Aeronca Model 7 Champion / L-16

1945

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Aeronca Model 7 Champion / L-16

In anticipation of a post-war boom in private flying, Aeronca designed a new model - the Model 7 Champion - which was marketed from November 1945 and which sold over 10,000 examples between 1946 and 1951. The Champion was the first new light aeroplane to be certified after World War II. It shared a similar high-wing monoplane design with its predecessors; however, the Champion was tandem dual-control configuration as standard, a major selling point.

Variants included a 'farm wagon' with the rear seat area converted to carry agricultural supplies, and the military L-16, which was used briefly in the Korean War and by the Civil Air Patrol. The Champion ceased production in 1950, but further examples were produced later by companies that acquired manufacturing rights.

Robert Jackson "The Encyclopedia of Aircraft", 2004

Specification 
 MODEL7AC Champion
 CREW1-2
 PASSENGERS2
 ENGINE1 x 65hp Continental A-65-8 flat-four piston engine
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight562 kg1239 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan10.72 m35 ft 2 in
  Length6.55 m22 ft 6 in
  Height2.13 m7 ft 0 in
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed161 km/h100 mph
  Ceiling3840 m12600 ft
  Range435 km270 miles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120
Bill Masson, e-mail, 03.05.2020 20:18

I have about 150 hours in that exact champ in the photo! That's my brother-in-law's champ that he restored. It's been all the way from Alaska to Sun & Fun (where that picture was taken I believe). Lots of stories with that little bird...

Thanks for the page!

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wm. reiter, e-mail, 03.08.2017 04:18

I have an L-16,all basic,no generator. 7BCM-452 N3911 for sale,I don't know how much to ask for it. TAC 744 hr.

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Allene Raphael, e-mail, 03.04.2017 06:11

My husband at the time and I had a 1946 Aeronca, it was yellow and fun to fly in. N9736E

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Dennis Miner, e-mail, 09.04.2016 00:26

My dad had a 1945 Aeronca Champ and flew it out of Willits, CA. Once he ran out of fuel and just made it over the tree tops then landed in a field where cattle were grazing. He passed away and now my brother has it. I'm sure he would like to sell it because he doesn't like the hanger fees.

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David Lindsey, e-mail, 15.10.2015 01:19

In June 1958 Nelson Punti's owned and operated the International Flying Club at our local Bay Area Airport in San Carlos, CA. The club's instructor was a seasoned WWII ex-navy instructor named McHenry. I was the club's go for after school and weekends in trade for flight time. Mac as we called him charged $5 / flight hour. At 15 and armed with just under three hours he signed me off for solo flight in the 7AC. About an hour later, I was signed off for the club's J-3, and tri-cycle J-3. E t
Since then I have had the opportunity to instruct family and a number of student's and joy riders with many positive comments for both the 7AC and J-3 stick and rudder experience.

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Frank Samples, e-mail, 05.08.2015 07:43

I soloed a 7AC (N82248) Nov. 13, 1955 from Clark Field, Winfield, WV. The instructor was Omar Crim and he approved me for solo with 5.0 hrs. instruction.

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John Lehr, e-mail, 02.05.2015 04:23

Solo'd a cub in 1963 then bought a champ (N82601) flew aprox 500 hrs .One of the most fun airplanes I've ever flown
and I wish I had it back.....Even on ski's she was sweet...

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floyd carter, e-mail, 01.03.2015 19:25

I bought a basket case 1947 7AC in 1963. Spent 6 months on new Ceconite fabric, fuselage formers and stringers, and engine top o'haul. Hired an instructor and got my private in it. Flew it for several years in the S.F. bay area. N82701

Floyd

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David G. Norvell, e-mail, 27.01.2015 15:30

I soloed in Aeronca Champ N85604 on 11 /4 /1950 in Atlanta,GA on runway 15L. My instructor was E.B."Bill" Galloway. This aircraft now resides in Birmingham, AL. Afterwards, I was blessed to fly many,many, aircraft, both military and civilian, the last being B-747'S in a career that lasted 50 years.

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Mike Rigg, e-mail, 13.08.2020 David G. Norvell

David - Stumbled on your post from 2015. I’m the caretaker of champ N85604 - still in Birmingham (actually Pell City) and would be privileged to let you fly her again if you desire.

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Willis vanderberg, e-mail, 10.01.2015 12:02

I have many fond memories of these airplanes. After about four hours in the champ we were shooting touch and goes with a fairly stiff crosswind.
My instructor.Bill Haddock said Bud if you are going tiokill us do it smoothly.Bill was a great instructor and just passed away at 94.
I also flew the 15ac,this aircraft had the crossing landing gear which took a little getting used to. I once snapped a bungee on the left ski while flying in the winter.I heard a pop and when I looked out the left ski was pointing down. I hung her up on the prop and using all sixty five horses landed with no problem. My boss once rented a champ to a young pilo. I propped airple for him and he started to taxi. He was having a terrible time controlling tha airplane. Finally airborne and out of sight.He returned about an hour later and did three go arounds before he landed.When I asked him about all the problems he said he was an airforce jet jockey home on leave and just wanted to fly. My boss never checked him out as to qualification. Great little airplane.We also had a Chief the had some kind of mechanical starter. There was a fever in the cabin, you pulled it and if you were lucky it started. In not you usually had to hand prop it. Sometimes those 65 hp engines could be ornery to start when warm.

