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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 28 July 2010


Dear readers,

Yet again I have to apologise for missing a month for the newsletter - the summer is a busy time for me with work. I can't even say I have been busy flying as it is already 5 weeks since I flew my 'Coupe. I had a couple of weeks waiting for a fault to be checked, and now I'm waiting for my annual to be completed.

This newsletter there is a great report of the North Weald fly-in, which unfortunately suffered from bad weather. It was certainly the roughest weather I have flown in. Also Hartmut made a fantastic journey across the Alps to Venice. Some great photos of a journey of a lifetime.

There are some more great fly-ins coming up, next is in Berlin - full details below.

The newsletter circulation continues to grow, and will soon reach 100! So do please send to me contributions - it doesn't matter how short or simple they seem, they will be appreciated by all.

One final point, as the number of photos has increased I have decided not to include them with the email anymore. You have to make sure you click 'download photos' to see them and then they will appear linked from my web space. I hope this won't be a problem for anyone, but if you do have problems let me know.

Happy flying,

Mike Willis, G-HARY

Quick links to contents of this newsletter:
North Weald fly-in review
Over the Alps to Venice

Ercoupe news

Ercoupe for sale

Harald Schmidt has decided to sell D-EHCG who is nicely standing in his garage at home in Bayern.  It is a 1947 415CD sernr.: 4697.

If you are interested contact Harald Schmidt email:


Civilan Coupé

Leslie Miller writes: Through the kindness of Mike Biddulph I managed to get my first full day out this year, with a wonderful day out on June 2nd when he drove me to Biggin Hill to be flown to a wonderful vintage fly-in at West Tisted Hants. -- WOW what a great flight it was too!!

The 'Biggin boys' had invited us to fly with them - they were taking a 'gaggle' of 4 aircraft - I flew in the sole surviving 1931 Civilian Coupé (nearly as old as me!!) G-ABNT 'BUNTY' - Mike in the De Havilland Hornet - & John (the restorer) flew in the 'Messenger' - the Curtiss Wright 'Travel Air' had an empty seat as the pilot was making only his 2nd flight in her. The 'Coupe' had only clocked up about 260 hrs in 79yrs. & still had the original hand made wooden prop.

What a great day it was with about 80 glorious types attending.  Even the sun shone on us. I was completely worn out for 3 days afterwards having got up at 5am & returned home around 8pm - but who cares - I wouldn’t have missed it for the world !!

I do hope that you will be able to bring the Ercoupes into Great Oakley very soon.

All the best, Leslie

Mike adds: The Civilian Aircraft Company only made one type - the Coupé - and only 5 of them.

Fly-In reports

70th Ercoupe Anniversary at North Weald June 19th & 20th June 2010.

Robert Rombouts writes: The European Ercoupers were invited by “Air Britain” for the “American Classics Fly-In” to celebrate the “70th Ercoupe anniversary” at North Weald (EGSX) airfield in the UK. All our thanks to “Air Britain” for this nice opportunity they offer the Ercoupes and Ercoupers, we cannot miss this meeting.

Expecting around 6 Coupes was feasible, unfortunately the result was 3 Ercoupes, but the international quality was saved. Sven-Eric Pira from Sweden (13 hours flight time) with his shining polished SE-BFX, Mike Willis from Bourn UK and his G-HARY, and I from Ostend Belgium with the OO-PUS.

We missed Keith and Sid with G-ARHB, their motor had cylinder problems and need to be renewed, sorry for them, we hope you both to be soon in the air again. Arthur and Mary Tapp were expected on Sunday, but the bad weather obliged them to stay in Manston. All the others had legal excuses and missed this marvellous meeting.

Here my trip-story; because I intend to have a nice extended UK weekend, I flew first to Bourn (EGSN) on the Thursday 17th to Mike’s base, he and his wife Loraine invited and spoiled us with a wonderful and warm hospitality, thank you to your both we appreciated it very much.

The flight to Bourn was a dream I never will forget, in a immaculate blue sky with only 700ft low clouds at Manston as the Met office forecast predicted, so I decide for the direct route from Ostend to Clacton VOR (1 hr water) and then straight to Bourn. It was a relaxing, clean and beautiful flight, the ones you never expect here in Europe. Also an amazing saving of time and talking on the radio, I still enjoy it.

Next day (Friday), Mike show us Cambridge with all the amazing Universities, and around noon, we departed to North Weald, no blue sky anymore, even some dark clouds, but dry. Flying between Stansted and Luton CTR as mentioned in the VFR regulations, I arrived after 25 minutes in North Weald. A very friendly reception from Phil Kemp and his brother Nigel who are the heart and the spirit of the yearly fly-in. Slowly the weather was changing from cloudy to rain, we expected Sven-Eric around 4pm but didn’t arrive, the bad flying conditions delayed him by nearly 2hrs. He is a fantastic pilot, and arrived in lousy rain save and well.

The Saturday, first official fly-in day, Mike arrived between the drops and an increasing wind. We met Andrew Gardner, who just sold his Coupe (G-ARHC) and was always normally present on the meetings; also Keith Peacock came by car, grounded with his motor problems.

