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A history of the Aeronca, Bellanca, American Champion Family of Aircraft

By Tom Beamer - tom@theairport.com
 

Page 1 - Aeronca Beginnings

Page 2 - Aeronca/Champion/Bellanca-Champion/American Champion Models

Page 3 - Early Aircraft Designations

Page 4 - The Citabria Era Designations

Page 5 - The 8 Series

Page 6 - And..

Page 7 - Structure (Fuselage and Wings)

 

Citabria era

        7ECA, Citabria now the Aurora, originally with a 100 hp Continental later production aircraft have a 115 or 118 hp Lycoming, essentially a 7EC with squared and swept vertical fin, squared rear windows, and the FIRST Aerobatic Category certification in FAA history hence the A.

        7GCAA, Citabria now Adventure,150 hp (later 160 hp), your choice either a 7GCA with squared and swept vertical fin, and squared rear windows, or a 7ECA with a larger engine, and the second A for aerobatic. With the optional 180 hp Vantage engine it becomes the Ultimate Adventure.

        7GCBC, Citabria, briefly marketed as Scout currently Explorer, 150 hp (later 160 hp), according to the FAA a 7GCAA fuselage with 7GCB wings, the 7GCB wings had increased span and flaps. Since there was already a 7GCBA (A for ag, Restricted Category) Champion seemed to have decided adding an additional fifth letter would be confusing so a C was added to denote the changes, not sure why they jumped over B. With the optional 180 hp Vantage engine it becomes the High Country Explorer.

        7KCAB, Citabria, 150 hp, a 7GCAA with fuel injection and inverted oil for better inverted aerobatic performance. Its probable, but unconfirmed, that 7KCA was used as the designation for the factory R&D aircraft when developing the original Citabria aerobatic certification, this would explain adding a third letter to denote a later production model of the aircraft.

The 7ECA, 7GCAA, 7KCAB all have the same airframe, same span, no flaps, with different engines, or in the case of the 7KCAB a different fuel/oil system. The 7GCBC has the same fuselage with longer span flapped wings.

The original 7ECA, 7GCAA, 7GCBC, and 7KCABs were built with oleo gear as were all prior aircraft, the spring steel gear was introduced to production aircraft in the late 60s (1967-68). All pre-1990 aircraft were built with wooden spars, all post-1990 aircraft have metal spars.

The current 7 series production lineup is the 7EC, 7ECA, 7GCAA, 7GCBC, both 8 series aircraft are in current production but the 8KCAB is only available in the Super Decathlon version.

 

Page 1 - Aeronca Beginnings

Page 2 - Aeronca/Champion/Bellanca-Champion/American Champion Models

Page 3 - Early Aircraft Designations

Page 4 - The Citabria Era Designations

Page 5 - The 8 Series

Page 6 - And..

Page 7 - Structure (Fuselage and Wings)

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