Why an Ercoupe?
So why did I buy an Ercoupe? As with many things in life I didn’t set out buy one at all. In fact, I didn’t look to buy a plane at all, preferring to join a group. I asked around and only found one group nearby that might have been suitable, but I have a restricted NPPL for medical reasons and the group insurance wouldn’t have covered me.
Of course I’d also thought about what would be my ideal plane if I did decide to buy. I’d sought the advice of the club instructors and one or two others and bounced few ideas off them. Back came comments like:
“No, don’t buy one of those microlight things, they blow over when you taxi”
“Do you really want to fly a plane that makes a noise like a hairdryer?”
“That glass fibre construction burns well if you crash”
“Yes, a lovely plane, but the nose drops if you’re not watching it”
I had already decided that I wanted something other than the standard club planes Cessna 152’s and Pipers. You can rent those. If I was only going to be flying a few years then I wanted something a little different. I wanted something easy to taxi and fly, so tail-draggers were out. I’m pretty short so I wanted to see out of the front. I wasn’t up to hand-swinging props either, so full electrics were required.
And then one day I saw an advertisement for more group members for a Forney Aircoupe. Anyone who has read one of the standard industry books - “Stick and Rudder” by Wolfgang Langewiesche would have heard of these. I’d seen one of these before as well in a museum in the US. It sounded great. I called and arranged a meeting and test flight. From the moment I saw the “Yellow Peril” I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for. I immediately felt comfortable in it, visibility was excellent, it flew so nicely, it was just perfect. The owners Sid and Keith were very nice too. But it had taken me one and a half hours to get to the airfield where it was based. The drive home was miserable as it was just impractical to travel that far to go flying.
And then a week later I saw an ad for an Alon Aircoupe for sale. With only 10 Ercoupe’s of all types on the UK register this was quite remarkable. I went to see it, it seemed in excellent condition, and that was it! I got an engineer to check it over. After 5 minutes under the cowling checking the engine he led me to one side. Fearing the worst he whispered in my ear “this is one of the best Ercoupes I’ve seen”.
The owner was very kind and cooperative about the sale, and gave Brian a couple of circuits to learn its little quirks. And then we flew it back to base, Bourn airfield, just to the west of Cambridge. It was a miserable day as we left, overcast with low cloud. But by the time we got back the sky was clearing to make way for a beautiful afternoon. G-HARY was at his new home.