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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 40 March 2012


Dear readers,

So sorry for the ever increasing gap between issues.  Somehow time wizzes by, leaving no time for flying much, let alone newsletters.  But in this issue you will find lots to read and enjoy.

While the weather has been less than ideal for flying, Robert has been planning for the annual European Ercoupe Fly-In, in Antwerp May 19-20.  If you have never been to this, now is your chance.  If you don’t have an Ercoupe to fly there, then fly to Brussels and take the train or bus, or take the train all the way, or drive.  The location is lovely, the locals very friendly, and the beer and food to die for!  In fact one of the reasons this newsletter is late is because I am organising an event in Antwerp myself - a Summer School in late June!

Best regards,

Mike Willis, G-HARY

Ercoupe News

Yes we can and will do it again

Happy to announce the 6th European Ercoupe Owners Fly In at Antwerp, 19th and 20th May 2012.

Believe me it is closer than we all think, we are already preparing this wonderful May flying weekend. Hoping, dear Erco-flying-friends, you all intend to join I believe, some already confirm, thank you.

If I can receive early enough your confirmation that you intend attending the Fly In, I can make a group reservation at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a very big advantage to be all together in the same hotel as last year.  We also will have a group dinner.

As every year, we propose all the Ercoupes-Aircoupes pilots who are coming with their beautiful Erco’s the following:

  • • Free landing and takeoff fees.
  • • Free full tank fill-up.
  • • Free “Dinner”, the evening of the 19th.
  • • Limited technical assistance and small repairs if needed.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel is at your own expense.  Room rate; single or double/twin €89, breakfast buffet included.

During the Diner we will have our trophies distribution:

  • • Longest distance to Antwerp “EBAW” and back home (safe).
  • • Oldest Ercoupe, the serial number will be taking in account, not the condition.
  • • The “Surprise” Trophy. It is a surprise.
  • • Commemorating nickel for all Erco pilots, co-pilots or crew
  • • The “Ercoupe Lovers” lanyard and pin.

Because it is the 6th time this meeting is organized, this year we expect an USA Ercoupe Owners delegation, that will be an amazing surprise and give the meeting an extra international character, who knows………

In 2007, the first year we may welcome the following Ercoupes and pilots;

  • SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira.
    D-EOPI with Peter Nobmann and his wife Anke.
    G-ARHB with Keith Peacock and Sid Turner.
    G-AVIL with David Hulks and Pam.
    OO-PUS Robert Rombouts
    N9516V with Vincent Oomen trying to sell his M10.
    Visitor: Rob Maatman

In 2008 second year we welcomed;

  • SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira.
    N-3330H with Hartmut and Rainer Beil.
    OO-PUS Robert Rombouts
    Visitors: Tony and Anne Smith & Rob Maatman

In 2009 third year;

  • SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira.
    OO-PUS Robert Rombouts
    Visitors: Jean and Françoise Flacelière & Rob Maatman & Hilde Van Haarlem

In 2010 surpsing year ;

  • SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira.
    D-EJOR with Stephan Vatter.
    D-ENUC with Heiko Binder and his father.
    D-EOPI with Ronny Druck and Sandra
    G-ARHB with Sid Turner and Keith Peacock
    G-HARY with Mike Willis and Brian Clark
    N-3330H with Hartmut and Rainer Beil.
    OO-PUS Robert Rombouts
    Visitors: Rob Maatman & Hilde and father Van Haarlem.

In 2011 or 5th year;

  • SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira, he never missed one, amazing.
    G-ARHB with Sid Turner & Keith Peacock, 3rd time.
    OO-PUS Robert Rombouts

The 2012 edition will be fantastic; we may expect for the first time the restored Ercoupe N-99280 from Hilde Van Haarlem (Nederland). And hope to see a huge German and UK delegation.

Don’t be shy and send a.s.a.p your hope to come, if the weather does not permit or other dramatic situations occur, then you can always cancel. All visitors are also welcome to the “Dinner”.

Hope you will have an enjoyable nice flight to Antwerp, a friendly meeting with all the European Flying Ercoupers. Yes, we can – and will do it too.

Robert Rombouts



Liam Boyle writes: Hello Mike, I recently came across the Mini Coupe, I could not find much information about them on the internet but I did email someone who is currently building one.  The Mini Coupe is a single seat aluminium construction aircraft based on the larger ERCO design.  This is a kit built aircraft.  The Mini Coupe kit rights were marketed by Chris Tena, then Bill Johnson "Sport International", then finally Buck Sport Aviation.  I have also seen one called a Ron Dixon Mini Coupe.  They have VW engines.  

