Home       Aeronca    Stinson                                                                                                               ... by John Baker

Aeronca Aircraft Brake Cables

Updated 7/27/04


Al Sparks of EAA Chapter 186,  general good guy, makes a temporary splice in a brake cable so I
could get home safely from the EAA 186 Fly-In at Winchester, Virginia.

I have experienced several broken brake cables on Aeroncas.  I found that both my current Chief and the Champ I once owned had 1/16" cables installed.  The proper current cables are 3/32" diameter.   While the planes apparently were originally equipped with 1/16" brake cables, somewhere not too far into the production run, the change was made to 3/32" cables.   Aeronca Aviator Carl White reports that the L-16 service manual specifies 3/32" cables.  You should also know that galvanized cables are stronger than stainless cables.

To avoid problems, check your cables to be sure they are the larger diameter.   Also make sure you have sufficient lubrication on the fairlead on the gear leg - that's where mine snapped. You can buy new PMA approved galvanized 3/32" Champ cables, already assembled, from Aircraft Spruce.  The Chief will require a field assembly, since a nicopress sleeve and thimble must be installed on the fitting at the brake pedal.  At the brake end, the cable is simply clamped to to the brake lever.  The larger cables will be a tighter fit in the cable housings and fairleads but do fit as long as the housings and fairleads are clean and lubricated.

By the way, the broken cable at the Winchester Fly-In happened just when I was pulling to a stop at the parking space, and no harm was done.  Many years ago, a cable snapped on my wife when she was on a cross-country flight in our Aeronca 7BCM.  During that flight, she was taxiing down an inclined ramp, and went through a runway light at the Front Royal, Virginia Airport, putting a nice little knick in the prop.  Ouch!  So, check those cables, and make sure they are 3/32".


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