have no professional or expert qualifications of any kind.
It's fully up to you to check any information you
find here with
standard aviation industry sources such as
manuals, flying instruction books and, above all,
by Ed Burkhead
What is an Ercoupe?
The Ercoupe is a 2-seat airplane that was designed by Fred E. Weick for
ERCO (Engineering Research Corporation). It was first manufactured in
1939. Production stopped during WWII, and then in 1946, 4309 were made
in a single year! For months they made Ercoupes at a rate of >10 a
day! For a very short period production got to about 25/day on three
shifts! Ercoupes were immensely popular, but in the 1947 bust in the
airplane business, only companies with 4-place planes survived. ERCO's
4-place Ercoupe wasn't ready and ERCO stopped making airplanes. The
2-place Coupes were manufactured by several different companies over the
years: Sanders, Forney, Alon, and even Mooney (as the M-10) in the late
At the time it came out, the Coupe was a
revolutionary plane. It was one of the first general aviation aircraft
with a tricycle gear and the Coupe's designer, Fred Weick, owned the
patent on the tricycle gear as we know it. The Coupe was a metal
mono-coupe low wing design that came out in a time of tube and frame
designs. It was stall proof, it was spin proof, it had no rudder pedals,
and it was fast. People who actually flew the thing learned that it was
a great flying airplane. If you go look at an Ercoupe on a modern
airfield among Cessna 150's and Pipers Cherokees it does not look out of
place, but go to a fly-in where the Ercoupe is parked among its
contemporaries like Aeroncas, Cubs and Stinsons of the same vintage and
it is striking how different and modern the metal-clad, low wing,
tricycle gear Ercoupe looks among a sea of high wing, fabric covered
taildraggers. But old time pilots thought the removal of rudder pedals
was a sin, just as bad was the removal of the tail wheel.
Why fly an Ercoupe?
The visibility makes every other factory plane you get into feel like
you are on the ground in a simulator. And, you can fly with the side
windows down, so itís one of the few airplane convertibles out there!
It's cheap (well, relatively inexpensive) to fly, unique airplane that
will be the topic of conversation at every airport you land at, and
Why fly a Spam can when you can have fun and fly an Ercoupe?
Is it true it doesn't have rudder
The Ercoupe is notable in that the design of it was an attempt at making
a much safer airplane. Fred wanted to try, through good design, to
remove many of the elements that were causing crashes in airplanes. Most
notable about the Ercoupe is that the original was designed to be
incapable of spinning. The reasons for that are because the leading
causes of accidents were spins. Spins are impossible if you can't stall
the wings. Fred wanted to cut down on the plane's ability to bite its
If you can't hold the plane in an uncontrolled spin (autorotation),
rudder pedals aren't needed to get out of the uncontrolled situation.
Yet, if the design is done right, (it was on the Coupes) the plane can't
be held in a spin even if the pilot uses pedals to cross-control the
plane. The Ercoupes were designed so the rudder can optionally be linked
to the ailerons so that the controls are always in coordination.
According to Fred, he expected about half the planes to be produced
with pedals, and half without. However, Fred said, the
marketing department pushed the aspect of having no pedals as a key
feature in the marketing. In retrospect, he said, he didn't think it was
such a good marketing decision after all because of the misinformation
that came from dwelling on this feature.
This plane is characteristically
incapable of spinning? It can't spin or stall?
Yep, sort of. It can't be held in a spin, at any rate. If you do a
sudden "departure" stall or hammerhead stall, you could fully stall the
wings. But, due to the factors listed below, the plane can't be held in
a condition where the majority of the wings are stalled.
Stick and Rudder, by Willie Langewiesche describes a spin as a condition
where one wing is more stalled than the other and the plane auto-rotates
around the more stalled wing.
An Ercoupe is characteristically incapable of spins. The FAA even allows
(requires) a little plaque to be in the cockpit that explicitly says so.
When a coupe stalls, the wing ends up just mushing, but with the
ailerons still in control of the plane. It's designed so that a partial
stall starts at the wing root and fans out in a "V" pattern. The outer
2/3rds or 3/4ths of the wing are still flying cleanly -- but the
root stall upsets the airflow over the elevator, limiting the elevator's
down push. Combined with a somewhat limited elevator up travel (on some
models), a Coupe's tail can't be pushed down enough to stall or keep
stalled the majority of the wing on any Coupe. Whether it's in
coordination from linked ailerons and rudders or cross controlled by a
rudder pedal kit, the Coupe can't be held in a spin. (If you fly over
gross / out of rear CG, all bets are off.)
