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Aeronca 65CA “Super Chief”
Single-engine, Two-seat Light Monoplane


Archive Photos ¹


1941 Aeronca 65CA “Super Chief” (N31948, s/n C12231)

Overview ²


  • Aeronca “Chief” family
  • Chief Model 65CA
  • Role: Civil utility aircraft
  • National origin: United States of America (USA)
  • Manufacturer: Aeronca
  • First flight: 1937
  • Produced: 1936 to 1949
  • Number built: 13,700
  • Unit cost: $1,695 in 1939 (50C Chief)
  • Developed from: Aeronca C
  • Variants: Aeronca K; Aeronca L-3; Aeronca 11 Chief; Aeronca Champion; Aeronca 50 Chief; Aeronca Defender

The Aeronca K series, Aeronca Chief, Aeronca Super Chief, Aeronca Tandem, Aeronca Scout, Aeronca Sea Scout, Aeronca Champion and Aeronca Defender were a family of American high-winged light touring aircraft, designed and built from the late 1930s.

Design and Development ²


Aeronca was noted for producing light side-by-side two-seat touring aircraft since the introduction of the Aeronca C-2 in 1929. A more refined aircraft with an improved undercarriage and steel tube wing bracing struts in place of wires, was developed in 1937 as the Aeronca K, powered by a 42 hp (31 kW) Aeronca E-113 engine, beginning the long line of Aeronca high wing touring, training, military liaison and observation aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s. The K series was powered by a variety of 40 hp (30 kW) to 50 hp (37 kW) Aeronca, Continental, Franklin or Menasco engines.

Consumer demand for more comfort, longer range and better instrumentation resulted in development of the Aeronca 50 Chief in 1938. Although little more than an incremental development of the K series the Model 50 heralded a new designation system used for the high-winged tourers, including the manufacturer and power rating of the engine, dropping the letter designation system. Thus the Aeronca 65CA Super Chief was powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Continental A-65 with side-by-side seating and improvements over the 65C Super Chief. Other developments included tandem seating for use as trainer, liaison, observation aircraft or glider trainers as well as float-plane versions. Throughout the production life of the Aeronca Chief family the aircraft was improved incrementally, from a rather basic specification to a reasonably comfortable tourer with car-style interior.

Description ²


The Aeronca high-wing formula used a welded steel tube fuselage covered with fabric, wooden wings covered with plywood and fabric braced by V-struts to the rear undercarriage attachment point on the lower fuselage. Tail surfaces were also built up with welded steel tubing covered with fabric. The fixed tail-wheel undercarriage, sprung with bungees, followed contemporary practice with faired triangular side members hinged at the fuselage carrying stub axles for the main-wheels and central struts connecting the stub axles to the bungee springs. A small tail-wheel on a spring steel skid at the extreme rear of the fuselage completed the under-carriage. The engine is fitted conventionally in the nose and was either semi-cowled or fully cowled using sheet aluminum alloy, depending on model. Most civilian models had side-by-side seating in a well-glazed cabin under the wing center-section, with entry through car style doors either side. A tandem seating arrangement was developed for training and military models with the rear seat mounted 9 in (229 mm) inches higher than the front to allow the instructor to use the same instruments as the trainee and improve forward view from the back seat. Tandem seat aircraft had extensively glazed cockpits to allow good all-round visibility.

A wide variety of engines were available for use on the Aeronca Chief series, including home grown Aeronca engines and Continental, Franklin, Menasco or Lycoming engines. The engine installed was reflected in the designation using the initial letter as a suffix in the designation.

Aeronca continued development during World War II, introducing the tandem seating Aeronca 7 Champion, taking advantage of the refinements developed with previous versions. The Champion is often regarded as a completely new design, but the influence of the Chief and Tandem is readily apparent. A side-by-side version was also introduced in 1945 as the Aeronca 11 Chief. Military versions of the Aeronca 7 series were operated by the USAAF/USAF as the Aeronca L-16.

