EAA Chapter 1590’s Greased Lightning

In late May, EAA Chapter 1590 acquired a new project with an interesting backstory. Though only speculation at first, President Daniel Davis, EAA 592034, and his fellow chapter members can now say they are the proud owners of John Travolta’s first-ever airplane, N87112, a 1946 Ercoupe 415-C.

“It was actually a donation from another individual who comes to our breakfasts,” Daniel explained. “He’s come down several times, and he says, ‘Hey, I’ve got some Ercoupe projects’ that he just didn’t have the time to work on … and he was willing to donate to our chapter.”

Feeling thankful for the donation, Daniel and a few other members headed to pick up the Ercoupes. However, when picking them up, they were told something astonishing.

“He never had mentioned anything about who owned the Ercoupes,” Daniel said, “until we got up there and we were loading them all up, and he says, ‘Oh by the way, we think this one belonged to John Travolta.’ That just makes it so much more interesting now!”

For a while, Chapter 1590 could only hope that the rumors were true. It wasn’t until the second week of June it was confirmed that the aircraft had indeed been own and flown by John Travolta himself. Though John now flies a 737, Daniel enjoys seeing John’s roots in GA.

“That’s what’s really great about this airplane,” Daniel said. “This is the average man type airplane. John Travolta, this is what he started out in!”

So now that they are in the possession of such an interesting aircraft, what are Chapter 1590’s plans for it?

“Well, the first thing we’re going to have to do is go over it,” Daniel said. “I believe the wings are in good shape. It looks like someone had been working in the belly, in the center section, the belly tan is off of it. There were some clecos on the top of the wings, so we’re going to have to go through that section really carefully to make sure it’s all airworthy.”

Luckily this historic Ercoupe is in good hands.

“We’re going to make sure that we take care of it in the way it should be,” Daniel said. “We do have other Ercoupes. We’re becoming the chapter of Ercoupes-R-Us, it looks like. This is our fifth Ercoupe project.”

With experienced builders at the helm, it won’t be long before this 1946 Ercoupe is like greased lightning again.

Editor’s note: While EAA chapters may not own or operate an airworthy aircraft, a restoration project such as this is a great way to engage members in social, educational, and aviation-related content.

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