Can a Coupe do aerobatics?
You may encounter an old timer or young idiot who will tell you that,
sure, Coupes can do aerobatics. The fact is, the Coupe airframe picks
up speed very fast when the nose points down and overstressed pullouts
are very likely unless you are Bob Hoover. Virtually all of the very
few Coupes that have come apart in the air were known to be used for
aerobatics and were likely to have been doing aerobatics when they came
apart. (There is one known incident, 40 or 50 years ago, of hidden wing
damage in which the wing failed in the air.)
These aircraft were not designed to do aerobatics.
In short, DO NOT do aerobatics in any model of Coupes!
This warning is placed high in the FAQ not because there have been very
many incidents. But, there have been a few and it has become apparent
that doing aerobatics in our planes is deadly. This is also true of the
other light aircraft not explicitly designed for aerobatics. You'll see
an article in the magazines to this effect every few months. If you
want to do aerobatics, get proper training and always use a plane
designed for it.
How do you steer the plane on the
ground if you don't have rudder pedals?
Like a car! The nose wheel is connected to the control wheel, so, on the
ground, you simple steer it like a car! (pretty simple huh?)
How do you land in a crosswind?
The short answer is, you just land it crabbed. The tricycle gear can
handle a great load, and since it is a tricycle, the plane naturally
straightens out once your main wheels land. It's simply a different
technique than using the rudder.
A normal coupe can handle a pretty good X-wind with little trouble
according to the aircraft manuals. Several of the manuals listed 25 mph
as the crosswind component. The manuals for the 415 and 415-C did not
mention the maximum crosswind component, but they are very similar to
the later models with manuals that do have crosswind numbers. The
technique is simple. You hold it off until it settles down, preferably
at minimum flying speed and land wings-level with your motion right down
the runway centerline. You do want to reduce the forward speed to as
little as possible to put the least stress on the landing gear.
How high a X-wind can a coupe handle?
Like most planes, pilots report having landed in crosswinds much
higher than the demonstrated crosswind component. Some Coupe pilots say
they don't think twice about 30 kt. direct crosswind component, others
claim to have done even higher crosswinds. In practice, many Coupe
owners are comfortable flying in crosswinds that keep them on the ground
if they were flying most other light planes. Smart
pilots first work their way up to the demonstrated croswind component
listed in their owners manual. First they get fully competent at that
level, and only then experiment as their own skill and equipment allow.
Be sure your tail is at or very near
regulation height of 75 inches for good crosswind behavior (see detailed
I heard the wheels castor?
Nope. The wheels don't castor. This is a common misconception that
people have. The main landing gear has a hinged L shape simply to allow
good shock absorber travel, not for handling the plane in a crosswind.
The misconception arises from the use of the word castor when describing
how the plane lands in a crosswind. Nose wheels turn, and occasionally
those who haven't paid attention still assert that a Coupe's landing
When you touch down crabbed, there is a side-ways push on the laterally
firm main gears. But the nose wheel turns like all other tricycle gear
planes and provides almost no side-ways resistance. The plane just
rotates (yaws) around its center of gravity to line up with the
direction of motion. We hold the control loosely at touchdown so this
nose wheel turning can take place freely. An egg in a saucer on the
pilot's lap will stay right in the saucer.
After that initial nose wheel turn, caused by the nose wheel touching
down, all Coupes use their nose wheel steering for positive control on
I rode in a Coupe on a crosswind
landing and the up-wind wing lifted so high I though we'd flip!
A few people have ridden in a Coupe which, during this yaw motion,
lifted the up-wind wing quite a ways -- and that ride is scary. Ten or
twenty years ago, the majority of Coupes were sitting on their landing
gear with the tails drooping low. Some of this was caused by aging and
compressed rubber donuts in the gear (or by old Belleville springs). On
many planes, this was worsened by replacing the original nose gear
single-fork with a later designed (and slightly longer) double-fork.
We didn't think much of it, at first. But it was realized that this
on-the-ground position gives the wings more angle of attack that was
designed into the plane. Bill Coons of Lombard, Ill., went to an FAA
engineer in Chicago and got shims approved for the landing gear and he
passed the technique around the club. Added into the shock absorber
stack, the shims return the on-the-ground attitude of the Coupe to the
designed angle of attack in spite of compressed rubber gear donuts,
aging springs, or a longer nose gear fork. Subsequently much of the
fleet has gotten maintenance and/or shims as needed to raise the tails
on the ground to the designed 75 inches and no-lift angle of attack.
