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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 46 April 2013


Apologies everyone for such a long gap since the last newsletter. Unlike many newsletter readers I haven't retired yet and I seem to get busier and busier with work these days.

And perhaps I shouldn’t have boasted in the last newsletter in late December that I had flown a record 63 hours in 2012, as I have managed less than 5 hours since then! Two of those were back and forth for maintenance, leaving just 3 local flights.

Some of the best weather in the UK was a weekend at the end of January. Unfortunately this coincided with my annual trip to the US to a conference, this year in Phoenix, Arizona. As we came into land the captain of the 747 I was on decided to go around as the rain was very heavy and he wasn't convinced the aircraft in front would clear the runway in time. Winding up to full power quickly in a 747 made the whole thing shake for a couple of seconds, which didn't exactly calm the passengers!

I'd arranged to meet with local Ercouper Mark Walker. But the weather was unflyable, so on Sunday we followed plan B, a visit to the Pima Air & Space Museum, in Tuscon. Alough there are some nicely restored aircraft in hangars, most of the 300-aircraft collecton are outdoors spread over 80 acres because it hardly ever rains! Fortunately for us the sun did come out and we had a very interesting day. And of course they have an Ercoupe, a model C #1188. Thank you Mark for a great day!

I hope you all enjoy reading this newsletter, and please remember we are sure others will enjoy hearing about your story, so please share!

Mike Willis, Alon A2 #188 G-HARY

PS Don't forget the 7th European Ercoupe Fly-In Antwerp 11-12 May! Details below.

Ercoupe news

Peter Vallance RIP

Tony Smith writes: Hi Mike, A bit of sad news. Peter Vallance of the Gatwick Aviation Museum and one-time Ercoupe owner has recently passed away. He restored Ercoupe G-EGHB to flying condition, which was then operated by Ken Lyndon-Dykes for a time, and is now owned by Georgio Pace in Rome, Italy.

From the Gatwick Aviation Museum web site:

It is with immense sadness that Gatwick Aviation Museum can now announce that Peter G Vallance, the owner, passed away on Monday the 14th of January 2013. Peter was renowned the world over for his enthusiasm and dedication to the preservation of a significant part of Britain’s aviation heritage. He was a strong-minded and courageous man who was admired for his strength of will, stubborn determination with an enthusiasm and passion for aviation. He was, until a few months ago, still flying his beloved Cessna 182. He will be sorely missed by us all and we can only hope to match his boundless enthusiasm for the museums collection and work hard to make his vision become a reality. Thank you Peter.

Peter Vallance had a passion and a love for all aviation. He understood the fascination that many people have with flying and the euphoric effect it has on people. He equally well understood that many others were absorbed by the machines that achieved this almost magic like state.

Tempered with all of this he also knew that very few individuals managed to get to fly or work with the objects that actually flew. As a consequence when he started to put together his aircraft collection he soon recognised that there was an education element to his efforts.

Peter was a very direct and focused man. He knew what he wanted and made all efforts to get it. His vision for his collection was for it to be housed in an environmentally sound, self-sustaining building and be available to all of the public. In equal measure he wanted it to be an education centre where new generations of engineers and pilots could learn and grow. In over 20 years of trying to see his vision realised, he sadly never did see it materialise.

Peter was known world over for his fight to preserve some of the history contained in ex military airframes. He also believed that in England if you owned property you should be able to do what you wished with it. It was a source of constant irritation that outsiders controlled his property. He well recognised the need to be "responsible" and he included in his plans community features to allow the local (and not so local) populace to enjoy his bit of England. Sadly this was so often not recognised or thrown back in his face.

Following the demise of Peter Vallance, the museum is now being run by a charitable trust that was set up for just this eventuality. The museum will continue, it will grow and strengthen and will achieve the status that Peter fought for, for so many years.

Mike adds: Incidentally, there is a short strip at the museum, Valance Airstrip, that you can land on. It is 460m x 9m grass, and is 200m north of the main runway at Gatwick! Apart from having to obtain a briefing from the Gatwick Director before setting out, there are 50 foot trees close to the threshold and a warning of deer wandering around. There is a YouTube video of an approach and landing in a microlight that you can watch.


Trans-atlantic flying

Eric Girardi writes: Hi Mike, Best wishes for the New Year! Congratulations both on ten years of flying, and having flown so many hours last year. It's a great achievement, especially in the UK, with crowded skies, and bad weather.

