Aeronca C-2
Single-engine Single-seat Ultralight Monoplane

Archive Photos 1

1930 Aeronca C-2, NC647W, s/n 27, at the Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California (Photos by John Shupek)

1932 Aeronca C-2 Scout (N11417) at the Virginia Aviation Museum, Sandston, VA (Photos by John Shupek)

Overview 2

The Aeronca C-2 is an American ultralight monoplane designed by Jean A. Roche and built by Aeronca Aircraft.

Roche Monoplane 2

Jean A. Roche was a U.S. Army engineer at McCook Field airfield in Dayton, Ohio. Roche developed an aircraft with automatic stability and was granted U. S. Patent No. 1,085,461. Roche published his engineering ideas for the aircraft in Aerial Age Weekly and Slipstream Monthly magazines. The prototype was started in Ohio in 1923 with the assistance of fellow engineer Quienten Doshse. The aircraft used a triangular cross section welded steel tube fuselage, with wood wings, was fabric covered, and used wire bracing throughout. A Henderson engine was installed, but did not perform well. Next a custom 29 hp two cylinder Morehouse engine was developed for the aircraft. On September 1, 1925 the aircraft was successfully test flown. Many pilots including Jimmy Doolittle tried out the aircraft. Wright Aeronautical hired Morehouse and rights to his Wright-Morehouse WM-80 engine. Left without an engine, They turned to Robert E. Galloway of the Aeronautical Corporation of America to use the Aeronca E-107 engine. The rights to the aircraft were sold to Aeronca in 1928 as the basis for the C-2 Design.

Aeronca C-2 2

The Aeronca C-2, powered by a tiny two-cylinder engine, debuted in 1929. It was flying at its most basic, the pilot sat on a bare plywood board. The C-2 featured an unusual, almost frivolous design with an open-pod fuselage that inspired its nickname, The Flying Bathtub, The general design of the C-2 could have been inspired by Jean Roche’s initial flight experiences with an American-built copy of the Santos-Dumont Demoiselle, which had a similar triangular "basic" fuselage cross-section, and wire spoked main landing gear wheels right up against the fuselage sides.

Equipped with only five instruments, a stick, and rudder pedals … brakes and a heater cost extra … the C-2 was priced at a low $1,495, bringing the cost of flying down to a level that a private citizen could aspire to and perhaps reach. Aeronca sold 164 of the economical C-2s at the height of the Great Depression in 1930-1931, helping to spark the growth of private aviation in the United States.

The Aeronca C-2 also holds the distinction of being the first aircraft to be refueled from a moving automobile. A can of gasoline was handed up from a speeding Austin automobile to a C-2 pilot … who hooked it with a wooden cane … during a 1930 air show in California. A seaplane version of the C-2 was also offered, designated the PC-2 and PC-3 (P for pontoon) with floats replacing the wheeled landing gear.

A single Aeronca C-2 was converted to a glider by H.J. Parham in England after an in-flight engine failure and forced landing. The nose was faired in after the removal of the engine. It first flew as a glider 15 May 1937 and went to the Dorset Glider Club but was destroyed in the club hangar during a storm in November 1938.

Variants 2

Specifications and Performance Data (Aeronca C-2) 3




Tail Unit


Power Plant



Weights and Loadings



  1. Shupek, John. Aeronca C-2, The Skytamer Archive, Copyright © 1999, 2009 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aeronca C-2
  3. Grey, C.G. and Bridgman, Leonard, Aeronca: The Aeronca Monoplane, Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft 1931. 1931. pp.242c-243c


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