The kit for the aircraft is no longer sold although Plans are available for scratch building the aircraft.  I have looked through many photos and they seem to vary in size and shape.  There is one in the UK G-BPDJ at Popham.  One of these interesting aircraft is currently being built in the USA by Bill Day, bellow is a link to Bills builders blog. I have attached some photos of the Mini Coupe. 

Bill Days Builders Log:

Liam Boyle


French Grouse

Bonjour Chers Amis €urocoupers !

Maintenant, tout le monde se met un bouclier au-dessus de la tête, y compris les pilotes amateurs - dont nous sommes - par crainte de nouveaux "raid" des politiques sur nos portes-monnaie !

La loi de Finance Française fait des distinctions essentielles sur L'UTILISATION d'un Avion comme d'un cheval; pour un usage professionnel, soumis à déclaration fiscale préalable, alors que les vols d'aéroclubs, ou toute autre associations "loi de juillet 1901" dont (l'EEOC par exemple), ne supporte AUCUNE taxe SAUF celles liées à l'utilisation, l'entretien ou les consommables de l'avion ou du cheval, assez restrictives pour nous tout de même ( TVA, Taxes Aéroport & €urocontrol , Aesa, Taxes pétrolières, Taxes importations n'ai pas assez de place ici pour détailler.

Dans l'autre cas ( Celui de Monsieur LAFON, par exemple, lequel avait enregistré son Ercoupe F-BDPQ  sous le nom "Air-Lafon", il y a plus de 40 ans maintrenant, puisqu'il effectuait ses voyages professionels dans son Ercoupe....à comparer le résultat sur le plan fiscal.

Voici pourquoi il y a tant d'avions NON FOXTROTT basés en France.

Par ailleurs, les avions anciens éligibles basé dans tous les territoires Français peuvent bénéficier, sur demande préalable, d'un certification dite "de collection" en F-AZ... laquelle simplifie et réduit les côuts d'utilisation ( pas de baptèmes de l'air ou formation ou transport...) , validité de 1 à 3 ans, Maintenance effectuable par son propriétaire ou atelier délégué, sans limitation de certains potentiels (moteurs entre autres).

A vous de choisir, chez amis,

keep your head cool l

Jean Flaceliere

Hello dear friends €urocoupers !

Now, everyone put a shield above their head, including recreational pilots - we are - for fear of new "raid" from politicians on our wallets!

The French Finance Law make an essential distinctions concerning the USE of an airplane as a horse; for professional use, subject to prior tax déclaration, while flying clubs, or other associations "Law of July 1901 "which (the EEOC, for example), does not support ANY tax EXCEPT those related to the use, the maintenance or consumables for the plane or the horse, rather restrictive for us anyway (VAT, Airport tax & Eurocontrol, Aesa, fuel taxes, import taxes .... I do not have enough space here to detail it all.

In the other case (one of Mr. Lafon, for example, which had registered his Ercoupe F-BDPQ under the name "Air-Lafon," 40 years ago, because he did his professional travels in his Ercoupe….  compared the results fiscally.
Here's why there are so many planes NOT (F)oxtrott based in France.

In addition, the older eligible aircrafts based in all French territories are entitled, on previous request, a certification called "collection" in F-AZ ... which simplifies and reduces operating costs (no baptisms or formation flights or transport ...), valid for 1 to 3 years, Maintenance effectuated by its owner or certified workshop, without limitations concerning potential (engines for example).

You choose among friends,


Two new UK Ercoupes?

Tony Smith writes: Hi Mike, Just got the last December USCAR changes and there are two Ercoupes recently registered to Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc, Dereham, Norfolk, UK.

Both were registered to P.J.Yocombe, Titusville, FL in 2008.  We'll have to keep our eyes open for them coming in to the UK hopefully!

I've dug out my notes on those two Ercoupes; this is what I have on them:

#135, Model 415-C, NC86962
DoM: 1945
Re-registered N86962 1947.
When advertised for sale in April 2007, the original C-75 had been replaced by a Cont.C-85 and modifications were listed including Cleveland brakes, rudder pedal conversion, enlarged baggage compartment, split tail elevator and with completely restored interior and updated avionics.

#3469, Model 415-C, NC2844H
DoM : 1946
Re-registered N2844H 1947.
Converted to model 415-D, date unknown. Re-engined with 100hp Cont.O-200 engine sometime in the late '80s or early '90s; , named "Amorous Amelia".

