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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 35 June 2011


Dear readers,

Some of you know that I haven't done much flying in the past year. Returning from the Air Britain Fly-in a year ago I had to make a precautionary landing when my engine lost power. It was a couple of weeks before my engineer could check it and fix it. I then flew it to him for the annual. Unfortunately it was time to overhaul the engine - not a cheap or quick process. The actual overhaul didn't take too long, but CAA inspections to certify the work did. By the time it was finished we were almost in winter and then a flight test was required. It dragged on to February before this could be done due to bad weather. Then it was delays until the paperwork was approved and a certificate of airworthiness was issued. So I missed all of the lovely Easter weather and also most of May. But finally I have a strong engine and I'm ready to fly as much as time and the weather allows! Ironically the first fly-in I will be visiting will be Air Britain at North Weald. I hope so much I don't have such bad luck this year!

Do please contribute to this newsletter, no matter how small your contribution is welcome and will be enjoyed by others. And thank you to those who write in with kind comments. The newsletter is read around the world and brings back happy memories to many!

Happy flying,

Mike Willis, G-HARY

Ercoupe news

Great Oakley Fly-in

On one of his rare visits to the UK, Derek Tregilgas, owner of the mythical Ercoupe N-99495, has invited Ercoupers to Great Oakley 17 July. The occasion is a Moth fly-in, with around 40 expected to be there, but we are allowed to gate-crash the party. Unfortunately this clashes with the 3rd German Ercoupe fly-in at Schönhagen, but anyone not able to make the long trek to the East will be very welcome.

Great restoration

Robert Rombouts writes: I just received a photo of the ex G-COUP, the Van Haarlem family did a beautiful job with the new paint, it is now the N-99280. 

Perhaps he will come to Antwerp in June, I hope. 

Best regards  Robert

An American in England

Mike writes: A friend of Linda Abrams, having heard many good things about England, decided to come over from California for a week back in May. He was on a special tour that I think is laid on especially for our American cousins, which involved being bussed to different parts of the country on successive days to see everything! But they gave him a day off, and on his last day John caught the train as suggested to Cambridge for a lesson in aviation in the UK. John is a flying instructor these days, but had previously flown in the right seat of 727's etc. I took him to Duxford, a local working airfield with a large aviation museum. After showing him some British aircraft we wandered around the airliners parked outside. John has seen some of these aircraft from the cockpit of a 727 but never real close. Finally we ended at the US aircraft display, which is quite a collection. The photo shows John posing by a B24 Liberator.

We then went up to Bourn to meet the gang and to see G-HARY. John had to get back to London to pack, so no time for a flight, but he says he will be back!

'Coupe wanted

Robert Rombouts writes: Very good news on the Belgian Ercoupe front, a young pilot who built his own Ultralight and tried in 2010 with two pilot-friends to fly around the world, intends to buy an Ercoupe.  All propositions are welcome if you want to sell your Ercoupe.  Contact: Anthony Caere - – telephone: +32495625200

Fly-in report

5th European Ercoupe Owners Fly-In at Antwerp (Belgium)

4th & 5th June 2011 was our 5th edition of this yearly event.  Strange but all my life the number 5 follows me as a lucky number; the Fly-In on the 5th June, for the 5th time in a row, 5 Ercoupers attend the Fly-In, married the 5th of May (5/5), was in 5 different schools, I have 5 fingers on one hand, conclusion this Fly-In had the lucky number.  Let’s see if it will be so lucky from start to end.

Sven-Eric Pira flew, as the previous 5 years, from Sweden (ESNA) with his SE-BFX a 415D-1947 in a record time of 10 hours with of course a nice tailwind.  He arrived already on Friday evening (18:45) at Antwerp, and had to land with a gusting 20kts crosswind 50° on runway 11, not so pleasant when you finish a long trip, but he is a remarkable pilot, well done Sven-Eric.

Blue sky weather for the first day (Saturday 4th), it was already blue all the week preceding the meeting in Antwerp, but a strong crosswind and bumpy was not so pleasant.

The tailwind that helps Sven-Eric to push him straight to Antwerp was a headwind for Sid Turner and Keith Peacock and not a nice gift with the 60-F-1A or G-ARHB, in 2hrs30 they manage to fly from Earls Colne UK to Antwerp (EBAW).

