View Full Version : Aircoupe down in Puget Sound

05-19-2006, 08:33 PM
65 year old "aircoupe" (Aerocoupe?) down in the sound. Both passengers ok. Plane is plainly visible under water and looks to be completely intact. It will be recovered.

Apparently, at least one of the passengers was rescued by a passing kayack! :)

05-19-2006, 10:27 PM
That's "Ercoupe"....

05-20-2006, 01:18 AM
News keeps saying "Aircoupe." Hard to make it out under some feet of water. ;)

05-20-2006, 01:19 AM
'Kayak Dude' was a 20-something hippy. :D

Plane had recent engine work and sputtered and died on approach to a private field owned by the several houses around it.

05-20-2006, 05:49 AM
ercoupe is pronounced aircoupe....

S/V Laura Ellen
05-20-2006, 06:52 AM
Did all the ercoupe models have the same tail configuration?

Tar Devil
05-20-2006, 09:45 AM
Did all the ercoupe models have the same tail configuration?


I've never had the slightest desire to fly those things. Perhaps if it were the only way to fly...



05-20-2006, 10:40 AM
I cant find a pic of the crash,anyone know a link?

Paul Girouard
05-20-2006, 10:46 AM
I cant find a pic of the crash,anyone know a link?

Rescue http://www.komotv.com/news/images/plane_rescue_051906.jpg

A/C http://www.komonews.com/news/images/plane_crash_3_051906.jpg

Link , http://www.komonews.com/stories/43529.htm

05-20-2006, 10:51 AM
Thanks paul,,looks like its about 30 feet of water?

Paul Pless
05-20-2006, 11:09 AM
wonder if it was an originally configured with the antispin controls?

S/V Laura Ellen
05-20-2006, 11:23 AM
wonder if it was an originally configured with the antispin controls?

Paul (or any other aviation enlightened formite): Could you explain this for us aviation ignoramuses? What are anti-spin controls? What is the implication to this incident? :confused:

Paul Girouard
05-20-2006, 11:35 AM
Paul (or any other aviation enlightened formite): Could you explain this for us aviation ignoramuses? What are anti-spin controls? What is the implication to this incident? :confused:

Which Paul you callin a igoramuse? Just kidding;)

IMO anti -spin wouldn't have helped in this case . If the news reports are right in this , A regional supervisor for the Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot was trying to land on a small airstrip near the crash site when he radioed that he'd lost power.

, No pwr. no go, plane fall out of sky.

Anti-spin in a Prowler, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/images/ea-6b-stennis.jpg gives the pilot extended rudder and Horz. stab throw . I'd guess in a smaller plane anti - spin would provide something similar if the A/C had power, althought in a prowler anti spin is helped by a small battery back up , and also altitude to recover from said spin , altitude being the best option. This A/C that is under the water MTL was on final approach and lacked #1 PWR. and #2 Altitude . IMO , Paul

Paul Pless
05-20-2006, 11:36 AM
I don't know the specifics maybe Tardevil can enlighten us.

A friend owned an ercoupe back when I was in college and I know he used to talk about the controls and how he had converted his to normal functioning. It had something to do with rudder being mechanically linked to the yoke instead of having normal rudder pedals. I always thought it was a pretty neat little airplane. My friend didn't keep it long and sold it and moved up to a Citabria.

As far as implications in thios incident, I don't know of any I was just wondering...

Paul Pless
05-20-2006, 11:48 AM
here ya go

Ercoupe coordinated controls:

The Ercoupe, with its distinctive twin-tail design, was originally provided with "coordinated controls", i.e. the rudder was connected to the yoke and yaw correction was automatic - NO RUDDER PEDALS. The steerable nose wheel was connected directly to the yoke - you taxied exactly like you drive your car. This, and limited elevator travel, contributed to the result that the 'Coupe is "characteristically incapable of spinning"! You can try, but the plane will fly out of an incipient spin. An entirely new category of pilot license was created for the thousands of new pilots who had never seen a rudder pedal.

S/V Laura Ellen
05-20-2006, 11:48 AM
I assume that the plane had very little forward or vertical velocity when it hit the water (based on the fact it is intact and no one was seriously injured). If i'm correct in my assumption would that be due to luck, characteristics of the plane or pilot skill?

Paul Pless
05-20-2006, 11:49 AM
would that be due to luck, characteristics of the plane or pilot skill?

...or a little of each:D

Tar Devil
05-20-2006, 12:31 PM
Looks like the plane is upside down, which wouldn't be unusual for a water ditching in a fixed gear plane. I imagine the pilot "walked" away because he maintained control of the plane all the way to impact, which is the principle dicipline in surviving forced landings.

Perhaps the linked controls of the Ercoupe may prevent some spins, but certainly not all. I'd rather have my controls unlinked, thank you. Crosswind landings are a bitch otherwise.



05-20-2006, 01:07 PM
I flew one ONCE......
I delivered one to a cattle ranch on a souther Philippine island.....a bit of a crosswind on final approach....
When you try to cross control the aircraft it banks and turns ......you cannot cross the controls for a forward slip and I found myself stomping the floor looking for a rudder pedal.
In crosswind landings you may have the nose down, ailerons for a left bank, but the rudder pedal (the right one) depressed to crab into the wind for a straight ahed landing....that's the reason most experienced pilots added the rudder pedals afterward.....plus the plane on the used market was relatively cheap.....two seats, 65 hp engine, not many comforts....