HC has been stuck indoors since it came back from its refit. Apart from one short flight, it hasn't been able to move due to waterlogging on the strip. I have been turning the prop over regularly but that's been it. The Annual is due in March, hopefully there'll be some dry days for me to take it back to Goodwood. Still, it's nice and cozy in the hangar and I don't have to worry about high winds or torrential rain.

I have read your latest newsletter with great interest, it's nice to see the progress others are making, especially now that I have met some of you.

On the subject of the Trans-Atlantic ferry, I'm glad someone piped up. I had planned to write something but didn't want to seem to pontificate. In my younger days I have ferried many second-hand light aeroplanes, and some of these flights have been 'interesting'!

The level of maintenance out there, especially at the lower end of the price range, is very variable, so a nice-looking $ 25,000 Ercoupe might be hiding some scary gremlins. The idea of a 'Turtle Pack' (whatever it is, guessing an auxiliary tank), is a nice one, but the only place it could go is the baggage compartment, 75 lb. max... Immersion suits, a pair of GPS, Survival kits etc. would mean only the pilot could get in. Even single-pilot, the weight limit would probably be exceeded.

Another thing to consider on long flights in piston types is the oil consumption. I met some guys who ferried Crop-Dusters to Oz from the US West coast. Their procedure was to fly the aircraft for at least 8 hours prior to the oceanic leg, to calibrate the oil burn. Then they had a hand pump in the cockpit to feed the engine with oil at regular intervals. I'm sure an average C85 is capable of running its oil sump dry after 6hrs cruise. All these mods need FAA STC approval, and anybody attempting a flight like this in a Coupe is sure to attract attention from the Feds!

I have been to Gander and Keflavik many times, and even in summer the weather can be challenging, even with an Airliner! Enough said, methinks! The shipping container option is the most reasonable. There was a nice German-registered 415 for sale on AFORS last month, could still be available, at around 27,000 Euros. I'd go check it out!

Hope you to see you soon,



G-AVTT looking sad

Derek Tregilgas writes: Hi Mike, How's life back there in the Arctic then ? Quite unbelievable isn't it, and not a little frustrating for us aviators of course !

Here are those pictures I took of G-AVTT late last year at Monewden, where as you can see she's looking very sad indeed. As far as I'm aware the CAA grounded her after the previous owner elected not to carry out 'expensive' repairs (or modifications) relating to an issue with the undercarriage. I'm not sure either if this was an 'AD' or 'SB' but the end result was clearly terminal for what appears to have been quite an easy fix at the time. This would need to be verified of course as I've only heard this third-hand.

The airframe is not complete either, and is missing the tail cone, the lower engine cowling bowl, seats, and most of the instruments. The fabric wings have also suffered over time and are looking very sad. I will be speaking to the current owner again this summer to see if he will part with it for a knock-down price, and in the meantime he did say that he would try and locate the missing components. It certainly doesn't look like a viable re-build but there might still be some useful parts for the taking if a sale can be agreed upon. I'll keep you posted.

Hope all's well with you and that we can arrange an EMU for my first visit with '495' as soon as the opportunity arises.

Cheers for now, Derek

Fly-In news

EEO Fly-In 11-12 May Antwerp

Robert Rombouts writes: Hello to all Erco friends,

We had Sunday the 17th February our first meeting to prepare the “23th Stampe & 7th European Erco Owners Fly-In”. The Fly-In will be held the 11 & 12 May 2013, at the same airfield “Antwerp” EBAW.

The weather will be perfect, so we hope that you all will already reserve that weekend to join us for the 7th year. Because it was not certain that we will have this year a Fly-In at Antwerp, we recommend you all to take this opportunity to attend. The problem is that every year the volunteers are getting older and not available any more, therefore it is possible that the Fly-In will be held every two years. I enclose the programme of the weekend, which is slightly changed.

Your intention to come is for us very important; also our intention is to book at the same hotel for all participants. We chose this year the “City Inn ****” who is also near of the airport, transportation to that hotel is provided, not to any other accommodation. If you need any assistance for the booking of the hotel I will help you and will do it for you.
Last year we all had dinner in the evening at the airport with all the Stampe guests, and will do the same this year.

Hoping to see you all this year at Antwerp in May, Very best regards, Robert

Ercoupe OO-PUS - 415D - 1947 - sernr.: 4577
Mob: +32475470775

Winter-Flying 2012-2013

Robert Rombouts writes: You cannot imagine how happy I am, in addition with an amazing good feeling I sit behind my computer, the weather is so beautiful, that reading books on a nice open fire is the only intelligent way to kill the terrible weather conditions we have to support lately.