With the tail at the right height, the Coupe's crosswind landing
behavior is the best in the industry, bar none.
So why the H tail?
A well behaved plane acts the same in all power setting, from full power
to windmilling. The H tail gets the rudders out of the slipstream of the
prop, thus reducing the amount of correction you need to have when
taking off at full power. The engine is also mounted at a slight cant to
counteract the P-factor on climb out.
What is the "split" tail?
The split tail is a cutout in the center of the elevator, in the area
where most of the slipstream passes the elevator. It's not completely
cut out, but for a bit more than a yard in the middle there's not much
elevator surface. Since the slipstream follows the fuselage to narrow as
it goes back, the cutout matches the slipstream fairly well.
In keeping with the design philosophy of having the same behavior and
trim from no power to full power, the "split" elevator accomplishes this
pretty well. To get the same authority as earlier models had, the split
elevator is allowe 20 degrees of up travel (compared to 13 degrees on
the C model and 9 degrees on the D model). Some later models also had a
pre-loaded spring added to the system so the pilot feels a "stop" at 65
mph to give warning this is as slow as you should normally glide, but
additional pressure allows the full up elevator and touchdown near 50
This is a very smart and valuable improvement to the Coupe design. It
was first introduced with the E model and many C, CD and D models have
incorporated it with FAA approval. Get the FAA approval first
(as with all other modifications) so you won't get stuck in a very
uncomfortable regulatory box.
There arenít any flaps?
Nope. The goal of the design of the Ercoupe was to keep things simple.
No flaps equals one less thing to worry about. In practice, the short,
wide airfoil used by the Coupes, the early Cherokees, the Tri-Pacers and
their bretheren and others are efficient airfoils -- but at low
airspeeds, they can develop a pretty good sink rate. At low airspeeds, a
Coupe can descend like a Cessna 172 with 30 degrees of flaps.
How do I make my approach then?
The common landing approach in an Ercoupe is to first, fly it pretty
much like you would any other aircraft.
Choose your own power technique. I start my approaches by reducing
power1500 rpm at mid-field on downwind. I leave power at 1500 through
the early part of the approach and, when I get to the right spot, I
reduce power, eventually to idle.
Fly a rectangular pattern and adjust your glide by adjusting your
position and turn locations. During your approaches, if you're too low,
make your turns early and gentle so you don't lose so much altitude. If
you're a bit too high, make steeper, squarer turns (reciting "ONLY in an
Ercoupe" while you do these steep turns near the ground) to waste energy
Pay attention to wind direction and strength and adjust your pattern
shape and turn points based on your best estimate of how the wind
affects your standard pattern. As you fly lots of approaches, you'll get
to be a master at adjusting your pattern. (You'll soon learn approach
control skills that will be the envy of pilots who gloss over
their sloppiness with slips and use of flaps. When you fly in planes
with those tools, you'll have better approach control than all the
If you lose power during the approach, make an immediate gentle turn
toward the touchdown spot. Just like with any plane, you should practice
this before you need it.
Slowing down to lower airspeeds will increase the angle of descent when
you drop below the best glide angle speed. You should test your own
airplane to find out its working speeds -- on your first flight in the
plane, assume best glide is 1.3 times the minimum power-off speed you
test, at altitude, before making the first approach.
Careful approach management will give you quality approaches.
Low airspeed, high sink-rate approaches
[Pre-warn your passengers (especially if they're pilots) before doing
the following maneuvers.] According to the Ercoupe Instruction Manual,
if you are a little bit too high, you can lower the nose and land fast,
using braking to stop in less distance than would be taken to hold it
off to a minimum flying speed touchdown. The book says, "the airplane
may be set on the ground at up to twice the minimum speed, and as long
as the control wheel is not pulled back will stay on the ground. After
contact, the wheel should therefore, either be held still or eased
forward gently, preferably the later." [Text color red per Ercoupe
If you need to lose lots of altitude quickly, the factory tested and
approved method (it's in the Ercoupe Instruction Manual) is
something you should use cautiously and deliberately because it doesn't
leave much margin for wind shear or mistake. The book says, "If the
approach has been made at too high an altitude, the flight path can be
steepended 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 full back and height is lost quite
rapidly, but, because of the high vertical velocity attained, the
airspeed reading should be increased to 60 mph or above at an altitude
of about 200 feet, and the flight direction should be held staight from
about 50 feet altitude to the ground."
