The Plane Tales Plane

Meet “Tessie,” the Plane Tales Plane. She’s a 1947 Erco Ercoupe 415 CD.


Sort of.

Like all Ercoupes, some changes have been made. The breed is right on 75 years old, and over those seven and a half decades, nearly four generations of owners have modified each and every one of them in one way or another. Sometimes we jokingly refer to the entire model line as “Frankin-coupes.” (Like Frankenstein, get it?)

The Plane Tales plane has been modified to include a model E split elevator, shoulder belts, and a “STC” for greater weight. She’s also (legally) as happy sipping auto gas as 100 Low-Lead Av gas. And I do mean sip. With the throttle to the wall, on a bad, day she’ll drink at most 5 gallons per hour.

Of course, on the same day she’ll only do 100 miles per hour. In a dive. With a tail wind.

But that’s OK. Low-and-slow is the Plane Tales “mission.”


To friends and family, our ‘Coupe is known as “Tessie.” I’m not sure why. It just worked out that way. I want to make it clear that I’m not one of those people who goes around naming every machine in my life. For instance, my Jeep is simply my Jeep. And my computer is simply called that #$%&#@! machine.

But Tessie demanded a name, and “Tessie” is the name that just kept popping into my head. I’ve learned not to fight these things, but recently one of my editors took issue with my referring to my plane as a “she.” The editor, also a “she,” scolded me by saying; “No female pronouns for objects, please.”

Well, I’m not stupid; when I write for THAT magazine, all planes are “its.” But that’s a shame, because some planes just seem to be inherently female. Hey, and others just seem inherently male. So I don’t think this is a feminist issue, and if you don’t believe me, just read Jerrie Mocks’ excellent Three-Eight Charlie, about her around-the-world adventures in a “boy” plane.

Still, I kicked this issue around a bit, not wanting to insult any reader. But I decided that what we’re really doing here is inviting you to share our lives with us in a small way, so when in Rome… Bottom line, here at Plane Tales, the Plane Tales Plane is a girl, with a name, and I hope that does not offend any of you readers.

We often talk about Tess like she’s just any other member of the family, like one of the humans or one of the cats. But how much of a person is she, really? She certainly has a personality, I can assure you of that. But is she, you know, real? I once asked my son if he thought Tessie had a soul. He told me, “Yes, but I don’t think she always had one. After all, she’s just a machine. But she’s so old, and had so many owners, that I think she must have somehow picked one up along the way.”

From the mouths of babes…


17 thoughts on “The Plane Tales Plane

  1. I also have 1946 415C, with the 1320 STC and Snubber cable. I’ve mastered nice landings and we rarely have crosswinds. I plan to keep the snubber. Thanks for having a great website. I just found it today.

  2. My wife (also a pilot) and I were out of flying for a number of years, and we recently got back into it. We did not wish to take a chance on loosing our medical and then the chance to fly, so we opted for the Light Sport route. Our airplane of choice was the Ercoupe, and we found what we were looking for in Raleigh, NC this past Oct. It is a yellow bird with black trim, rag wings, and no rudder pedals that we call Honey Bee–my wife names everything!! It is a 1946 415-C with a 75 hp, and we really love it. The first thing that we did was join the Ercoupe Owners Club, and that was one of the best decisions that we made. Love your website and keep up the good work. Hope to hear from you soon.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write! Are you and your wife (and Honey Bee) coming to the Ercoupe National Fly in this summer in Tennessee? I just signed the whole family up!

      • Please give us an update on your new tinted side windows. I am very interested in them.

        My wife and I will not be attending the Ercoupe Annual Convention this year because of family coming that same time to celebrate July 4. We are sorry to miss it.

        Good luck on the air racing this year!!


  3. I thought I had read everything on the inter web about Ercoupes so was happy to discover your blog today. I’ve only read a few so far but I wonder if you do not know that your Ercoupe has a record breaking history. It was once flown from near ABQ to AMA with an average ground speed of 139mph! It’s an official speed record. This would make your very cool plane even cooler!

    • Indeed, it makes it way cooler owning “the fastest Ercoupe in the world!” And, yes, I did know. (I was at the controls when the record was set.)

  4. Oops! I just realized that that was YOU who achieved the record. My bad
    But congrats anyway. On the record and the beautiful Coupe. I hope to own one by the end of the year.

  5. Please give us an update on your new tinted side windows. I am very interested in them.

    My wife and I will not be attending the Ercoupe Annual Convention this year because of family coming that same time to celebrate July 4.

    Good luck on the air racing this year!!


  6. brothers and i rebuilding 1946 ercoupe after allowing it to sit so long….proud of my brothers and what they can do in the old pool house (deceased parents pool).

    my brother said; wish were in a barn and little room in this pool house.
    looking forward to project completed next spring and then up up and away

  7. I got very nostalgic reading about your recoup. I Owen a 416c in the early 1950s it had metal wings and a beechRoby prop adjusted from a crane on the right side of the dashboard. I use to jump of the runway level off and readjust the prop. Didn’t know what I was doing or reallmuch about using that prop. It was in the plane when I bought it. I had a lot of fun with that plane. I sold it when I bought a Stinson o8 150hp. That was a good Country plane I took my wife and 3 kids on trips in. After not flying for several years (I went to graduate school and hah a job that took me away from flying) I started back and bough an alonAircoupe. I did not like the canopy at all So I sold that even though I enjoyed being Bach in the air and visited several flying. I bought a Beechcraft Sundowner130 180Hp. Loved that plane but after open heart surgery I switched to light sport since I couldn’t pass the flight physical he light sport was a Skyleader made in the Czech Republic. Had to sell that and quit flying due to health issues. I miss flying. your blog gave me a lift

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