But the Ercoupers were again together in a very friendly meeting, Tony Smith and his wife Anne came with their camper for the all weekend. Ken Lyndon-Dykes whose Ercoupe is now in Rome joined us in the bar, good to see you again. We had a good “Coupe Lovers” representation, the honour is saved and we must not be ashamed.

During the all day we had intermitted rain and scarring dark clouds, not an ideal weather for a fly-in, much less aircrafts as expected was the result, with 3 Ercoupes we had a very good representation.

Delayed a few time due to the rain, we had the trophy awards, and guess who had the most.

Sven-Eric had the award of “The Best Ercoupe” – “The Longest Flight” – “The Oldest Ercoupe” he was the star of the fly-in, all our congratulation, you didn’t fly in such bad conditions and return home empty handed.

This year we had also a “Surprise Award” for an Ercouper who did a lot for the European Owners; every month he send us all a fantastic Newsletter, and propose in the UK all the available meetings with all the necessary details, in addition he is very sympatric man. So this “Surprise Award” was for the “Smallest European Ercouper - Mike Willis”, congratulation Mike and THANKS for all your efforts.

Sunday 20th June, last day and return home, the Met Office gave us fair weather, some showers but good visibility. In the air it was a little different, enough showers and scarring clouds from North Weald to Dover, without visibility over the Channel I continued to cross straight to Ostend. To stay VFR I was obliged to descend quite low and had a beautiful sideways view on the crossing boats and the high white waves, the windscreen was hammered with cooling rain. Luckily Ostend reports a nearly 9km visibility with 2000ft clouds, but on arrival I had in downwind the last nice shower to clean the OO-PUS from the salty Channel water.

Sven-Eric had the same but then during his longer trip to Nederland and Germany, he arrived the same day in Göteborg Sweden, I admire your skill Sven-Eric, Ercoupes are fantastic planes.

Mike was not so lucky, a loss of power oblige him to land on a farm strip, during his flight back to Bourn, hoping the problem is not serious (it wasn’t - a 1 minute fix when the problem was diagnosed!) Wish you will be soon back at Bourn with your G-HARY.

We planned to have our first “European Ercoupe Owners – Convention”.

In consequence of a small number of EEO’s (4 present) we decide to have our Convention; Sweden (1) – United Kingdom (2) – Belgium (1) we did not all do the trip and go back without have the pleasure to cancel it.

Opening of the 1st European Convention at 15:37 local time.

  1. Finance: Because we pay everything from our own wallet, we better not keep a record of it.
  2. Investments: See 1st point and keep it quiet.
  3. Logo: This is accepted by the USA Ercoupe Owners Club, and I hope all are happy with it, as reminder we glue one on the wall in the Squadron bar.
  4. Questions – answers: Glasses are empty, try a Spitfire beer, jolly good.
  5. End of 1st Convention at 15:47 local time.

This 2010 North Weald fly-in was not without surprises, start good – between and after bad weather – but all arrived save and well home, with again a nice friendly meeting between Ercoupers.

Robert Rombouts  (OO-PUS)



Trip reports

Over the Alps to Venice

Hartmut Beil writes: Last winter I watched on YouTube two guys landing in Lido Venice. I did not know that Venice had a small GA airport and wanting to visit the city since long, I was more than happy to know that there is a GA airport I can land in. So I told myself to wait until a European wide high pressure allows for an easy pass over the Alps. Last weekend it was the time and on Friday July 3rd off I went.

First leg was to Ried Kirchheim. It took me almost 3 hours to go there passing directly through the Czech republic. The flight was uneventful pleasant and my plan was to ask the guys in Kirchheim for assistance to file a flight plan since I was not really sure what route to take through the alps.

The folks in Kirchheim could not believe that I hadn't my route all laid out from the beginning, but what do I know where to pass the Alps best. I better rely on insider information. That said, they gave in and thanks to Wolfgang Lechner, a local instructor, I took off an hour or so later with a clever route printed in my hand and a flight plan filed and the confidence that I found the smartest way through the Alps for me and my Ercoupe.

I did quite some mountain flying before, but the Alps beat my previous experience.

Passing the first few mountains I was confident, but finally the Lower Tauern insight, I found them a bit intimidating. Gaining altitude seemed the ultimate goal now.

Then after leaving the Tauern to my left, everything else seemed easy. I flew around 8000ft altitude and felt good.

I remembered that Wolfgang also briefed me on a few thunder storms that were building up in the second part of my route, but only a few high clouds were visible - nothing to worry about.

Then I saw a flash in the distance, then a second one and then the wall of clouds and rain. But luckily the storm was building up at altitude. I could easily look through the rain and had just to descent a little. I did that but as soon I was close enough to be under the clouds - still a bit worried about the flashes, the real challenge showed up.

While I could see through the rain from the distance, the heavy splash on the front window turned my flight instantly into IFR conditions. It was just impossible to see through all that water splashing down my windshield. So I did a 180 and in safe distance again picked a more promising spot, where the rain was bearable.

