Home » This Vintage Plane Was Sold By Department Stores And Advertised To Be As Easy To Fly As Driving A Car

This Vintage Plane Was Sold By Department Stores And Advertised To Be As Easy To Fly As Driving A Car

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In October 1945, shoppers of Macy’s department stores were presented with something a bit different to buy. “If you can drive a car, you can fly an airplane.” That’s what advertisements from the Engineering and Research Corporation said about the Ercoupe, a plane you purchased from a department store and was once billed as the Ford Model T of airplanes. The Ercoupe was built to be one of the safest planes in the sky and sold in a manner that made people believe in a future where every family had an airplane. That didn’t happen, but here’s why one of these beauties might be worth another look today.

Last week, I spent six days taking in brutal heat and walking too many miles at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023. It was all worth it because I got to see and touch so much aviation history while meeting some phenomenal people along the way. There were a number of aircraft on the grounds that were some of the last of their kind still flying, including a Lockheed Super Constellation and the Fairchild C-123K Provider “Thunderpig.” One plane that caught my attention was not a showplane or an airshow performer, but a gray little aircraft owned by a couple visiting AirVenture for the first time. This is an Ercoupe, and I’m in love.

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Mercedes Streeter

The Engineering And Research Corporation

The Ercoupe is the creation of the Engineering and Research Corporation, or ERCO for short. Founded in 1930 by helicopter pioneer Henry Adler Berliner, ERCO manufactured machines for aircraft and propeller construction.

Berliner was an engineer and son of Emile Berliner, inventor of the gramophone. The elder Berliner was also known for creating a rotary engine and building an early helicopter in 1907. As the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum notes, this helicopter was the first to use a rotary engine in aviation. For those of you currently scratching your head, this type of rotary engine isn’t one of the spinning Doritos of a Wankel engine. In this usage, a rotary engine is an Otto cycle piston engine with its cylinders arranged in a radial formation. This engine is different than a radial, too, because where a radial engine has a fixed cylinder block with a spinning crankshaft, this sort of rotary engine has a fixed crankshaft and a spinning block.

Berliner
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

 

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Anyway, the elder Berliner’s other inventions include an acoustic tile and a loom for the mass production of cloth. Henry would follow in his father’s footsteps. In 1919 after some service in the Army Air Service as an aerial photographer, Henry moved to Washington D.C to assist his father in helicopter development. The pair then conducted a number of helicopter experiments, each with hurdles that the Berliners weren’t able to overcome. Their helicopters either had control issues or weren’t powerful enough to leave ground effect.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum cites the pair’s usage of small engines incapable of autorotation and reluctance on using a cyclic control system as reasons why their helicopters weren’t practical.

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Berliner No. 5 curatorial file, Aeronautics Division, National Air and Space Museum

Either way, by 1925, Henry was done playing with helicopters, started the Berliner Aircraft Company, and began developing fixed-wing aircraft. In 1929, this company became Berliner-Joyce Aircraft after the company joined forces with Maryland Aviation Commission leader Captain Temple Nach Joyce. A year later, the new company became a part of North American Aviation, which later became a part of General Motors. Henry Berliner left his company for his other company, ERCO.

In the mid-1930s, Berliner decided that ERCO should build airplanes and to facilitate this, he brought on aeronautical engineer Fred Weick in 1936. Weick brought experience from his work at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the predecessor to NASA). Weick was NACA’s authority on propellers and the two men had known each other since 1926. Back then, they collaborated on a project to improve the propellers on the United States Navy airship USS Akron. Weick also made an award-winning engine cowling for NACA. [Editor’s Note: Wow, a Cowlie award winner! – JT]

In the mid-1930s, Weick also developed the Ercoupe’s predecessor, an aircraft called the W-1.

