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European Ercoupe Newsletter

No. 53 May 2015


Happy New Year! I never thought I'd be saying that in early May, but it hasn't been a great year so far both from flying weather and free time to prepare a newsletter.

In fact the main incentive to getting this newletter out is to encourage anyone who hasn't yet planned to attend the European Ercoupe Fly-In in Antwerp 16-17 May to do so now! It promises to be the best ever event with 11 Ercoupes from 7 countries planning to be there at present. That's around 1/3rd of all the Ercoupes in Europe!!! There will be Ercoupes of all ages, Alon, Mooney...

If you haven't got an Ercoupe you are still very welcome, just let Robert know if you wish to attend the BBQ.

Best regards,


Mike Willis

Ercoupe News

The 9th European Erco Owners FlyIn at Antwerp 16th – 17th May 2015

Robert writes: Believe me it is closer than we all think, we are preparing this wonderful yearly flying weekend with our best knowledge, and dedication. Hoping, dear Erco-flying-friends, you all intend to come, some already confirm they will, thank you.

At present 11 Ercoupes plan to attend:

1 Sweden > Sven-Eric – SE-BFX
1 Italy > Giorgio & Angelo – I-ERPG
1 Swiss > Hans Peter – N94804
3 Germany > Ulrich  D-ENUC + Robert Tompkins N5478F + Hartmut N3330H
2 Nederland > Rob Maatman – PH-NCE + Hilde Van Haarlem – N99280
1 England > Mike Willis & Brian > G-HARY
2 Belgium > Danny Bals N9516V (M10) + Robert OO-PUS

Because I have to make reservation for the BBQ, and order commemorative-trophy, it is very important I know how many pilots will attend during this unique weekend, so if you have the smallest chance of intention to join us, please let me know. . The 6th May is the closing date of confirmation.

The arriving dates can be from Friday 15th, and Saturday 16th the all day. The departure on Sunday 17th can only be allowed until 13:00 local, NO departure from Antwerp during the Military display from 14:00 until 17:00 all local hours.

A fee of €50 per Erco must be paid in advance to confirm your participation – contact me for bank details.  The pilots and crew only can expect:

  • • The evening BBQ with wine, plate-fork-knife-seat and music
  • • Five (5) coupons for free drinks
  • • A personalised badge.
  • • A huge clean and smooth asphalt runway of 1.510mtr, impossible to miss.
  • • Free landing fees, parking, flight-plan, Meteo and Security search.
  • • Free lottery during BBQ, for one fuel tank fill-up,(only for Erco’s).
  • • A unique commemorate-trophy of the Fly-In.
  • • Also one surprise trophy as surprise.
  • • In addition we have the possibility to assist you with:
  • • A technical assistance for small repairs.
  • • The Tulip Inn Hotel is at social price
  • • Perfect weather, (if available).

Because it is the 9th time this Erco meeting is organized in Antwerp (Belgium), we expect a USA Ercoupe Owners delegation, that will be a surprise, it will give our meeting a worldwide character, who knows?

The 2015 edition will be a very special one, according the organising Stampe & Vertongen Museum, it is their 25th edition and it will be happily surprise for all who attend.

Don’t be shy and send as soon as possible your intention to come, if the weather does not permit or other dramatic situations occur, then you can always cancel. Don’t forget to book your Hotel, during the Fly-In it could be difficult to book a room.

Hope you will have an enjoyable nice flight to Antwerp, it will be a friendly meeting with all the happy European Owners Erco Lovers.

The past 8 years Antwerp FlyIn records :

In 2007, the 1st year, 19th  + 20th  May (6 Erco’s)
SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira. Sweden
D-EOPI with Peter Nobmann and his wife Anke. Germany
G-ARHB with Keith Peacock and Sid Turner. England
G-AVIL with David Hulks and Pam. England

In 2008 2nd year, 3rd + 4th  May (3 Erco’s)
SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira. Sweden
N-3330H with Hartmut and Rainer Beil. Germany
OO-PUS Robert Rombouts. Belgium
Visitors: Tony and Anne Smith & Rob Maatman

In 2009 3th year, 23rd + 24th June (2 Erco’s)
SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira. Sweden
OO-PUS Robert Rombouts. Belgium
Visitors: Jean and Françoise Flacelière & Rob Maatman & Hilde Van Haarlem

In 2010 - a surprising year, 15th + 16th May (8 Erco’s)
SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira. Sweden
D-EJOR with Stephan Vatter. Germany
D-ENUC with Heiko Binder and his father. Germany
D-EOPI with Ronny Druck and Sandra. Germany
G-ARHB with Sid Turner and Keith Peacock. England
G-HARY with Mike Willis and Brian. England
N-3330H with Hartmut and Rainer Beil. Germany
OO-PUS Robert Rombouts. Belgium
Visitors: Rob Maatman & Hilde and father Van Haarlem.

