Aeronca’s Early Birds, Model LC and Scout, Model K

By Norm Goyer

The Aeronca K was last with 2 cylinder engine before the Defender.

The Aeronca K was last with 2 cylinder engine before the Defender.

When I was a about 11 or 12 years old I built dime and quarter models from Megow. Two of them were particular good rubber band powered flyers. The Aeronca Collegiate and Aeronca Model K Scout flew better than the Taylor Cub of the same size. The Aeronca C- 2 and C-3, known as the Collegiate series had a deep pot belly and big tail surfaces which ensured their stability. The Aeronca K was an in between model of the C-3 and the Aeronca Tandem. Both the C-3 and Model K used the two cylinder Aeronca engine. All of these were pre-war aircraft while the Champ was post war. The Aeronca 7AC Champ was designed using the Cub as the base to make a better airplane, changing many of the Cub’s trade marks. The Champ had a door and the pilot flew from the front, unlike the Cub. But the joke was on Aeronca, pilots loved the weird Cub and its honest flying capabilities. Piper’s prewar lineup was the J- 2, followed by the J-3, the Cub Coupe and J-5 Family Cruiser. The Aeronca Chief and the Piper Cub Coupe were rivals. My favorites were the Piper three place cruiser and the Aeronca low wing LC. Where did that one come from?

The Chief was a side by side sport aircraft, nice airplane, quite popular.

The Chief was a side by side sport aircraft, nice airplane, quite popular.

During the middle 1930s many manufactures experimented with two place side by side low wings. This was the era of the Ryan ST and SC, the Kinner Sportster and the Aeronca LC, one of my all time favorite aircraft. I never flew one nor actually saw one with the exception of a giant RC version on floats built by a Sacramento pilot friend of mine. The LC land version had large wrap around landing gear fairings which gave the plane an exotic look. Of course they were for drag reduction. This airplane and the Ryan SC were light years ahead of other 1936 aircraft, they looked like Thompson Racers rather than fun flying sport aircraft. Quite unlike other Aeronca designs, it was a low-wing monoplane that featured side-by-side seating in a completely enclosed cabin. The design reflected the greater attention being paid to aerodynamics in the period and included large wheel spats for the fixed undercarriage and a Townsend ring for the engine.

Aeronca sold many of the two place tandem Defender to the military for Grasshopper duties.

Aeronca sold many of the two place tandem Defender to the military for Grasshopper duties.

The Model L was mainly flown by private pilot owners. The plane was not a big seller and a destructive flood at Lunken Airport (Martha Lunken, a popular writer for Flying magazine’s family owned this airport) took the energy out of the program and Aeronca went with high wing light aircraft. The EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin has an 1937 Aeronca LC in its collection. Aeronca LC NC17442 (cn 2056) is also on display in the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon.

The Aeronca LC was not popular in spite of its good looks and performance. Only a few were built.

The Aeronca LC was not popular in spite of its good looks and performance. Only a few were built.

The Aeronca Model K Scout is an American light airplane first marketed in 1937, and was the true successor to the popular C-2/C-3 line.Powered by a dual-ignition Aeronca E-113C engine, the Model K Scout brought the Aeronca design up to modern aviation standards. Eliminating the Aeronca’s traditional “bathtub” appearance, the Scout featured a strut-braced high wing with a fully enclosed cockpit seating two side-by-side.A total of 357 Aeronca Model K Scouts were built. Seventy three Model K were on the U.S. civil aircraft register in May 2009 and several examples are preserved in museums. The EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin has an example on display at its Pioneer Airport.

Specifications Aeronca LC

Crew: one, pilot

Capacity: 1 passenger

Length: 22 ft 6 in (6.9 m)

Wingspan: 36 ft (10.9 m)

Height: 7 ft (2.1 m)

Wing area: 150 ft² (13.9 m²)

Empty weight: 1034 lb

Max. takeoff weight: 1,852 lb (850 kg)

Powerplant: × Warner Scarab Jr piston engine, 90 hp (67 kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 123 mph (198 km/h)

Range: 535 miles (860 km)

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