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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 38 October 2011


Dear readers,

Now the summer is over we finally seem to be having some good flying weather - unfortunately not in time for the Popham fly-in this year which was a washout. I'm trying to fly at least one good trip a week at the moment to make up for lost time.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter. However I understand some of you are not able to view it as intended. Unfortunately Microsoft in their infinite wisdom choose to use Word's rendering engine for HTML - for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about it screws things up by not formating all the things it should. Basically if you view this newsletter in the mail reader Outlook, the photos in the newsletter are on the left rather than the right and the text won't wrap around them. The solution is to view them via a web browser by using the link at the top of this page.

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

Cheering up Leslie

Leslie Miller writes: I’m a really true follower of the 'Ercoupers', but sadly I cannot be classed as an authentic 'Couper' as I do not own one of these delightful aircraft.  However I have had the privilege of knowing Mike Willis for sometime, also Derek Tregilgas with his 'Mythical Bird'.  I feel sure that his aircraft will 'come to life' before the end of century, well, at least I hope so, as my life span is not 'on hold'!! - may I suggest to Derek that, if, and when this bird comes home to roost, that she be christened 'MYTH -WUN' !!

During his recent visit to the UK it was my great pleasure to finally meet Robert, when he flew into Clacton airstrip with Mike.  Robert and Mike have been so kind to me during this black period in my life, and for this I am forever grateful to them.

It was so nice to read Robert’s kind remarks in the last newsletter about his visit with Mike to my home, our ensuing conversation cheered me up tremendously, this being at a time when I am recovering from a long and serious illness.  I really will look forward to our next meeting, which hopefully will be at another record attendance at Great Oakley on a warm, sunny day.

I had the great pleasure of seeing an almost record attendance the other year, when FIVE 'Coupes' graced the turf at Great Oakley in Essex, it should have been SIX, but Robert was sadly grounded in Ostend.

I would be delighted to hear from any 'Coupers', and maybe see you at Great Oakley in the very near future.  I wish you all many happy hours of 'Cloud Hopping'

Leslie Miller

Ercoupe veteran

G-ARORPeter Allison writes: Hello Mike - just received your Newsletter 37.  Enjoyed it as usual.  It prompted me to look at my log book to see just how many Aircoupe/Ercoupe flights I have made in how many different aircraft.  Turns out to be 57 flights in 9 different planes, starting in 1966 with my first lesson with 'Tiny' Marshall in G-AROR at Biggin Hill and ending (thus far) with a local flight out of Antwerp in OO-PUS with the late Kim Van Risseghem in 1987.  The full list is AROR, ARXS, ARHA, ARXR, ASLN, ARHF, AVIL, BKIN and OO-PUS.  I wonder how many of these Aircoupes/Ercoupes are still 'alive' and active??

Unfortunately I won't be able to make the Popham Fly-In on Sept 18th as it clashes with the final day of the Goodwood Revival.  Still, one day we'll meet up!  Don't forget if you fancy flying our Lightning simulator at Tangmere someday then come on down to Goodwood and I'll pick you up there and take you to the Museum to try your hand at fast jet flying.

Regards Peter Allison

EGHB you are missed

G-EGHBAmanada Rowland writes: Dear Mike, How delighted both Ken and I are to see that EGHB has been overhauled and completely restored! It is exactly what Ken and I had dreamed of doing one day when we were in possession of her a couple of years ago.

Both Ken and I smiled with such delight at seeing her in such a wonderful state of restoration, plus being the only Ecoupe in Italy!  Please convey our best wishes to 'Georgio' from Ken and I - who truly 'loved' our "Harriet Bravo"!

Best Ken and Amanda


Mary Tapp writes: Dear Mike, We enjoyed the Newsletter, as always, especially interesting to us this time was the article from Giorgio Pace from Rome.  Both Rodney and I have flown EGHB, named after Maypole airfield's designated code (HB being Herne Bay).  I have 3 entries in my logbook for 1996, one of them, I notice, was to Dieppe.  Rodney has 8 entries.  We had the choice of buying that one, or ours.

The owner of Maypole at the time was the third owner.  He had 3 Ercoupes shipped over from Florida, and they were all restored at Maypole.  Indeed Brian Mayo is well past retirement, but still re-builds fabric aeroplanes.  He is a real craftsman, and takes forever.  We shall show him Giorgio's photos of the restoration he is doing on EGHB, he will be most interested!  Incidentally Brian only turned out aircraft that were 100% perfect!  He was an engineer in the RAF.  We do hope Giorgio gets a lot of pleasure out of it - it will be much admired being the only one in Italy.  Good luck with the restoration, and may it soon be flying again!!

