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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 3 April 2008


With hopefully the weather due to improve with the onset of spring, I hope all 'Coupers are getting ready for a great flying season. There are two special Fly-Ins coming up, in May and June - see below - so now is the time to plan to meet with the European 'Coupers!

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 if you prefer, and we will translate into English for you!

There is now a page on my web site where you can find all of the newsletters as they are published. Go to and you will now find a "European Newsletter" button once you reach the main page. If you have trouble reading this email then that is the place to go. Incidentally if you cannot read this email correctly could you let me know via email, and which email software you are using on which operating system and I will try and improve it.

I have also improved the coding of the newsletter, so if you wish to print it out on a colour printer it will not use up all of your colour ink printing the grey text!

Mike Willis G-HARY

Ercoupe News

G-EGHB flying again

Peter Vallance is pleased to announce that a group has now been successfully formed at Rochester, Kent (EGTO) to operate G-EGHB, one of the ‘Maypole Ercoupes’ mentioned in the last newsletter. The ‘Coupe remains owned by Gatwick Aviation Museum, which is a registered charity, and income generated by the group will benefit the charity.  Hopefully we shall soon see G-EGHB at our fly-ins.

Peter operates the Gatwick Air Museum, which is on the north west side of London's Gatwick airport. This consists of a fascinating collection of UK military aircraft built since the second world war, including a spectacular Shackleton. There is a profile of Peter and the museum here and the museum web site can be found at

Mode S exemption in UK

Mike Willis writes: The ongoing saga affecting the adoption of mode S transponders continues. In the UK any new installations and replacements of transponders are now required to be mode S. In addition flights IFR flights within controlled airspace are required to have mode S unless an exemption form is completed. The relevant "get out of jail free" form can be found here on the UK CAA web site. From 31 March 2009 VFR flights within controlled airspace and international flights will require mode S under the proposed phase 2 expansion plan, although this is subject to "consultation" and optimists think this might take a few more years.

History Corner

Leslie Miller tells us about his first sighting of an Ercoupe

The very first 'Coupe' I  saw was a F.1a , G-ASLN, belonging to the Surry & Kent Flying Club, at Panshanger in 1964 . Whilst living in Hertfordshire for many years I used to see one or two 'Coupes that were based  in the county (Elstree I believe) whilst scanning the sky for unusual sounds, & sights of vintage types.

Much to my regret I have never held a PPL, as I love to fly whenever I can, but now find that in my 'Twilight year' I have 'Missed the Boat' ( read:--AIRCRAFT). My interest in all vintage types is immense, it is therefore wonderful for me to know Mike and be allowed to sit with him in the cockpit of HARY, (she being the only one I have been able to get up close to.) I have also been in contact with Robert in Belgium who has been so kind in repling to my e-mails. I would so like to hear from any other lucky Ercoupe owners if at all possible.

I do hope that soon I will see more than one 'Coupe' at a time , both on the ground and in the air.
I moved to Clacton 9 years ago, but had never seen a visiting 'Coupe on the strip until I had the pleasure of making contact with Mike. Last year he very kindly flew into the Clacton strip so that we could meet up, and of course gave me the opportunity to sit  with him in HARY and enjoy our meeting in the comfort of her cockpit, thus I had made my first real contact with the type.

 My very good friend Derek Tregilgas owner of G-BZNO is hoping to get her back to Essex this year so I am really looking forward to my second cockpit meeting in a 'Coupe', a grLeslieeat little aircraft with great guys who own them. - & so nice to know.

Leslie R Miller.

Mike writes: A little background on Leslie - he worked for many years for Miles and Percival on airframes, and maintains a strong interest in vintage types. He modestly sent me this photo of one of his models - built from scratch! If you are flying to Clacton be sure to contact Leslie and let him know.

The first UK Ercoupe

Tony Smith, Ercoupe historian writes: The first Ercoupe in the UK was serial number 4784, a model 415-CD, manufactured in 1947 and registered as G-AKFC. The original US registration was NC7465H. Before reaching the UK it was sold in Belgium and registered OO-ERU on 25.7.47 with CoR No.702 to Intair, Antwerp.

Just a month later it was in the UK registered G-AKFC to the Secretary, Ministry of Supply. Following a spell with the RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment) Farnborough with serial number VX147, it moved to the A&AEE (Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment) Boscombe Down May 1949 for evaluation and report on the unique Ercoupe control system. The Ercoupe was loaned to Lettice Curtiss (who was with the Civil Aircraft Testing Section) in July 1949 for use in the Grosvenor Challenge Trophy, held on the 1st August at Elmdon. VX147 completed the course at a record speed of 112.5 mph and was awarded a prize of twenty pounds for the fastest aircraft weighing less than 500kg!

From June 1950 it was loaned to British European Airways for trials, still as VX147, being returned to Boscombe Down in August the same year. Although operating with serial VX147, the civil marks G-AKFC were never officially cancelled.

