Aeronca C-2

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Aeronca C-2
Aeronca C-2 in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum
Role Monoplane
National origin United States
Manufacturer Aeronca Aircraft
Designer Jean A. Roche
First flight 1929
Number built 164
Unit cost
$1495 in 1929
Developed from 1925 Roche Monoplane
Variants C-1 Cadet, Aeronca C-3 Master

The Aeronca C-2 is an American light monoplane designed by Jean A. Roche and built by Aeronca Aircraft.


Roche Monoplane[edit]

Jean A. Roche was a U.S. Army engineer at McCook Field airfield in Dayton, Ohio. Roche developed an aircraft with automatic stability and was granted U. S. Patent No. 1,085,461. Roche published his engineering ideas for the aircraft in Aerial Age Weekly and Slipstream Monthly magazines. The prototype was started in Ohio in 1923 with the assistance of fellow engineer Quienten Doshse. The aircraft used a triangular cross section welded steel tube fuselage, with wood wings, was fabric covered, and used wire bracing throughout. A Henderson engine was installed, but did not perform well. Next a custom 29 hp two cylinder Morehouse engine was developed for the aircraft. On September 1, 1925 the aircraft was successfully test flown. Many pilots including Jimmy Doolittle tried out the aircraft. Wright Aeronautical hired Morehouse and rights to his Wright-Morehouse WM-80 engine. Left without an engine, They turned to Robert E. Galloway of the Aeronautical Corporation of America to use the Aeronca E-107 engine. The rights to the aircraft were sold to Aeronca in 1928 as the basis for the C-2 Design.[1]

Aeronca C-2[edit]

The Aeronca C-2, powered by a tiny two-cylinder engine, made its first flight in October[2] 1929, with its public debut in St. Louis in February 1930.[2] It was flying at its most basic—the pilot sat on a bare plywood board. The C-2 featured an unusual, almost frivolous design with an open-pod fuselage that inspired its nickname, The Flying Bathtub. (It was also knicknamed "Airknocker" and "Razorback".[2]) The general design of the C-2 could have been inspired by Jean Roche's initial flight experiences with an American-built copy of the Santos-Dumont Demoiselle, which had a similar triangular "basic" fuselage cross-section, and wire spoked main landing gear wheels right up against the fuselage sides.[citation needed]

Equipped with only four instruments (altimeter, oil temperature, oil pressure, and tachometer),[2] a stick, and rudder pedals (brakes and a heater cost extra), the C-2 was priced at a low $1,555 (later US$1,245),[2] bringing the cost of flying down to a level that a private citizen could aspire to and perhaps reach.[3] Aeronca sold 164 of the economical C-2s at the height of the Great Depression in 1930-1931, helping to spark the growth of private aviation in the United States.[citation needed]

The Aeronca C-2 also holds the distinction of being the first aircraft to be refueled from a moving automobile. A can of gasoline was handed up from a speeding Austin automobile to a C-2 pilot, (who hooked it with a wooden cane) during a 1930 air show in California. A seaplane version of the C-2 was also offered, designated the PC-2 and PC-3 (“P” for pontoon) with floats replacing the wheeled landing gear.[citation needed]

A single Aeronca C-2 was converted to a glider by H.J. Parham in England after an in-flight engine failure and forced landing. The nose was faired in after the removal of the engine. It first flew as a glider 15 May 1937 and went to the Dorset Glider Club but was destroyed in the club hangar during a storm in November 1938.[4]

Aircraft on display[edit]

Aeronca C-2N exhibited at the Virginia Aviation Museum

The restored first prototype of the Aeronca C-2, bearing registration NX 626N is on display at the Smithsonian's NASM's Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport.[5]

The EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin has an example of a later model C-2N on display. This particular aircraft set the following worlds records:[6]

  • International Altitude Record 19,425.814 ft (5,920.988 m)
  • Altitude Record for Junior pilots 19,997 ft (6,095 m)
  • 500 km speed record for single-seat light seaplanes 70.499 mph (113.457 km/h)
  • Airline distance record for single-seat light seaplanes 230.314 mi (370.654 km)
  • Single-seat light seaplane International Altitude Record 15,081.976 ft (4,596.986 m)
  • Single-seat light seaplanes 100 km record 80.931 mph (130.246 km/h)
  • Distance record, light seaplanes 221.20 mi (355.99 km)

Another C-2N is displayed at the Virginia Aviation Museum at Richmond, Virginia. The Canada Aviation and Space Museum also has one example.[7]

Another C-2 is displayed as part of the "Golden Age of Flight" collection at Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California.[8]


Aeronca C-2
Single-seat light sporting aircraft, powered by a 26-hp (19-kW) Aeronca E-107A piston engine.[citation needed]
Aeronca C-2 Deluxe
Improved version, with a wider fuselage and a number of design improvements.[citation needed]
Aeronca C-2N Scout De luxe at Langley
Aeronca C-2N Scout
De luxe sporting aircraft, powered by a 36-hp (27-kW) Aeronca E-112 or E-133A piston engine. Four built.[6]
Aeronca PC-2
Seaplane version of the C-2.[citation needed]
Aeronca PC-2 Deluxe
Seaplane version of the C-2 Deluxe.[citation needed]

Specifications (C-2)[edit]

Data from Aeronca C-2: The Story of the Flying Bathtub[9]

General characteristics


See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ "none". Sport Aviation. June 1958. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Payne, Stephen, ed. Canadian Wings (Douglas & McIntyre, Ltd., 2006), p.163.
  3. ^ Donald M. Pattillo. A History in the Making: 80 Turbulent Years in the American General Aviation Industry. p. 18. 
  4. ^ Ellison, Norman (1971). British Gliders and Sailplanes. London: A & C Black Ltd. p. 80. ISBN 0-7136-1189-8. 
  5. ^ "Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum — Aeronca C-2". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved January 10, 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  6. ^ a b "C-2N". Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  7. ^ Canada Aviation and Space Museum (n.d.). "Aeronca C-2". Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Yanks Golden Age of Flight". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  9. ^ Spenser, Jay P. (1978). Aeronca C-2: The Story of the Flying Bathtub. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 71. ISBN 0-87474-879-8. 

External links[edit]