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NACA

As Maryland’s College Park Aviation Museum notes, early aircraft had designs and controls that, given a distracted pilot or student pilot, small errors could lead to fatal results. For example, poor turn coordination could lead to a spin and a crash. A spin is an event when an aircraft simultaneously yaws and stalls. The plane experiences an uncommanded roll as the wing on the inside of the turn stalls while the outside wing still retains lift. When viewed from the ground, or I suppose the cockpit as well, a spin looks like the aircraft is following a steep corkscrew pattern into the ground. Spin recovery often involves reducing power to idle, ailerons to neutral, and the rudder to the opposite direction of the spin.

If the spin is not arrested in time, it can be a fatal event. Thus, many aircraft builders have experimented with forgiving designs that are very hard to enter into a spin. Weick’s W-1, which was designed to win a safety competition, was a two-seat aircraft featuring simplified controls, a steering landing gear, and a design that made stalls harder to enter. This plane was a high-wing design with its propeller in the rear in a pusher configuration. Berliner convinced Weick to leave NACA to further develop this idea of a plane that is safe, easy to fly, and built for the everyday person.

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ERCO Collection, College Park Aviation Museum, Prince Georges County, Department of Parks and Recreation, Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission

In 1937, Berliner purchased 50 acres in Riverdale, Maryland to build a factory to construct the Ercoupe and a runway for those planes to depart on. That year, the very first Ercoupe made its first flight as the ERCO 310. In 1938 (or 1939, depending on source), the first production Ercoupe was built and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (the FAA’s predecessor) claimed that the aircraft was “characteristically incapable of spinning.” ERCO managed to sell about 112 of them before World War II halted civil aircraft production. During the war, ERCO shifted to building Ercoupes for the military, switching from aluminum to wood for the main construction material. The company also made gun turrets and drop tanks.

The Department Store Airplane

Ercoupe Plane
ERCO

As the war drew to a close, ERCO began planning its postwar strategy and it wanted people to buy its Ercoupe. In 1944, ERCO picked up Oliver Parks, a successful salesman. Parks cut his teeth selling candy bars and later Chevrolets. In 1926, Parks learned to fly, eventually opening a flight school, the Parks Air College in St. Louis, Missouri. Parks Air College was one of eight civilian schools chosen to train WWII Army Air Forces pilots. ERCO scooped the salesman up at the end of the training program.

That year, ERCO held a sales conference with its distributors to figure out a sales strategy. Parks, who was set to be the Ercoupe distributor in eight states, had a bold idea: Sell the planes through department stores. From the Smithsonian Magazine:

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Sanders Aviation / Macy’s

Wanamaker’s stores in Philadelphia and New York displayed Glenn Curtiss’ Rheims racer and a Blériot monoplane as far back as 1909. But Parks had in mind something far more ambitious. “Salesmen for refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, radios, houses, automobiles—to name only a few—are preparing to go after the postwar market with intensive campaigns,” he wrote in Flying magazine in 1944. “None [of the competition] that I have heard plan to sit on their fixed bases and wait for Joe to come and see them. And if aviation continues the pre-war, come-and-get-it attitude, aviation—not Joe—is going to suffer. We must go after him with the most intensive, streamlined, ultra-modern sales program in the nation’s history.”

Parks’ plan involved the Parks Aircraft Sales and Service, a newly-founded company, and four regional headquarters. Those headquarters supported 32 dealerships situated at local airports and those dealerships would sell just one plane, the Ercoupe. Those dealerships would sell the Ercoupe in department stores. As Smithsonian Magazine notes, ERCO went with Parks’ plan, and in 1945, the salesman signed deals with Marshall Field & Co., Macy’s, Bamberger’s, and other department stores. In Chicago, the Marshall Field & Co. flagship store had two Ercoupes, one on the store’s main floor and another on the fifth floor.

The Ercoupe

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ERCO Collection, College Park Aviation Museum, Prince Georges County, Department of Parks and Recreation, Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission

What buyers got was an aircraft that was a bit different. A pilot and their passenger would hop into a cockpit featuring a huge glazed canopy, which offered tons of outward visibility. Ahead of the occupants were control wheels but not pedals. The aircraft was flown with the control wheel and a two-control system linked the ailerons and the rudders together and were manipulated through those control wheels.

