Ercoupe 415 C or CD questions

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by Yiasou, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    I am a private pilot looking to fly under LSA flight rules. I have determined that the Ercoupe 415 C or CD models are qualify as light sport.

    One issue that I have run across is that many of these planes have been converted to model D over the years and then converted back to C or CD. The only way to determine if that has happened is a close look at the log books and by researching the aircraft records from the FAA.

    I have it on good authority (EAA and Ercoupe Owner's Group) that if a conversion to D (or other non-LSA model) has occurred and then converted back to a C or CD to qualify as light sport, the plane May Not be flown as Light Sport.

    All of this is very confusing. Is there any sage advice out there from you experienced pilots?

    Happy for any assistance.

    Thanks,

    George
     
  2. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Form what I have read and understand, you are correct. Anything to be flown in the LSA category cannot ever have been operated not in that category. The Ercoupe was of particular interest and discussed a lot at the time of LSA introdution.
     
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  3. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    George, both you and jsstevens have it right. If a 415C or 415CD Ercoupe has ever been modified to be outside of the LSA specifications, it is no longer eligible to be flown as an LSA by a sport pilot even if the modification(s) has/have been reverted to C or CD specs. You have to be very careful to ensure any Ercoupe you're considering purchasing with the intent of flying it as an LSA has never been modified with changes that take it out of LSA specs.

    The best way to ensure a given airplane qualifies is to purchase the CD containing the registration and airworthiness records of that specific airplane from the FAA. The cost for the CD is $10 and you usually have it within a week or ten days of placing the order.

    Request copies of aircraft records
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  4. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    What @Stan Cooper said... but then I would also carefully look over the log books for the airplane before buying. You never know what was slipped in there and not sent to the FAA. There's a similar issue with Champs; certain modifications can bump the gross weight up to 1350 or more. Even if the mod is removed, it's no longer LSA eligible... ever.

    Unless the rules change, which they might. Or might not.
     
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  5. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    Dale is right; mods could have been made that render the airplane ineligible, but documentation of the mods never made it into the FAA records. Check the logs carefully.

    One popular mod made to 415C and 415CD Ercoupes is a change to incorporate rudder pedals. This STC'd mod apparently doesn't affect LSA eligibility.

    Univair is the TC holder for Ercoupes and has the rudder pedal installation kit SK-21 available.
     
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  6. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    And naturally it would be totally unthinkable to just lose problematic logbook pages that are not part of the official FAA paper trail. That would never, ever happen.








    Ever.
     
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  7. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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  8. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    Stan, Thanks. I have followed your input on the 601 XLB and have started to consider it as well as Ercoupe although a nice one is a little above my budget. I have noticed a coupe of 601 HDs out there, one with a subaru engine. Auto engines converted for aircraft seem to present many potential problems. I appreciate your feedback.
     
  9. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks jsstevens. Safe flying.
     
  10. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route PoA Supporter

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    There was maybe a practical reason for the regs to disallow a return to LSA. What was that reason? Or was it some political lobbying for business sake?
     
  11. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Especially not after posting about it on a public forum.
     
  12. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    I honestly don't have a clue, but I suspect a lot of SLSA manufacturers would prefer not to compete with CAR 3/FAR Part 23 certified airplanes that meet LSA requirements at a fraction of the cost of a new SLSA.
     
  13. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    George, personally I would avoid 601HDs. They have a different airfoil (thicker and slower) than the 601XL, they use bungee cord shocks in the main landing gear, and they have a lower gross weight than the 601XL. Also, many 601HDs don't qualify as LSA; the 601XL was specifically designed to meet ASTM LSA standards. I would also avoid auto conversion engines with reduction gears as they do seem to have less reliability than Continental and Lycoming engines. Other engines that have proven reliability I would consider are Rotax 912, UL Power, and late production Jabiru. They all weigh less than Continental O-200s and Lycoming O-235s, so you get better useful load.

    I bought my 2008 AMD Zodiac (factory built SLSA) used with less than 100 hours total time for $49,500, and think it was a bargain. The owner had already spent the bucks to have the B-mod structural upgrade performed by an FAA certified repair station, so it was good to go. The owner was a retired 85 year old ATP whose health was deteriorating, so he decided it was time to give up flying.

