American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA, John Rasmussen
The following transcript (below) was written by the owner of this much loved and cherished aircraft, John Rasmussen, and Capricorn Plane Spotting woud like to sincerely thank John for his time and effort for bringing us the informative
yet entertaining reading about a beautifully restored and presented aeroplane.
I was visiting my brother and his family in the province of
Alberta, Canada in 1994. My brother left D.K. (Danish Kingdom) in 1956. I also called in at Gary Hillman’s Hangar at Penhold – Red Deer Industrial Airport – where I spotted this beautifully restored 1956 Aeronca Champion 7FC - Tritraveller
(American Champion Aircraft Corp - serial no 118).
She was sitting there – spic and span – on the clean and heated hangar floor, with 2 ft of snow outside. I asked
Gary if I might be allowed to sit in the front (tandem seats) of this registered C-FLIA, and do some dreaming ?
A little while later, Gary came over and spoke through the port
sliding window: “She’s for sale, you know”
I then discovered that this delightful airplane - we are still in Canada - belonged to an elderly gentleman by
the name of John Wittwer, Gary’s father-in-law and former crop sprayer (lingo also Canadian) pilot from way back flying Stinsons and Ag-Cats.
I called in on this-true-gentleman
at Stettler where he also had an immaculate Piper Super Cub sitting in his shed – very low hours, but not for sale.
John got excited when I showed interest in the old Champ,
and he told me a few stories about her. She had hit a snow bank in Calgary one winter, and he had replaced the port wooden wing spar, fitted new fabric all over and finished off with a complete paint job.
We made a deal, where he actually offered to knock Can$1000 off the price, Can $18000.
He conceded that it would be an expense to me to ship it to Brisbane,
John himself did the packing of the aircraft into the container which I had organized through a shipping firm in Sydney. The trip went by rail across the Rocky Mountains
(British Columbia) to Vancouver, then by Container Ship down through the Panama Canal to England – and onwards via the Suez Canal to Australia.
At Hawker Pacific who put
it together again and ‘Australianized’ the old girl, I remember the Chief Engineer’s comment:
“Whoever packed this aircraft into the container must have
loved her dearly, it was exceptionally, carefully done“.
I was endorsed on now VH-LIA at Gordon Jenkinson’s Sunland Aviation, Archerfield, and almost (feeling) taller
than the cockpit allowed, I got in and flew her home to Smoky Creek Airfield, now in ERSA / ALA as YSMK. The date was August 21st 1995.
The Champ is powered by a Continental C90–16F
engine, developing 95hp and driving a McCauley IB90 / CM7345 propeller. I use LL100 Av-Gas, adding a light dose of Penrite upper cylinder lube (40mm per 20L) and thereby overcame an earlier, slight, problem with a sticking exhaust valve.
The engine is fully approved for using MoGas (Petersen Aviation Inc, Calgary), I gave that type of fuel away.
- flight planning - at 78-80 kts and takes-off / lands at her maximum 658 kg. She is hard to stall, even at 42 kts / one person – power off.
I am still in touch with John
Wittwer in Stettler, Alberta. I visited him in 2011 and he is now approaching the age of 90.
Hangar friends at Smoky Creek Airfield, Karatoo J6 19-4396 & American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA.
American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca
Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca
Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca
Champion 7FC VH-LIA. American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA.
Karatoo J6 19-4396 & American Aeronca Champion 7FC VH-LIA, Smoky Creek Airfield.