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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 39 December 2011


Dear readers,

I hope everyone is enjoying a nice Xmas holiday, and wish you all a Happy New Year. Perhaps now is a good time to put details of next year’s fly-ins into your diaries for 2012? See the list at the end of this newsletter.

I’d like to thank all those who have contributed to the newsletter in 2011. It is circulated directly to over 100 Ercoupe enthusiasts, and each issue many kindly email their thanks and say how much they enjoy reading it. What I would really like is more contributions from those outside of the UK. We understand if English is not your first language it is not so easy. But we are happy to translate and can easily publish in two languages. So please make your New Year’s resolution to make a small contribution during 2012 and share with everyone your appreciation of all things Ercoupe.

Best regards,

Mike Willis, G-HARY

Ercoupe News

The fight for the Gatwick Aviation Museum

The museum was set up and is run by Peter Vallance, and was formerly the home of Ercoupe G-EGHB until a few years ago. Peter took over the battery chicken farm in 1981 and has since then built up a wide collection of post-war British aircraft and engines. There are two Shackletons, a Buccaneer, Sea Vixen, Lightning, Venom, Canberra, Gannet, Meteor, Hunter, two Sea Prince, Pembroke, Jaguar, Harrier and a Whirlwind helicopter. Several have been restored so that their engines can be run up and control surfaces moved.

Earlier this year Peter filed a planning application to redevelop the dilapidated wooden chicken farm into a proper museum with modern buildings that would enable the aircraft to be put under cover. The planning application was refused on the grounds that it is within the Green Belt and it was an inappropriate location for an aircraft museum. This is despite the fact that the site is adjacent to the main Gatwick airport runway!!!

The museum has been plagued by arguments with the local council over planning permission since the 1980’s, and alternative sites have been sought but in each case planning permission failed. It does seem crazy that the busiest single runway airport in the world can’t have an adjacent air museum.

More details on the Gatwick Aviation Museum can be found here and there is also a blog here

Next generation Ercoupe lovers

Dave Winters writes: My wife Debbie, Frolic the Ercoupe, and I missed the fly-in in Arkansas this month in favour of placing our sweet bird on display for Aviation Day at Outlaw Field, here in sunny Clarksville, Tennessee. Our first time at this event was last year, when Frolic was requested as an antique aircraft display. It was intended to be a “hands off, no touchy” show. But one of our thousands of mothers, whose husbands were deployed far away, asked if her little girl could sit in the open-cockpit “Coupe” for a photo to send to Daddy.

How could we refuse? Debbie lifted her in, and outfitted her with a leather flying helmet and goggles. Then after the photo, when we lifted the child back out again, we turned around to find 100 plus parents and children waiting for the same opportunity. (The way they suddenly queued up you’d have thought they were English!)

So, over the next few hours, I guess a couple of hundred kiddos got to pose in the ancient little airship to get pics for Daddys far away. Accordingly, this year, we were back on station ready for more photo ops. I suspect that Frolic has become one of the most photographed Ercoupes on the planet.

Organizers for next year’s Ft. Campbell Wings of Eagles Airshow noticed the action and invited Frolic to participate there, also. (She is SUCH a poser!). Accordingly, I now make sure to wear a Civil Air Patrol flight suit during the displays and use the attention as a recruiting tool for our CAP Cadet programme. (The Civil Air Patrol is our premier search and rescue organization in the US.) Unfortunately, little Frolic does not have the necessary cargo and crew capacity to qualify as an active aircraft in the CAP flying program. So, static displays are all she gets.

Dave and Debbie Winters

G-AVIL's paint job

As we reported last newsletter, G-AVIL has been undergoing restoration at Turweston recently. When I was searching on the internet last week I came across a recently posted photo of the new paint scheme. This is reproduced courtesy of the man himself, Mick Allen, who seems to have done a splendid job.


