Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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HAPPYDAN
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Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby HAPPYDAN » Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:02 pm

So things are moving along nicely with the training, and now I am seriously considering MY first plane. The powers that be are not happy with me dropping a load of cash for a mid-life crisis toy, so my expectations have been dialed back. While surfing the net, I ran across a few Aeronca 11AC Chief planes, 65 hp that meet LSA requirements, and are offered at decent prices. I have never seen one, much less flown one, so I have no real idea what it's like. I have seen some Champs, and flown a Piper Cub. Although I liked the docile nature of the Cub, both of those seemed to be designed as trainers, with cramped cockpits, no room for any luggage, and small gas tanks. The Chief, although similar, appears to me to have been designed more for cross country flying, with side by side seating, up to 23 gals total fuel capacity, and a (small) luggage area. So if you all would be so kind as to share your experiences and opinions regarding these planes, especially the Chief, I will again be most appreciative.

Edgefly
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby Edgefly » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:41 pm

I fly exactly what you describe. It is an 11AC with 65hp, 23 Gal total fuel capacity and a McDowell Starter. I guess you can tell by now that my feelings are going to be positive. There's always going to be the debate over the comfortable bench seating in th Chief vs. the tandem arrangement in a champ but if you are ever going anywhere, you'll quickly see why the Chief is preferred. Much bigger questions arise over MGTW 1250 # and how much of that fuel you can practically use if you and a passenger have some luggage and want to go somewhere. But, after creature comfort considerations
(How long between rest room calls) and reasonable leg lengths (in hours, maybe 3 ?), the Chief turns out to be a very practical machine. Other positive considerations are a fuel burn rate of something like 4.5 GPH with almost negligible oil consumption. The airplane is not a speed demon and high altitude
Tricks are not its' forte. It is a tailwheel aircraft and, depending on your experience, may require some extra training to master the art. Don't let that sound like a warning because once learned these skills will reward you no matter what aircraft you fly.

While looking, take the time to select a machine which has been card for and has the paperwork to back that up. There is a major inspection requirement on the main wing spar which only has to be done once and certainly should have been by now. Be sure to have an experienced IA assist you with any airplane purchase and especially with vintage aircraft. My Chief passed her 69th year in service in June of this year and is able to go thru Annuals with little effort. There are at least three type clubs in existence for Aeroncas and parts and information services are generally readily available. The Chief can be an excellent choice for an LSA vehicle. You should be aware that 11AC 's were not equipped with an electrical system and those with 8f engines do not have them and therefore are normally equipped with handheld radios and do not have transponders. There are other 11AC's with larger engines and generator/starter/transponder capabilities. If you have further questions, please feel free to ask.

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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:11 am

I have lots of time in Cubs, Champs, Taylorcraft, and now Luscombe. I have worked on all of them plus Aeronca Chiefs both pre war and post war. The Cub is cramped like you pointed out. The Champ has the most room of any of them. The Taylorcraft and Luscombe are the fastest of the group. All of the airplanes will have AD's to deal with except for some of the pre war Chiefs. My first love of the bunch is Tatlorcraft, and it is still my favorite with the Luscombe a close second.

Now a bit of advice when looking at older LSA like the ones mentioned. You need to find a mechanic who is knows the type, or you might get stuck with an un-airworthy piece of junk. I had a friend walk away from a airplane earlier this year, because it wasn't legal, yet they sold it to some un-suspecting soul at Sun-N-Fun a few weeks later.

It is also a must to get the FAA records of the airplane to make sure something has not been done to take the airplane out of LSA eligibility at some point in its life. I know a fellow who bought a Taylorcraft to use as a trainer for his business. He bought it from a sport pilot. In forum conversation he mentioned that the airplane once had a Beech Roby propeller installed. He didn't even know what kind of propeller that was, but that being part of the aircraft records made it in-eligible to be a LSA.

HAPPYDAN
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby HAPPYDAN » Sat Oct 31, 2015 10:15 am

Once again, I am impressed by the wealth of information and helpful responses I receive to my questions on this forum. In less than 24 hours, I have received exactly what I was hoping for - the straight scoop with no poop. Regarding the McDowell starter, I saw one in use on a utube video. Apparently, not all Chiefs were thus equipped, but it does look handy.

" Much bigger questions arise over MGTW 1250 # and how much of that fuel you can practically use if you and a passenger have some luggage and want to go somewhere."

Good point, but the Skycatcher I have been training in has the same problem. With the CFI and I, we can only carry 1/2 tank (12 gals) of fuel, so we only get 1-1.5 hours of flight (safely) each session. We had one instance in which a previous renter filled the tanks, and aborted his flight due to weather. We were 80 pounds overweight.

