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
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
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Posted June 2, 2013