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Guillow's Aeronca Champion 85

[IMAGE Although the original manufacturer of the Aeronca Champion sold their business, their successor the Champion Aircraft Corp. produced many of this widely known personal airplane. Aeronca's have been a common site on American airports for many years and rival the Piper Cub's for popularity. Guillow's scale model of the Champion 85 is designed to faithfully duplicate the many fine characteristics of this flyer.

Item Number: 301 LC
Now with LASER CUT BALSA PARTS!
Wing Span: 24"
Scale: 1/18
For Ages 10 and up

The Aeronca Model 7 Champion, more commonly known as the Champ, is a single-engine, two-seat, fixed conventional landing gear airplane. Designed for flight training and personal use, it entered production in the United States in 1945.

[IMAGE To take advantage of the new light-sport aircraft category, the Champion was returned to production in 2007.

Like the Piper Cub with which it competed, the Champ features tandem seating. While the J-3 model of the Cub is soloed from the rear seat, the Champ can be soloed from the front, giving improved forward visibility on the ground and during takeoffs, landings, and climbs. The Champ has a wider cabin than the Cub and offers better visibility.

As with many light aircraft of the time, the Champ's fuselage and tail surfaces are constructed of welded metal tubing. The outer shape of the fuselage is created by a combination of wooden formers and longerons, covered with fabric. The cross-section of the metal fuselage truss is triangular, a design feature which can be traced all the way back to the earliest Aeronca C-2 design of the late 1920s.

[IMAGE The strut-braced wings of the Champ are, like the fuselage and tail surfaces, fabric covered, utilizing aluminum ribs. Most Champs were built with wooden spars. American Champion has been using aluminum spars in the aircraft it has produced and has, as well, made the aluminum-spar wings available for retrofit installation on older aircraft.

The landing gear of most Champs is in a conventional arrangement, though a model with tricycle gear was produced, and a model with reversed tricycle gear was tried. Conventional-gear Champs feature a steerable tailwheel and most have steel tube main gear which use an oleo strut for shock absorption; one variant utilized sprung-steel main gear, and American Champion is using aluminum gear legs in its production model of the Champ. The tricycle-gear Champs use the steel tube and oleo strut main gear, mating these with an oleo strut nose gear.

[IMAGE Models 7AC, 7CCM, 7DC, and 7EC were approved as seaplanes, with the addition of floats and vertical stabilizer fins; the seaplane versions were designated the S7AC, S7CCM, S7DC, and S7EC, respectively. Float and supplemental fin installations are also approved for models 7ECA, 7GC, 7GCB, 7GCBC, and properly modified 7HC's. Operational history

Built by Aeronca Aircraft Corporation, the Champ first flew in 1944, having been designed in tandem with the 11AC Chief—the Champ with tandem seating and joystick controls, and the Chief with side-by-side seating and yoke controls. The intention was to simplify production and control costs by building a pair of aircraft with a significant number of parts in common; in fact, the two designs share between 70% and 80% of their parts. The tail surfaces, wings, landing gear, and firewall forward—engine, most accessories, and cowling, are common to both airplanes.

[IMAGE Selling for $2,095, the Champ outsold the Chief by an 8 to 1 margin. Engine upgrades in 1948 and 1949 resulted in the Models 7DC and 7EC. Between 1945 and 1950, Aeronca was producing 50 light aircraft per day and by the time production ended in 1951, the company had sold more than 7,000 Champions.

Aeronca ceased all production of light aircraft in 1951, and the Champ design was sold in 1954 to Champion Aircraft.

Champion Aircraft was acquired in 1970 by Bellanca Aircraft which continued production of their Champ-derived Citabria and Decathlon designs. In 1971, Bellanca introduced the 7ACA version of the Champ as a more basic complement to their other designs. Only a handful of 7ACA's were built between 1971 and 1972. Bellanca ceased all production in the early 1980s. Jabiru powered prototype

[IMAGE American Champion Aircraft Corporation acquired the Champ and related designs in 1989. In 2001, they were rumored to be considering a reintroduction of the Champ design as a 7EC powered by a Jabiru Aircraft engine. While a test version was flown, this combination was not put into production. With the creation of the light-sport aircraft (LSA) category of aircraft in the United States by the FAA, American Champion in late 2007 began producing a revised version of the 7EC powered by the 100 hp (75 kW) Continental O-200-A. The new production aircraft are type certified, but also qualify to be flown by sport pilots in the United States. Although the fuselage and cowling contours are similar to the original-production models, the new aircraft uses the windows, interior, door, and windscreen of the modern Citabria. Fuel capacity is reduced to 18 US gal (68 l; 15 imp gal) to conserve weight; despite this measure and various others, such as the use of aluminum landing gear legs and bare birch floorboards rather than carpet, the aircraft's payload is inadequate to carry two adults and full fuel simultaneously. The manufacturer is considering various further weight-reduction measures including the use of the lightened Continental O-200D engine previously offered in the Cessna 162 Skycatcher.

Standard-production 7AC, 7BCM (L-16A), 7CCM (L-16B), 7DC, and 7ACA models qualify as U.S. Light Sport Aircraft. Only those specific original-production 7EC airplanes certificated at a 1,300 lb (590 kg) gross weight qualify for the LSA category; a standard original-production 7EC is certificated at a gross weight of 1,450 lb (660 kg) and does not qualify.

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