Erco Ercoupe and derivatives


Country of Origin
United States of America
Two-seat light aircraft
In 1937, Fred Weick of Erco (The Engineering and Research Corp) developed the model 310, which was the basis for the distinctive Ercoupe. The first flight was made on October 1, 1937 with a 37hp Continental A-40 engine, which was later replaced by a 55hp Erco IL-116. Fred Weick's research into safe airplanes was employed in the design. The rudder controls were eliminated and the aircraft was handled by the control wheel only, making it easy to fly and making stalls and spins almost impossible. Later models reverted to conventional rudder bars, as existing pilots tended to be confused by the system. A novel fixed tricycle landing gear for better ground handling was installed, and the cockpit was designed to have allround visibility. The aircraft was a low-wing cabin monoplane with side-by-side seating for two, and had an all-metal fuselage with fabric-covered wings, but later production had all-metal wings. The 310 was originally flown with a single fin, but during development this was replaced by twin tailfins. After three years of exhaustive testing, on March 25, 1940, the type certificate was issued to the production model, the 415C, which was powered by a 65hp Continental A-65-8 engine. Production was halted in 1941 after 112 aircraft had been built, as all aluminum was needed for the war effort. One 415C was evaluated by the Air Force as an observation aircraft, designated YO-55, and two more were tested as target drones, designated XPQ-13, but the aircraft was not found suitable for military service. In August 1945 production of the 415C was resumed, with some improvements and a 75hp Continental C-75-12 engine. In February 1946, Fred Weick received the Fawcett Aviation Award for the greatest contribution to the scientific advancement of private flying. Post-war, Erco built 4,408 model 415C, 77 model 415D, and 275 model 415CD. In 1950, they ceased production of the Ercoupe because light aircraft production became uneconomic for them. Production of the Ercoupe was handed over to Sanders, who completed 209 aircraft from Erco parts as the 415E (85hp Continental C-85-12 engine), 415F (90hp C-90), 415G ClubAir (85hp C-85-12 with an additional rear kid's seat), and 415H (75hp C-75). In 1954 the type certificate was sold to Vest aircraft, who did not built any aircraft, but sold it on to Forney in April 1955. Forney produced 139 aircraft as the F-1 and F-1A Aircoupe with many details improved, and powered by a 90hp Continental C-90-12F engine. Forney changed name to Fornaire in 1959, and the F-1 was now available with differing standards of equipment as the Execta, Expediter, and Explorer. Air Products took over production in 1960 and built another 26 as the F-1A Aircoupe until 1962. In 1964 Alon started to build the design as the A-2 and A-2A Aircoupe with a 90hp Continental C-90-16F engine, a sliding bubble canopy, and other changes. Alon merged with Mooney in 1967, who continued to build the A-2A, but in 1969 they redesigned the aircraft with a single fin as the M-10 Cadet. In 1970 the last ones were produced.
415C - One 55.9kW (75hp) Continental C-75-12 or -12F piston engine driving a two-blade propeller. F-1 - One 67.1kW (90hp) Continental C-90-12F piston engine driving a two-blade propeller. A-2 - One 67.1kW (90hp) Continental C-90-16F piston engine driving a McCauley two-blade metal fixed-pitch propeller M-10 - Same as A-2
415C - Max speed 188km/h (102kt), cruising speed 161km/h (87kt). Initial rate of climb 750ft/min. Service ceiling 14,500ft. Range 645km (400nm). F-1 - Cruising speed 195km/h (105kt). Service ceiling 15,500ft. Range 805km (435nm). A-2 - Max speed 208km/h (112kt), max cruising speed 200km/h (108kt). Initial rate of climb 640ft/min. Service ceiling 17,300ft. Range 730km (395nm). M-10 - Max speed 190kmh (103kt). Initial rate of climb 835ft/min. Service ceiling 15,500ft. Range 899km (485nm).
415C - Empty 364kg (802lb), max takeoff 572kg (1260lb). F-1 - Empty 404-422kg (890-930lb), max takeoff 635kg (1400lb). A-2 - Empty 422kg (930lb), max takeoff 658kg (1450lb) M-10 - Empty 430kg (950lb), max takeoff 658kg (1450lb)
415C - Wing span 9.14m (30ft 0in), length 6.15m (20ft 2in), height 1.90m (6ft 3in). F-1 - Same as 415C A-2 - Same as 415C, except length 6.20m (20ft 4in), wing area 13.2m2 (142.6sq ft). M-10 - Wing span 9.14m (30ft 0in), length 6.30m (20ft 8in), height 2.34m (7ft 8in), wing area 13.2m2 (142.6sq ft)
Seating for two side-by-side.
Total production amounts to 5,604 aircraft, comprising 1 model 310 and 4,872 model 415 built by Erco, 209 model 415 built by Sanders, 139 model F-1 built by Forney and Fornaire, 26 model F-1 built by Air Products, 244 model A-2 built by Alon, and 52 model A-2 and 61 model M-10 built by Mooney.
Related Links
Erco Ercoupe and derivatives
The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.