A surprise this morning was seeing the Ercoupe ZK-AQX at Stan Smiths workshop, obviously well along in a comprehensive rebuild.
This Ercoupe has a long and interesting history.
Allotted the registration NC94669 for the manufacturers, Engineering Research Corporation, it was immediately transported to the Belgian ERCO agents Intercontine Aeronautics at Airport d'Anvers and registered to them on the 8th August 1947 as OO-EXC.
A New Zealander, Harry Newton, who had been flying in Europe, then bought the aircraft as transport for his homeward trip. He flew the Ercoupe, suitably equipped with overload fuel tanks from Antwerp to Auckland, arriving here on the 9th October 1947. For many years this held the record for the world's longest low-powered (75hp) flight.
Rumour has it that Mr Newton had acquired funds during his travels that could raise a few embarrassing questions if he remitted them back to New Zealand through regular banking channels. Buying the Ercoupe, flying it back to NZ and then selling the asset here was the easiest way to transfer the money.
The Ercoupe was registered as ZK-AQX to Harold B Newton, Urenui, Taranaki 4/11/1947 and then passed on to the Auckland Aero Club at Mangere who assumed ownership 8/3/1949.
Unfortunatly ZK-AQX crashed at Mangere 15Apr51. The wreck was sold to Geoffery Wells, an aircraft engineer, who rebuilt the Ercoupe and registered in his name 12/2/1955. Ownership then moved to W J Jamieson, Frankton Junction 24/9/1960, J Rennie Car Sales Ltd., Newmarket, Auckland 10/3 1961 and to M H Jensen, Auckland in 1968. At this time the engine was removed from the airframe and fitted to a D.11 ZK-CKG.
A further ownership transfer was made to P W Beck, Auckland on 11/2/1972 but presumably the aircraft was out of the air by that time. The registration was finally canceled 2/5/1991.
The only other Ercoupe to operate here is Erco 425-D Ercoupe ZK-EXC/2 which after a lengthy career in the USA as N94700 arrived in NZ in 1994 and is currently based at Mt Maunganui.
At Ardmore 28Jan1967