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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby hirschr » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:08 am

Have you given any thought to an Ercoupe? The C and C/D models can be flown as LSAs, they are the only vintage planes with a nose wheel that can be flown under Sport Pilot rules! I would highl reccomend them, but I'll freely admit to considerable bias...

3Dreaming
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby 3Dreaming » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:27 am

hirschr wrote:Have you given any thought to an Ercoupe? The C and C/D models can be flown as LSAs, they are the only vintage planes with a nose wheel that can be flown under Sport Pilot rules! I would highl reccomend them, but I'll freely admit to considerable bias...


My dad has some time in a tricycle J3 Cub that would be LSA. Here is a picture I pulled off the web.

J-3-Tricycle.jpg
J-3-Tricycle.jpg (19.03 KiB) Viewed 2660 times

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drseti
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby drseti » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:05 pm

There are also tri-Champs that are LSA.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
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HAPPYDAN
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby HAPPYDAN » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:00 pm

hirschr wrote:Have you given any thought to an Ercoupe? The C and C/D models can be flown as LSAs, they are the only vintage planes with a nose wheel that can be flown under Sport Pilot rules! I would highl reccomend them, but I'll freely admit to considerable bias...


You have a good point, and a nearby flying club actually has one they will rent. And, that twin tail does look pretty cool (think mini "B-25"?). I would want one with the rudder pedals conversion, tho. With our typically erratic weather, I rely on the rudder considerably for coordinated take-off and landing.

Nomore767
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby Nomore767 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:32 pm

Just curious…can you still land a try-Champ or try-Cub as a tailwheel or once the nose wheel has been installed it always has to use the nose wheel?

Seems like a 'try-Cub landing is a wheel landing then lowering the nose. If you raise the nose too high you could land in a 3-point attitude.
The nose wheel is almost like a training wheel which would alleviate tipping on the nose because of the touchy heel brakes.

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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby drseti » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:39 pm

Howard, when you convert a Cub or Champ to tricycle gear, you reverse the main gear (swap left to right). Notice that the main landing gear leg normally leans forward. Swapping them, it leans back. That means in the taildragger configuration, the main wheels are in front of the CG. In the trike configuration, they are behind it. So, though you could certainly do tailwheel-first landings in a tri-Champ or tri-Cub, as it slows down and the down-lift of the tail decreases, it's going to settle on its nosewheel even with the stick all the way back. (This is, in fact, the way I land the SportStar, except that I try not to scrape the tail skid. Sometimes I'm successful...)
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
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3Dreaming
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby 3Dreaming » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:58 pm

drseti wrote:There are also tri-Champs that are LSA.


Paul, the Tri-Champ is a 7FC, and the gross weight is 1450 pounds. I don't think that will make it as a LSA.

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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby drseti » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:08 pm

Pity. :(

Is there an STC to convert a 7AC to tricycle?
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof. H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D., CFII, LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC, iRMT
AvSport of Lock Haven
fly@AvSport.org
http://AvSport.org
http://facebook.com/SportFlying

3Dreaming
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby 3Dreaming » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:24 pm

drseti wrote:Pity. :(

Is there an STC to convert a 7AC to tricycle?


Not that I am aware of.

JimC
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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby JimC » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:47 pm

Chief is a nice flying plane, though cramped for two.
J3 is not cramped in the back seat, and heel brakes are not touchy. With a hundred horse engine, they are quite perky.
I don't see any point in putting a starter on any of them.
C Ercoupes are scary on a 3000' grass strip on a hot, windless day.

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Re: Aeronca 11AC Chief - Opinions?

Postby HAPPYDAN » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:17 am

JimC wrote:Chief is a nice flying plane, though cramped for two.
J3 is not cramped in the back seat, and heel brakes are not touchy. With a hundred horse engine, they are quite perky.
I don't see any point in putting a starter on any of them.
C Ercoupes are scary on a 3000' grass strip on a hot, windless day.


I thought this thread was dead. Thanks for your input. I tried out a 1936 completely restored J-3 last year. 65 hp version. A very enjoyable, easy to fly airplane. My Dad soloed in one back in WWII, in something like 8-10 hours. BUT - entry to and exit from that cockpit for a beat-up 65 year old was painful and difficult. Recently, I picked up a 30-year old Honda CT110 in "excellent condition" on Craigslist. I have spent that last 3 weeks crawling around on the garage floor (and $300 in parts) straightening out the Jerry-rigged mess by previous owners. If I do decide to buy a plane, it will be something one owner and much newer, like a Skycatcher.


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