G-AFKCVX147 was "struck off charge" on 17 January 1952 and as G-AKFC it was registered to Aviation Traders. Just over three years later on 7 May, 1955 it was registered to Blackpool & Fylde Aero Club. A year later it was registered to C.W.Morley, at Southend and in 1958 registered to S.V.Parkin. It was then sold in October 1962 and registered to D.W.Smith, Denham, and then again in 1965 to N.Brooke. Sadly, on 13 August 1967 the aircraft crashed at Halfpenny Green aerodrome, near Stourbridge. On approach, after a local flight, the aircraft struck a tree 300 yards from the end of runway 29 at 10 38 a.m., G.M.T. Lloyd's reported that damage was sustained to the main spar, undercarriage, fuselage, propeller and nose. The pilot, the only occupant, was not seriously injured. G-AKFC was then cancelled as written off 2.4.1973.

Note: Bob and Wayne Moore, of Nederland, Texas, purchased Ercoupe 415C N1001J (c/n 3832) in 1988 and have restored it to represent VX147, appropriately re-registered N147VX.

As well as official sources, credit for above is due to various members of Air-Britain (Historians) who have contributed many details over the years! A copy of the A&AEE report entitled "Handling Tests with special reference to the interconnected aileron, rudder and nose-wheel steering controls" (A.A.E.E./872) should be available from the Public Record Office, reference "AVIA18/1484"

Fly-in reports

Bourn Butty Fly-In
BournMike Willis writes: As announced in the last newsletter, we had a fly-in on Saturday March 15 to raise money for the Burned Children's Club Flying Day to be held later this year in August. Unfortunately the weather was very poor, with a cloud base of 700 feet in the morning, only rising to 1,200 feet in the afternoon. However, 5 pilots with x-ray vision managed to find one of the runways and land, and many folks who planned to fly in drove, from as many as 3 hours away. So together there was around 60 people eating the unhealthy 'Bourn Butty'. Altogether GBP 550 was raised, a tremondous effort.

I dragged G-HARY out of the hangar as an exhibit and it attracted a lot of attention, including pilots who have owned or flown Ercoupes in the past.

Trip reports

Unforgettable trip to “Middelburg “ (EHMZ) October 2007

Robert Rombouts OO-PUS writes: During the good old 70’s & 80’s, we made regularly short trips with the plane from Antwerp (EBAW) to two airfields in Holland; “Hoeven”(EHSE) and “Middelburg”(EHMZ). The purpose of those flights where mainly to tank fuel without VAT, have a small snack, learn to land on small grass airfield and a cross country fly. Now the VAT advantage is gone, the prices went up and we fly longer trips.

I expected a very nice weather the 6th October 2007 and wanted to make a fly to “Middelburg” or “Midden-Zeeland” as we call that airfield. From Ostend (EBOS) it is only 37 nm or 32 minutes along the coast and over the river Schelde. The approach is from the north of the airfield and a right circuit for the runway 09 or a left circuit for 27. Because it is an international flight a FP (Flight Plan) and customs are requested. The “Schenger” is still not for aircrafts, cars may drive in all Europe free.

A real delightful flight at 1,500 ft, following the Belgian coast and the beaches in blue sky. Perfect landing, what do you expect else, on the 810 m long by 30 m large grass runway. Landing fee 18,00 € (£13.81), Fuel 2,29 €/ ltr. (£7.98/Gal), a very good snack on the terrace in the sun, all you need to make you feel relax. The odd Museum, with Gyrocopters, Ulm’s, motors and old Citroen cars is worth to see. The owner is a real character; it is a must to meet him. As usual some spotters took photos of the Ercoupe and waiting till I will take off. Ready for the return, oil check and the usual explanation about the Ercoupe to the spotters, engine start and Robert is going back to Ostend.

Arriving in Ostend at 17:10 local, I could not find my small leather hip bag with all my personal things; wallet, GSM phone and agenda. A cold sweat fills my body; all my personal identify cards, credit cards, money, phone gone. So I went to my studio and phone immediately to “Middelburg” asking if they could find my bag. I had the impression that I put it on the wing before getting in the plane and with all the questions I forgot to take the bag inside. After half an hour I phone back and nobody found the precious bag, neither on the runway nor on the terrace.

With some Euros found at home, I went this time with the car back to Holland because it was too late to fly back. The trip was about 2 hrs because I must take the tunnel under the river Schelde. In the dark I search on the runway with a small lamp without success, I was now sure the bag was on the left wing during take off.

We had to continue searching in the daylight next day. With the few Euros I still had I bought a sandwich and went back with the car. It cost 5,00 € (£3.84) to pass the tunnel under the Schelde

Next day, I phone early to Filip, waiter of the restaurant, who promise me to look early in the morning on the runway. Enormous relieve he found half frozen my black hip bag in the grass at the beginning of the runway. Then I decide to fly instead to drive with the car because; it is quicker and had not enough fuel in the car to drive till Holland. With all my belongings back, I went right to the restaurant and had a shameful feast.

