Aeronca C2s & C3s

Aeronca C3

You can’t  live in the world of airplanes, especially antique and vintage taildraggers, and not have “a thing” for one or another. Mine happens to be the Aeronca C2s which began production in 1928 and the C3s in 1931. I can imagine myself flying a C3 solo, and I do mean solo because even though it’s a 2 place side-by-side, its a tight squeeze to get 2 bodies in the tiny little cockpit – by today’s standards anyway.  People must have been a heck of a lot smaller back then to comfortably fit in this 2-place airplane!

Aeronca C-2

They used a 2 cylinder piston engine, the Aeronca E-113C. With only 36 hp I doubt I’d want anybody riding along, even if they managed to get in too. They were not known for superior performance – a friend told me that on some days there just wasn’t enough lift to get off and it would turn into a high speed taxi session.. 🙂

Aeronca C-3 Master

All things come to an end; production was halted on the C-3s  in 1937 when they no longer met new U.S. government standards for airworthiness. “Many of the C-3’s peculiarities—external wire braces, extensive fabric construction, single-ignition engine, and lack of an airspeed indicator—were no longer permitted. Fortunately for the legion of Aeronca owners, a “grandfather” clause in the federal regulations allowed their airplanes to continue flying, although they could no longer be manufactured.”

"Notice the Johnson airspeed indicator on the whistle stick", Robert Keith Armstrong Photo

Aeronca C3’s are just cool. Quirky cool. Peculiar cool. Flying bathtub cool. And that’s all OK. It would probably take a mechanic standing by to work on it 5 hours for every hour it flew so that leaves me out of the running for any rare one left to find. What I do know is, if I had one, I’d fly low and slow and drop in at grass strips and pancake breakfasts all summer long! Me and my flying bathtub!


And this last picture HAS to have a home on Ladies Love Taildraggers! No, she’s surely not in a C2 or C3 – I’m sure someone can tell me what airplane she’s about to get a ride in but you gotta love this rare photograph. Leather helmet – goggles – piercing eyes – a face that’s lived a hard life – and from the look on her face, I don’t think she’s convinced an airplane ride is a very good idea?

I swear I see a family resemblance on my father's side. Could it be?!!

Thanks to Keith Robert Armstrong for several amazing pictures!

  • Robert Armstrong
    Posted at 16:05h, 19 July Reply

    I too love the little C-2’s and C-3’s, even have a couple E-113C engines and a NOS propeller but no airplane for them. My interest comes from my late Father who, as a boy, had his very first airplane ride in a C-3. Sure would like to find one to restore some day. Glad you liked the pictures too…Bob

  • Susan
    Posted at 21:38h, 26 June Reply

    I’m with you — they are so quirky they are cool! I’d love to fly one some day just to see what it’s like! We were at Brodhead WI for the Grassroots fly-in a few years back — a C3 and Heath Parasol were out flying over the field and a 3 or 4 ship formation of geese joined up on the two aircraft and flew across the field with them… it was an absolutely wonderful sight… but you can imagine those two planes don’t move very fast! 🙂

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