Route 1’s most famous airplane is flying again at Riverdale Park Station.
The ERCO Ercoupe was manufactured by the Engineering and Research Corporation in Riverdale. Designed to be “the airplane that anyone could fly” and “the world’s safest plane,” it was a media sensation when it debuted in 1945, though sales soon collapsed.
Housing for ERCO workers was once located on the site of the new mixed-use development featuring Whole Foods, so developers decided it needed to be recognized. (The planes themselves were built in the area now known as Discovery District.)
This week, developers put an ERCO 415-C Model single-propellor aircraft on a pole over the historic ice house at the entrance to the shopping center.
“The plane symbolizes the innovation in a burgeoning industry that would transform the world into a global economy,” developer Jane Cafrtiz told the Hyattsville Wire in a statement. “We are creating a neighborhood center that recognizes the history and importance of this property while looking toward the future!”
The developers of Riverdale Park Station bought the plane from Compton, California, and then hired Digital Design LLC to refit it for use as an outdoor display in Arizona.
“We are exited to see an Ercoupe being returned to the land where they were built,” said Aaron Marcavitch of the nonprofit Maryland Milestones. “This is an important part of our history of ‘rivers to rockets’ and Riverdale Park Station is connecting residents and visitors to this history.”
You can also sit in a 1946 Ercoupe 415D at the nearby College Park Aviation museum.