As always, we much enjoyed Robert Rombout's article.  Sorry Sywell got the bad weather.  I sympathise with him over Clacton!!  I nearly didn’t take off (twice, 2 different visits!). I am glad to now have Great Oakley as a 1st choice for that part of the world!!  Keep up the good work, Mike, with the Newsletter, & hopefully see you at Popham.  Regards,& happy flying,  Mary & Rodney

 Rodney Tapp adds: Dear Mike, I forwarded your information about G-EGHB to one of the original rebuilders, and thought you might like to see his reply.

The late Jim Spanton imported three Ercoupes which had been bought on his behalf by his son who lived in the States.  The first rebuild, on one of its first flights, touched down short of the runway at Maypole, hit an open plough furrow, which tore off the undercarriage, and it was a write-off.  The second rebuild was our G-ERCO.  The third was G-EGHB, with a 90hp engine, which Jim wanted us to buy in exchange for ours, but we declined.

Jim loved aeroplanes, his airfield, and his pilots.  Unfortunately his wife, now deceased, did not.  When Jim died, she refused to sell the airfield to any of us, and gave away G-EGHB to the Gatwick air museum, as Frank says, probably out of spite!

Hope this is of interest! Yours, Rodney

The news is no news

Derek Tregilgas writes: Hi Mike, I just thought I'd send you a mail to say that I haven't got any news.  I'm back in Singapore now having convinced the doc that I was fit enough to travel, although I'm still grounded would you believe!  Six weeks and counting since I did my swallow-dive with a pike and triple backflip into my campervan at the LAA Rally at Sywell!  I'm pretty well fully fit again (not that I was ever fit in the first place of course), but I have to wait for various medical reports to be processed before they sign me off again.  Not to worry - I'm quite enjoying the time off.

N99495I have it on good order that the FAA have finally approved the issue of the CofA on my 'ye mythical one' and I duly sent them a cheque for 1,800 quid for the privilege! What a bunch of bandits!!! They charged me 500 quid for the one-day inspection, 800 quid for the CofA, 150 quid for 300 miles at 50p per mile, and 10 quid postage!  Let me know AS SOON as we get the thumbs up to operate this aircraft on a permit will you please.

Anyway, it was great to meet you all at Oakley and swallow a quick beer in the process (I had a few more after you left - painkillers you know!).  Superb newsletter as usual as well, including a jolly good photo of us in the beer tent (or whatever it was).  Did any of you manage to make Headcorn or was that a wash-out as well? I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to joining you (with '495') at some of these lovely events.

Hope all's well with you.  Cheers for now, Derek Tregilgas

G-COUP flies again

N99280Hilde van Haalem writes: Beste Robert, Hierbij even een berichtje om je te laten weten dat ex G-COUP (nu N99280) weer vliegt!!! Eindelijk, na toch een lange periode van wachten op allerlei administratieve zaken, hebben we afgelopen zaterdag 15 oktober de eerste vlucht als N99280 kunnen maken. Het hele weekend was het natuurlijk schitterend weer, dus we hebben beide weekenddagen goed benut!!!

Helaas is afgelopen zomer voor wat betreft vliegevenementen aan ons voorbij gegaan (maar ja, het was toch geen weer!), maar volgend jaar zijn we er weer bij hoor!!  Heb je al een datum voor Antwerpen???

Roland & Hilde van Haarlem

Dear Robert, This just a note to let you know that the former G-COUP (now N99280) flies again!  Finally, a long period of waiting, mainly for paperwork, ended Saturday, October 15 with the first flight made as N99280.  The whole weekend was of course beautiful weather, so we put two days to good use!

Unfortunately, last summer’s events flew past us.  But next year we'll be back!  Do you have a date for Antwerp??

Greetings and see you soon!!

Roland & Hilde van Haarlem

G-AVIL restoration

G-AVILPhil Kemp writes: Hi Mike, Sorry to hear about another weather-affected Ercoupe gathering, or not, as the case may be.  Headcorn would be a good place but this Saturday 1st October it is the Air-Britain AGM at Kidlington so I would not be able to join you.  The weather looks good for the weekend so I hope all goes well.

I was speaking to Mick Allen on Saturday (who has the paint spraying business at Turweston) and he told me that G-AVIL is now with him for a rebuild, despite extensive corrosion.  Hopefully that aircraft will soon be back to good health

All the best for now and hope to meet up again soon. Regards Phil Kemp

PS Note for next year's diary - Air-Britain Fly-In 2012 is 30 June - 1 July at North Weald

EI-AUT hibernating

EI-AUTLiam Boyle writes: Hi Mike, As you know I recently visited a stored Aircoupe (EI-AUT), and I have attached some photos of it. 

