of the article ‘The first UK Ercoupe’ all will become clear.  It is an imposter.  But we have one too, see newsletter 4. G-AVIL was previously owned by Dave Vernon for a while.  It is now in Devon.  But I will include your ‘find’ in the next newsletter, I’m sure it will be of interest!

One day....

Derek Tregilgas writes:  I’m afraid I haven’t got any pictures to hand of my G-BZNO in her previous life, but I do have a few pics that my brother took in the States before she was shipped back which are in the UK right now. When ‘ZNO’ finally emerges I’ll put together a little case history for the newsletter.  I just can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to finally appearing on the scene with my little bird (and the aeroplane !)

If the weather doesn’t do what it normally does then a fly-in on the 4th or 5th of April to Oakley would be brilliant. I’ll warn Tim Spurge (owner) of the impending invasion nearer the time, and will also keep you updated on the state of the strip. I believe that drainage is very good there so I imagine there won’t be any problems on that score. Anyway, early days as yet but I’ll certainly keep you posted.

Hope you’re airborne again by the time you get this, all the best for now,


Calling all 'Coupers

Leslie Miller writes: Hello to all ‘Coupers’  I recall reading about Ercoupes over 60 years ago in an ‘Aero-Modeller’ magazine, I am not too sure if I still have the original, but as soon as the remedial work is finished on our damaged bungalow, our belongings come back from storage, and we are living back there, I will hunt through my old copies.

I do not own or fly a ‘Coupe’ (that would be a dream !) but my interest in them, and all vintage aircraft is immense.  If any group member would care to e-mail me at then I would be delighted to hear from them.

Happy Landings to all ‘Coupers’, Leslie R Miller

German Ercoupe Restoration

Heiko Binder writes: As promised here is an update on the progress of D-ENUC.  Restoration is finished and yesterday I made the first flight.  It flies great and I’m looking forward on the upcoming flying season.  Hope to see other Ercoupes somewhere. Happy landings, Heiko Binder

Mike adds: We understand that Stepham Vatter is also restoring his Ercoupe D-EJOR and it will be painted in the same colour scheme as D-ENUC – these will make a wonderful sight together.


Aircoupe kit on eBay

Mike writes: I spotted a Keil Kraft Ercoupe model aeroplane kit on eBay UK recently.  What was interesting was the box cover shown here.  This is obviously painted from a photograph, and using the G-INFO web database I found that this aircraft actually existed!  It shows an Air Products F1-A Ercoupe and G-AROP was first registered in December 1961 but sadly destroyed April 1969 when it was based at Stapleford, Essex.

The kit sold for GBP 17.51, considerably more than the price in the early 1960's.

Trip reports

Seething EGSJ

Keith Peacock writes: I flew up to Seething on a Saturday recently. The weather looked alright from the ground, but was crap aloft and getting worse the further East you went.  Mind you everybody was up so a sharp lookout revealed quite a few aircraft quite near and probably a lot more that remained unseen.

In any event when I was safely on the ground there were not one, but two Aircoupes, I assume for maintenance. G-HARY had the covers off and there were tools nearby, the mechanic I think had gone to lunch however (Mike: probably gone for a stiff drink – see “Throttle stumble saga” below).  I couldn’t blame him as Saturday lunch at Seething is something else. I got there just too late to put in an order, but the free garlic bread was nice. G-ARHC looked like it was waiting to be picked up.

Some chap appeared as I taxied in with a camera, I assume excited at seeing 3 Aircoupes together!  Mind you the ATCO referred to HB as that ‘’little yellow thing’’ when talking to a 172 who was occupying my parking spot.  Seething’s a great setup. Good club atmosphere, hangarage at prices I’d die for plus reasonable fuel costs. The members own everything apart from the individually owned aircraft. The whole thing is run on a ‘’non profit’’ basis.   Seething’s a great place to visit of a weekend.

On a another subject. I saw in the last European Ercoupe Newsletter a photo of HB in red, then yellow livery - not a great deal different from what we have now. I think I would have tried to replicate that exact yellow scheme had I known of it, it looked pretty good.  Many thanks to Derek Tregilgas for the history.  That was me in 1996 at Cranfield.  One of the hairiest arrivals in my flying time.

 See you soon, Keith.

EMU 8 Turweston Sunday Mar 15

Mike writes: This was the first good flying weather at a weekend so far in 2009. The Vintage Aircraft Club rearranged their February Valentines Fly-In as the weather one month before was terrible.  With few other fly-ins at this time of year Turweston was going to be a very popular fly-in, and there were at least 100 planes there, including two Ercoupes!

I flew from Bourn to the west for 30 minutes.  Getting close I head Sid’s voice announcing that ‘HB is getting closer and that he will arrive from the south and join deadside.  So I looked over to the south and there in the distance is an aircraft. No mistaking the shape although it is many miles away.  My Alon is a little faster than the Forneys so I turn a little to the left and catch him up and follow him in.  The circuit pattern is difficult at Turweston as you need to avoid so many villages, and the final approach is at an angle until the last few hundred metres to avoid overflying a farm.  Then it gets more difficult for me as I’m too close to Sid.  I slow down as slow as I dare, and land half the runway length behind him. So we are able to taxi and park together.