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United States Air Force

Those control wheels also manipulated the aircraft’s pitch and steered the aircraft’s front wheel while on the ground. Wanted to fly your Ercoupe to the left? You just turned the wheel left. You didn’t need to worry about turn coordination because the linked controls handled that for you. As AOPA writes, the whole idea was to make an all-metal plane as simple to fly as a car is to drive.

From there, Weick further improved on safety with a tricycle landing gear configuration with trailing-link mains to allow for smoother landings. The elevator’s upward travel was also limited in an effort to prevent stalls. Since the controls for the rudders and the ailerons were linked, the pilot at the controls was not able to enter the aircraft into cross-controlled flight, or when the rudders and ailerons are opposite of each other. Hence the aforementioned CAA certification of the Ercoupe being “characteristically incapable of spinning.”

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The aircraft’s operation was carlike in some ways. On the ground, turning the control wheels turned the front wheel, just like a car. The floorboards lacked rudder pedals, of course, but you did find a single footbrake like a car would have. Even the aircraft’s stylish twin-boom tail has a safety-related reason to exist. As AOPA notes, the tail design placed the rudders outside of the prop’s slipstream, aiding stability.

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Weick’s mission to build the safest plane went as far as to mount the engine a few degrees downward and to the right, reducing what is known as P-Factor. In short, propeller blades are sometimes subject to different loads and thus produce different thrust, leading to a turning tendency even when you’re not deflecting any control surfaces.

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Mercedes Streeter

As the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association writes, Ercoupes have good stall performance. They’re not stall-proof, but pilots have found that the aircraft will right itself from a stall quickly. With that said, as the pilot from AOPA writes, at a low power setting and low speed, the Ercoupe will bleed altitude quickly. Apparently, the aircraft’s manual even recommends this as a way to steepen your flight path, from AOPA:

“…The flight path may be steepened by rolling the airplane from side to side, dipping each wing 20 to 30 degrees. If the altitude is sufficiently high, this can be done satisfactorily with the wheel held full back and height is lost quite rapidly…”

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Mercedes Streeter

The pilot writing for AOPA is correct in that this is setting an Ercoupe pilot up for some bad, potentially dangerous habits. AOPA also notes that those flying a stock Ercoupe to earn their license got a limitation that restricted them to flying Ercoupes without rudder pedals. If you wanted to fly something with rudder pedals, you needed to do another checkride. This is why AOPA says that by now, most surviving Ercoupes have been converted to have rudder pedals.

There were a handful of different versions of the Ercoupe made. The first was the 1937 ERCO 310, which came with a 40 HP Continental A40 flat-four engine. Next came the ERCO 415, which came with a 65 HP ERCO IL-116 inverted inline four-cylinder engine. An inverted four-cylinder looks exactly as you’re picturing it to be, take a look:

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Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Apparently, ERCO made just three of these engines before beginning production of the Ercoupe 415-C, which came equipped with a 65 HP Continental A65-8 flat-four engine. ERCO built 112 of these Ercoupes between 1939 and 1941. After World War II in 1947, the Ercoupe 415-D and 415-CD. Older Ercoupes weighed in at a maximum of 1,260 pounds, making them eligible for light sport pilots. The postwar models saw gross weight raise to 1,400 pounds. The 415-D was powered by a 75 HP Continental C-75 flat four. The 415-D also introduced the aforementioned 12-degree elevator up-travel limiter. Some of these aircraft had the limiters removed, creating the 415-CD. Ercoupes will cruise at around 95 mph, have a stall speed of about 48 mph, and can fly at 13,000 with a range as far as 300 miles.

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A year later, the Ercoupe 415-E was introduced, which sported a split elevator with 20 degrees of up-travel and power from an 85 HP Continental C-85 flat four. Other variants included the Ercoupe 415-F, which featured a 90 HP Continental C-90 flat four, and the Ercoupe 415-G “Club Air,” which was powered by a C-85 but featured deluxe features like a bigger baggage space and a seat for a kid. There was also an Ercoupe 415-H “Standard,” which featured the C-75 engine.