Morality of the story: “the Ercoupe is the cheapest way of travelling.”
Robert Rombouts OO-PUS – 415D – sernr: 4577 – 1947

Hartmunt's technical corner

Our European technical Ercoupe expert Hartmut Beil answers one of those nagging technical questions. This month:

Should I fit the spin-on filter modification to my Continental engine?

How many hours do have on that engine? If it is over 400 hours I would not kill myself to get a filter, even thought the weak Dollar is giving us a good opportunity to buy cheap. You are probably using multi-grade engine oil. This oil especially, as well as all modern piston engine oils does keep the dirt particles within the oil. This is contrary to early engine oils that were supposed to lose all dirt in the oil sump, hence the name 'sump'!

With modern oils, there is the advantage of having a oil filter. It filters the fine crud out and the bearings are supplied cleaner oil that way. However, your engine already has an oil filter. It is the double mesh, located where the temperature probe sits. The mesh is not as fine as a paper filter, but it is there and should be checked occasionally. You will find usually some coked crud in there, and if that shows magnetic, you will know that some metal abrasion happened that is over the usual.

With a filter, you will see all the metal particles that came loose, even the normal abrasion. Some metal is normal in the filter. Otherwise, we would have engines that can't be broken in and that never wear. Some metal is OK. Most people freak out when they see metal at all. However, if you find metal in the mesh, it is cause for concern. You probably will always find tiny amounts of metal in a paper filter. But it doesn't make it easier to judge whether there should be something done or not. If you find metal in the mesh, it can be magnetic or non magnetic parts. One would be from cylinders and gears, the other would be from bearings. Failing bearings can be more of a disaster at times. But all that is detectable when you drain your oil and clean the screen. An oncoming disaster is clearly visible.

Summary: You already do have a filter in the oil system, just not as fine. If you change your oil regularly and do have a healthy engine otherwise, you are as good as with a filter. The filter just costs money. The advantages of a filter are extra cooling, disadvantage is extra weight and costs. However, if your engine has already flown for hundreds of hours, you will not gain much when installing a filter. Maybe just a peace of mind. Hartmut

Do you have a general question for Hartmut? Then email
Check out Harmut's Ercoupe Maintenance & repair site at

Fun stuff

I think the whole world must have heard of the disatorous opening of the new Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow airport recently, where 25,000 bads are still seperated from their passengers. Sky News fitted a camera to a suitcase and made the 'baggage cam' video that can be found here: Sky News Link

However, most of the video is from a film made by the Dutch company who designed and installed the baggage handling system. I know this as 2 weeks before the opening I was at the conference where they were awarded 1st prize for their achievements. Maybe the award was sponsored by KLM!

Recommended destinations

Send in your top 5 for future newsletters!

Upcoming events


2nd Belgian Ercoupe-Aircoupe FlyIn, Antwerp, May 3-4,
The Fly-In of Antwerp (EBAW), is coming closer, less than one month to go! The programme for the Pilots is on the web If you need any assistance, PLEASE send me an email: You can register until April 26 for the hotel and BBQ, if possible before. For the Pilots and the Visitors, we made an advance reservation in different Hotels near the Airport. A free shuttle from and to the Airport / Hotels is provided. For a single room 79 Euro, double room 89 Euro with breakfast.

As visitor, you are very welcome to the FlyIn, free entrance and we can book the Hotel and the BBQ 18 Euro/pp. The Antwerp City is very close from the Hotels, 3 miles. Concerning the medals, I send you already a mail the March 12 and will explain more in Antwerp. We all hope that the weather will be good, it must be fun and we keep it as such have a save flight and make a happy landing in Antwerp.

Robert Mobile: +32 475 470 775

AeroExpo 2008, Wycombe Air Park
, June 13-15, 2008, 

Air Britain Fly-in, North Weald, June 21-22,
This will include, like last year, dedicated parking for Ercoupes. Hopefully as many as possible will arrange to attend! This year 60 years of Air-Britain and all aircraft bulit in 1948 are celebrated, as well as 60 years of the Piper Vagabond/Clipper and 75 years of the SV4 Stampe.

Arrivals are strictly PPR on +44 1992 524510. For further information call +44 1376 344441 or visit


SUN'nFUN, Lakeland, Florida, USA, April 8-13, 2008

NATIONAL ERCOUPE CONVENTION, July 23–26, 2008, Wausau, WI, USA. Contact Syd Cohen 715-573-7063 or for registrations forms.

EAA AirVenture 2008, Oshkosk, Wisconsin, USA, July 28-3 August 2008,

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


Hello everyone. I am having an unusual question . In exchange for a nice addition to my Ercoupe, I need to come up with some plans for building the Cri-Cri airplane. I know there is the original creator of that plane, but I heard the plans will be pricey... Does anyone of you or your friends want to part with such plans? Thanks, Hartmut Beil


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