Aeronca Aircraft

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Aeronca, Incorporated
Type Operating Division
Industry Commercial Aviation and Defense Industry
Founded 1928
Headquarters Middletown, Ohio
Key people Taylor Stanley, Conrad Dietz
Parent Magellan Aerospace
Website aeroncainc.com

Aeronca, contracted from Aeronautical Corporation of America, located in Middletown, Ohio, is a US manufacturer of engine components and airframe structures for commercial aviation and the defense industry. In the 1930s and 1940s, the company was a major producer of general aviation aircraft, and also produced the engines for some of their early designs.

Aeronca has now become a division of Magellan Aerospace, producing aircraft, missile, and space vehicle components at the same location adjacent to Middletown’s Hook Field Municipal Airport.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The Aeronca Aircraft Corporation was founded November 11, 1928 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Backed by the financial and political support of the prominent Taft family and future Ohio senator Robert A. Taft who was one of the firm's directors, Aeronca became the first company to build a commercially successful general aviation aircraft.[1] When production ended in 1951, Aeronca had sold 17,408 aircraft in 55 models.

Aeronca C-2 registered CF-AOR in the Canada Aviation Museum, Rockcliffe (Ottawa) Ontario, 2006

Production began with the Jean A. Roche-designed Aeronca C-2 monoplane, often called the "Flying Bathtub", in 1929. The next major model was the Scout of 1937, a two-seater, which was developed into the Chief and Super Chief the next year.

In 1937 there was a major flood at the Lunken Airport, resulting in the entire airport area being washed away. Aeronca's factory was destroyed, along with the tooling and almost all of the very early blueprints and drawings. At this time a decision was made to move the operation to a more stable area. Middletown, Ohio was chosen, and the company has remained there ever since. All of the airplanes produced from the start of production in 1929 to 1937 are known as the "Lunken" Aeroncas. The first Aeronca built in Middletown was produced on June 5, 1940, and after this time all Aeroncas were built here.

World War II[edit]

The Defender, a tandem trainer version of the Chief with a higher rear seat, was used in training many of the pilots who flew in World War II. Several observation and liaison aircraft designs were also produced during and after the war, including the L-3, L-16 and O-58.

1940 Aeronca 11AC Chief

Postwar[edit]

In 1945, following the end of World War II, Aeronca returned to civilian production with two new models, the 7AC Champion and the 11AC Chief. While the Champ shared its tandem seating arrangement with the prewar tandem trainer and the Chief shared its name with the prewar Chief designs, both were new designs. A benefit of the concurrent development was that the new designs had about 80% of their parts in common. Nevertheless, the Champ was favored by the public, evidenced by its outselling its sibling at a rate of 4 to 1. Between 1945 and 1951, nearly 8,000 Champions were manufactured; while over the same period, approximately 2,000 Chiefs were produced.

1946 7AC Champion

New ownership[edit]

Aeronca ceased light aircraft production in 1951, and in 1954 sold the Champion design to the new Champion Aircraft Corporation of Osceola, Wisconsin, which continued building variants of the Champion as well as the derivative design, the Citabria. The venerable aircraft design was acquired again by the Bellanca Aircraft Company in 1970 and again to American Champion in 1988, where it remains in production.

In 1978 Aeronca planned to start aircraft production again with production of a prototype Foxjet ST600. The project was eventually cancelled due to lack of WR-44 engine availability.[2] Aeronca now builds components for aerospace companies including Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed and Airbus. In its 23-year history as a general aviation and military aviation manufacturer, Aeronca produced 17,408 aircraft spanning 55 different models.

Aircraft[edit]

Date of first production is given

  • Aeronca C-4- A cabin biplane design proposed by Aeronca manager Conrad Dietz. Concept rejected in favor of the C-2.[3]
  • Aeronca C-3 - 1931 two-seat (side-by-side) development of Aeronca C-2
  • Aeronca L - 1935 single-engine two-seat (side-by-side) low-wing monoplane with conventional tailwheel landing gear
  • Aeronca Chief family
    • Aeronca K - 1937 single-engine two-seat high-wing monoplane with conventional tailwheel landing gear
    • Aeronca 50 Chief - 1938 single-engine two-seat (side-by-side) high-wing monoplane with conventional tailwheel landing gear and 50 hp engine
    • Aeronca 65 Super Chief - 1938 Aeronca Chief with 65 hp engine
    • Aeronca Defender - 1938 single-engine two-seat (tandem) high-wing monoplane with conventional tailwheel landing gear - soloed from rear seat - precursor to the 7 Champion
    • Aeronca L-3 - 1941 military version of Aeronca Champ
    • Aeronca TG-5 - 1942 Army glider trainer based on L-3 structure
    • Aeronca LNR - 1942 US Navy designation for Aeronca TG-5
  • Aeronca L-16 - 1944 military liaison aircraft; basis of Aeronca 7 Champ
  • Aeronca 7 Champion - 1945 single-engine two-seat (tandem) high-wing monoplane conventional tailwheel landing gear - soloed from front seat
  • Aeronca 9 Arrow - 1947 single-engine two-seat low-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear. One built; not put into production
  • Aeronca 11 Chief - 1945 new design but similar to the pre-war Chief but with a wider cabin and different wing
  • Aeronca 12 Chum -(1946) Aeronca's competitor to the Ercoupe. Two prototypes built; not put into production [4]
  • Aeronca 15 Sedan - 1947 four-seat aircraft with fabric-covered fuselage and full metal wings

Missiles[edit]

Engines[edit]

Museum Displays[edit]

1936 Aeronca C-3 Master
1937 Aeronca Model "K"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donald M. Pattillo. A History in the Making: 80 Turbulent Years in the American General Aviation Industry. p. 18. 
  2. ^ "Aeronca to Build Foxjet". Flight International: 230. 28 January 1978. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  3. ^ Donald M. Pattillo. A History in the Making: 80 Turbulent Years in the American General Aviation Industry. p. 18. 
  4. ^ Alan Abel, Drina Welch Able and Paul Matt. Aeronca's Golden Age. p. 135. 

External links[edit]