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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 47 June 2013


Another newsletter, and more sad news of the loss of a fellow Ercouper. Jim McMeekan passed away in early June and will be sadly missed by all who knew him, and particularly the Ulster Flying Club where he was a long time member.

Almost half way through the year and we haven't had a decent spell of flying weather in the UK yet, just the occasional day or two. Belgium has been no better, particulary for the European Ercoupe Fly-In back in May. Surely we can't have as bad a summer as last year?

This coming weekend sees the Air Britain Classic Fly-In at North Weald, Essex, UK, always a favorite on the Ercoupe calendar, and I hope to see some of you there. More details can be found in the Fly-In section at the end of this newsletter.

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

Ercoupe news

Sad news - James McMeekan RIP

Declan Fogarty writes: Hi Mike, I don’t know if you know about the sad passing of Jimmy McMeekan G-AROO.  He was a great supporter of Ercoupe. Sadly I never got to fly with Jimmy.

Regards, Declan Fogarty, Ulster Flying Club

Liam Boyle writes: Hi Mike, very sad new indeed, he was one of the nicest people I have met, and the most enjoyable flying I have ever done was flying with him in double Oscar. A great man, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him, and I was very fortunate to have known him. 

Regards, Liam 

Mark McMeekan writes: Hi Mike, I don’t know if you heard but my father passed away on 7th June and was buried last Wed 12th June.  He will be sadly missed by all the family. The Ulster Flying Club was well represented at the funeral and they organised someone to fly his beloved Aircoupe G-AROO low over the graveyard just before the coffin was lowered. 

Best regards, Mark McMeekan

From the Ulster Flying Club web site
James McMeekan sadly passed away this week.  Jimmy was much loved and will be missed by all at the Club.  He had been a member since 1960's and flew almost every week  in "Double Oscar"

Funeral 2pm Wed 12th Regent Street Presbyterian Church Newtownards followed by burial at 3pm Movilla Cemetery with refreshments afterwards in the church hall.

We will miss hearing " Double Oscar"

The photo shows Jim after his first solo 11th June, 1970.

Norwegian would

Jennifer Hoibraten writes: Hi Mike, at long last I finally started ground school, albeit on microlights as that is much more affordable for me. It seems that the cost of recreational aviation continues to go north exponentially, and I am just relieved that there is a class of aircraft, though with several restrictions, that still offers the recreational pilot an affordable foot in the door. The microlight class here in Norway uses a lot of the same syllabus as the PPL, with a few adjustments as and where necessary to fit the microlight class of aircraft. Thoroughly enjoying it, even though I am a bit slow on the uptake in some of the subjects and will have to sit navigation and meteorology again. The school plane is a Zenith Zodiac CH 601...very pretty little bird and very forgiving to fly. I have been allowed to take the controls a few times and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is responsive, but not so fast and responsive as some of the other microlight types out there so as to be disconcerting to the beginner.

I have not entirely given up hope on flying an Ercoupe some day, but because it is in a more expensive class of airplanes and the LAPL has not been introduced here yet, it is beginning to look more remote. It may well be that as a recreational flyer the microlight class will be more than adequate for my needs, especially as there are now "real airplanes" in that class, and not just trike and weight shift. And goodness knows there is a vast difference between 5,000 pounds to learn to fly and 10,000 pounds for the PPL, at least at Norwegian prices.

Hope all is well and thank you for continuing to send the Ercoupe newsletter. I really enjoy reading them. and kudos to you for producing them!

Yours Sincerely, Jennifer C. Chisholm-Hoibraten, Skedsmokorset, Norway

Next door Neighbours

Chris Tansell writes, Thanks for thinking of me by including my desire to own a coupe in your newsletter and apologies for taking so long to reply! The inclusion into your Newsletter yielded one interesting response. Brian Garrett is in Melbourne (and that’s only 3,500 kilometres away). He has an Ercoupe and is looking to sell. Here is what he said:

“It is a Erco Ercoupe 415C model. First flown 20 September 1946. I have all log books. First fitted with a C75-12 engine but upgraded to C85-12 May 1951. The aircraft seems to not flown since 1982. That was last CofA issued. Up until then it had been privately owned and did not do many hours per year. By the logs total hours airframe is 985.9 hrs. Engine time since overhaul is 438.0 hrs.

