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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 5 June 2008


We are all praying for good flying weather for the Air Britain Fly-In at North Weald (EGSX) 21-22 June. Hopefully as many 'Coupes as possible will be able to fly there! The event is open Saturday and Sunday, but you can also arrive early on Friday. For Saturday and Sunday prior permission is required, call The Squadron on +44 (0)1992 524510 in advance.

Don't forget - please keep sending me news, articles, fly-in reports, interesting trips or web links that may be of interest to fellow 'Coupers. And if you prefer, please send in French or German, and we will translate into English for you! Many of you have made kind remarks about the usefulness and interest of this newsletter, but please help by making a contribution, no matter how small!

Mike Willis G-HARY

Ercoupe News

Ercoupe wanted

My name is Giorgio Pace and I am a member of CAP Federation (Popular Aviation Club) that in Italy controls all amateur built aircraft. I am a happy owner of an RV9 that I have built up about 2,500 hours. My airfield is near Viterbo about 70 Km. north of Rome I write you because is my intention to buy an “ Ercoupe” to bring in Italy - it would be the first! I want know if there are some Ercoupes for sale, and possibly if you can put me in contact with the owners to have notice about planes and price and after, possibly, I could come to England to see it. Do you think that for next Air Britain Fly-In at North Weald (EGSX) 21-22 June is possible find Ercoupes for sale ?

Thanks for the help and information: Giorgio

History corner

Lithuanian Ercoupe 415-C LY-ALI

The Ercoupe Owner's Club publication "Coupe Capers" for February 2008 carried obituary notices for Vitas Lapenas written by Ed Burkhead and Wayne Woolard. Some of the readers of the "European Ercoupe Newletter" may not be aware of the significance of these items.

The following is based on "Ercoupe to Russia project" articles by Ed Burkhead which appeared in EOC "Coupe Capers" for August 1991 and January 1992.

The late Vitas Lapenas was the owner of Ercoupe 415-C LY-ALI which is still the only Ercoupe registered in Eastern Europe.

Vitas Lapenas was a world class Lithuanian aerobatic pilot with the Russian team, who was severly injured when his YAK-55M crashed at Vilnius on the 19th September 1989. His injuries included severe burns and the loss of his left leg.

A suggestion was made that an original Ercoupe 415-C, not having rudder pedals, would be the ideal aircraft for him. This led to the "Ercoupe to Russia" project which was initiated by American and Canadian aerobatic pilots and funded by donations from Sport Aerobatics, Sport Aviation, the Ercoupe Owners' Club and other private individuals.

The airframe and engine, plus the original C-75 engine of Ercoupe N99893 were donated to the project by Wayne Woolard. This aircraft started life in 1946 as Ercoupe 415-C N99893 (c/n 2516), was converted to a 415-D and had a Continental O-200 engine installed. It suffered a forced landing in a partially ploughed field on the 5th May 1991 and sufficient damage was caused for the aircraft to be written off.

The rebuild was undertaken at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School, Denver, CO under the leadership of Art Burnett, the Ercoupe being delivered to the School on 18th November 1991.

LY-ALIThe finished aircraft is a composite aircraft rebuilt with the aft fuselage and wings of N99893 and the forward fuselage, canopy and tail assembly from Ercoupe 415-C N87390, c/n 563, the latter aircraft having been donated by Terry Hutter of Boulder, CO. The original Continental C-75 engine was refitted having been over- hauled and zero-houred.

N99893 was presented to Vitas at Marana, AZ, on 10th October 1992 and was then flown to JFK airport at the end of the month by Wayne Woolard. It was airfreighted to Germany by Evergreen Airlines, and subsequently delivered to Lithuania in November 1992. The US registration was cancelled on 7th September 1993 and the aircraft registered LY-ALI to V.Lapenas, Vilnius.

Vitas returned to the aerobatic world as a trainer and became coach to the Spanish National Team as well as establishing the Vitas Lapenas Flight School using the YAK-52 to train pilots from all over the world. He returned to competition and became Lithuanian Champion in 1995. By 2001 he was ranked 15th in the world.

Vitas Lapenas was killed in Lithuania on 15.1.08 when an ELA07 gyroplane he was flying was reported to have exploded in the air.