The storms were passed fast and the hills became smaller and smaller. I started descending and suddenly there was the coastline of the Adriatic Sea.

I was handed to the Italian controller who took it easy on this Friday afternoon and cleared my for a direct approach along the coastline at my own discretion.

Nothing better than that. A few reporting points Grado, Caorle, Jesolo, Grado and then there it was - Venice to my right.

Handed to the tower they cleared me for a straight in and faster than I could imagine, I was there. You can also see a great video of the landing at Venice by following this link:

I did it. I felt so great, I was just standing around for an hour or so after checking with the guys from the FBO. Here I met Davide Sarto, one of the firemen at the airport. He introduced me to the airports history, pointed out where I could find a hotel and we really had a nice chat about Germans and Italians in general. He loves his Venice, where he was born and he loves working at the airport too. A happy man. Well done Davido.

Then I took off to the hotel.

Since this was meant to be a short weekend trip I took off early Sunday morning from my hotel. Appeared at 8 a.m. local time at the airport. I had a long way back and I planned to use the cooler air in the morning to cut through the humidity and avoid the building up weather in the Alps. I found the airport closed.

After 15 minutes someone appeared that being asked that the airport opens told me maybe at 8:30 - maybe. And off he went. At 8:30 another pilot showed up. He was a German fellow, was hopeful that the airport opens shortly, handed me his suitcase and disappeared. He needed to get more stuff from the hotel. But around 8:45 more and more pilots showed up, all ready to leave, but nobody around to let them to their planes.

Finally just minutes before nine the gates opened and the Italians were really fast and helpful to get us all out. I still needed to file my flight plan - others were smarter and did that already in their hotels. Great help again from the Italian crew. Not exactly knowing what I was doing I filed with local times in mind. One phone call from the ground crew and UTC was in.

Then gas. The liter 100LL was €2.50. This offset a bit the low landing and parking fee, which was just 21 Euros for the two days, landing included. Finally - all was done and shortly after 10 a.m. local I was heading home.

Reaching the alps I found the clouds already lower than I liked, so I tried to climb over the cover and reached 11500 ft.

Not bad for the old Ercoupe. But soon I had to realize that I could not out climb the towers in front of me and I had to go down, way down.

But Wolfgang’s routing appeared to be marvellous. The valleys I had to follow now had still plenty of room for me, the mountains and the clouds and not too long and I left the alps behind me. While I was descending from my 11000 ft I told the controller the reason behind that and they were overly concerned that I left VMC. Not so I calmed him down, but he offered then radar assistance. Assistance can't hurt I told myself and agreed. I had to switch to a different controller that did not always saw me on radar, but was very helpful when he did see me, offering vectoring through the valleys. Nice. Luckily not really needed, but experience seems to be that the weather closes in fast and the only way is to make it to an nearby airport. Which there are not many. Well, I did not need them.

Next time I will not only check the European weather situation before flight, but also the local weather in the Alps. A short stop in Kirchheim again and off I went to Berlin.

Finally I had the Elbe in front of me and I was almost home.

Greetings from Berlin. Hartmut

Fly-Ins 2010

August 7-8      Schönhagen, Berlin, Germany (EDAZ) German Ercoupe Fly-In

Ercoupers, our next fly-in come together is planned for August 7/8 in Schönhagen by Berlin, Germany (EDAZ).

The airport offers no landing fee for old-timer aircraft (Ercoupes). It has a nice restaurant and a hotel for those that wish to overnight.

We will have more time for aircraft talk plus get to know each other better.

Here is a PDF file of the Jeppeson airport chart showing traffic pattern and airport facilities. A better quality file will be delivered on request.

Now in German:
Unser nächster Ercoupe Fly-in ist für den 7/8 August in Schönhagen bei Berlin (EDAZ) geplant.

Schönhagen berechnet keine Landegbühren für Old-Timer Flugzeuge . Es gibt ein schönes Restaurant und ein Hotel zur Übernachtung. Zur Reservierung bitte hier klicken . In Schönhagen haben wir mehr Zeit zur Fachsimpelei und man kommt sich etwas näher.

Die angefügte Jeppeson Karte zur Information über das Landefeld und Anflugverfahren. Eine Datei in höherer Qualität kann bei Bedarf versendet werden.

Greetings to you all,

Euer Hartmut

August 14-15       Schaffen-Diest (Belgium)   International Old-Timer Fly-In

A very popular annual fly-in. Full details at Already 114 aircraft are registered to attend.

August 28       Great Oakley Vintage Fly-In

Deatils to foloow, but this could be the debut of Derek Tregilgas's Ercoupe N99495!

September 9-12   Mount Vernon Outland Airport, Illinois (KMVN) - 2010 EOC National Convention

The annual Ercoupe National Convention in the USA is in Illinois this year. Full details at

September 11-12      Nangis, France - 1st French Ercoupe fly-in

September 19      Popham, UK- Solent Aviation Society Fly-in


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Social and general content
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Ercoupe Web sites

Ercoupe Owners Club
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Mike Willis' site
SoCal Ercoupe Owners site 
Ercoupe photo album 
Ed Burkhead's site

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