Unpracticed people get in trouble with
this because you need to push the wheel forward
while high enough to regain airspeed (60 to 70 MPH) to flare for
landing. This means at about 200 feet above the ground, you push forward
and drop the nose. (If you do the "falling leaf maneuver" and say
"wheeeee" as you drop the nose, you might get a reputation around the
airport, and it may not be favorable to your preferred image.)
If you wait too long there is no time to get the airspeed up and you
land very hard. People who don't drop the nose at the
right time, the right amount, or who get wind shear at the wrong time,
can fold under the landing gear nose wheel and cause major damage --
worse is possible though rare. You can make a very steep approach this
way, but there isn't any margin for
error. When you push the envelope this way, you'd
darn well better not be
pushing it in another way, like gross weight or center of gravity.
Remember, unless it's a power loss emergency, you can always go around.
Can I install rudder pedals? I like
Yes, you can. The factory sold Coupes with or without rudder pedals and
they are part of the type certificate for all models.
The rudders, when using rudder pedals, have fairly good effectiveness.
It is possible to land with the plane axis in line with the runway, wing
low, up to about a 15 mph direct crosswind. In crosswinds above 15 mph,
you can land wings level in a crab like the other Coupes, or use a
hybrid method. It is possible to adjust the rate of descent a fair
amount with a good slip, even in the Coupe, and avoid the fun listed in
the previous section.
In the air, for good flying practice, you would push the pedals when
making big aileron movements to prevent adverse yaw. For cruise, you can
leave your feet on the floor just like on virtually all other planes. On
climb out, use of the pedals helps keep the plane flying straight. In
all situations, since the actual rudder surface is small and the way the
pedal cables are rigged, it takes a pretty large amount of pedal
displacement to get the ball centered. It takes very little strength.
For the same reason, the automatic centering from the wind over the
rudders isn't strong and you may have to push the pedals some to center
With any pedal kit, you have less leg room. This bothers people some on
cross country flights.
[from Ed Burkhead ( former EOC member )
The Coupes are certified as spin-proof both with and without the rudder
pedals. I've tried cross controlled stalls at very high (about 100 rpm
less than full throttle) power settings. It was a roller coaster ride,
but the plane didn't enter a spin and I could bring the wings
almost-level by just adding more aileron while the rudder was still full
left (the worst condition). In this condition cross-controlled,
very high power, yoke full back condition, I was about staying
level or losing a little bit of altitude while slowly turning left.
Slightly releasing the back pressure on the yoke immediately brought the
plane back to full controllability.
Personally, I'll be happy to ride along for aerobatics in an Ercoupe as
long as Bob Hoover is pilot. If Chuck Yeager offers to pilot, I'll
think about it for a while. I'll let Bob go practice by himself for a
while before I go for that ride with him.
The trouble with aerobatics in the Coupe isn't the rudder linkage. By
its design, the Coupe can't be held in a spin even with crossed
controls. The design is such that it'll fly out of a spin as if you'd
made the corrections intentionally. You would probably have to about do
a hammer-head stall to get into a spin entry. (Or fly outside the rear
CG-limit and then all bets are off!)
The Eroupe is a fairly sleek airplane and the Alon is even sleeker with
its bubble canopy. That's why it flies so well with so little power.
The downside is that it can also pick up speed very quickly in botched
It takes very special skill to do aerobatics in a normal or utility
category aircraft because you have to have very good control to avoid
over stressing the airframe. And you have to be sure you can do it
right every time or you might have pieces depart the aircraft. Flying
aerobatics in any plane not specifically designed for it is a good way
to die (or a wasteful way, really).
Fred Weick, when he came to fly-ins, kept emphasizing that these
airframes are "almost 50 years old" (and 10 years older, now). He
advised us to slow down on thermally days because the transient g-loads
in bumpy air can over stress an aircraft.
Coupes may be tough but they were not designed for aerobatics even when
new. And they sure ain't new, now.
What are the different type of rudder
pedal kits and why?
There are TWO TYPES of rudder pedal kits. For discussion, I'll call them
the ERCO kit and the Alon kit. The differences only affect ground
With the Alon kit, the pedals control the rudders and the nose wheel
only. The wheel/yoke only controls the ailerons. You steer on the ground
with the pedals.
With the ERCO kit, the pedals control the rudders only. The wheel/yoke
controls the ailerons and the nose wheel.
With the Alon kit, after touch down, you can turn the ailerons into the
wind and totally eliminate any up-wind wing rise. (Not a significant
problem on Coupes with the tail at or near 75 inches high.)