First solo in Ercoupe

Peter Allison writes: Hi Mike - really interesting to see the photo of EI-AUT in newsletter 38. It was as G-ARXS that I got to know it when it carried me on my first solo at 17:05 hours on September 9th, 1966. Gordon Carey (lovely man) sent me off with a heady 5 hrs 55mins dual in my logbook for the usual 'one circuit only'. All went well and I went on to complete my PPL there in a one month residential programme funded by the RAF Flying Scholarship scheme. Flying around 30 hours in one month (yes, you only needed to do 30 hours for a PPL in those days) meant we flew nearly every day with up to 3 flights on some days. As a consequence of this I got to know XS and the other three Aircoupes operated by Surrey and Kent Flying Club at Biggin Hill back then - the others were G-AROR, G-ARHA and G-ARXR - quite well. Each had its own distinctive feel, and I always thought G-ARXS was the nicest flying one. In all I flew it 12 times.

PPLs in those days required students to perform spins (not just be shown them as I understand is the case for today's students) and as the Aircoupe was unspinable we did this in the Club's Chipmunk G-APPK. Why did my spinning trips always seem to come up directly after I had just had lunch or maybe a cream cake?!

Another memory of Aircoupe flying back then was being shown how those marvellous wings gave so much lift that the aircraft could actually achieve a marginal climb when circling throttled back over a field where seasonal stubble burning was taking place.

No written checklists, radios that only worked sometimes, Croydon Airport, though shut, still clearly discernible from the air, much freer South East airspace, Ipswich as the destination for your PPL cross country.... I could go on. Happy days.

Peter Allison

Aircoupe for sale

Sadly Dave Hewitt, owner of G-ARHC, is seriously ill and has been forced to sell. His friend Gary Blunden is selling her on Dave’s behalf. This was the Aircoupe previously owned by Andrew Gardener and his father from 1979. Here are the details:

Forney F1a Aircoupe serial number 5734, built 1961. Airframe 5710 engine. Continental C90-14F, only 185 hours since zero timed in July 2000. McCauley propeller 70 hours since overhaul Nov 2007, magneto 500 hour inspection Jan 2009, 40 hours flown since. All ADs completed. Icom radio, Aware GPS. New leather interior. The only downside of this aircraft is that some of the paint work is faded. This aircraft currently falls under Annex 2 UK national CofA. The star annual expires on 04/03/12. Ill health forces sale. Can be seen at EGBO (Wolverhampton – Halfpenny Green). Phone Gary 07763 410002 selling on behalf of owner. No reasonable offer refused.

French strip

Jean Flaceliere encrit: Bonjour à tous, C'est le moment de préparer la visite et les travaux pour la prochaine inspection de 2012. Bons vols et amitiés de France à tous ! Ercoupe French Wing.

Hello everyone, It is the moment to prepare the visit and work for the next inspection of 2012. Good flights and friendships of France to all!

Mystery Pilot notes

Mike writes: I recently bought on Ebay an original printed copy of Pilot’s Handling Notes for an Alon A-2 Aircoupe. On the front is printed AV-Air Flying Club, Southend Municipal Airport. I have searched and found that such a club existed in the UK, and this is not for some other Southend elsewhere in the world. Fuel tank capacity is given in Imperial Gallons, so presumably this is not a US booklet overprinted with the Southend Club details.

So it seems to have been especially prepared for this Flying Club. As far as I know there have only ever been 3 Alon A-2’s in the country and I’m not aware that they were ever based in Southend. And how did a copy get to New Zealand?

Anyone out there with any ideas?

Mike Willis


Fly-ins 2012

6th Ercoupe Fly In, Antwerp

Robert Rombouts writes: Dear ALL, the date of the next “6th Ercoupe Antwerp Fly In” is the 18 & 19 May, 2012.

Hoping you will put this Very Important date in your new 2012 Agenda.

I will be very happy to see you all at this event.

Best regards





Air Britain Fly-In 2012

Phil Kemp writes: Dear Robert & Mike, I hope you are both keeping well. On behalf of the Air-Britain Fly-In team I would like to send you our thanks for your continued support for our event, Christmas greetings and our best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe 2012.

I sincerely hope that you and your fellow Ercoupe owners will join us again at North Weald in 2012, when our event will be held over the weekend of 9-10 June.

All the very best and I look forward to saying hello again next year.
Best wishes
Phil Kemp
Air-Britain Fly-In Director


Ercoupe mailing lists

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

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