While day one didn’t go to plan, we were able to cross the finish line for this delivery of James’ new-to-him Ercoupe. The Ercoupe 415C was incredibly easy to fly and, while we struggled to climb over 10,000FT, it turned out to be a great traveling machine. This all metal plane will be a great step up to the certified aircraft world from the previous ultralights James has been flying for years!
Like all of our ferry flights, this trip began with a quick acceptance flight to shake down any findings before getting on the way. This trip would have began in Oregon, but the previous ferry pilot diverted into Burley, Idaho for a fuel system issue and left it behind. This problem was worked by a local IA and Havens Aero was dispatched to finish the job.
The short check flight didn’t reveal any issues so we said goodbye to Burley and took off toward Logan, Utah following I84 as our guide.
15 minutes into the flight I began to notice the header tank was being used and the wings remained untouched. This is odd in an Ercoupe since there is a mechanical fuel pump consistently filling the header tank from the wings (and an overflow from the header back to the wings if needed). While fuel is gravity fed from the header tank to the engine, the header tank should never “use” fuel until the wings are empty with this design.
After a few minutes of troubleshooting (which doesn’t have many options considering the simplicity of this airplane) I turned around heading back to Burley. The same mechanic who fixed the airplane with the last ferry pilot, Kevin “The Plane Doctor,” was able to spend the afternoon back in the fuel system with me.
After an afternoon of troubleshooting, rebuilding the fuel pump, refueling the plane and myself, we were able to reanimate a dried out part and get the fuel pump pumping again! With enough time remaining to get to Logan by sunset, the Ercoupe and I took off to head east with an uneventful flight and beautiful views of Cedar Creak Peak, Black Pine Peak, The Great Salt Lake, Box Elder Peak and more along the way.
Thankfully, the remainder of the trip was uneventful and blessed with strong tailwinds. Two fuel stops were able to be completely removed as the plane was performing well and extended range alternates with my fuel planning were able to safely be pursued. The biggest challenge was climbing over Millville Peak and the Mahogany Range on our way to Rock Springs – along with taking off out of Rock Springs and climbing safely out. Ridge lift and cool mornings were helpful in keeping pressure off the airplane and carrying safe limits.
Approaching the front range of the Rockies, it was quite literally all down hill from there! Although a day behind, the Ercoupe and I were able to make up time and arrive early afternoon to the GA lovers paradise of an Ohio farm where James will store the airplane.