Immediately we are inundated by spotters, taking photos and asking questions.  But eventually we shake them off, go and book in and pay our landing fee.  Then we experience the unmistakeable smell known to all aviators – bacon!  So we join the queue for our bacon and egg rolls.

Sitting outside in the sun we can see even more aircraft arriving.  The marshals are having big problems finding places to park them.  I think we arrived just in time.  And then a real treat as a beautifully restored Miles M11 Whitney Straight taxis by us.  After taking off it turns sharply to the left and circles around us, giving a low level display for a few laps.

Then David Hulks, previously owner of Ercoupe G-AVIL arrives with a friend in his Robin.  He too joins the queue for food but we have time for a good chat.  But still missing is Mark Gerrard in G-COUP.  So I call him and find that he got maybe 20 minutes into his flight and found a small fuel leak in the cockpit, so wisely decided to head back immediately to Goodwood.

By around 2pm Sid and I decided to head home.  After another deluge of spotters and photographers we managed to taxi down the parallel grass runway to the threshold of 27.  After power checks I was 6th in the queue for departure, and with aircraft still arriving it was a long wait.  But eventually Sid and I got airborne and headed off to our respective home bases.

Tech Corner

Throttle stumble saga

Mike Willis writes: For the last few months my Alon A2, which has a C90 engine and MA3 carburettor, has given problems.  This is a throttle stumble, that is when the throttle is pushed in the engine does not pick up, but splutters and hesitates.  At first I thought it was maybe a bit of plug fouling.  But it became worse, and I had to advance the throttle very slowly at the start of each take-of run.  But otherwise everything was normal, so I continued to fly until the next service in January.

The engine ran fine at 1,000 rpm no problem, and once above 1,500 it ran smoothly.  If you advanced it very slowly it is OK, with carb heat on it didn’t happen either.  It was exactly the same running on each of the magnetos.

So therefore I assumed and so did my engineer that it was a carbuettor problem, maybe a fault in the accelerator pump or a leaky manifold gasket.  The idle mixture was checked and adjusted but made no difference.

So the carburettor was removed and dismantled revealing a very small slit in the accelerator pump washer and a corroded main jet packing washer.  He also found a leaky inlet manifold gasket on the no. 3 cylinder.

Thinking these were the problems it was reassembled, but the problem was still there, no change.  So again the carburettor was removed and the needle valve has been replaced, the primer system checked and disconnected, the fuel flow measured from the pump (10+ USG/hour), the float level checked, the jet size checked.  In addition the ignition timing was correct, a new set of plugs fitted, the magneto earthing checked and the cylinder compressions seemed fine.  And guess what, when tested there was no change!  It was exactly the same.

So even though the problem was there if either magneto was used, the magnetos and harness were removed and bench tested and were found OK.   A new carburettor was fitted and there was no change, so fortunately that was returned without cost.

Then the magnetos were removed again and stripped and serviced, revealing that one had an open circuit HT coil.  Aha, problem solved, but of course it didn’t, no change!

By now over a month had passed and my mechanic was nearly bald, he was scratching his head so often.  Everything he tried makes no difference.

After that the rocker covers were removed and the valve springs and the valve lifts checked - all seemed OK.  Then the exhausts were removed – the right hand pipe had a cracked flange and a hole.  Could this be the problem?  But after a fantastic welding repair and test - no change.

The whole affair was finding faults, raised hopes, then disappointment that the stumble persisted!  By now my engineer had to start wearing a hat because his scalp was getting raw from scratching!

Then, although it was serviceable and had bench tested just fine the harness was replaced.  95% of the stumble disappeared!!!  Setting the idle jet correctly eliminated the rest.  Not only has the stumble gone but also the engine runs smoother and it seems to fly a little faster too.

It took 60 hours of labour but at least I’ve had everything under the cowling except the engine itself thoroughly serviced!

Mike, happily airborne again!


Upcoming events


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.

EMU 9  Saturday April 4, Great Oakley (Sunday 5th as back-up)
This is a private grass strip near to Harwich in Essex. Great Oakley has two grass runways - 04/22 is 600 x 24 metres, 09/27 is 850 x 40 metres.  At this airfield Ercoupe owner Derek and his brother both have Percival Proctors under restoration, and we will be able to see these ‘money pits’ as Derek described them.  As usual email me at if you plan to attend and I will keep you posted nearer the time. This should be a great day out!

The 9th Bourn Bacon Butty Fly-In 25th April, Bourn EGSN
This is Mike’s home base.  Each year in the summer Bourn hosts a flying day for the Burned Children’s Club who have an annual summer camp nearby.  This helps the kids, who have suffered more than anyone could believe, some opportunities to help rebuild their self-esteem and sense of achievement.  This fly-in is to help raise funds for the flying day later in the year.