Cheers – Tony


D-EJOR for sale

Stephan Vatter writes: Hello Mike,  I intend to sell my Ercoupe D-EJOR, S/N 4737 from 1947. I plan to go forward with another projekt.  Maybe one of the Ercoupers know somebody who is looking for a good one.

Here is a link to my plane:   There’s also a video at

ERCO Ercoupe 415 D, rebuild in 2009
Airframe 1440h / 77h
Landings 1512 / 105
C-85-12F 913h - TBO 1800
McCauley Propeller 1A90 CF 7148
Interior new 2009
Exterior new 2009
Avionics elec. horizon falcon gauge
COM Becker
XPDR Garrecht VT-01 Mode S
ELT AmeriKing
Fire Extinguisher
GPS Garmin 495 moving map
Options rudder pedals installed
Remarks Airplane rebuild in 2009. Like new!

regards, Stephan Stephan Vatter


G-ARHC goes to new home

Gary Blunden writes: Hello Mike, Just a short email to thank you for helping to sell David (Mercedes) Hewitt’s Ercoupe.  It was sold recently to a airline pilot from the London area, who will get in touch with you shortly. 

Thanks again. Best Regards, Gary.

Mike writes: Unfortunately Dave had to sell her due to illness, we all wish you a speedy recovery Dave!

Eric Girardey writes: Hello Mike!  I have just become the new owner of G-ARHC. I met with Gary Blunden and Dave Hewitt, had a good look around, and bought her.  I am a lifelong Ercoupe fan, having owned a 415C back in the late 80s, in the USA (N2381H).

I am hoping to take the plane South to Headcorn, then probably later Redhill.  Please include me in your mailing list, and I look forward to exchanging Coupe stories!

Still got to fly it, didn't have a chance early this week due poor weather.  I'm sure it'll all come back to me, but I haven't flown a light aircraft in 20 years!  I'm an A300 Captain, Gatwick based, so I'm current, but not on Single Piston types.

Regards, Eric


One day I will fly

Jennifer Høibråten writes: Dear Mike, Happy New Year and sorry I have not been in touch lately (though I do continue to faithfully read the Ercoupe newsletters whenever they come!).  We have had a difficult year and I have hardly been able to get down to the hangar at all - I hope this will change in 2012.  Hope too that maybe this is the year I finally get to learn to fly...turned fifty in December, so I better get cracking or before I know it I will have grown too old and things like eyesight and reflexes will have packed up on me!!!!!  But I learned of a place in Ohio, Red Stewart Airfield, where one could learn ab-initio starting from USD 5,000 so I am thinking in terms of that.  I shall never be able to afford to learn to fly in Europe.

Have yet to actually go up in an Ercoupe...never yet had the opportunity to.  I am sure it will work out one day.  Here Cubs are more common of the older planes, though there is now an old Taylorcraft at Kjeller Airfield, the only one in Norway, I believe.  Thanks again for keeping me on the mailing list for the newsletter -- I love reading them.

Happy New Year from Norway



A foggy day in Texas

Alan Fairclough writes: Hi Mike: Great to read your newsletter.

It once again puts me to shame because I have not found the time to write one myself.  Our office has suffered some attrition this year and there are now two of us trying to do the work of seven people.  Now we have staffed up again but the new people need a lot of hand holding so things are going to be worse before they get better again. 

The good thing is that I will have to do more travel and with some visits to Holland and Spain in the plans.  Hopefully I will get to visit Robert in Antwerp again.  We had a great time on my last visit even though we never left the ground.

I am in the process of buying a hangar.  It is in an airport community on the outskirts of Houston.  It is 50x50 feet so it has room for both coupes.  Great bi-fold electric door, bathroom, and I’m going to get the floor epoxy coated.  It seems like destiny because the owner offered me the space for one coupe for free with the provision that he could fly it.  He has not flown in years and has not flown the coupe either.  He now wants to sell it and offered it to someone else who could not come up with the money and I found out just in time to make him an offer with the cash sitting in the bank.

The weather was fabulous over the new year weekend and as I have done every January 1st since I have owned a coupe, I went flying down to Rockport Aransas County airport on Friday and the fog bank started at the fence line of the airport and extended offshore.  By the time the plane was tied down the fog was thick everywhere.  You could see blue sky if you look up but on the ground visibility was about 100 meters.

It got thicker during the night. The empty streets looked like a London murder scene.  We walked to Charlotte Plummer's seafood restaurant in the shrimpers harbour and did not expect the restaurant to be open but when we pushed the door open we found we had a half hour waiting time to get a table.

