Licensed pilot Samuel Brozina discusses becoming the proud owner of an ERCO Ercoupe low-wing monoplane aircraft.
A rare find among American designed and built aircraft, and now out of production for almost 50 years, the ERCO Ercoupe was originally marketed as the airplane which anyone could fly. With Samuel Brozina one of the latest individuals to get their hands on an example of this much sought-after postwar super-success, the licensed pilot, hobby artist, and landscaping service foreman from Millville, New Jersey, reveals more about the airplane and his own purchase.
“Drive by any small airport and you’re bound to see any number of Cessnas, Pipers, and Beechcrafts,” suggests Brozina, “but you probably won’t see any Ercoupes.”
According to Samuel Brozina, it’s not your usual airplane. “I sometimes call it my ‘What-is-it?’ as this is the question which I’m asked most frequently,” he jokes.
The Ercoupe is a low-wing monoplane aircraft which was designed-by the Engineering and Research Corporation, or ERCO-and built in the United States until 1970. “It was first manufactured by ERCO shortly before World War II,” explains Millville-based Brozina. Following the war, several other manufacturers continued its production, he goes on to reveal. “The final model first flew in 1968, while production then ceased in 1970,” adds the Ercoupe expert.
At the aircraft’s original unveiling, it was described as both ‘the world’s safest plane,’ and ‘the future of travel,’ according to New Jersey native Brozina. It was also marketed, he says, as the airplane which anyone could fly.
Affordable, able to be handled much like a family car, and sold by department stores, it became a media sensation. In just one year alone, the Engineering and Research Corporation received over 6,000 orders. Many decades on, the fixed-wing aircraft continues to enjoy a faithful following. “Production of the plane only ended,” Brozina explains, “when the bottom began to drop out of the civil aircraft market.”
It’s estimated that only around 2,000 of the aircraft still exist, with just half of those registered to fly, adding weight to Brozina’s suggestion that the Ercoupe is something of a ‘what is it?’ piece of engineering, despite immense early popularity. “With such a small number still in existence, it’s little wonder that so few pilots today have ever seen one,” adds the Millville, New Jersey-based foreman, pilot, and lifelong aviation enthusiast.
Samuel Brozina acquired his private pilot’s license several years ago and is qualified to fly both so-called tail-dragger aircraft and planes with triangular landing gear. “I’ve always been a fan of World War II warbirds,” reveals the pilot, “however, among civilian aircraft, the Ercoupe has always caught my fancy.”
Brozina’s recent acquisition came from Quakertown, Pennsylvania. “I was able to find a good Ercoupe for sale in Quakertown,” he explains, “around 50 miles north of Philadelphia.”
Since acquiring his new aircraft, Samuel Brozina has had a one-off Ercoupe jacket patch specially designed and manufactured. “Jacket patches and pilots go together, and I’m no exception,” he proudly suggests.
“Now,” Brozina adds, wrapping up, “I’m ready for takeoff!”