The Ercoupe is said to be the world's easiest two seat aircraft to fly. It was first produced in 1939 by the Engineering Research Corp. (ERCO).
In keeping with its primary missions of being easy and safe to fly, the Ercoupe was one of the first aircraft to use tricycle under carriages. A nose wheel simplifies ground handling and is said to make landings easier than if the aircraft used a tail wheel configuration.
Ercoupe controls are designed with limited elevator movement and no rudder pedals. There is a brake peddle on the floor, similar to a car. The ailerons and rudders are internally linked, to help coordinate turns.
The Ercoupe is almost impossible to spin or stall, and it can quickly recover and fly out of trouble. Cross wind landings are simplified for novice pilots. The combination of a tricycle under carriage and linked controls provides for an average pilot to set the aircraft down without
drama, even in cross winds of over 20 mph.
RC Ercoupe from a Balsa USA kit.
The rc Ercoup built from a kit from Balsa USA has a 120" wingspan and a 84" length. Construction is balsa and plywood. Recommended engines are from 45 to 55 cc. It should weigh around 30 lbs. ready to fly.
The small engine and propeller of the Ercoupe produce minimal torque pull. The small amount of torque produced during take off and climb is further lessened by
a propeller that is angled slightly to the right of center, and a tail that keeps prop wash from hitting the twin rudders.
Although the Ercoupe was generally well received by the civil aviation public, when the aircraft was introduced there were a few complaints about the lack of a tail wheel and rudder pedals.
Ercoupe pilots tell us that things happen in slow motion while flying. The takeoff run is long and climb rate slow. Trying to stall the aircraft by slowing down and pulling back on the controls only results in loss of altitude. The wings stay straight and level and the nose does not drop.
The same method of dropping quickly while trying to induce a stall can be used to quickly lose altitude while executing a short approach. Ercoupe ailerons, combined with rudders, do have a fair amount of authority at cruising speeds, and coordinated turns are easily accomplished.
Nick Ziroli's rc Ercoup.
Pictured immediately above and below is a rc Ercoupe built from a kit from Nick Ziroli. It has a 80" wingspan and a length of 53". Power can be a 23 cc gas engine or 1.20 glow engine. Weight is about 16 lbs.
Cross wind landings take some getting used to, especially if you are used to piloting other aircraft. The Ercoupe will pretty much point
itself towards the direction of the wind, while keeping its wings level. Upon touchdown it will straighten out right down the runway.
RC Ercoupe from a Nick Ziroli kit.
When World War II started, Ercoupe ceased production. After the war, production was resumed. Over 4,300 of the aircraft were sold in 1946,
the first year of resumed production. However, sales of civil aviation aircraft soon slumped, especially two seaters.
ERCO sold their business. Sanders Aviation, Fornair, and Alon Inc. continued to produce the Ercoupe in different versions and relatively small numbers through 1967.
Pats Custom Models rc Ercoupe.
The rc Ercoup built from plans by Pats Custom Models. Its wingspan measures 60" and it is Speed 400 powered.
Through the years, changes were made to the original Ercoupe design, including lighter, more powerful engines, additional streamlining, and replacing the cloth covered wings with metal. There are even kits to fit rudder pedals to the aircraft.
A total of 5,685 Ercoupe aircraft of all types were produced. Many continue to fly to date.
Dare Hobby has a rc Ercoupe with a wingspan of 60" that is 35 1/2" long. It can be propelled with a Speed 400 motor geared 4:1 turning a 11 x 7 propeller. Weight is approximately 1 lb. 9 oz.
Although they haven't been produced for a while, we have seen Jack Stafford Models rc Ercoupe kits. Wingspan is 63" and engines can be four cycle from .40 to .72.
The AMA has plans for a 34" wingspan scale, gas rc Ercoupe. It is plan no. 35342.
Another rc Ercoupe that we have seen on eBay and in RC Groups that has been out of production is from Vics Customs Models. It has a 63" wingspan and uses .35 - .60 engines.
You can find plans and a fiberglass fuselage from Reid's Models for the rc Ercoupe. Wingspan is 72", weight about 12 lbs., for a 26 cc engine.
Reid's Models has plans and a fuselage for a larger rc Ercoupe. This one has a wingspan of 90" and will weigh about 20 lbs. all up. It needs a 42 cc gasoline engine.