In 2011 – 5th year, 4th + 5th June (3 Erco’s)
SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira. Sweden
G-ARHB with Sid Turner and Keith Peacock. England
OO-PUS Robert Rombouts. Belgium
Visitor: Jean Flacelière by car & Rob Maatman with Stinson

In 2012 – 6th year, 19th + 20 May (2 Erco’s)
N-99280 with Hilde Van Haarlem, Peter & Roland, Nederland
a beautiful just restored Ercoupe, congratulation.
SE-XIP with Thorpe Sven-Eric Pira. Sweden
OO-PUS Robert Rombouts. Belgium

In 2013 – 7th year, 11th + 12 May (2 Erco’s)
N-3330H with the brave Hartmut Beil. Germany
OO-PUS Robert Rombouts. Belgium

I must admit that the 2013 edition was a catastrophic year, the weather was terrible, and Hartmut was the one who did his flight in very bad condition, I didn’t expect one Ercoupe, so terrible it was.

Giorgio Pace and his friend Angelo, where blocked in south Germany just after the Alps, and could not continue their flight to Antwerp, I am so sorry for them. Sven-Eric Pira who never missed one Antwerp Fly-In, could even depart from Sweden. The Van Haarlem family, had exactly the same problem, as all the other pilots.  I was so sorry for all of them who did all the flight preparations and were obliged to cancel.

In 2014 – 8th year, 31st May & 1st June (4 Ercoupes + 1 Mooney M10)

We had a very nice weather, as expected, and we could welcome the Lindbergh of the Ercoupes Sven-Eric Pira from Strömsund Sweden (963.85 miles / 1.551 Km), again congratulation Sven-Eric your present at the FlyIn was as usual a wonderful achievement of cross-country flight.

Arrived in Antwerp:
SE-BFX with Sven-Eric Pira. Sweden with 47-415D, sernr:4413
D-ENUC with Ulrich Hertig and his son Adrian. Germany with 47-415CD, sernr: 4718
N99280 Hilde van Haarlem and Peter. Nederland with 46-415C, sernr: 1903
N9516V Danny Bals. Belgium with the Mooney M10 Cadet
OO-PUS Robert Rombouts. Belgium with 47-415D, sernr: 4577

Hope you will have an enjoyable nice flight to Antwerp, it will be a friendly meeting with all the happy European Owners Erco Lovers.

Robert Rombouts
Mob: +32 475 470 775


From Italy to Belgium Germany

Giorgio Pace writes: Dear Mike, First of all, let me wish you a happy New Year!  And thanks for keeping us informed on the news related to our Ercoupe fleet.  I read in the last newsletter about the 2015 Fly-in in Antwerp on next May 15/18th, and I fixed a note on my agenda.  This year we plan to do our best to participate! 

I published on YouTube a video, that is a humorous summary, edited with Angelo in 2013, after our missed participation to Antwerp for bad weather. 

You can view it at the following link: The video is fitted with English subtitles. 

Kind regards, Giorgio Pace (I-ERPG )

More on the sad Irish wreck

Tony Smith writes: Hi Mike, many thanks for all the time and effort in producing  European Ercoupe News No.52; an excellent issue!

On the subject of Ercoupe 415-C NC2522H I have to agree with Paul Rushton's sentiments about this Ercoupe; I saw it at Weston several years ago much in the same state.

This aircraft was owned at one time by J.Allen of Alon Inc. and later in 1991 by David Kenney of Kenny Engineering, the manufacturer of Ercoupe modification kits (instrument panels, wheel spats and nose cowlings). Hard to believe, but this aircraft was back then one of the "show" Ercoupes winning several awards at Oshkosh and other Ercoupe gatherings.  I was in contact with Dave Kenny at the time and he was heartbroken at learning the condition his old Ercoupe had been allowed to get into!