Next morning it was bright and sunny at the airport.  All around the airport the fog was again blanketing everything.  We took off and flew circles around the airport to get out of the doughnut hole that the airport was in and got above the cloud and fog layer.  We headed back to Houston over the top at 3,000 feet.  Over Houston the clouds were broken so it made for an elegant arrival.

My coupe N87333 has the victrola handle trim adjustment and for the third time in 10 years the cable broke in flight giving us an instantaneous woops-view of the sky.  I had the fly the rest of the trip with my foot pushing against the mast to keep level flight.  Sunday I replaced the end of the cable spicing in a new piece of good quality bicycle brake cable which seems to last longer than anything else.

So much for the news here.  Keep smiling.

Alan Fairclough.


News from Ireland

Liam Boyle writes: Hello Mike, Enjoyed reading newsletter 39 greatly.  I am planning to visit another Aircoupe in Ulster, this one is a wreck, G ARHD.  I have a photo of this Aircoupe when it was flying with UFC, and James McMeekan has flown it when he was a student.  I plan to fly over it as low as possible, it is not in controlled airspace so should be able to get pretty low!  I also plane to visit it on foot too, so if you want to put in the newsletter just let me know.

Also Mike I thought I would mention to you that I have become an acquaintance of the UFC’s most infamous pilot Bill Eames.  He was a Stirling bomber pilot and Chief Instructor of the UFC, he instructed on the Aircoupe and has many stories about them, especially G-AVIL which he ferried to the UFC in the 60s, so if you would like any of these stories just let me know (yes please Liam!).  He has expressed interest in the newsletter - he does not use the internet but I can send them to you on his behalf.

Anyway, hope you had a good Christmas and I wish you and G HARY a happy new year.

Liam Boyle


Pilot Notes puzzle

Tony Smith writes: Hi Mike;  Regarding your question on why Southend would want Pilots Handling Notes for Aircoupes.  C/n A-140 G-ATRY was registered to South Essex Plant Hire Ltd 16.8.68 and was operated by Av-Air Flying School at Southend (alongside Ercoupe G-ATFP which was burnt out in an arson  attack at Southend on 27.6.68) until it was sold 28.3.69.

I have fuller details on these aircraft if you want them.

Cheers – Tony

Keith Peacock writes: Hi Mike,  Happy New Year to you.  Regarding “Pilots Handling Notes”, the edition we have for ‘HB was prepared by the Herts & Essex Flying Club / Thurstons at Stapleford and as you say the fluids are all “imperial”.

Pity that ‘HC is on the market. Let’s hope in finds a good home. I would have it in a flash unfortunately my wife feels one Aircoupe in the family is one too many.

See you soon, fly safe,


Trip report

Ostend local

Robert Rombouts writes: Hi Mike, Today it was a gorgeous day, CAVOK, no wind, a perfect day to get OO-PUS back in the air after the bas weather we have.

With a good mental preparation I went to the airport, here we don’t have snow problems on the runway, I pay enough for each landing that it must be clean as a King’s Palace.

Passing all the security controls, pushing the two bi-engined Diamonds out of the hangar, then the Ercoupe, so after 45 minutes the PUS was in the sun.  Checking everything, and hop, pull the starter, and with a delicate sound he explains me that the battery is dead.

Pushed the plane back in the hangar, because the wind is blowing until your bones. Battery out of the plane and in charge for a few hours.  Around 16:30, I push the PUS back out for a second try. The propeller turns but stops after two turns, more primer and again, after the third time noting works anymore.

Plane back in the hangar, removed the front cowl, because the starter is just under the top cowl. The cable to pull the starter is not moving until the switch of the starter. Phoned for help to my A&P in Antwerp (17:45) who cannot give me a good explanation.

Result, I had a wonderful Winter Flying today, and hope to find tomorrow how to fix the problem.

Best regards


Fly-ins 2012

6th Ercoupe Fly In, Antwerp May 18-19

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, Robert

AeroExpo 2012, Sywell, UK May 25-27

This was a great event last year, with 5 Ercoupers there, although none with Ercoupes! Let's hope the weather is better this year. And will Derek T be back to repeat his late night antics after a beer or three? Deatils can be found here:

Landing slots need to be booked and are filling up fast, so book yours now at

Liam Boyle will the there from Northern Ireland, and hopfully Jim McMeekan too.

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


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Ercoupe photo album 
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