The Glenn L. Martin
Maryland Aviation Museum
This twin-seat civilian aircraft was developed late 1930s and built by ERCO in Riverdale, MD, from 1940-50. Unlike current aircraft, the yoke linked the rudders and ailerons, making the plane impossible to spin. Our aircraft, originally a Forney F-1A, was restored by museum volunteers as an original ERCO 415C.
Ercoupe….. Fast Facts
The Ercoupe is a light, two-seat civilian aircraft developed in the late 1930s with an emphasis on simplicity and safety. At a time when most light airplanes were fibric covered with tail-dragger landing gear, the Ercoupe had a metal skin and tricycle landing gear for ease of handling on taxi, take-off and landing. It also featured a large glazed canopy for improved visibility.
Recognizing that an inadvertent spin is one of the most dangerous situations to confront a pilot, the Ercoupe was designed to be impossible to spin. This was accomplished by eliminating the rudder pedals that control an airplane’s rudder and linking the steering yoke to the rudder as well as the ailerons.
The original Ercoupes were built by the Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO) of Riverdale, MD, and offered for sale in 1940.
They were later built by several other companies, including Sanders Aviation (1947-50), Forney Aircraft Company (1958-1960), Alon (1964-67, and Mooney (1968-70), who changed the twin tail to the Mooney single backward style tail. Some 5,600 were built, and about 900 still have FAA registrations.
The various models had engines with 75 to 90 horsepower engines, cruising speed of 80 to 100 mph, and a range of 250 to 300 miles.
The museum’s aircraft is a Forney Ercoupe model F-1A built in 1958 (serial number 5718), with parts from several other aircraft. It was donated by a museum member in dismantled condition. It was reassembled and restored by museum volunteers during 2016-2018 to resemble as much as possible the original ERCO model 415C.