The coupe was entrusted to a LAME based in California just to the west of San Francisco. He was tasked with bringing the coupe back to serviceability. I was told that at that stage it was owned by Larry King who had bought it for his wife Billy Jean King (the tennis player) for her to learn on. Their marriage did not last of course and the engineer was asked to sell it on. My engineer Ron Jackson from Riddel Creek just north of Melbourne bought it on one of his aircraft buying trips to the USA, and brought it to Australia along with a number of other aircraft. Ron signed off my annuals on my homebuilt at the time and I knew him well. He swears by the story above.

I bought it from Ron January 1998 so you can see I have had it for some time and been a bit slack. The coupe has always been under cover as far as I can determine and it's condition seems to bear that out. It had very little corrosion when I received it and the centre section, which is the area that normally suffers with outside storage, is very good. All mods and AD's have been incorporated except for the main spar rivet ultrasonic inspection and any recent ones in the last 6 months I have not picked up. I have little doubt it will pass the spar rivet test. The wings are in very good condition. They are fabric covered and had new Stits fabric fitted in 1973. It still seems good but I have not done an impact test. It needs the inspection panels fitted to the underside of the wing as per the AD and I have those panels but have not fitted them yet. The wings are in storage and I was going to fit those panels as a last job. All new glass has been fitted front side and rear. All new electrical wiring has been fitted along with rear shelf speaker and mic/headphone jacks. A battery isolator solenoid has been fitted. (STC approved) as the idea of start current going through the small master switch is crazy.

All control pushrods have been inspected for corrosion and corrosion proofed and painted. They are in very good condition. Also all control bearings have been cleaned and relubricated. Only one rod end bearing required replacement. New tires are supplied and new suspension rubber donuts have been fitted. I currently have on order new brake hoses and calliper overhaul kits. I removed the cylinders from the engine along with the pistons and pins and inhibited them, and the engine, to ensure no corrosion would occur. I noted that the engine had some new pistons and the inside was spotless. It had obviously been apart for an overhaul but had not been mentioned in the logs. The engine has certainly not run since it has been apart. I would say that was one of the jobs the US LAME had done and not brought the log up to date.

Bit hard to mention everything here but the things that remain to be done that I am aware of at present to complete the refurb are: 1. Overhaul Magnetos and new harness. 2. Recal all instruments. Install pitot and static tubing. (tubing supplied) 3. Purchase radio and fit. (I have mounted a panel for a radio and transponder if needed. Something like Microair) 4. Fit wing inspection panels 5. Re-release propeller. 6. Obtain new spinner and backing plate.(original damaged in transit from US. Backing plate lost at same time.) 7. Assemble engine and run. I am sure there are many other little things to be done as with all these types of projects but those are the main ones. I have included some photos. I have run out of steam on this project. I am 70 now and money is a concern so best I sell it and let someone else enjoy. I would just like to see it in the air again. By the way it can be registered GA or RAA. There are a number in Australia now. I am aware of at least two on RAA and around three on GA. It would be an easy aircraft to maintain but does require a reasonable hangar space.”

I have no idea whether I am up for this sort of challenge and I don’t really know where to begin. I have been looking at the ADs and find it quite comprehensive – but when you know nothing and have everything to learn, most things look daunting!

I wasn’t really looking for a project, but being so close to home is quite attractive and could well offset some of the work needed to get her flying. I also sent for Falconar Avia’s folding wing instructions – adding this would afford me the luxury of keeping it at home (I have a lot of space, but not enough for a runway!) If I got to that point, I’d build a custom trailer for it, to avoid trailer rash.

Have you got any comments or suggestions for me? I won’t be doing much other than reading and absorbing for a short while, as I am returning to England in July for a holiday and to see family. When I get back I will be considering my options.

With best regards, Chris Tansell, Western Australia

Dutch restoration

Robert Rombouts writes: Hi Mike, news from Nederland, the N-9117K or previous PH-NCE Owner Rob Maatman, his restoration is in good progress. Here some actual photos. It is a 415CD of 1947 serial number 4765.



Dreaming again…

Derek Tregilgas writes: Hello Robert, How are things going over there in sunny Belgium? Is the nice weather finally allowing you to get some air under the wings of 'PUS'?

'495' should be back in one piece and be signed off by the time I get back to the UK on my next spot of leave (12th - 31st July), and hopefully I'll be able to start some serious touring with the little beast. My FAA man will be dealing with those latest SB's and I expect to be getting airborne with him for a test-flight shortly after my arrival on the 12th July. I'll also be boasting a totally re-vamped panel along with radios, transponder, and a new Airbox GPS to help me get lost even quicker than before! At least I won't have to invisibly position myself behind Mike's left fin any more in a lame effort to formate on his elaborately equipped example!

