Licensed pilot Samuel Brozina discusses becoming the proud owner of an ERCO Ercoupe low-wing monoplane aircraft.
A rare find among American designed and built aircraft, and now out of production for almost 50 years, the ERCO Ercoupe was originally marketed as the airplane which anyone could fly. With Samuel Brozina one of the latest individuals to get their hands on an example of this much sought-after postwar super-success, the licensed pilot, hobby artist, and landscaping service foreman from Millville, New Jersey, reveals more about the airplane and his own purchase.
“Drive by any small airport and you’re bound to see any number of Cessnas, Pipers, and Beechcrafts,” suggests Brozina, “but you probably won’t see any Ercoupes.”
According to Samuel Brozina, it’s not your usual airplane. “I sometimes call it my ‘What-is-it?’ as this is the question which I’m asked most frequently,” he jokes.
The Ercoupe is a low-wing monoplane aircraft which was designed-by the Engineering and Research Corporation, or ERCO-and built in the United States until 1970. “It was first manufactured by ERCO shortly before World War II,” explains Millville-based Brozina. Following the war, several other manufacturers continued its production, he goes on to reveal. “The final model first flew in 1968, while production then ceased in 1970,” adds the Ercoupe expert.
At the aircraft’s original unveiling, it was described as both ‘the world’s safest plane,’ and ‘the future of travel,’ according to New Jersey native Brozina. It was also marketed, he says, as the airplane which anyone could fly.
Affordable, able to be handled much like a family car, and sold by department stores, it became a media sensation. In just one year alone, the Engineering and Research Corporation received over 6,000 orders. Many decades on, the fixed-wing aircraft continues to enjoy a faithful following. “Production of the plane only ended,” Brozina explains, “when the bottom began to drop out of the civil aircraft market.”
It’s estimated that only around 2,000 of the aircraft still exist, with just half of those registered to fly, adding weight to Brozina’s suggestion that the Ercoupe is something of a ‘what is it?’ piece of engineering, despite immense early popularity. “With such a small number still in existence, it’s little wonder that so few pilots today have ever seen one,” adds the Millville, New Jersey-based foreman, pilot, and lifelong aviation enthusiast.
Samuel Brozina acquired his private pilot’s license several years ago and is qualified to fly both so-called tail-dragger aircraft and planes with triangular landing gear. “I’ve always been a fan of World War II warbirds,” reveals the pilot, “however, among civilian aircraft, the Ercoupe has always caught my fancy.”
Brozina’s recent acquisition came from Quakertown, Pennsylvania. “I was able to find a good Ercoupe for sale in Quakertown,” he explains, “around 50 miles north of Philadelphia.”
Since acquiring his new aircraft, Samuel Brozina has had a one-off Ercoupe jacket patch specially designed and manufactured. “Jacket patches and pilots go together, and I’m no exception,” he proudly suggests.
“Now,” Brozina adds, wrapping up, “I’m ready for takeoff!”
Hobby artist, licensed pilot, and foreman Samuel Brozina provides a closer look at his interest in Ukrainian Easter egg decoration.
Both a creative outlet and a relaxing hobby, New Jersey native Samuel Brozina has spent years refining his Ukrainian Easter egg dyeing skills. From learning patience and developing a steady hand to bringing him closer to the roots of the Ukrainian side of his family, Brozina reveals more about the traditional pastime.
“Ukrainian Easter eggs, or pysanka, are eggs decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs,” explains Brozina, a local landscaping service foreman from New Jersey, “typically completed using a wax-resist method.”
The word pysanka, he says, comes from the verb pysaty. “Pysaty, in Ukrainian, means ‘to write’ or ‘to inscribe,'” explains the foreman and hobby artist, “as the designs, rather than being simply painted on, are, instead, written or inscribed with beeswax.”
Brozina took up the art as a child and has continued in the years since, subsequently refining his Ukrainian Easter egg dyeing skills. “It remains an Easter tradition,” he adds, “and is something which my father and I continue to thoroughly enjoy each year.”
Decorating each Ukrainian Easter egg or pysanka calls for a number of supplies, including one or more special tools, according to Brozina. “When the egg is dipped in a dye bath, the areas covered by wax do not absorb the color,” he explains. “At the end of several steps of drawing and dyeing, the wax is melted off to reveal the design underneath,” adds the egg dyeing expert.
The eggs, Brozina further explains, as well as other traditional items, are then included in Easter baskets which are later delivered to a local church to be blessed.
Dyeing calls for patience and a steady hand, he says. “While my father sticks with more traditional designs, I like to let my creativity flow, and many of my eggs represent my own personal tastes,” reveals Brozina. A relaxing hobby, dyeing Ukrainian Easter eggs, he believes, also draws him closer to his Ukranian roots.
Samuel Brozina, from Millville, New Jersey, is a graduate of Millville Senior High School, a comprehensive community public high school located in Cumberland County, New Jersey, and Cumberland County College, a nearby public community college, situated in Vineland.
“Cumberland County College has since become Rowan College of South Jersey,” reveals Brozina, “when, in July of this year, a historic merger with Rowan College at Gloucester County marked the first such merger of its kind in New Jersey.”
In addition to his hobby of dyeing Ukrainian Easter eggs, Brozina has long harbored a love of aviation. “I’ve always loved flight and airplanes, and, in particular, World War II warbirds,” he goes on to explain. This subsequently led him to earn his private pilot license, later taking a job at a flight service at Atlantic City International Airport.
“I’m also an active member of my church where I sing bass in the choir,” adds Brozina, wrapping up, “and was, for several years, a keen Revolutionary War reenactor.”