Unfortunately Hartmut had already around Berlin the thunderstorms we expect Sunday in Belgium, and sadly enough he could not join us for the Fly-In, sorry Hartmut we missed you and your immaculate 415C-1946 registered N-3330H, next year better.

With the disappointing news, the 415C-1946 registered now as N-99280 ex G-COUP, from the family Van Haarlem (Nederland) is completely restored but the registration papers didn’t arrived in time to join us, sorry Hilde, but a surprise for next year.

Rob Maatman (Nederland) is finalising his restoration of his 415CD-1947 with actual registration N-9117K ex PH-NCE and we hope also to discover his beauty next year.

Jean Flacelière visited us by car because his 415C-1946 registered as F-AZDG had a fuel leak on his header tank, and we are with him so sorry he could not fly to Antwerp.

What didn’t help the number of participants for the Meeting, we received all legal-official-justified-accepted excuses from; Mike Willis, Stephan Vatter, Ernst Viehweger, Ronny Druck, Dr.Holger Zinke, Jérôme Villand, Arthur & Mary Tapp. Now I am wondering if my number 5 is still a lucky one.

About the Fly-In, in addition of our 3 fantastic Ercoupes, we had on display; a F16 – Harvard – Spitfire – Mustang – Raider - Fouga – Cessna 195 – DC 3 – Bucker – Tiger Moth – Chipmunk, the SV4 collection of the Antwerp Stampe-Vertongen Museum and a lot more……you must now be very sad missing all those wonderful and beautiful flying machines, too late.

Because the temperature and the sunshine obliged us to drink a lot, we had to follow a long queue on the bar due to an unbelievable amount of visitors this year.  I believe that the last year enormous row of Ercoupes attract all the visitors to come back this year, unfortunately they were so disappointed, I saw it, to see only 3 ……. but of very high European quality. (Swedish – English – Belgian)

This year we had some changes; all our rooms were booked in the same hotel (Campanile) as the dinner in the evening, we had more relaxing hours and no rush, a drink on the hotel terrace and a multiple choice dinner to close the first day.  We could talk much easier and longer together, that’s the goal of an Ercoupe meeting; exchange flying experience, try to know each other better and enjoy a nice flight to and from the Meeting.  The “from” especially this time was a remarkable-legendary one. 

After dinner it was trophy time:

Sven-Eric Pira was again the star of the Fly-In, his 5th time in a row at Antwerp Fly-In deserve a special golden medal with lanyard, in addition the “Longest flight” trophy was as usual inevitable, and finally the legendary commemorating medal, this time a golden one too.

Sid Turner & Keith Peacock received the surprise trophy because I tried to dissuade them not to come due the expected Sunday bad weather but they didn’t follow my reasonable advice. A commemorating medal but this time a silver one for their 3rd time in Antwerp.  Congratulations for your courage, I appreciate you came and happy to see you both.

Jean Flacelière for his effort to come by car and didn’t want to miss the meeting, a bronze commemorating medal was given.

After a good night and breakfast, we rejoined the airport; Jean had a car and helped us with that problem.  The weather was in all our computing devices awful bad with thunderstorms, low visibility, rain and high gusting wind.  To be honest we expect it and were aware of it, but you always hope it is better and believe me it was better; delicate wind, sunshine, high clouds at Antwerp airport.  The tricky of all, it was very local, that we know afterwards.

Sid and Keith left around 11:00 because the méteo (liars) told them that they will have the best chance to pass the Channel.  Unfortunately the cloud base (600 ft) oblige them to do a precautionary landing in Calais, also three other UK Chipmunk pilots coming from the Chipmeet did the same safety landing.  Luckily a friend could come the next day IFR with a 172 Cessna to fly them over the Channel home.  Poor Keith, he has to come back to Calais and fly the Aircoupe back home, hoping the weather will improve later on this week or next or next…….safety first.

Sven-Eric had a lot of trouble to pass a thunderstorm located over Amsterdam, he had the skill and luck to find a possibility to pass it and in the evening he was in Göteborg. The next day he flew home to Hallviken (ESNA) in a maximum groundspeed his Ercoupe never did (120 kts), what a strong tailwind can do.  Well done Sven-Eric, you are safe home.  His home base is located in the north of Sweden and he needs 4hrs (with an Ercoupe) from Göteborg.