Continue enjoying your retirement Robert - and don't even think about giving up the Ercoupe - the legend must live on,

Cheers for now, Derek

Fly-In reviews

2013 European Ercoupe Owners Fly-In, Antwerp 11 & 12 May

That weekend we did not sing in the rain

What looks perfect one week in advance became a horror story a week later. Many sincere intentions to come to the yearly European Ercoupe Owners Fly-In at Antwerp was cancelled one after the other for a very good reason, the “WEATHER”.

We have an outdoor hobby and passion; we have to deal with an important fact at the end, something we cannot change or influence, the lousy weather.

Already months before Sven-Eric Pira send me his intention to attend for the 7th time, as every year, his fidelity to the Fly-In is remarkable. Without him it was not an Antwerp Ercoupe Meeting, everybody in Antwerp know him, and we all expect our Ercoupe Lindbergh. (+- 1,000 Nm or 1,.600 Km, from his base in Sweden to Antwerp Belgium)

This year I received amazing news from Italy, Giorgio Pace will come with his beautiful I-ERPG (previous G-EGHB) to the EEO Fly-In of Antwerp-Deurne. First I could not believe it, but when Giorgio explain me his route and planning I was impressed and happy to see the only Italian Ercoupe Owner and his marvellous restored Ercoupe. His plan was to fly with a friend, Angelo, from Italy Viterbo (LIRV) > Thene (LIDH) > Kempten (EDMK) > Neumagen-Dhron (EDRD) > Antwerp (EBAW) or +- 650 Nm or +-1,200 Km

We have in Europe fantastic and very brave Ercoupe pilots, to plan such a trip and especially over the Alps, is a lot of work to prepare it. Luckily there is no GAR forms as for the UK, and Euros are common in all the countries, Italy-Germany-Belgium.

The Van Haarlem family also let me know that they are coming only for one day the Saturday, as last year, with the beautiful N-99280 Ercoupe and the fantastic Piper Cub N-298SQ.

Hartmut Beil from Schönhagen (Berlin) intended also to come with his immaculate polish Ercoupe N-3330H, he add “if the weather permit”.

My intention was also to be present with the OO-PUS (normal), and because the Thursday weather was not so pleasant (it is only a 45 minute trip), but I prefer to be in advance and flew on Tuesday to Antwerp, took the train back to Ostend, return with my car to Antwerp for the last Wednesday evening FlyIn briefing, we discussed also the weekend weather, it looks not dramatic but good it wasn’t.

The Friday, when we prepare the fences and clear the hangars of the Museum for the bar and BBQ, I must admit the weather was not so bad, only a few drops, but gusty wind and 90° cross on the runway.

Sven-Eric postponed his flight for one day, due to fog in North Sweden where he lives. Giorgio’s friend, Angelo, calls me that they passed the Alps but the visibility in Kempten (EDMK) was only 500 mtr, but they will try the next day (Saturday) to continue his flight to Antwerp. I warned him that in Antwerp it was not ideal….

From Hilde Van Haarlem I received a cancelling call, at that time it was an awful  not enjoyable weather in Antwerp; gusty winds and unstable sky in Lelystad (EHLE), north of the Nederland’s, with two antique and wonderful planes you don’t even think to take them out of the hangar, I personally will not fly too.

In the meantime I was running around on a terrible wet desert airport, wet feet and trousers, freezing and drinking coffees. The rain was pouring, the clouds dark as coal, with gusty 90° cross wind.

Already we are Saturday, Sven-Eric cancelled completely, and when he cancel, it must be really bad, because he fly in all weather conditions and never give up. I am so sorry Sven-Eric next time better.

Giorgio with Angelo were still blocked in Germany at the Kempten airfield, they could not get out and were desperate even how to fly back over the Alps again, he had to be in Italy on Monday. Luckily, and I am very happy they return safe home. Congratulations Giorgio and Angelo, don’t worry we will have a next opportunity to meet. I am sure you will remember Kempten for ever, I am so sorry for your forced staying in Germany, I hope it was a pleasant airfield.

Around 15:00 lc, I was so down that I decide to go back to my hotel, take my book and read in my warm room until the evening BBQ. I made a reservation for 9 people, luckily I invite my family, because alone was not an option.

Wrong, I thought that my frozen brain and Coupe obsession let me see Ercoupes everywhere, but no, a beautiful totally polish one was taxiing in to the display apron. It was Hartmut with his N-3330H, he send me an email in the morning that he will decide around noon if he will come, without news I send him a SMS about his intention, without reply I believed he will not even try it, but yes here he is. He explained to me that it was not easy and he had to stop in Venlo (Nederland) because a black clouds wall blocked his route…..

