Flight Training - June 2021 - 23

RAMP APPEAL

BY DAVE HIRSCHMAN

QUICK LOOK

Looking to buy?
See how the Aeronca
Champ measures up
How much:
$20,000 to $40,000.
Buy it: Wraparound
views and you get to
fly solo from the front
instead of the rear.
Skip it: If you just
can't get over the Cub
mystique.

AERONCA CHAMP
STILL THE RUNNER-UP

THE AERONCA CHAMPION STARTED WITH A LIST OF ITS RIVAL'S SHORTCOMINGS AND

addressed them all. In 1944, designer Ray Hermes considered the iconic Piper J-3 Cub
and fixed the many things that pilots didn't like about it. Then he came up with practical improvements in the Champ:
The Cub must be flown solo from the rear, so the Champ pilot sits up front.
The Cub has awful forward visibility, so the Champ has a wrap-around view.
The Cub's main landing gear is held together by springy, failure-prone bungee
cords, so the Champ uses oleo struts that act as shock absorbers.
The Cub is painfully slow, so the Champ is less so.
Aeronca began flooding the market with inexpensive ($2,400) Champs in what was
expected to be a post-World War II aviation boom. The company produced up to 50
Champs a day at its 1946 production peak, but the market never fully materialized.
Hundreds of Champs went to flight schools and clubs, and they became popular
trainers in the 1950s and 1960s. The originals had Continental 65-horsepower engines
and no electrical systems, so they had to be hand-started every time. Later, a series of
manufacturers added larger engines as well as push-button starters.
Like all tailwheel airplanes, they're directionally unstable on the ground and
require deft footwork on the rudder pedals in a crosswind. In the air, they're studies
in adverse yaw. Turns require coordinated rudder to keep the slip/skid ball in the
inclinometer centered. They're lightly wing loaded and don't have flaps, so descents
typically involve slips.
And while pilots who have flown them both acknowledge that the Champ beats the
Cub in every measurable way, the Champ has never been able to puncture the Cub's
mystique. Even with all their shortcomings, J-3 Cubs still command a higher price
than similar Champs, and they still have a fanatical following.

		
SPEC SHEET
Aeronca Champ 7AC
SPECIFICATIONS
Powerplant(s)	
Continental A65-8
	
four-cylinder, 65 hp
Length	
21 ft 6 in
Wingspan	
35 ft	
Seats	2	
Empty weight	
740 lb	
Gross weight	
1,220 lb
Fuel capacity	
13 U.S. gallons
PERFORMANCE	
Max speed	
Cruise speed	
Stall speed	
Range	
Service ceiling	
Rate of climb	

95 mph
85 mph
38 mph	
270 miles
12,500 ft	
370 fpm

dave.hirschman@aopa.org
AOPA.ORG/FT  23


http://www.AOPA.ORG/FT

Flight Training - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - June 2021

Contents
Flight Training - June 2021 - Intro
Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover1
Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover2
Flight Training - June 2021 - Contents
Flight Training - June 2021 - 2
Flight Training - June 2021 - 3
Flight Training - June 2021 - 4
Flight Training - June 2021 - 5
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Flight Training - June 2021 - 7
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Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover3
Flight Training - June 2021 - Cover4
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