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ERCO


Ercoupe Flying In Air
Spin-proof, stall-proof, slip-proof Ercoupe in the air.
CPAM Photograph, ERCO Collection/R. Dunn
Henry Berliner, of Berliner Helicopter fame, founded Engineering and Research Corporation (ERCO) in 1930 and served as its President and Chief Executive Officer. In 1937, Berliner purchased 50 acres of land in Riverdale, MD, near the College Park Airport, and built the large ERCO factory and airstrip. One of ERCO's most significant achievements was the development of the Ercoupe aircraft.

The Ercoupe contained many innovative design features that produced an aircraft that was safe, easy to fly, and certified by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) as "characteristically incapable of spinning." The aircraft was designed by Fred E. Weick, a noted aeronautical engineer, who before coming to ERCO in 1936, worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The first experimental model of the Ercoupe was test flown at College Park airport in 1937. Construction of the production prototype was completed in 1939 and certification by the CAA was completed in 1940. The first Ercoupe, serial no. 1, was owned by George Brinckerhoff and flown at College Park Airport, and now belongs to the National Air and Space Museum.

Engineering Research Corp. in Riverdale
 
Engineering and Research Corporation factory in Riverdale, MD.
CPAM Photograph, ERCO Collection/R. Dunn

During World War II, the ERCO factory produced several products under contract with the U.S. Government, including gun turrets. ERCO earned an "E" award for excellence in meeting manufacturing goals in its war contracts and employed hundreds of local residents in its wartime efforts.

In 1947, Berliner decided to get out of the aviation industry and sold the drawings, tools, parts, materials and distribution rights for the Ercoupe to Sanders Aviation, although the small aircraft market had fallen into decline. In all, ERCO and Sanders Aviation sold just over 5,000 Ercoupes.

The ERCO collection of the College Park Aviation Museum is now one of the newest additions to the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage project, a collaborative, statewide digitization program headquartered at the Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center in Baltimore.

Take a look at http://collections.mdch.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/erco