This short article and 3-view drawing by James Trigg appeared in the February 1962 edition of American Modeler. With a 36' wingspan and a mere 40 hp for an engine, the Aeronca C-3 performed more like a powered glider than a power plane. Its wing loading of 6.15 lb/sq.ft. yielded it a climb rate of 450'/min and a glide ratio of 10:1. Only 400 were built before new FAA airworthiness standards caused production to halt.
by James Trigg
Flattened-rudder version of Aeronca C-3 on floats. Is it real or is it a model?
Founded and incorporated in 1928, the Aeronautical Corporation of America at Lunken Airport, Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of the first American makers of an inexpensive "light" airplane of dependable performance and construction.
Under the trade name "Aeronca" the company began at the height of the depression in 1929 to manufacture the C-2 series monoplane based on a 1925 design by Jean A. Roche, then senior aeronautical engineer of the U. S. Army Air Corps. The fact that in those depression days, sales of the C-2 airplanes boomed is a tribute to sound design and excellence of performance.
A refined version, the C-3 was developed and produced after 1930 by Aeronca and this continued until 1937, when Aeronca switched its facilities to the Model "K" which evolved into the famous "Chief" series.
Powered with the Aeronca E113 40-hp two cylinder engine, the little C-3 was truly one of the first practical, mass produced light planes on the market. Construction was simple: a welded steel tube fuselage with wooden formers and stringers with all-wood wings having external streamline steel flying and landing wires. The early C-3s had open cockpits; later models were enclosed as shown in the drawings.
C-3 performance was spectacular for a light plane of its day and many records were set with Aeroncas during the early 30s. Somewhat rare today, the C-3 still turns up at Air Shows and Antique Fly-Ins and always attracts a lot of attention.
Aeronca C-3 "Collegian" Fuselage Frame Detail
Aeronca C-3 3-View Drawing
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Posted June 2, 2013