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Jay Clinkingbeard, e-mail, 01.03.2014 04:42

Having learned to fly in the early 60's in a 7ac, I credit this aircraft for making a pilot out of me. I later bought an Aeronca 15ac with a 145hp Continenal which was the same engine as the Cessna 170. I have flown all of the Cessna tail draggers,Helio Couriers, Turbin Pilatius Porter and Thorp T 18. I have flown in the mountains of Nepal and the jungles of Liberia West Africa. There have been a lot of other aircraft with those training wheels out front but the Aeronica Champ is the one with the soft spot in my heart.

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Jay Clinkingbeard, e-mail, 01.03.2014 04:42

Having learned to fly in the early 60's in a 7ac, I credit this aircraft for making a pilot out of me. I later bought an Aeronca 15ac with a 145hp Continenal which was the same engine as the Cessna 170. I have flown all of the Cessna tail draggers,Helio Couriers, Turbin Pilatius Porter and Thorp T 18. I have flown in the mountains of Nepal and the jungles of Liberia West Africa. There have been a lot of other aircraft with those training wheels out front but the Aeronica Champ is the one with the soft spot in my heart.

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Lenny, e-mail, 06.01.2014 23:49

Don't want to get "sniffy," but I do think the yellow plane is not a 7AC, but more likely a 7EC. The swept-forward tail (to deal with a larger engine) gives it away. This model came with the Continental C-90 engine. Better climb, a little more speed. Any taildragger is ready to bite if it is allowed to swing enough that the center-of-gravity gets too far around to the side. Aeronca became Champion Aircraft in the 50s. They responded to the taildragger issue by installing a nose wheel and calling the plane 7FC. I had a '57 7FC for about 10 years. Absolutely charming. Noisy and elemental, which is a good deal of the fun. I love the drop-down door of a Piper Cub, but a Cub has to be flown solo from the back seat and you are virtually blind on the ground. The Champ window could be slid halfway open, but it wasn't quite as nice for low-and-slow flying as the Cub's door and fold-up window, which makes for wonderful photography. I think the Champ controls are just a bit smoother and "nicer," too, but then that is just an impression that remains with me from 20 years ago. Thanks to the nosewheel, the 7FC was stable on the ground. There were several variants, including the later Citabrias, all based on the 7AC. Engines vary, and probably strength of frames and wings, because Citabria is "airbatic" spelled backwards. These were often used as aerobatic trainers, and probably in some airshows. Sadly, an hour every week or two in the 7FC exceeded what the financial folks would call the "cost-benefit ratio," and I felt I had to let the bird go. I don't have time to research all this right now, but maybe someone else out there who knows these planes intimately can supply the model numbers, engine specs, and so on. It would be a labor-of-love!!

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donhill16@gmail.com, e-mail, 21.11.2013 07:35

1962, when I joined the civil air patrol, as a cadate the senior CAP pilot was training me to be an observer and me to fly the L-16 aircraft. I was learning to fly in San Angelo on the weekends. My love for the airraft was due to my love for flying since the age of 3.

My father had his license to fly a J-3 piper cub.

In May of 1963 I joined the air force.

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donhill16@gmail.com, e-mail, 21.11.2013 07:34

1962, when I joined the civil air patrol, as a cadate the senior CAP pilot was training me to be an observer and me to fly the L-16 aircraft. I was learning to fly in San Angelo on the weekends. My love for the airraft was due to my love for flying since the age of 3.

My father had his license to fly a J-3 piper cub.

In May of 1963 I joined the air force.

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Bob Avrit, e-mail, 24.02.2013 09:17

After 20,026 hours of Air Force and American Airlines flying, I retired and bought a Champ - my first tail dragger! My first impressions: after my first try at landing,I wasn't sure I could master it; unlike the F-86, it usually did not want to go where you pointed it; the tail usually wanted to get in front; the heel brakes were a humiliating experience; do not land down wind; it felt as stable as a balloon compared to a DC-10. But, after a few hours and a nearly complete restoration (original yellow and orange paint scheme,) I was very comfortable and enjoyed it immensely. We were based at Sonoma Skypark 069. My wife and I often went to lunch some place in Northern California on Fridays.

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Tom Tucker, e-mail, 24.02.2013 05:08

In 1949 I frist soloed in a Champ at Lindburg Field in San Diego. I flew 55 hours until I ran out of money. One day as I was practicing spins my engine quit and I had a forced landing on a marine artillery range. A marine was able to prop me and I took off again. This was one rugged airplane and a lot of fun.

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Capt. william sauers, e-mail, 12.08.2012 16:28

I purchased a 1938 Aeronca KCA side by side seating.It was the predecessor of the champ, and is missing from this record. I have picture of her and would be glad to send them so you can update the history. I purchased her in Wichata Kansas 1965-1967 ,sold her as I had left the F-105 Sqd. and went to fly for TWA. I tried to get my wife to fly her, but she liked tricycle gear acft.

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Ed Desrochers, e-mail, 06.08.2012 22:34

The RIANG 152nd FIS flying P51D's had flying club with a Chief. The toughest thing I had fying it was the mechanical heel brakes. A lot different than our other aircraft.

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Joe Lovelace, e-mail, 16.07.2012 12:19

I went into the Air Force in 1954 at the age of 17 and after basic training was stationed at Headquarters ATC in San Antonio where we had a flying club. The club had three champs and one chief, one piper tri-pacer and one Cessna 170. I did my training in the champ and loved it. I am 75 years old now but still love to remember the days in the champ. That plane would do the loops and spins, though you would have to be careful.

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