There is not much I can tell you about this Aircoupe that you don't already know.  Its a Forney F1 it was manufactured in 1960, and was owned by Surrey and Kent Flying club - its registration then was G-ARXS - until 1970. 

panelIn 1970 it was bought by Joyce Aviation in the Rupublic of Ireland and re-registered as EI-AUT.  The CofA expired in 1976 and it was withdrawn from use.  The Aircoupe is now in dismantled in a couple of sections.  The fuselage is stored at the owners home and the wings, elevator, rudders and cockpit instruments etc are stored at a landing strip in Bannfoot.

The current owner is Mr Norman Glass who kindly invited me to his home to photograph his Aircoupe.  I had a chat with the owner but unfortunately there are no plans to restore this Aircoupe in the near future.

Liam Boyle

Trip reports

Popham 18 September

Tony Smith writes: Hello Mike, what a disappointment last weekend!  Popham is one event (as I'm a member of Solent) that we've supported since the year dot but I can't remember a worse one.  Luckily we decided not to take the camper but stayed in a Travelodge near Reading - it would have been very uncomfortable else!

There were NO visitors on the Saturday - probably a good thing for me as Anne got bitten by a dog as soon as we arrived on the airfield and we spent a large part of Saturday in Basingstoke Hospital, then hunting around for a new pair of trousers for her!  She's OK now but it was a nasty nip.

PophamSunday wasn't much better but fourteen aircraft braved the elements, but no Ercoupes though; pity as Robert had intended to come over.  Even Don Eaves and the Solent gang gave up half way through the day and decamped before the monsoon broke!

So, that's it for this year; the season is all but over.  On the airfield and fly-in front I haven't been around and about much this year, making use of the camper in other directions as I've been told that it won't get through its MOT next year (the same problem as Ercoupes - corrosion!).  I had hoped to get at least to Great Oakley; maybe I'll make that a private visit later in the year if I get a chance.

I hope you've managed to get some decent flying in during the summer and that you're keeping well.

All the best - Tony Smith

Mike adds: I grabbed the photo from Popham's web cam just to see if the weather was as bad as in Cambridge, and it was!

Headcorn 1st October 2011 – Meet-Up and minitrip to Headcorn EGKH

Robert Rombouts writes: A marvellous sunny weather was expected for the first October weekend.  THE opportunity for an Ercouper, to have a perfect excuse and destination to fly, after such a bad September, the “OO-PUS” or “Sweety II” was so sad in her hangar.  Mike Willis proposes us a Meet-Up in Lashenden-Headcorn (EGKH), which was for me an ideal distance to manage in a one-day trip, THANK you Mike.

HeadcornThe easy flight planning was done quickly, Headcorn was not for me an unknown airfield, only the Para-drops need some careful attention. 

In addition, I still remember that the runway 29 was not a billiard on the touchdown, and Mike warned us if the threshold number is moving, we are heading for the wrong runway, because that is the sheep meadow.

FlyersDepart around 12:00 local in Ostend (EBOS) with an immaculate blue sky, vertically, but when heading to the Dover VOR I had a good instrumental training in the haze.  At 2500 feet it was smooth over the water, I discover after 48 minutes that the white Dover cliffs didn’t moved and that I was nearly arrived.  Headcorn is just 20 minutes from the UK coast.  Runway 11 was in use and hear that G-HARY with Mike & Andrew were also in the circuit.  Sorry, about my anxious feeling that the runway was a potato field, my landing was on a perfectly flat 11 runway, but be cautious for the taxiway.

We could not synchronize better our arrivals, G-HARY was already arrived on the parking lot between an enormous number of aircraft, and I try to squeeze the OO-PUS between two high wings, then G-ERCO with Mary & Rodney Tapp arrived too when I was searching and they had the chance taking the space a departing plane left open. An available space nearby came also free, so that we could be with our Ercoupes all together, handy for a family picture.

PlaygroundWe enjoy a refreshing drink and the traditional pilot hamburger in the crowded bar, exchanging our latest news and happiness of the delicious flight we just had.  We intended visiting the Museum, but it was closed.  Unbelievable how it is possible departing aircrafts can cope with the constant Para-drops, we have to be careful when we will leave.  In addition, we admired how quick after the alarm horn sounded the fire department was ready on the runway, securing an aircraft landing the opposite runway 29 with an oil pressure problems - all went well and no intervention was necessary.

First Mary & Rodney depart and I decided as did Mike & Andrew to leave direction home.  Over land, the visibility was good, and again the Channel was hazy, but much better than in the morning and I could now guess that the dark line on the horizon was really the French and afterwards the Belgian coast.  Ostend gave us a straight-in approach from the sea on 08 which shortened the fly time.

This was a nice trip, OO-PUS enjoyed it too, I saw her smiling when I push her back in the hangar.

Thanks to Mike and the incredible nice weather, we had again a lovely trip and meet nice Ercoupe friends.

OO-PUS & Robert


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