Jim Dalton, a member of RFC Bourn writes: “Oh great Gods of the Sky Beasts, I hereby call upon all of you who are Starving Salivating and Soaring with empty Stomachs.  I say to you, don your best Singlets and Slip the Surly bonds of the Sun split clouds to Shimmy your way through controlled airspace for a bit of a Skylark with your Sociable and Snazzy Fellow Space Travellers.

To be a Staring at the Stomach filling delight that is: The great.........the wonderful...the one and only.......... delicious............ dangerous and devilishly delightful:  Bourn Bacon Butty. This consists of Crispy Bacon, Large Painfully produced Eggs, Aromatic Onions, Red Ripe Tommy Arters encased a crusty sliced and celebrated NATO approved French Stick covered with a generous coating of Grated Cheese.

Usual terms apply:  Please donate what you think the food is worth (we are not selling it), if you don't like it don't donate.

The most kindest of regards, Jim”

European Ercoupe Fly-In 2009

23 & 24 May, 2009 Antwerp Airport (EBAW) BELGIUM, 19th Antwerp Stampe & 3th Ercoupe – Aircoupe Meeting

Robert Rombouts writes: Please delete the text in the last newsletter, this year Belgium will not have our 100th anniversary, they don't agree who will do it and what to do!!!!!! Sorry but that’s the reason the Fly-In is back in May and not in September. In October we will have a book with 100 years Belgium Flying.

So the 3rd European Ercoupe Fly-In is 23 & 24 May

Contact address :
Robert Rombouts
Duinenweg 276 bus 501
B - 8430 Middelkerke
GSM : +32 475 470 775
Email :
web :


Saturday, May 23th
From 10.00 LT : Arrival of participants
From 13.00 LT : Social Gathering on the airfield
At      20.00 LT : Buffet and distribution of prizes

Sunday, May 24th
At      10.00 LT : Briefing
At      11.00 LT : Formation flight over Antwerp (SV4)
At      13.00 LT : Lunch
From 15.00 LT : Departure to the home base

  • Fuel Allowance (1 free tank fill up for Ercoupes)
    No landing and parking fees
    Free BBQ for Ercoupe Owners
    Hotel accommodation at social prices.

June 20-21, Air Britain 2009, North Weald
A regular meet-up for Ercoupes as well as everything else. This year the celebration is "Wings across the channel" commemorating the centenary of Bleriot's crossing. Hopefully we shall see some Ercoupes crossing from France, Belgium and Germany also? Details at

July - tbd

August - tbd

4-6 September, Sywell LAA (PFA)Annual Rally
The LAA is reintroducing the annual rally this year on , so it would be good to have Ercoupe/Aircoupe representtation there. Unfortunately this now clashes with the rescheduled 3rd European Ercoupe Fly-In (see below).

20 September, Solent Aviation Society Luscombe, Pietenpol, Autogyro and ERCO/FORNEY Fly-In, Popham
Yes, after we got 4 'Coupes to Popham last year, the Solent Aviation Society has put us on the programme. So we have to go!!!

Suggested locations for this year (but please send me your suggestions too, particularly if we can piggy-back on other fly-ins):

Halfpenny Green (close enough for Jim McMeekan to join us from Newtownwards)

Other fly-ins of interest

May 9-10 Great Vintage Flying Weekend Kemble. (UK)

May 16 Texel Taildraggers & Old Timer Fly-In. (Nederland)

May 23-24 Antwerp EBAW Fly-In SV4 + 3th Ercoupe – Aircoupe. (Belgium)

June 20-21 North Weald - Air Britain CLASSIQUE Fly-In. (UK)

June 21 AVIA Show & International Fly-In, Ursel. (Belgium)
Ursel EBUL an Navo airfield (3200 mtr long) near Ostend will have an AVIA Show or International Fly-In the 21 June 2009. New Air happening for all kind of planes, but will be fantastic if I see how they organize it.

July 16-19 Tannheim - Tannkosh EDMT – (Germany)

August 15-16  Schaffen-Diest Old Timer Fly-In. (Belgium)
Yearly old timers Fly-In, very interesting but small grass airfield.

September 4-5-6 Hahnweide Oldtimer Airshow und Meeting. (Germany)

Important meetings

April 2-3-4-5 Aero Friedrichshafen, Germany

April 21-26  SUN ‘n FUN – Lakeland, Florida, USA

July 27-31 EAA Airventure, Oshkosh, USA

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


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


Ercoupe mailing lists

For a continuous discussion on Ercoupes, or a daily digest, do register for these Ercoupe mailing groups:

Social and general content
Technical information

Ercoupe Web sites

Ercoupe Owners Club
Robert Rombouts' site
Harmut's Ercoupe Maintenance & repair site
Ernst Viehweger's German Ercoupe web site
Mike Willis' site
SoCal Ercoupe Owners site 
Al DeMarzo's site which includes his 'Ercoupe swap page' 
Ed Burkhead's site

Don’t forget – any contributions to the next newsletter very welcome – email them to me at