05-20-2006, 01:39 PM
Wasn't the original marketing targeted at women, on the rude assumption they wouldn't be able to master coordinating controlls?


05-20-2006, 03:03 PM
I think it was targeted towards the general non-flying public, although women may have been a particular angle.

05-20-2006, 03:07 PM
two seats, 65 hp engine, not many comforts.... Sounds like a Cessna 151, only not as good! ;)

I started flight instruction in a 151 and almost immediately asked for and got moved up to a 172. 151's are just too jittery and bouncy when one is trying to learn the basics of just controlling the darned things.

I once soared a 172 with the engine at idle and 3 SOB over the Wasatch Mtns. near SLC (of which, I am proud!). I then proceded to attempt a crosswind landing at KSLC and nearly put down in the grass between the two runways (of which, nothing further should be said!). Quick (and scary!) action by the instructor prevented this! :D

Nicholas Carey
05-20-2006, 04:00 PM
It looks like two Ercoupes "landed off-airport" yesterday. Looks like mechanic error From one of the http://www.ercoupers.com mailing lists
[COUPERS-FLYIN] Another Coupe Lands Off Airport...

Larry Snyder
Sat, 20 May 2006 07:16:38 -0700

----[Please read http://ercoupers.com/disclaimer.htm before following any advice in this forum.]----

Wow - yesterday two Ercoupe 415-C airplanes landed off airport. There was the one in Puget Sound and then there was mine, near Perryville, Missouri.

I had just picked up my plane from Cape Avionics in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where they had installed a new Garmin SL40 comm radio. It's a really nice radio, and has a special "EC" button which tunes your radio to 121.5 automatically. i figured I would never need that button. I used it about 40 minutes later.

I was flying home to St. Clair, Missouri, and decided that my fuel was a bit low, so I diverted toward Perryville to get fuel. I was at 4,500 feet. About 15 miles out I throttled back to descend to about 2500 as I flew in to Perryville. When I tried to throttle up a bit, nothing happened. I worked the throttle and it did absolutely nothing. The engine slowly went to idle. That was all I had. I was at about 4,000 feet. I set best glide speed and wanted to see how I was doing in making it to Perryville. I descended to 2,500 feet and I was still 11 miles from the airport. So much for making it there.

I knew I had to find a spot and get it on the ground. I used my fancy EC button and notified KC Center, and set my transponder to 7700. All around were small fields, all surrounded by trees. But then up ahead I saw a huge wheat field, very long and narrow. I headed toward it, set up to land on it.

Unfortunately, there was a very tall cell tower in the southeast corner of the field. I knew there had to be guy wires, and lots of them. I flew around that and then dived down to the tops of the wheat, holding it up until it slowed down and sank into the wheat.

The landing wasn't too bad, really. The ground was bumpy and uneven, and wheat flew everywhere, but it came to a halt, the engine still idling happily. I shut it all down and called FSS. They took my information and advised me to call 911. I did, and they were trying to figure out where I was. I gave them the lat/long and while I was talking to them, a KC-141 tanker from Scott Air Force Base began circling the field at about 2,000 feet. This REALLY freaked out the entire town of Perryville! Then the rumor started that the tanker had gone down. Needless to say, they were disappointed when all it was was a tiny Ercoupe sitting in the middle of a wheat field.

The folks were really nice. The fire department, the sheriff's department, the Highway patrol all showed up, took statements, looked at my credentials. I called my insurance company, and the investigator flew out from KC. A mechanic from the local airport came out and together we removed the wings, and flatbed tow truck came out and the main gear BARELY fit on the bed, but fit they did. We trucked it over to the Perryville Airport. Looking under the cowl, the bolt holding the throttle cable to the carb and the carb heat arm had fallen out. FALLEN OUT! The engine had just been installed three weeks ago by Advanced Air in Council Bluffs, Iowa, after Central Cylinder overhauled it. I think they forgot a cotter pin...

We could have reassembled the plane and I probably could have flown it home last night, but the FSDO wanted to have the option of coming out Monday to look at it. My guess is they will not come out, and we will send them digital photos of the linkage. I think Advanced Air may be in a bit of trouble.

So I managed to activate all the law enforcement in Missouri in that area, talk to the FAA, Get circled by a huge Air Force jet, talk to a TV station and a newspaper, all in one day. Busy day! My insurance guy had flown out in an A35 Bonanza, and he dropped me off home as he flew back to KC.

I plan on picking the plane up next Saturday. It will be reassembled by then, and I'm out of town all next week.

I was very blessed in this - a perfect field, a smooth landing (relatively speaking), and lots of nice people helping. The lady who lived in the nearest house was thinking about charging admission - she had hardly ever seen so much traffic on their little country road!

But when I think of the possible other outcomes, I'm pretty upset. All for the lack some sort of safety on a small bolt. How frightening!

So good old N99340 is still in good shape, still got my shiny new engine and radio, and I'll still be in Terrell. Life is good!

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05-20-2006, 04:13 PM
I don't think there's any such beast as a KC-141 tanker. AFAIK, they were all configured as cargo transports. More likely a KC-131, a 707 (KC-135?) or a DC-10 (no idea what the military designation is).