My flight to Ostend was also not so tremendous, I start at 1500 ft in Antwerp and finish between 800 ft – 600 ft in Ostend, jumping in and out the clouds, but I was still VFR over de Belgian coast, also safe home.  And nobody complains, my transponder mode S was always on, or am I invisible so low.

All my sincere thanks to Sven-Eric Pira – Sid Turner – Keith Peacock and Jean Flacelière joining this 5th European Ercoupe Owners Fly-In.  I had a marvellous weekend and hope you all too, it was a good friendly Ercoupe meeting.  Perhaps is my “5” at the end of this weekend a discussable number, up to you to judge, we all are save and happy.

Ercoupers are wonderful enthusiastic pilots with the same passion.  Hope to see you soon, fly safe, I try too.

Robert Rombouts
OO-PUS – 415D – sernr: 4577

Trip report


Mike Willis writes: The weather had been dreadful, then one evening the weather forecast for the following day was great, but with bad weather to follow again.  I had lots of work I should have been doing, but after almost a year of not flying I was keen to go, so took a day off.  But where to fly?  Test flying has taken me up and down to the Wash and around East Anglia, so I was looking for somewhere to go a little further afield.  Derbyshire and the Peak District was the final choice, not too far from Cambridge where I’m based, but quite different countryside.

“So where are you off to?” asked Richard, one of Bourn’s flying instructors.  “Off to Derbyshire and to fly around up the valley to the dams where the dambusters practiced.  “I’ve got a book of walks for that area” replied Richard, “walks to aircraft crash sites”.  Well, it was a training area for second world war bombers who would fly low level including at night.

Off I flew in G-HARY, which now has a zero-timed engine and climbs really well.  I set track for Nottingham, then cut across to the west to Matlock.  Here I turned north to follow the river up to the reservoirs.

The first landmark I came across was Chatsworth House, a famous stately home and seat of the Duke of Devonshire.  The car park was full, the sunshine was drawing everyone out for the day. 

Next up the valley is Hathersage, a lovely village down in the valley, yet amazingly only 10 miles from Sheffield, one of the UK’s largest cities.  To the east is Stanage Edge, a cliff popular with climbers, and above that the moors, great for walking in fine weather.

And then to the dams and reservoirs, built to hold and supply water to the growing population of the East Midlands towns.

The lowest is the Ladybower reservoir, then the Derwent reservoir, and finally the Howden reservoir.  This area was used by Lancaster bombers to practice dropping the bouncing bombs due to its similarity to the Ruhr Valley, where the attacks took place.  After I’d flown over them I turned to return, throttling back and thinking of making a low-level run over them.  What would impress the tourists more than a twin-finned aircraft over those dams?  OK, I decided not to.  No point in waiting a year to fly and then getting my license taken away.

So now I headed across the Moors to Sheffield.  I visit this town quite frequently as my eldest daughter lives and works here.  And flying around the south I was easily able to pinpoint where she lives.  Pretty easy actually as she is close by a tramway, clearly visible from the air.

And then to Gamston for lunch.  This is one of my favourite airfields, unbelievable facilities for GA.  A nice smooth runway, reasonably priced AVGAS, and a wonderful cafe which was unfortunately closed that day.  Oh well.  I talked to a flying instructor about the Derwent Valley.  “We take all of our air experience flights up there” he told me.  “You used to be able to fly low-level over the reservoirs but the rumour is they’ve put cameras in the towers”.  So maybe it was the right decision to stay high after all!

Mike Willis, G-HARY

Fly-Ins 2011

Start putting these dates in your diaries!!!

2 - 3 July, Air Britain Fly-In North Weald. UK

A regular event for Ercoupe owners. Details of this year's event at:

16-17 July, 2011, 3rd German Ercoupe Fly-In, Schönhagen

During those days a Classic old-timer cars and planes is organized, a very good combination to do an Ercoupe Meeting.

30 - 31 July, Old timers Fly-In Keiheuvel, Belgium


12 - 14 August, Old timers Fly-In Schaffen-Diest. Belgium

Further details at:

26 - 28 August, Tannheim Fly-In. Germany

17 - 18 September, Solent Aviation Society Popham, UK


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SoCal Ercoupe Owners site 
Ercoupe photo album 
Dave Abram's site
Ed Burkhead's site

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