Operational History ²


Civilian aircraft proved popular as touring aircraft and as trainers. Military aircraft found employment as trainer, liaison, observation aircraft primarily with the USAAF.

Military Operators²


  • United States: United States Army Air Forces
  • United States: United States Air Force
  • United States: United States Navy (XLRN-1)

Variants ²


  • Aeronca CF Scout(1936) — Pre-cursor to the KC Scout, powered by a 40 hp (30 kW) Franklin 4AC. 6 built.
  • Aeronca K (1937) — A drastic re-design of the Aeronca C using steel tube braced wings in place of king-posts and wire bracing, new undercarriage, enclosed cabin, more powerful engine and many other detail refinements. Initial versions had a door on one side only. Powered by a 42 hp (31 kW) Aeronca E-113. 344 built.
  • Aeronca KC Scout (1937) — Detail improvements including doors either side. Powered by a 40 hp (30 kW) Continental A-40. 34 built.
  • Aeronca KC Sea Scout — Float-plane conversions of the two-door Scout.
  • Aeronca KCA Chief (1938) — Introduced a wider cabin for improved comfort, evolved into the wide-cabin 50C Chief. Powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Continental A-50. 62 built.
  • Aeronca KF Chief (1938) — A Franklin engined version of the Model K. Evolved into the 50F Chief. Powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Franklin 4AC. 5 built.
  • Aeronca KM Chief (1938) — A Menasco engined version of the Model K. Evolved into the 50M Chief. Powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Menasco M-50. 9 built.
  • Aeronca KS Sea Scout (1937) — Production float-plane versions of the Model K. 13 built.
  • Aeronca 50C Chief (1938) — An improved KCA with a wider cabin, powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Continental A-50. 248 built. The first light-plane to fly non-stop from Los Angeles to New York City, on 29-30 November 1938, covering 2,785 mi (4,482 km) miles in 30 hours 47 minutes, averaging 90 mph (145 km/h), with an impressive fuel cost-per-mile of about one cent.
  • Aeronca 50F Chief (1938) — Powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Franklin 4AC. 40 built.
  • Aeronca 50L Chief (1938) — The 50L had exposed cylinders and was powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Lycoming O-145. 65 built.
  • Aeronca 50LA Chief — The 50LA, with Lycoming engine, had a closed cowling. 20 built.
  • Aeronca 50M Chief (1938) — A single 50M was built, powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Menasco M-50.
  • Aeronca 50TC (1939) — The first tandem Aeronca, introduced as competition for the Piper Cub, powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Continental A-50. 16 built.
  • Aeronca 50TL Tandem — The 50TL was powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Lycoming O-145. 33 built.
  • Aeronca 60TF (1940) — Essentially the same as the 50TC, powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) Franklin 4AC conferring slightly increased performance.
  • Aeronca 60TL Tandem — Powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) Lycoming O-145. 118 built for the USAAF as the O-58B, powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Continental A-65.
  • Aeronca 65C Chief (1938) — Powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Continental A-65. 279 were built, many of which were impressed by the USAAF as O-58/L-3s in 1942.
  • Aeronca 65CA Super Chief — The 65C with an optional 8 US gal (30 l) auxiliary fuel tank, and other deluxe appointments. 655 built.
  • Aeronca 65LA Chief (1939) — Powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Lycoming O-145. 87 built.
  • Aeronca 65LB Super Chief (1940) — Powered by a 60 hp (45 kW) Lycoming O-145. 199 built.
  • Aeronca 65TC Tandem (1940) — Powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Continental A-65. 112 built.
  • Aeronca 65TAC Defender — Tandem seating for military training, 154 built.
  • Aeronca 65TF Tandem (1940) — Powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Franklin 4AC, 59 built.
  • Aeronca 65TAF Defender — 115 built.