With the ERCO kit, once you are on the ground, you steer with your hands
on the yoke. You've practiced this for 10,000 hours in your car, more
than 3,600,000 steering wheel control movements. In an emergency,
turning the wheel with your hands is your practiced and very well
learned (not instinctive) response. (Fred Weick observed this behavior
and designed the ERCO kit his way for this reason.) Since the plane
steers like a car with the ERCO kit, you have much better control when
rolling on the ground. People feel so confident about it, the factory
issued a memorandum advising people to taxi more slowly to avoid getting
unnecessary fender benders around the airport.
Are the wings metal or fabric?
Originally they were fabric, and then they made them metal. Some older
airplanes have been converted to metal wings. The metal wings add weight
(about 40 lb.). All Coupes now must have the Swiss-cheese AD's 16
inspection holes on the bottom of each wing so the structure can be
inspected annually for corrosion. Fabric wings can be recovered every 20
years or so (whether the new fabrics need it or not) and a really
good inspection of the structure can be done. A few owners have
converted back to fabric covered wings.
More metal skinned wings have been found with corrosion than have fabric
skinned wings. Since these planes are up to 60 years old, being able to
inspect the wing spars for corrosion is very important and that's pretty
well covered by the 32 inspection holes required by the AD. Consensus
seems to be that other old brands of aircraft will have similar
inspection requirements coming soon. No Coupes have been lost to
corrosion in flight, so far, and we'd like to keep it that way.
What are the different models?
What's the difference between
The main difference between the 415 series is the size of the engine and
the amount of load that can be carried. The 415 D increased the amount
of load to 1400 lb., while the 415 E added a notched tail to make
performance consistently good from low to high power.
The Forney was basically the same as the 415 series.
The Alon changed the canopy to have more head/shoulder room, and the
canopy slides back instead of the windows, which slide up as the 415
series. It also added spring steel landing gear. Most were sold with
rudder pedals but no-pedals was a factory option.
The Mooney M-10 added a "normal" tail, rudder pedals, the stall and the
spin, thus removing most of what was unique about the Ercoupe.
Who builds the Ercoupe?
Ercoupes aren't built anymore, but Univair is the Type Certificate
holder for the Ercoupe series and thus is the "factory" for new Ercoupe,
Forney, Alon and M-10 parts.
Can I see the type certificate
on the web?
Type Certificate Data Sheets for the Erco, Forney, Alon and Mooney M10
(in PDF, you will need
Adobe Acrobat) Look under Univair, the STC holder --
What kind of engines do they
Various models came with Continental C-65, C-75, C-85, C-90. There is an
STC to put a 100 HP O-200 engine as well.
How fast do they go?
It depends on which model, how big you engine is, what pitch prop, etc.
Normally it is in the range of 100-120 mph. We'll add more detailed
How big are the fuel tanks?
The later Coupes have two 9-gallon tanks in the wings, and a header
tank, which holds 6 gallons, for a total of 24 gallons of fuel. The
header tank is another nice safety feature, in that if for some reason
the fuel pump fails, you have a gravity feed tank with enough fuel in it
for you to find a place to land. (NOTE: Some early versions of the
Ercoupe have 8 gallon wing tanks and a 5 gallon header tank, for a total
of only 20 gallons of fuel.)
There is an STC for removing the header tank, and putting two 15-gallon
tanks into the wings, but not many people have done this as it is
expensive, and that much fuel impacts passenger load.
What kind of fuel economy does
Your mileage may very, but in the 5 gallons per hour realm, up to 6 gph
with some engine/power combinations.
Can it run on MOGAS?
Yes, with the proper STC, you can use MOGAS. Make sure that there is no
alcohol in it!
How much can you carry?
All models of 415-C and 415-CD carry 1260 lb. gross.
Models 415-D, E, G, Forney F1 carry 1400 lb. gross.
Models Forney F1-A and Alon carry 1450 lb. gross.
Depending on the model and what's installed in it, useful load can be
from barely 400 to over 500 lbs.
How much do they normally sell
Since Ercoupes are 50 years old, they have fully depreciated! <grin>
This means that most Ercoupes are in the range of $10,000 -> $20,000,
which is about the cheapest flying you can find. Since they are often
flown on the cheap, make sure that the one you buy has been well
Why doesn't my coupe have a mixture control/wired mixture control?