    There are some nice, reasonably priced qualifying Ercoupes (415C, 415CD) out there, and that's where I'd focus my search if you have a limited budget.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  14. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks Stan. Appreciate all your help. George
     
  15. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    FYI, I watched a recent video by Dan Johnson from Osh2019 where he updated the status of the FAA moving forward with new regs on LSA. Apparently they are working on a "formalistic" approach instead of simply gross weight. Dan estimated that they will be done possibly by the end of 2020 or into 2021 although their guidance indicated as late as 2023.
     
  16. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    I'm not holding my breath. :(
     
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  17. DaleB

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    Maybe. I can't really think of a "near-LSA" certified airplane that I would take over my RV-12even given the cost difference. I can afford to actually fly the -12. Our cost per hour is about $30 all-in, wet, including an engine overhaul reserve. The annual is usually a couple hundred bucks in parts and supplies, and we don't have to hire an A&P to do it. There are factory planes that I could fly cheap, but they're not going to get me places at 120 knots with two people and a couple of bags. Certainly the price of a new SLSA will keep a lot of people out of that market, but I don't think the manufacturers will suffer from slow sales. Even if (for example) the Cessna 172 were suddenly LSA-eligible, I doubt you'll see a big dropoff in SLSA sales.
    Ha. Yeah, me neither. My co-owner talked with Dan at Airventure; says Dan swore we're looking at maybe 2022, because the higher-ups at FAA are pilots, and a lot of the people pushing the changes are flying with Sport Pilot privileges. I admire his optimism, but... Uh-huh.
     
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  18. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    Plus anyone who is waiting loses a few years where they could have been flying.

    DaleB, Good points about the value achieved in paying more up=front for RV or other Experimentals over certified, legacy LSA.

    Does anyone have feedback on value in taking courses to learn how to maintain a Experimental yourself? Do you earn a certificate to do so?

    Thanks.
     
  19. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    There are a couple of ways to do this. I learned by developing a relationship with a local A&P/IA who supervised me in upgrading my older 172, and then letting me work with him to do owner assisted annual inspections every year for a decade. I collected all the tools to do my own maintenance, and when I converted my SLSA to experimental I could perform all of my own maintenance (anyone can perform maintenance on experimentals). Then I took the Light Sport Repairman - Inspection 16 hour course from Rainbow Aviation Services in Corning, CA, and obtained my LSR-I FAA certificate so I can perform my own annual condition inspections.

    The other way to do it is to take the 120 hour 15 day Light Sport Repairman - Maintenance course described HERE. With the LSR-M FAA certificate you can perform maintenance and inspections on both SLSAs and ELSAs (but not on CAR3/FAR Part 23 certified airplanes that meet the requirements of LSA).
     
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  20. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the detailed reply Stan.
     
  21. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    You don't need (from a regulatory standpoint) and training to work on an Experimental, whether it's E-AB or E-LSA. Anyone can do it legally. Of course it's not smart to do so without training or at the very least, supervision and cross-checking by someone who does know what they're doing.

    There is a 16-hour S-LSA inspection class that lets you sign off the condition inspection on an E-LSA that you own. That's all the class is, inspection, not maintenance or repair. As @Stan Cooper mentioned, there's also a longer course that gets you more training. There is also A&P training you can get, sometimes at local colleges. I have found advice and assistance from local Experimental builders, A&Ps, IAs, and EAA tech counselors quite helpful. I also spent 3 years building an RV-7, so I learned a lot during that process. Proper torque for fasteners, safety wiring, flared fittings, brakes, riveting, metal work, wiring and electrical, securing wires and hoses and cables and all sorts of other things. All of that has come in really handy since then.

    And of course you can always hire an A&P to do the work for you, or to assist with it. If you buy a used E-AB that you didn't build, you're going to need an A&P to do the condition inspection anyway. There's just no requirement to have one involved in routine repairs and maintenance in between those inspections.
     
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  22. Yiasou

    Yiasou Filing Flight Plan

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    DaleB, Thanks a lot for the helpful advice. George