Aeroncas Meet Up in Middletown for Annual Fly-In
By H.G. Frautschy
June 24, 2010 — Every two years since the mid-1980s, the National Aeronca Association has organized a fly-in on the same airport where most of the aircraft were built by the 82-year-old company. The Aeronautical Corporation of America, Aeronca, was founded in 1928, and has continuously produced aircraft and aircraft components since they delivered their first Aeronca C-2 from Lunken Airport in Cincinnati.
After a move in 1940 following a devastating flood in 1937 at their Cincinnati factory, the company moved up the Miami River to Middletown, Ohio. Hook Field, built behind the levee on bottom land on a bend in the river, saw the production of every Aeronca (and license-built Fairchild PT-23s during World War II) until they ended aircraft production in 1951. The company then when into the subcontracting business, becoming a leader in brazed honeycomb aerospace structures. Did you know that the outer heat shield panels on the Apollo Command Module spacecraft were built by Aeronca?
59 of the 17,408 airplanes built by Aeronca spent a long weekend on Hook Field, their owner/pilots enjoying a side trip to the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, and a tour of the “new” Aeronca plant (the original plant just plain wore out!). A catered pork dinner in one of the vintage hangars on the airport on Friday welcomed pilots and attendees, and the fly-in culminated in the Saturday night banquet held at the Middletown Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall. Aeronca retiree Bob Hollenbaugh gave a brief talk about the history of the Aeronca Model 9, the Arrow, a low-wing, wooden speedster that never progressed beyond the prototype stage. As a young man fresh out of A&P school at Parks College near St. Louis, Bob worked on the project, and began a career that would span 40 years at the company.
A sampling of the awards presented to a few of the aircraft include the Grand Champion Classic, 11AC N86391 - Buzz Guthrie; Grand Champion Antique, 65CA N33708 - Ed Kale, Jerry Langley; Kevin Bower’s 7BCM for Best Post-War Custom Aeronca; Best in Class Military Aeronca, Lloyd Thompson for his L-16B, N2558B; Best in Class Post-War Aeronca Champion, 7AC N81985 - Bill See; Best in Class, Aeronca Sedan, 15AC N1003H - Konrad Jockus; Best in Class Post-War Aeronca Chief went to Dwayne Hargrove for his 11AC, N85888. For the rest of the award winner list and photos of all the aircraft that attended the fly-in, visit http://www.aeroncapilots.com/15nac_photos.htmFor a slideshow of a few of the highlights of the fly-in, click here.