A 1946 Aeronca 7-AC “Champ.” It is in for a complete restoration and we will immediately start by disassembling the Champ right down to the bare frame, sandblasting the fuselage frame,and coating it with epoxy. Then we’ll begin the reassembly process, cleaning, inspecting, painting, (or replacing), and reinstalling every part… It takes a bunch of time, but it’s great to be able to bring these old planes back to life !
In a couple of these pics, you can see some of the rust damage we found before and after sandblasting the fuselage, and then the fuselage frame with bad tubing replaced, epoxy primer applied, and new wood formers and stringers installed.
Here’s the Champ with new wrap around (boot cowl) installed, along with a new interior headliner and shoulder harness for the front and rear seats. Windshield and engine mount are on temporarily just for fitting things up properly.
When the fuselage, wings, and tails are repaired and ready for fabric cover, we usually assemble the aircraft and check for proper alignments and clearances prior to installing the fabric covering….. This is the time to find and fix any problems !
The champ was then covered and painted with Stewart Systems waterborne fabric and paint system….a new and different experience for an “old timer” like me, but it works! We have some final painting and assembly to wrap up and the Champ will be ready to go.
In 1945 – 46, the Aeronca Champ was probably the most mass produced civilian aircraft EVER ! It was a rival to the famous Piper Cub just as a Ford was to a Chevy. A post war collapse of the civilian light aircraft industry forced Aeronca to quit making airplanes in 1951, and they began making components for large aerospace firms. The Champ design was modernized through the years, (into the Champion Citabria, Bellanca Decathalon and Scout), and all of these, including the original Champ are being produced today by the American Champion Corp, in Wisconsin. The Aeronca factory in Middletown, Ohio is still producing civilian and military aerospace components for large aircraft manufacturers.
And this is the Champ project completed…. some test flights , and it was delivered back to it’s owner!