The 1930 single-place C-2 was Aeronca’s first production airplane. Fabric covered and built with a welded steel tube fuselage and spruce wings, the C-2, also known as the “flying bathtub,” revolutionized the depression-era aircraft industry with its economical operating cost. The original retail price was $1,555, which seems cheap, but when considering that the average new car at the time cost roughly $650, and that the average salary in the U.S. was just $1,600, it was still a serious investment. Adjusting that $1,555 for inflation, however, tells a very different story about airplane prices: in 2016 dollars, that brand-new Aeronca C-2 would cost just $21,000.
The C-2-N is a development of the C-2 using a slightly more powerful engine. Only four C-2-Ns were built and our example, NC13089, is one of just two remaining. Designed by a U.S. Army engineer named Jean A. Roche, the prototype for what became the C-2 first flew in September of 1925 after approximately two years of development. Roche’s prototype was originally powered by a Wright-Morehouse WM-80 engine, but switched to a 30-hp Aeronca E-107 shortly before Aeronca bought the rights to the design in 1928.
The C-2N uses an early model 36-hp E-113 engine that only has a single magneto ignition system. Later Aeronca engines all featured dual magnetos as required by the new safety standards of the late 1930s. It consumes about three gallons of gas per hour in cruise at 85 percent power.
NC13089 set the following records:
- Irene I. Crum - International altitude record 19,425.814 feet
- Howard C. Mayes Jr. - Altitude record for Junior pilots 19,997 feet
- Benjamin King - 500 km speed record for single-seat light seaplanes 70.499 mph
- Benjamin King - Airline distance record for single-seat light seaplanes 230.314 miles
- Benjamin King - International Altitude Record, single-seat light seaplanes 15,081.976 feet
- Benjamin King - 100 km speed record, single-seat light seaplanes 80.931 mph
- Benjamin King - Airline distance record, light seaplanes 221.20 miles
The EAA AirVenture Museum’s Aeronca C-2 was donated by the estate of John H. McGeary Jr. of Miami, Florida.
Aircraft Make & Model: Aeronca C-2-N
Length: 20 feet
Wingspan: 36 feet
Height: 7 feet 6 inches
Empty Weight: 426 pounds
Gross Weight: 782 pounds
Powerplant: Aeronca E-113 flat two-cylinder
Cruise Speed: 70 mph
Maximum Speed: 85 mph