<Harry Francis> "The C-75/85 engine was supplied with a Stromberg
carburetor. It has a mixture control on the top of the carburetor, which
is often wired full rich for no particularly good reason. Misinformation
saying theStromberg carbs mixture control isn't effective still drifts
around. Some people think that leaning is not required below 5000 feet
msl and they never go above that, anyway."
In fact, the mixture control on either carb is perfectly effective
(given simple maintenance) and can greatly increast range and reduce
fouling. It's a good idea to lean using a large-scale EGT gauge --
leaning by sound on a small Continental engine may only give very crude
approximation to the correct setting.
What is with the mixture
control, or lack thereof? Can the control be reinstalled?
The Stromberg carburetors had a mixture control that consisted of a
plate with some cleverly designed holes that slid against another plate
with its own hole. By clever design, this varies the vacuum on the fuel
in the float chamber (I think) to vary the mixture.
Ed Burkhead ( former EOC member ) said, "When I bought my Coupe,
it was wired full rich. It worked pretty well full rich all the way up
to 12,500 feet. I later got my mixture control cleaned and reactivated
and got an EGT gauge. I get quite good mixture control but I do have to
adjust it slowly, watch the gauge, make another slow adjustment, till I
get just what I want. I would only get a sensitive EGT with BIG
gradations in the 25-degree range. Not the low sensitive type that shows
hundreds of degrees in a single sweep of the needle."
Is there an Owners Club?
Yep, The Ercoupe Owners Club. The EOC publishes a monthly newsletter.
Dues $25/year (in the U.S.) and $35 outside the U.S. To join,
PO Box 7117
Shallotte, NC 28470-7117
Are there any good books
about the Ercoupe?
These manuals and documents should be in print from these sources:
Aircoupe/Ercoupe Owners Manual................Skyport Services
Aircoupe Service Manual.......................Skyport Services
Ercoupe Service Manual........................Univair
Ercoupe Service Bulletins & Memorandums.......Skyport Services
Ercoupe Airworthiness Directives, Aircraft
Specifications A-718 & A-787 and Skyport
Service Notes.................................Skyport Services
FAA Approved Airplane Flight Manual for
Ercoupe Model 415-D...........................Skyport Services
The Aircoupe Story............................Skyport Services
Twin Tail Tiger...............................Skyport Services
Specifications, A.D. notes,
The other Coupe specific books are for a pretty specific audience and
were not printed in large numbers. They can be hard to find and most are
only available from used-book search services.
"The Ercoupe" by Stanley G. Thomas. In second printing as of spring 2000
and there may still be some in print. Aviation Publishing, Inc., PO Box
5674, Destin, FL 32540, phone: 850-654-4696, FAX: 850-654-1542, ISBN
0-9652727-9-6 (pbk). This is a pretty well done, well researched book
about the Ercoupe and its follow-on siblings. It's pleasant to read
"From the ground Up,
Autobiography of an Aeronautical Engineer ", by Fred Weick -
Autobiography of the designer of the Ercoupe. Has lots of stuff about
his other aviation contributions, and a couple of chapters on ERCO and
the design of the Ercoupe, as well as his later work on the Piper
Cherokee and Pawnee. Printed by the Smithsonian Institution Press, ISBN
0-87474-950-6. This has been sold out.
"THE ERCOUPE, A Touch Of Class" by Frank R. Saletri,esq. Out of print.
If you can find a copy, many people value it highly. It's got some good
articles and a lot of cut and past of ads, clippings and other Coupe
material. This is a big book that sold for $50, originally.
"Fly-About Adventures and the Ercoupe" and "This & That about the
Ercoupe", by Paul Prentice. Tese have lots of Ercoupe photos, and
discussion of mods and performance of Ercoupes. Out of print.
"ERCOUPE" by Louis N. Buffardi. This has, among other things, a very
good table of Coupe models and serial numbers. This has been out of
print for 20 or so years. It's probably not even available from used
book search services but it has some tables of Coupe production history
and other information that's good.
Does one model of coupe
perform substantially better than another
The later the model, the better the performance, more or less. The
Forney and Alons have the 90 hp engine with a pretty good prop. The Alon
models have the redesigned canopy and get some speed advantage from it.
An Alon may sell for $5-$10k more than a 415-C in similar condition. You
might want to go more on the condition of the specific machine.
Where can I see some pictures
of an Ercoupe?
The "Planes" link here on the EOC page will connect you to ercoupe.net
where there's an extensive gallary of Coupe photos arranged by N number.
There are some other excellent web pages for Ercoupe enthusiasts. Check
page (best viewed with Internet Explorer)
Brian Bailey's Ercoupe