The Plane Anyone Could Fly

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Mercedes Streeter

The aircraft’s accessibility, and ERCO’s clever marketing, led to an initial strong response from the public. The Smithsonian Magazine describes the match struck by ERCO:

Crowds were drawn to Macy’s new offering by a full-page ad in the September 26 New York Times, which read “Macy’s makes news again! Within less than two months after V-J Day, you will be able to walk into Macy’s and buy—an airplane! And not only a plane, an Ercoupe… Macy’s chose Ercoupe for you [b]ecause it’s safe; and as easy to handle as your family car.”

With the crowds came journalists, from national magazines to local newspapers. Earle Griffith was an eager early customer, a 1945 article in the New York Post reported. Considering the travel time from his farm in Massachusetts, he said, “It takes me four and one-half hours to commute by train. With this baby I could make it in an hour and one half.” Elmer Ruark, a postal worker from Salisbury, Maryland, was more cautious. He told the salesmen he was just looking, but mentioned to his wife that with the post office’s flat roof available for landings and takeoffs, he “sure could use one of them [Ercoupes].” One Marine sergeant tried to trip Chaplin up, possibly thinking a mere showroom salesman wouldn’t understand how the Ercoupe could be spin-proof. But Chaplin, a veteran of 32 combat missions who came to Macy’s “via Saipan in a B-29,” calmly showed off the Ercoupe’s leading edge spoilers, which helped the airplane avoid the dreaded spin.

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ERCO

Department stores all over America fell for the Ercoupe from Davison’s in Atlanta to Joske’s in San Antonio and May’s in Baltimore. The novel aircraft and the equally special way to sell them were a spectacle as droves of people lined up to see planes in their favorite department stores.

The experience of buying your Ercoupe was different, too. If you were a Macy’s shopper, you put down a $998 deposit (about $14,162 today), and put the rest of the $2,994 ($42,488 today) on a payment plan. The aircraft would be delivered to your local airport, where a flight instructor put you in the seat and put you through your first solo in just hours. An Ercoupe would sell itself in just how easy it was to fly. From Smithsonian Magazine:

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Mercedes Streeter

Doyle Getter was a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal who in August 1945 made his way out to the Anderson Air Activities facilities at Malden Air Base, Missouri. Waiting for him was Gwen Landry, who gave him a quick ground tour of an Ercoupe. “In less than an hour I was flying, taking off and landing unassisted: [Landry] just sat beside me,” Getter wrote. “After three hours and 50 minutes of instruction, I soloed. ‘Just me and the birds,’ I thought to myself, up there so soon all alone. But it was a grand feeling. And a new world had opened up, a thrilling, exciting world, and the transition had come swiftly and easily. It was even simpler, it seemed, than learning to drive a car.”

The department stores and the buying experience were finely crafted by ERCO before the war even ended and at first, it worked. ERCO sold 203 planes by May 1945 and the aircraft quickly became a national sensation. Two Midwest department stores reported crowds of 100,000 each attending preview events. A J.C. Penney in Denver began selling the Ercoupe that November and sold 9 in the first week of sales.

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Mercedes Streeter

As the Smithsonian Magazine writes, most buyers were men between 40 and 50 years old. However, some publications focused on novel Ercoupe owners, such as women pilots, veterans without legs, and non-pilots who landed Ercoupes after their pilots had medical emergencies. Reportedly, some publications had headlines like “Any Woman Can Learn to Fly” and “A Missouri Miss Gets Her Wings.” There were even wingless Ercoupes driving in parades.

It seemed ERCO caught lightning in a bottle and Berliner was going to capitalize on it. Parks expected Ercoupe sales to be 1,800 units per year but Berliner saw 10,000 of his planes leaving the factory each year. By late 1945, ERCO was building four planes a day and by spring 1946, Berliner had ramped up production to the point where up to 35 planes were being built in a day.

