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Aeronca C-3  3-View
February 1962 American Modeler

February 1962 American Modeler

February 1962 American Modeler Cover - Airplanes and Rockets Table of Contents

Aeromodeling has seen significant changes over the decades both in technology and preferences. Magazines like American Aircraft Modeler, American Modeler, and Air Trails were the best venues for capturing snapshots of the status quo of the day. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

Aeronca C-3 (Wikipedia image) - Airplanes and RocketsThis short article and 3-view drawing by James Trigg appeared in the February 1962 edition of American Modeler magazine. With a 36-foot wingspan and a mere 40 horsepower for an engine, the Aeronca C-3 performed more like a powered glider than a typical power plane. Its wing loading of 6.15 lb/sq.ft. yielded it a climb rate of 450 ft/min and a  glide ratio of 10:1. Only 400 were built before new FAA airworthiness standards caused production to halt. One of the first built-up glow engine models I built as a kid back in Mayo, Maryland, was a Sterling Aeronca C-3. It was powered by a Cox Pee Wee .020 engine. I do not remember whether it ever actually flew under power or not.

Aeronca C-3

Flattened-rudder version of Aeronca C-3 on floats - Airplanes and Rocketsby 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 - Airplanes and Rockets

Aeronca C-3 "Collegian" Fuselage Frame Detail

Aeronca C-3  3-View Drawing - Airplanes and Rockets

Aeronca C-3  3-View Drawing


The AMA Plans Service offers a full-size version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They will scale the plans any size for you. It is always best to buy printed plans because my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing plans also help to support the operation of the Academy of Model Aeronautics - the #1 advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this plan on file, I will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.

Try my Scale Calculator for Model Airplane Plans.



Posted July 8, 2024
(updated from original post on 6/2/2013)

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Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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