ERCO Ercoupe 415-C

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    ERCO Ercoupe 415-C

    First production Ercoupe; silver metal body, fabric-covered wings; top speed 176 km/h (110 mph); Continental A-65-8, 65 hp)

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The ERCO 415 Ercoupe was a response to the Bureau of Air Commerce's sponsored design competition during the mid-1930s for an easy-to-fly, safe airplane. Designed by Fred Weick and his fellow engineers at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Research Laboratory in Langley, Virginia, the Ercoupe received attention as the first tricycle gear all-metal light airplane that demonstrated spin and stall proof characteristics, and additional features made the aircraft truly safe for the low-time pilot. Capable of operations into and out of small airfields, it was inexpensive to purchase and operate.

Several companies built nearly 6,000 Ercoupes or some variant over nearly three decades. This Ercoupe 415C was manufactured in October 1939 as the first production 415C built. This aircraft was initially used for flight training, but in early 1941 was briefly evaluated by the US Army Air Forces at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for observation or target drone roles and given the temporary designation YO-55. After being returned to civilian use that same year, it was donated to the Museum in 1979.