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Sisters And Ercoupe Adventures

Our Earliest Flying Experiences Can Create Some Of Our Fondest Memories

Martha Lunken

It’s been said that you don’t actually remember an event from your past; what you recall is your last memory of it.

Maybe, but I’ve kept little day books since about 1970, so I can usually reconstruct events with some degree of accuracy — both fortunate and unfortunate because it’s all there, the good and the not so good. My sister has solemnly sworn to destroy this cache before the dust settles and/or all parts of me and the airplane are recovered. But since these reminiscences precede those logs, I’ll do my best.

Mary and I began flying in winter 1961-62, in what was, I suspect, a farless-than-airworthy 1946 Ercoupe squatting in a muddy field on the south line at Lunken Airport. When we showed up for our first lessons, they were rescheduled because the nosewheel tire was flat and a wing tank had sprung a leak. The new, young mechanic who repaired it was a little scruffy looking and not too well spoken, but I would later learn that the only A&P school in the state of Ohio was the Chillicothe Reformatory.

This Ercoupe had no gyro instruments, and the turn and bank indicator had been liberated from somebody’s Link trainer so the whole instrument rolled left and right with the airplane. I marvel when I think about corrosion issues with “minimally maintained” Ercoupes, but I guess that angel was working overtime because N341 valiantly stayed in one piece.

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June 2018