This Ercoupe

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Mercedes Streeter

The plane that inspired this story was this 1948 Ercoupe 415-E. I got to chat with the aircraft’s owner, Ryan, and his partner. The couple flew to AirVenture from Arkansas. Ryan told me that this is easily one of the cheapest planes that will turn the most heads.

Go on Facebook right now and try to look for something like a Cessna 150. You’ll probably find them listed for close to $40,000. A Cessna 150 is a fine airplane, but one that will often blend into the scenery at a place like AirVenture. Ryan told me that he paid just $13,000 for his Ercoupe, and the plane snaps necks like no Cessna will. I mean, it sort of does look something like a scaled-down warbird if you squint a little.

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Mercedes Streeter

On the sides of Ryan’s Ercoupe are many of the places its previous owner had flown the aircraft to. This Ercoupe has toured the Ozarks, hopped across the American South, skipped through the Great Lakes, and it’s even flown through much of the Canadian and United States portions of the Arctic Circle.

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Ryan informed me that keeping the bird alive has been affordable and it really is as easy to fly as the advertisements say. However, the Ercoupe has a tight cockpit, so you better be in love with the passenger you’re taking for a long haul. I’m told that if you’re lucky, you can find an operational Ercoupe for $10,000 to $20,000.

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Mercedes Streeter

Downfall

Not everyone loved the Ercoupe. As the Smithsonian Magazine writes, experienced aviators were concerned that ERCO was selling flying as simpler than it really was. After all, a department store Ercoupe buyer got some free flight lessons and then was pushed out into the world of aviation without any real idea of how things work. They didn’t know CAA regulations, how to navigate their aircraft, how to avoid bad weather, or the intricacies of aircraft ownership. A January 1946 article in Flying Magazine apparently reported about airport operators fed up with Ercoupe owners being let loose without really knowing how planes work.

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Other publications published stories about celebrity owners like Edgar Bergen and Dick Powell as well as stories like how Secretary of the Interior Henry Wallace accidentally flew an Ercoupe to Baltimore, completely missing his real destination of Washington D.C.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the complaints about inexperienced pilots that killed the fun, but an economic downturn and the market dropping out under ERCO. By August 1946, Berliner saw demand so strong that he estimated a need to build 50 Ercoupes a day. In just a year, ERCO took 6,000 orders for Ercoupes. Then, seemingly out of nowhere in September, the planes on ERCO’s field built up from 100 units to 300 units. The dealers’ order books were filled and those planes at ERCO had nowhere to go. The postwar light airplane boom was more like a short bubble and Berliner suddenly found himself sitting on a pile of stock without a ton of demand. The Ercoupe was supposed to be the “plane of tomorrow, today,” but it couldn’t find enough buyers.

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Erco 415 Ercoupe Family
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Videodisc Imagery Collection, NASM Acc. XXXX-1000

Berliner tried to stem the bleeding by cutting the three factory shift to just one part-time shift, but it wasn’t enough. In 1947, Berliner sold all the rights and all assets to the Ercoupe to Sanders Aviation. Sanders kept production going in ERCO’s factory, building 213 units by 1950. A handful of other companies all tried their hands at keeping Ercoupe production alive including Forney Aircraft Company, Air Products Company, Alon Inc., and Univair Aircraft Corporation. Even Mooney had an Ercoupe derivative. In the end, the Ercoupe and its derivatives were produced until 1969 with over 5,500 examples taking off into the sky. The planes are no longer made today, but owners can get parts and technical assistance from Univair.

Today, more than 2,000 Ercoupes are still flying, including Ryan’s aircraft and two other Ercoupes I saw at AirVenture this year. These aircraft are a testament to Weick’s rock-solid design. ERCO may not have given every family an airplane and the aircraft may have been a financial failure, but several decades later, they’re giving a group of charismatic pilots mile-high smiles.

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Mercedes Streeter
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Mercedes Streeter

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Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
29 days ago

Neat little plane and great article.