Trying to keep it more useful, and preparing the spring flying that didn’t come, it looks as a bad winter condition, I did in the meantime some radical changes on my Coupe.
Perhaps you had other weather conditions as in Belgium, but I could not find the opportunity to find some pleasant days to enjoy flying.

In November I had my yearly annual with drastic improvements; four new cylinders was a must, new donuts for the main landing gear, new windows, and fix an oil leak that dirty always my cowl. I can always find improvements on my lovely old lady, luckily I have the advantage not to do improvements on my house or other properties, and no working obligations, I must kill my time with my hobby.

After the annual, that was done at Antwerp airport, I flew back to Ostend in relative good conditions, then waiting to test the new cylinders during long flights was already a problem after Christmas and New Year, it was a daily occupation to decide if I will do or not some flying. I did twice a one hour local flight, but no way to do more. When we had sunshine, the wind was then blowing cross too.

I was happy and convinced that my motor with the new cylinders will solve the oil-leak, but after those two small local jumps I did, it was still leaking. Result, a trip back to Antwerp between lousy weather days. Finally we found that the oil pressure switch in front of the motor that activates my hour clock had a leak. That stupid pressure switch was impossible to unscrew, afraid to break the thread we put some special paste to close the leak, without result, because arriving back in Ostend the leak persists. Result, we must unscrew it and replace or just eliminate the dammed switch, hoping not finding another leak somewhere!!

Now I cannot find anymore something to improve Sweety II, she fly so beautifully with the new cylinders, the take-off is much shorter and the cruise speed is also improved, now I can follow (perhaps) Mike’s (Jet) G-HARY, what was totally impossible before.

The Meeting intentions are building up; Manston we promise Mary & Rodney, Great Oakley to commemorate Derek’s N-99495 first fly, North Weald in June, and much more nice meetings we will plan to go this year. Let’s hope we will do all and more in 2013….

Don’t forget the Antwerp Fly-In, it will be the 11 & 12 May, we invite you all, and hope you will have the intention to do it. The preparations are already at full cruise speed, and I like here to ask everybody to communicate if you are participating, I have to know roughly the number of pilots in advance, for the number of trophies it is important, I don’t like to have too much or not enough, for the hotel and the dinner we must order in advance. So please give me an idea what I can expect and if you have the intention to come.

Already I have the following pilots who send me the intention to participate:

- Sven-Eric Pira with his SE-BFX
- Stephan Vatter with his D-EJOR
- Hartmut Beil with his N-3330H
- Robert Rombouts with his OO-PUS

If the weather condition makes it impossible, we understand that it is a NO-GO, we wish you that you will have a nice enjoyable flight. If my feeling is right, we can expect after all the bad weather we had a drastic change to stable flying weather. After rain comes sunshine, so after a long period of lousy weather comes a period of long amazing beautiful sunshine……

I wish you all until May perfect periods of excellent meteorological conditions, so then I will have it too, and that we can enjoy nice flying what we all hope.

See you in MAY or sooner if Mr Weather permit.

Robert Rombouts, OO-PUS

Tech Corner

Service Bulletin 35 – the rotting aileron push-rods

Mike Sellers, Univair writes: The push rods are rotting from the inside out. You don't need to replace the push rods if they are in good shape, but some guys will have no choice.

You will need to remove the rod ends (pay attention how many threads are showing so you don't screw up your rigging!) Inspect the tube for rust, remove paint from the outside. This is to see is there are any pin holes that may have developed. PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE BOTTOM SIDE OF THE TUBE! Tap the thing on a bench to see if there is any significant amount of rust in it. If lots of rust comes out, replace it. Little to no rust, prime and paint. We use a product called Val Oil to put in wing lift struts that we make to act as a rust inhibitor. Val Oil or any product that conforms to Fed. Spec. TT-S-176D will work.

Now this is only part of this proposed SB. The aileron control horn, F16013-L/R is the other half. You basically want to see if it is all rotted out. Exfoliated corrosion on the aileron skin and popped rivet heads are going to be major warning signs that you have a significant issue. A thorough examination cannot be made without getting inside the aileron. That is why there is going to be at least one hole.

Owners of good, clean, sound aircraft will not have to replace anything. While you may have always hangared the aircraft, there is no way of knowing how long it was parked in the weeds and tall grass 50 years ago. Also the electrical/chemical reaction of steel and aluminum creates issues of its own and is an ongoing process. The history and climatic conditions that the aircraft has experienced is a catalyst.

