Q: When I was at AirVenture last week I noticed a lot of 1940s era airplanes. One I saw a lot of was the Aeronca Champ. My mother learned to fly in a 1946 Aeronca Champ and I would like to have one of my own, but don’t know the first thing about them – how can I get educated before I make a purchase like this? All I have flown are “Spam cans” and I don’t know anything about vintage designs.
A: You are in luck, vintage aircraft like the Aeronca Champ have very knowledgeable groups known as ‘Type Clubs’ that can provide a plethora of information. At AirVenture they occupy the hangar at the entrance to Vintage Aircraft Parking. Each club takes a table (or two) and volunteers are there to answer questions about the designs they represent.
Away from AirVenture you will find many of these clubs online: do a search for Aircraft Type Clubs and find the design you seek. They often have very knowledgeable individuals who can answer questions about what to look for in (insert name of aircraft desired here), challenges with maintenance, where to get spare parts, how to care for the aircraft, who can provide transition training, insurance questions, who provides tailwheel training (if appropriate) in that design, quirks of the aircraft handling, who is selling one, who is buying one, etc. Good luck!
Do you have a question about aviation that’s been bugging you? Ask us anything you’ve ever wanted to know about aviation. Our experts in general aviation, training, aircraft, avionics, and more may attempt to answer your question in a future article.