Aeronca Champ LSA project 8/15/2014
Late last month the chapter board of directors voted to accept an offer we had to trade our Pietenpol project (less engine), for an Aeronca Champ project, also needing an engine. The board approved the trade subject to the approval from the family of Jack Fries, the original builder of the Piet. The family gave the trade their blessing, and Dave Wiglesworth, Kevin Pratt, Ken Ganther, Jerry Gippner, and Cam Blazer set off tin Dave's big yellow box truck to make the trade. It was decieded that Jerry Gippner would serve as our IA mechanic to make the decission as to weather the Champ was in good enough shape to make it worth the trade. We met the owner at El Reno regional airport (about half way between his home and Gardner. The little trainer was not in as good of conditon as we had hoped, but the owner kicked in $700.00 toward needed parts and with Jerry's belief that it was a viable airframe, we all decieded to make the trade.
Once home (midnight) we unloaded and the very next Thursday night we started the process of assesing the state of the Champ. This airplane was a crop duster in the 1960s. Sometime in the early 70s it was taken apart for a rebuild. corrosion had taken it's toll on the aft section of the fuse, so all the tubing aft of the cabin was replaced. The new owner, jigged and tack welded all new tubing in, at stopped at that point. So Marvin Story is goinf to not only finnish weld the structure, but instruct some of us to weld at the same time. The left wing had at sometime fell (according to the previous owner) off the wall in the hangar while being stored and damaged all the leading edge nose ribs. So, Ron Wright donated the cost of all new ribs for the wing (thanks Ron!). The rest of the little bird looks pretty good. We got a spare set of landing gear, motor mount, and wing tank to use as trading stock for other parts. As it stands now, we have stripped the left wing down to just the spars, and the fuse is up on a jig to remove the landing gear. Hector Camacho is building a fuselage rotissary to aid in working on the fuse and wings (thanks Hector!). The participation in this project has been fantastic. We work every Thursday night in Hangar 16, come on out.