Fred Weick never anticipated that his aircraft would be flying 40 years after he designed it and for sure not 70 years later. As a result, the aircraft lacks the access to get inside and look at its guts. This is the demon that we have been chasing these last several years. I had not heard that the Feds were considering an AD on this elevator inspection (SB-34), however it doesn't surprise me. When I was learning to fly, my dad told me that there are only two things that constitutes "a problem." "One is an uncontrollable fire, and the other is an uncontrollable aircraft. Everything else is just unusual." These will not be service bulletins to be ignored. Both of these bulletins are to prevent what the old man would call "a problem."

Towards the end of the day yesterday we got approval on the issuance of Service Bulletin 35 regarding aileron pushrod and aileron control horn inspection. I checked stock this morning, we have several of the Ercoupe push rods and perhaps a dozen or so of the pushrods for the M-10. To my surprise there were no A52436-1 Alon aileron pushrods. I also couldn't see where we had sold one as far back as we had sales data on the computer. So, I put in a requisition for some of those today. The price of the SK-82 kit is going to be $84.96. The SK-83 is going to be $82.96. The prices would be considerably less if we could use 10 cent tinnerman nuts as fasteners. After we had to educate one of the FAA engineers what a tinnerman nut was in the first place, he deemed it totally unsatisfactory forcing us to use some expensive thing. Wrestling with this particular FAA engineer was one is the principal reasons it has taken us so long to get up to speed on this whole matter. As I said the other day, logic and reason don't always fall on receptive ears at the FAA. This is an excellent example. Now, since these are two totally new products, you will not find them on the web site today.

We are planning to shoot some pictures and hopefully have them up there soon. They will simply be part numbered SK-82 and SK-83 respectively. I have contacted Carolyn Cardin at Coupe Capers regarding the situation and have emailed her copies of the two service bulletins. I also told her to expect a follow up email on the kit prices. For those airplanes that are sitting in the back of hangars collecting dust or have been in the process of restoration and are not currently registered as being active with the FAA, you are going to fall through the cracks on this mailing. So, I'm giving you a heads up here and letting Coupe Capers know is about all I can do in getting the word out.

I figure that there a couple of hundred Ercoupe series aircraft in Canada and maybe a dozen or so scattered around Europe. I don't have a mailing lists for you folks so it is up to you to obtain copies off our website at the following links:

For Ercoupe/Forney:
For Alon/Mooney: Mike Sellers

Also see this document that shows what all this hubbub is about:

Mike Sellers, Univair

For sale & wanted

Prop for sale

Ray Harper writes: Hi Mike, I have a Sensenich wooden prop, 72” by 48” pitch which is in very good useable condition and which I’d like to sell. It was used on an Ercoupe that I rebuilt a couple of years back and re-engined with a C85 rather than the O-200 to which the said prop was mated.

If you know anyone who might want it then please pass my email address on….. . I should think that the prop is worth about £200.

Best regards, Ray Harper

Ercoupe wanted for down-under

Chris Tansell writes: Hi Mike, I am looking for an Ercoupe Model C or C/D to export to my home in Western Australia and I am currently trying to learn as much as possible before buying one. Whether I purchase one from Europe or the US depends on what I learn and what I can afford.

With best regards, Chris Tansell, Ravenswood, Western Australia Chris Tansell

Ercoupe pour vente

Jean Flacelière says he wishes to sell his F-AZDG. This is a 1946 – 415C with serial number 3782, more information's I don’t have.

You can contact Jean at






7th European Ercoupe Fly-in, 11-12 May, Antwerp EBAW

Your intention to come is for us very important; also our intention is to book at the same hotel for all participants. We chose this year the “City Inn ****” who is also near of the airport, transportation to that hotel is provided, not to any other accommodation. If you need any assistance for the booking of the hotel I will help you and will do it for you.

Last year we all had dinner in the evening at the airport with all the Stampe guests, and will do the same this year.
Mob: +32475470775




Air Britain 2013

Phil Kemp writes: Thanks for the latest Newsletter, interesting read.  I though I would give you an early notification for the 2013 Air-Britain Fly-In, it being held on 22-23 June again at North Weald.

As always all Ercoupers will be more than welcome. Details are now available at

All the best for now
Phil Kemp
Air-Britain Fly-In Director






Hanne Vandikkelen writes: The organization of the Fly/Drive-In would like to wish you happiness and prosperity in 2013.  In 2013 our new website will be available: .  The 30th Old Timer Fly-In is 17-18th August, 2013.

Kind regards, 
Hanne Vandikkelen
Fly/Drive-In Team member



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Ercoupe photo album 
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Don’t forget – any contributions to the next newsletter very welcome – email them to me at