  • Aeronca 65TL Tandem (1940) — Powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Lycoming O-145. 299 built plus 4 YO-58, 20 O-58, 701 L-3B, and 499 L-3C, plus 253 TG-5 gliders to the USAAF.
  • Aeronca 65TAL Defender — 100 built.
  • Aeronca 7AC Champion (1944) — The Tandem/Defender re-vitalized for the postwar market, powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Continental A-65-8, 7,200 were built and aircraft for the USAAF were designated L-16. Revived in 1954 as the Champion Citabria, which later became the Bellanca Citabria.
  • Aeronca 7ACS Champion (aka S7AC) — Floatplane versions of the 7AC.
  • Aeronca 7BCM Champion (1947) — Powered by a 85 hp (63 kW) Continental C-85-8 and fitted with improved undercarriage, reinforced fuselage, and other refinements. 509 were built, all of which were delivered to the USAAF as Aeronca L-16As.
  • Aeronca 7CCM Champion (1948) — Powered by a 90 hp (67 kW) Continental C-90-8F (O-205-1), fitted with a larger dorsal fin and wing tanks. 125 civilian models were built. (100 built for the USAAF as the L-16B)
  • Aeronca 7DC (1948) — Powered by a 85 hp (63 kW) Continental C-85-8, fitted with a dorsal fin and larger tail-plane. 168 built.
  • Aeronca 7DCM Farm Wagon — The 7DC fitted with a wood-lined cargo bin.
  • Aeronca 7DCS Champion — The 7DCS (aka S7DC) was the float-plane version with a ventral fin.
  • Aeronca 7EC Traveler (1949) — Powered by a 90 hp (67 kW) Continental C-90-12F, the first Aeronca offering a starter and a generator. 96 built. Resurrected as the Champion 7EC in 1955 and used as the basis for the Hindustan Aeronautics HAL-26 Pushpak trainer in 1958.
  • Aeronca 7ECS Champion — The 7ECS (aka S7EC) was the float-plane version of the 7EC with a ventral fin and floats.
  • Aeronca 7FC Tri-Traveler (1949) — A single prototype of a 7EC fitted with a Tricycle undercarriage.
  • Aeronca 11AC Chief (1945) — Powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Continental A-65, post-war production of the chief with more refined interior and other improvements. 1,862 built.
  • Aeronca 11ACS Chief — Aka "S11AC", the floatplane version of the 11AC Chief.
  • Aeronca 11BC Chief (1945) — Powered by a 85 hp (63 kW) Continental C-85-8F. 180 built.
  • Aeronca 11BCS Chief — Floatplane version of the 11BC.
  • Aeronca 11CC Super Chief (1948) — Powered by a 85 hp (63 kW) Continental C-85-8F, the 11CC introduced a higher gross weight, and wider center of gravity range. 276 built.
  • Aeronca 11CCS Super Chief (aka S11CC) — The floatplane version of the 11CC Super Chief.
  • Aeronca O-58 Grasshopper (1941) — The military version of the Model 65T Tandem with greenhouse cabin and 65 hp (48 kW) YO-170 / O-170-3, similar to civil models. Originally designated in the Observation category, changed to the Liaison category in 1942.
  • Aeronca L-3 (YO-58 / O-58) — 54 built.
  • Aeronca L-3A (O-58A) — 20 built.
  • Aeronca L-3B (O-58B) — 875 built.
  • Aeronca L-3C — With no radio and reduced weight. 490 built.
  • Aeronca L-3D — Eleven 65TF, with Franklin 4AC-167 engines, impressed into the USAAF.
  • Aeronca L-3E — Twelve 65TC, with Continental A-65-8 engines, impressed into the USAAF.
  • Aeronca L-3F — Nineteen Super Chiefs, with Continental A-65-8 engines, impressed into the USAAF.
  • Aeronca L-3G — Four Super Chiefs, with Lycoming O-145-B1 engines, impressed into the USAAF.
  • Aeronca L-3H — One 65TL, with Lycoming O-145-B1 engine, impressed into the USAAF.
  • Aeronca L-3J — One 65TC, with Continental A-65-7 engine, impressed into the USAAF.
  • Aeronca TG-5A — Trainer for glider pilots produced by removing the engine, fairing in the nose and fitting a tow hook for aero-towing. 253 built.
  • Aeronca TG-33A — Single TG-5 converted for prone-pilot tests.
  • Aeronca XLNR-1 — Three TG-5 gliders transferred to the US Navy.
  • Aeronca L-16 — Military Aeronca 7AC aircraft.
  • Aeronca L-16A — All 509 Aeronca 7BCM aircraft were delivered to the USAAF as the L-16A.
  • Aeronca L-16B — Production of the 7CCM Champion for the USAF, 100 built as the L-16B.