However in my view, if this thing still burns leaded gasoline, then it should be put in a museum. If it’s to have continued use, then it should be converted to use unleaded fuel.

I really wish the government would step in with some sort of regulation that basically says:

“You can keep using your current leaded fuel burning plane, but the next time the engine needs to be overhauled, it will also need to be converted to use unleaded.”

Combined with:
“Any plane that currently uses leaded fuel needs to be converted to unleaded fuel before ownership transfer is allowed. The only exceptions would be if the plane is going to a museum or a scrap yard.”

It’s unacceptable to me that the aviation industry has gotten a free pass with leaded fuel for so long.

Last edited 29 days ago by Manwich Sandwich
Stephen Dillard
Stephen Dillard
9 months ago

As much as I’ve enjoyed the EAA articles, this one hits it out of the park! Great stuff, Merc!

Phyrkrakr
Phyrkrakr
10 months ago

Fun little tidbit: Oliver Parks, the salesman mentioned in this article who also ran a flight school? Yeah, that was the VERY FIRST federally certified school of aviation – and it’s still in business today. He donated the school to Saint Louis University in 1946 and it’s now the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology. They closed the separate campus over the river and moved them on-campus in the 90s, but they still do the flight training out of Cahokia, where the original school was established.

Ixcaneco
Ixcaneco
10 months ago

Thank you. Nice article!

Staffma
Staffma
10 months ago

Ercoupes are excellent aircraft for putting around, I’ve worked on a few of them, and they are pretty maintenance friendly, and nice to fly. Easy to move and store, pull a few bolts and the wings come off and you can tow one behind your car. Fit it inside a one car garage with the wings off. My dad’s Ercoupe is currently in a storage unit a few miles from the airport (cheaper than a hangar). Only downside is if you start in an Ercoupe you won’t want to fly a plane with rudder pedals, too much work!

Footlongcone
Footlongcone
10 months ago

And now one being displayed at a shopping center in Riverdale Park makes sense.

Google Street view from the Whole Foods gets a decent view.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/gui1fTkH6U2UGabg8

BubRubb
BubRubb
10 months ago
Reply to  Footlongcone

Nice find.

CSRoad
CSRoad
10 months ago

I too found the article fascinating, thank you.
Aircraft are not really one of my things, but I like history.
Looking at the past through the lens of the present, makes you wonder what could be rather than what could have been. (-:

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
10 months ago

My brother learned to fly in one of these planes.

Lokki
Lokki
10 months ago

Wow! Okay, Mercedes – forget the Autopian Camper – Company executives should have access to a private Ercoupe!*

*(Just don’t let David pick it out)

Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison
10 months ago

Back when I lived in Joliet, IL there was one always parked at Clow Field. Just looked at Google maps, and Clow is no longer there – it’s been 25 years since I left.

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
10 months ago
Reply to  Scott Morrison

Isn’t it now Chicago Bolingbrook International Airport?

Rich Hobbs
Rich Hobbs
10 months ago

Mercedes, this is one of the most interesting articles on the site yet! You are an asset to the company! I recommend the bosses give you a day off with pay! Or a free lunch! Ok , how about an early out! Once again thanks for a great read!

Marathag
Marathag
10 months ago

Never connected that the same company that made gun turrets for B-24s was the same that made Ercoupes after the war.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
10 months ago

Is that right that you could get a pilots license with a few hours instruction? Or was the idea you’d do some preliminary orientation stuff with Parks/ERCO and finish the rest on your own with your own instructor?

I mean, this was the era when you could get a motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license by just checking an extra box on the application and paying a nominal fee, so I guess it wouldn’t be out of the question for it to have been that simple to get a pilots license.