Unfortunately I think that no end of TLC and a bottomless cash pot would get this bird back in the air but there again, miracles have happened!

All the best - Tony Smith

The rebirth of G-ERCO

Eric Girardey writes (early February): Hi Mike, Hope you are well, and looking forward to the Spring and better flying days. Just an update on the progress of G-ERCO.

The engine has come out OK following shock-load inspection and is being put back together.

Paul Grellier, a well-known restorer based near Winchester, will take on the airframe rebuild.  In the end, he was the onlyone I could find with straight answers to all myquestions.  Hopefully the fuselage will be with him next month, when he has room in his shop. I will be able to come over and do some work on it as well, which will help me learn more engineering aspects of this lovely machine.  As to a time frame for the rebuild, I guess it will depend on how much work he has, but I am determined not to let it drag on.  We still have to find out whether the CAA will insist on another survey, and what this may yet uncover, but I'll worry about it when we come to it.

HC is fine in its little hangar. I haven't flown it in a month now as the strip is at its usual winter worse.

The owner of the strip is keen on hosting an EMU this summer if you would like.  There's parking in the paddock for at least 6 Ercoupes, free landing fees, and a warm welcome.  Slinfold, Wellcross Farm is about 650m long, 04/22, but has an up slope on the first 3rd of 22.  The approach on 22 is above the owners' bungalow, which requires you to stay high, but with the slope on landing there is never any problem stopping.  The strip is very close to the Gatwick zone, and the overhang of controlled airspace has its base at 1500ft msl.  All this is correctly depicted on the charts and GPS databases, and the strip is clearly marked on the charts.

If you are interested please let me know, and I can get more info from Chris, the owner, who may even make an info pack available. I know he is working on an airfield website briefing. 

All the best, Eric

Our man in Brazil

Sergio writes: Dear Mike, I’ve imported a 1948 Ercoupe S/N 4965 PU-SFB (former N94850) from USA and starting to put it back in flying condition – one month inside a container can leave things very dirty…  The Ercoupe arrived safely and without major issues in the FBO that will take care of the restoration. Pictures show before disassembly in USA and the others upon arrival, 45 days later… The longest trip this Ercoupe have ever done in it´s life!

As to mention, in the hangar where the procedures will take place, there is a very nice Auster in flying conditions, also restored by the same people that will take care of my “puppy”.  Will keep you posted!

Best regards, Sergio de Faria Bica Jr


Trip reports

Another one bites the dust – Last day at Hucknall

Mike writes: After last year’s depressing news of airfields closing in the UK, sadly March 1st 2015 marked the end of another.  Hucknall at Nottingham, formerly the airfield where Rolls Royce engines were tested, from the Merlin, the first jet engines through to the RB211. The Merlin-powered P51 Mustang first flew from here.

So where do they test engines now? On the engineer's desk! Its all done in computer simulation these days.

It was a miserable day, with the club packing up everything in the club house. The weather wasn't that good, wet, windy and cold so only 4-5 aircraft were there when we were. And then wet weather was spreading from the west so we had to make an early departure.

A sad day, it now will become a housing estate and industrial park.

Playing away from home - Florida

Mike writes: When I travel to the US on business I suppose I should stay faithful.  But how will my bird back home know I’ve been flirting with others?

I can't go to central Florida without visiting Peggy and Tim at Preston Aviation at Winter Haven. Flight 1 was one hour 20 in this beautiful Piper Cub. We flew out and landed at a couple of strips.  The second one was interesting.  Established just last year by a guy called William, it has a curve in the middle.  So he couldn’t resist, and it’s registered as ‘Bent Willies’!

We then enjoyed lunch at the airfield café.  Just after I’d finished I was surprised by an English voice saying “Hi Mike, how are you?”  It was ex-Ercoupe owner David Hulks!  Around 8 years ago he owned G-AVIL based at Headcorn, UK.  He has been to a few EMUs in his Jodel since selling it.  He was with his son who was doing his seaplane rating at Jack Browns which is on the edge of Winter Haven airfield.

After lunch was flight 2.  Who can resist flying this old lady, a Boeing Stearman? Not me!  It has roughly the performance of an Ercoupe, but being much larger it feels slower and graceful.  The controls are well balanced and light, and smooth too as they run on ball races.  Being out in the fresh air with goggles and leather helmet in a biplane, you feel like a First World War pilot.


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