With a delicious “Bolleke” (Antwerp’s beer) and a lot of talking about how he did his adventure, amazing, I will not write all the details, because I am sure I will exaggerate…….

This year it was easy for the trophies, Hartmut won the “Longest flight” + “Oldest Coupe” + “commemorating trophy” + a “full fuel tank”, I promised as my special gift in one of my previous articles, it was something about crossing the Channel.

The evening BBQ was as always with the singing trio of Dutch girls, good fried meat with salad, very good Australian wine, and the traditional tombola. We arrived back in the hotel late and checked again the next day weather, Hartmut decide that he will leave nearly the same day at 07:00, for an early departure back to Schönhagen around 08:00.

Hartmut took off exactly at 08:05, and arrived in Schönhagen after 3.30 hrs. flight (strong tailwind) with one stop, so he was right to start early because at 09:30 the Antwerp’s sky was again dark and even the formation flight with the SV4 was postponed until 12:30, due to the “Special VFR” conditions in Antwerp at 11:00. I flew back to Ostend around 13.30 in the rain, but the sky cleared out slowly on the coast, and I landed with full sunshine in Ostend.

The 7th European Ercoupe Owners FlyIn 2013 was a memorable one, that we all will remember as the coldest and the rainiest weekend we never had before. I thank all the Erco Lovers for their intention to come and sadly the impossibility to attend, we can organize and prepare everything but cannot control all the elements, sorry.

The SV4 FlyIn (Stampe & Vertongen Museum) will not organize next year a FlyIn, due to the high responsibilities and regulations imposed to the manager, Yes, we are improving with the new EASA regulations. Without the SV4 I cannot organize on my own a FlyIn, but I will try to find for next year an alternative.

Hoping that the rest of the year the weather will be more mild for us, and that we can meet us in good circumstances for an enjoyable Ercoupe Meetings.

We keep the spirit high, one bad weather weekend is not dramatic, but we hope it will not be repeated.

My sincerely thanks to Hartmut who attended, but it was a risky one, to Giorgio & Angelo who tried to attend, and made the best decision not to continue, to Sven-Eric who sadly could not even leave his home base, to the Van Haarlem family who also took the best option not to risk their beautiful planes, and finally to all the other Erco pilots, you didn’t miss a bloody thing.


Robert & OO-PUS

For sale

One of a kind - 4 seater 'Coupe for sale

Brian Smith writes: Hi Mike, I am the current owner of N14AX, the factory built 4 seat Alon. It is for sale. Not sure of the logistics involved regarding shipment from the USA to Europe. Just thought I'd give you a heads up.

I can be contacted for photo's & details at and you can find some history at

Thanks, Brian Smith

Ercoupe pour vente

Jean Flacelière writes: My Ercoupe is for sale. Here are more details:

ERCOUPE  sn 3,782, manufactured October 1946.  ATC 718. Registered in France at Toussus le noble as F-BDPQ in 1947, and new registered in 1985 as F-AZDG with  a new  registration “avion de collection’ F – AZ...”  and particular maintenance organization. C75-12 F Continental 75 hp, built in 1949. Oil Filter Champion, new mags Slick, sparks and harness done 2011. 2 Wood SENSENICH Props; 1 with 50 pitch and other 48 for mountains.

New linen, covering all structural wings, fuselage and other proofed and new paint with anticorrosion and polyurethane, in 2006.  Cockpit equipment:  Vacuum Horizon & directional, Airpath Compass, VHF 720 Becker 2008 with helmets phone. Kannad GPS Beacon, Vorloc  Narco, ADF Bendix T12D, 2 GPS, Narco transponder with Alticoder,  Lights, Bubble Windshield and external temperature.  New B&C electrical starter and Vuimicron Cell.

You can contact Jean at



Air Britain 2013 - 22-23 June, North Weald

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

There are no landing fees for all aircraft attending the Air-Britain Fly-In, however for Saturday and Sunday arrivals the event is strictly PPR. If you are planning to fly in it is imperative that you telephone +44(0)1992-524510 (The Squadron/North Weald Flying Services) in advance to arrange your PPR slot timings and to obtain arrival instructions.

Every effort will be made to be as flexible as possible with the PPR slot system, as we recognise that weather, aircraft and aircrew serviceability can impact on the ability to meet slots. No PPR bookings are required for Friday arrivals, for which arrivals are particularly welcomed.

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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