(my dad has had a motorcycle license since the ’60s for that reason, even though he’s only even ridden one once, on a vacation, 40 years ago, and has never seemed to have any interest in owning a bike or getting back on one)

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
10 months ago

“This engine is different than a radial, too, because where a radial engine has a fixed cylinder block with a spinning crankshaft, this sort of rotary engine has a fixed crankshaft and a spinning block.”
Like the engine used inside the front wheel of the Megola, a German motorcycle, built in the early 1920s, which was FWD (yes, FWD!)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6f/MHV_Megola_01.jpg
and
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/110_ans_de_l%27automobile_au_Grand_Palais_-_Megola_640cc_Touring_Model_-_1922_-_003.jpg/1280px-110_ans_de_l%27automobile_au_Grand_Palais_-_Megola_640cc_Touring_Model_-_1922_-_003.jpg
The front wheel had a sausage-like inner tube rather than a donut-like one so as to facilitate repairing flat tires without having to remove the wheel.

Last edited 10 months ago by Collegiate Autodidact
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

Back then you could buy an airplane or helicopter and take a lesson or two and fly. Now you cant buy and use a fireworks sparkler unless you are a licensed munitions expert. A special license for a motorcycle but no helmet. In many places cant own a gun unless the government sayso. Wgen i grew up the country folk men and women would bring guns to school for tournaments after school. No shootings then because there were people already there well armed and better trained to shoot than your average cop today. But yeah every year tge government promises safety in exchange for more control. And millions are screaming to lose their rights but it just keeps getting worse. WAKE UP BUT DONT BE WOKE!

Ted Fort
Ted Fort
10 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Calm down there, buddy. Have some prune juice and go yell at a cloud.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
29 days ago
Reply to  Ted Fort

And if he’s out of prune juice, then revert to castor oil…

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
29 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Now you cant buy and use a fireworks sparkler unless you are a licensed munitions expert.”

That’s because of a minority of idiots who ruin things for the rest of us.

“In many places cant own a gun unless the government sayso.”

And I’m 100% in favour of that… again… due to the minority of idiots.

“WAKE UP BUT DONT BE WOKE!”

Too late… you woke… so now YOU are woke

:-p

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

How can you pass up reading a story like this. Forget EVs restart production i want my own plane.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
10 months ago

Astonishing. Pretty wild that you could make your biggest purchases through department stores. You could drive from your Sears Modern Homes mail-order house in your Allstate (a rebadged Kaiser-Frazer Henry J sold through Sears, Roebuck and Co.) to the airport to fly your Macy’s Ercoupe plane…

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
10 months ago

I seem to recall being able to buy a personal airplane hanger for your backyard if you had like a half acre. Who needs an airport?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
10 months ago

Quite a few of them also had their own TV and radio stations that you could tune into on that new TV or radio you just bought from them in their electronics department. And, of course, Sears would gladly sell you a whole set of Kenmore appliances to put in your new Honorbilt Modern Home

LuzifersLicht
LuzifersLicht
10 months ago

Guess it’s the 20th century equivalent to that “buying a car off Amazon” stunt they did a couple years back.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
10 months ago

Cool, the,50s and 60s really were an era of aviation mania in the US with plenty of youth fiction based kids trading scut work for flight time.
I had heard of the Ercoupe but didn’t know they were sold through department stores.
I suppose the Cirrus with the optional parachute is the closest modern equivalent.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Yes, but this thing cost $56,650 in inflation-adjusted dollars, and a Cirrus SR22 costs $779,000. I really wish we lived in the future they imagined where the skies were filled with Ercoupes for less than the price I would have to pay for a shitty Blazer EV in this reality.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
29 days ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

“I really wish we lived in the future they imagined where the skies were filled with Ercoupes”

I want you to think about the idiots you see out on the road driving.

Now I want you to imagine some of those same idiots flying an Ercoupe.

Do you STILL want the skies filled with Ercoupes?

After all, let me repeat this little quote for you:
“A January 1946 article in Flying Magazine apparently reported about airport operators fed up with Ercoupe owners being let loose without really knowing how planes work.”

So I personally do NOT want a future where buying and flying your own aircraft was a cheap/easy/minimally regulated thing.

I WANT it to stay expensive with some big regulatory/training barriers firmly in place.

Last edited 29 days ago by Manwich Sandwich
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