“Go With Aircoupe – The Plane That is Going Places”

“Go With Aircoupe – The Plane That is Going Places” – Headline From Ad in 1961 Flying Magazine

Ad from the July 1961 Flying Magazine

I own a 1961 Forney Aircoupe inherited from my father.  Along with the sheer joy of taking off, leaving the two-dimensional earthbound realm, this little red and white plane abounds with stories.

Recently I was contacted via FB Messenger by someone, not on my friends list.  I am wary of these sorts of social media contacts but went forward with this one.  I was glad I did.

The gentleman is a  retired United Airlines Pilot and owns an Ercoupe – a first cousin to my Aircoupe.  He had run across some literature on the Forney.  One of the brochures featured my – not just any – but my Aircoupe:  N3052G

He took the time to look up the N-number registration and contacted me through FB Messenger.  He offered to send the literature to me if I wanted it.  Of course, I did!  I was thrilled to get it.

Go With Aircoupe – The Backstory

Go With Aircoupe
N3052G sitting in front of the UNIVIAR HQ building circa 1976

As I scanned in the four or five pieces of literature into my photos, I examined them carefully.  Later that day, I was mulling them over in my head, thinking about this BLOG.  Details began to gel in my head.

This is where the story gets fun!  The origins of the featured photo involve two of my family members, a slightly daring off-airport landing and, an emerging photographer.  First. the players:

  • The 1961 Formey Aircoupe piloted by my father, Paul Hancock
  • My Brother-In-Law, Daniel Trickey employed at UNIVAIR at the time, running the on-site print shop
  • Univair Aircraft Corporation, the type certificate holder for the Ercoupe and its variations, located east of Aurora. Colorado.

The year is late 1975 or early 1976.  Daniel and my father have both passed on, so the exact details of how this came about require a bit of speculation.

Filling The Gaps

However, knowing the two men involved, the following is a reasonable assessment of what might have led up to this photo:

  • Daniel, a somewhat new employee at UNIVAIR is looking for a way to update the brochures for the Ercoupe line of products.  He talks to the boss and mentions that his father-in-law owns an Aircoupe. 
  • Also, a new amateur photographer, Daniel suggests that a photo of an Aircoupe in front of the UNIVIAR building would be perfect for marketing.   He talks to Dad.  One problem, there is no airport nearby. 
  • BUT there is a paved frontage road that leads to the UNIVAIR parking lot.  Daddy is not unfamiliar with intentional off-airport landings.  Any reasonable flat surface of 1500 feet or so will do.   
  • Last, they run it by the boss, get permission and the rest is history.  

Go With AircoupeAs I said earlier, the exact details are unknown.  But, what I know is, Daddy did, with permission, land on the road in front of UNIVAIR and taxi the plane into position in the front of the building.  That’s all recall.  Always a man of few words.

Stories Are Everywhere

Aside from the “boys will be boys” flavor to this story there are two underlying points:

  1.  Rescuing stories can be triggered by surprising sources.  Watch for them and take action!  In this case, an out-of-the-blue contact from a fellow pilot, stirred up memories, however, faint.
  2. This story could have been more accurate IF I had thought to ask Dad and Daniel more questions at the time.  My excuse?  I was busy with my life, controlling airplanes in Los Angeles.  Daddy was just being Daddy, so I didn’t think to ask him any details.

So this week, watch for and grab just one story that is passing by.  Ask questions, then put the headline in the comments below. 

For ideas, you can download the FREE Five Legacy Stories today.  Just click the button below!

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

4 thoughts on ““Go With Aircoupe – The Plane That is Going Places”

    1. There is good reason that the guys involved didn’t want the story out there at the time…although not illegal, there is a catch all FAA category called “wreckless operation of an aircraft “ that could have been cited if someone took issue with the event and made a report. This is usually used when something does go wrong. In this case it’s just a great story!

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading about your Aircoupe and particularly like it’s paint scheme. Forney struck a nice balance between a vintage style paint job that still manages to look modern and snazzy too. Like you I am a second generation Pilot and aircraft owner. My dad started flying in Luscombes back in 1942 and flew with me until shortly before he passed at age 90 in 2015. I had the privilege of growing up around airports and small airplanes. I still have the 172M that we bought together back in 2001. Anyway, I would like to see more pics of your Aircoupe and to read more about it, particularly your IAS and power settings at cruise.

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