His Ercoupe was noted dismantled at Paistrys, Lithuania in August 1996 with previous identity N99893 clearly visible under the paint and with Evergreen stickers still on the fuselage. Noted still dismantled in 2008, it would be nice to think that this aircraft could be restored to its former glory and to take its proper place among the seemingly growing European Ercoupe population!

Tony Smith

Tech corner

Oil loss

Andrew Gardener writes: One of the tangs on my oil filler cap sheared due to fatigue as I was taxiing in after a 2 hour flight recently and the cap was left lying across the opening of the oil filler neck, allowing what looked like a lot but was probably only a litre of oil to spew out down the port side of the aircraft. If it had happened in the air it might have ruined my whole day. So you might like to mention this to the other 'Coupers as something for them to check.

Regards, Andrew Gardner

Engine cowlingcowling

Mike Willis writes: Another warning for 'Coupers. Recently I noticed there were some small cracks in the metal surrounding my front fastener on the right hand side engine cowling. The situation looked stable, but during a take-off the metal surrounding the fastener broke away, and the cowling was torn vertically upwards from the second fastener. The metal folded over like a sardine tin lid and battered the top cowling making a terrible noise. Fortunately for me I was not flying the plane, and my friend who is much more experienced than I am made a low level circuit and landed safely. Of course when I checked the archives of the Ercoupe technical email list I found I am not the first to have this happen!

I have sourced a new cowling from Univair - with the exchange rate my engineeer thought it was cheaper than trying to make a new one. However, that assumed the official design would fit, which has not been the case. Still I hope to be flying within the next week, and I will definitely be checking for tight fasteners and cracks from now on! It is amazing that 0.63 mm aluminium can tear like paper with such a modest airflow.

Mike Willis, G-HARY

Fun stuff

Not really fun, but just nice. Take a look at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 web site and look to see what aircraft type features in the banner at the top of the page! Air Britain please note for 2009!

Recommended destinations

Send in your top 5 for future newsletters!

Upcoming events


AeroExpo 2008, Wycombe Air Park, June 13-15, 2008, 
This is a large trade show-type event in the UK with free entry and no landing fee. Located just to the north west of London it is sure to keep the London CTR controlllers nervous!

Air Britain Classic Fly-in, North Weald, June 21-22,
This will include, like last year, dedicated parking for Ercoupes. Hopefully as many as possible will arrange to attend! This year 60 years of Air-Britain and all aircraft built in 1948 are celebrated, as well as 60 years of the Piper Vagabond/Clipper and 75 years of the SV4 Stampe.

There are no landing fees, and the airfield is open from 9:00 to 19:00.

Arrivals are strictly PPR on +44 1992 524510. For further information call +44 1376 344441 or visit


NATIONAL ERCOUPE CONVENTION, July 23–26, 2008, Wausau, WI, USA. Contact Syd Cohen 715-573-7063 or for registrations forms.

EAA AirVenture 2008, Oshkosk, Wisconsin, USA, July 28-3 August 2008,

Classified ads

For sale

David Hulk's G-AVIL - Alon A2 Based in Kent. New 3 year C of A. Unique paint scheme featured in Feb. 05 Pilot magazine. GBP 19,000. Contact David tel +44 1233 637515 email

I have a panel mount and cable for a Skymap II or III GPS. Email me if you are interested. Mike Willis


Cri-Cri plans for Hartmut
Hello everyone. I am having an unusual question . In exchange for a nice addition to my Ercoupe, I need to come up with some plans for building the Cri-Cri airplane. I know there is the original creator of that plane, but I heard the plans will be pricey... Does anyone of you or your friends want to part with such plans? Thanks, Hartmut Beil


Ercoupe mailing lists

For a continuous discussion on Ercoupes, or a daily digest, do register for these Ercoupe mailing groups:

Social and general content
Technical information

Ercoupe Web sites

Ercoupe Owners Club
Robert Rombouts' site
Harmut's Ercoupe Maintenance & repair site
Ernst Viehweger's German Ercoupe web site
Mike Willis' site
SoCal Ercoupe Owners site 
Al DeMarzo's site which includes his 'Ercoupe swap page' 
Ed Burkhead's site

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