Specifications (65CA Super Chief) ³


Type

  • Single-engine two-seat light monoplane.

Wings

  • High-wing rigidly-braced monoplane.
  • Wings, of Clark "Y" section, in two sections, attached to the top longerons of the fuselage and braced to the bottom fuselage longerons by duralumin tube Vee struts.
  • Structure consists of two solid spruce spars, spruce truss type ribs, steel compression members and single wire drag-bracing, the whole being covered with fabric.
  • The ailerons of duralumin with fabric covering.

Fuselage

  • Welded steel-tube structure, with four nearly-parallel longerons forward and three from the back of seat aft to the tail-post.
  • The two top longerons act as the anchorage for the wings forward and forms the apex of the triangular-sectioned fuselage aft.
  • The two upper longerons which form the top of the forward section in the region of the cockpit terminate aft of the cockpit.

Tail Unit

  • Normal monoplane type.
  • Welded steel-tube framework covered with fabric.
  • The fin is built integral with the fuselage.
  • The left elevator has trimming-tab adjustable from cockpit.

Undercarriage

  • Divided type.
  • Consists of two streamlined side Vees incorporating oleo shock-absorber struts and two half-axles hinged to center-line the fuselage.
  • Airwheels and spring tail-skid are standard, but mechanical brakes and full-swiveling and steerable tail-wheel are available as special equipment.

Power Plant

  • One 65-hp Lycoming or Continental four-cylinder horizontally-opposed air-cooled engine on welded steel-tube mounting.
  • Main fuel tank holds 17 U.S. gallons and an auxiliary tank (8 U.S. gallons) may be installed aft of luggage compartments as special equipment.

Accommodation

  • Closed cockpit under the wings, seating two side-by-side.
  • Doors on both sides.
  • Luggage compartment behind seat.

Dimensions

  • Span: 36 ft 0 in (10.9 m)
  • Wing area: 169 ft² (15.7 m²)
  • Length: 21 ft 0 in (6.3 m)
  • Height (tail down): 6 ft 0 in (2.0 m)

Weights and Loadings

  • Weight empty: 720 lbs (327 kg)
  • Pilot: 170 lbs (77 kg)
  • Passenger: 170 lbs (77 kg)
  • Baggage: 70 lbs (32 kg)
  • Fuel and Oil: 110 lbs (50 kg)
  • Disposable load: 530 lbs (240 kg)
  • Weight loaded: 1,250 lbs (567 kg)
  • Wing loading: 7.4 lbs/ft² (36.1 kg/m²)
  • Power loading: 19.23 lbs/hp (8.37 kg/hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 109 mph (174.4 km/h)
  • Cruising speed: 100 mph (160 km/h)
  • Landing speed: 38 mph (61 km/h)
  • Initial rate of climb: 600 ft/min (183 m/min)
  • Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,575 m)
  • Cruising range: 400-500 miles (640-800 km)

References


  1. Shupek, John. “Aeronca 65CA Super Chief”, The Skytamer Archive, Copyright © 2003 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia. Aeronca Chief Family
  3. Bridgman, Leonard, “Aeronca: The Aeronca “Super Chief” Models 65CA and 65LB,” Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1941. 1941. p.130c

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