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Chief N86176

 The Aeronca Chief I owned from 1999 through 2012 - Photos and Adventures.
Added 7/11/00  Updated 1/3/13

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December 12, 2012.  Silhouetted against the grey winter sky, the Chief departs from Ophelia.  The first destination was Petersburg, Virginia where the plane was disassembled for transport by truck for the remainder of the trip to Oregon.  N86176 has since arrived safely in Oregon.

December 12, 2012.  Today the Chief flew away to begin its journey to the new owners in Oregon.  The ferry pilot is Chuck Tippett, well known locally as a wing walker and pilot for the Bealeton Flying Circus.

November 6, 2011.  Nine vintage aircraft met at a bean field near Coles Point, VA for an impromptu fly-in lunch.  I was the first to land.  More photos from the event can be seen here.

June 18, 2010.  My wife Sukey snapped this shot as I prepared for a spin around the patch on a beautiful, clear and calm June evening.  If you look closely, you can see the rope that ties the tail down so the plane can't roll forward while I hand prop to start.


April 14, 2010.  A milestone was reached today as I moved the Chief to the new hangar. 

November 8, 2009.  A beautiful and warm day at VA99.  I took time out from working on the new hangar to take the Chief out for a flew trips "around the patch."

February 5. 2009.  A rare warm, calm and sunny day in February, so it was time to take the Chief out for a little fun.  That's the local country church at the north end of the runway, so we always curtail our takeoffs during Sunday church services.  Tall trees at the end of the runway can be intimidating.  Photo courtesy of Michael Roe.


October 4, 2008.  A big day for the Chief.  I flew it from Frederick, Maryland to its new home in Ophelia, VA.  In the first photo I'm on base leg for VA99.   The strip is in the center of the photograph and I'm landing to the north.  In the background is the confluence of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.  My neighbor across the runway has graciously allowed me to keep the Aeronca in his hangar until I can complete mine.  My neighbor's beautiful C-170 in the background is apart so a few skins can be replaced.


August 18, 2006. At 6500 feet over the Shenandoah Mountains near Front Royal, Virginia.  This was on a return flight from Ophelia, Virginia, where I tested the freshly mowed grass.  Total flying time for the day was 5.8 hours; total fuel used was 22.6 gallons.   The GPS helps as I weave through and around the complex airspace near Washington, D.C.


March 27, 2006.  Sitting in the grass in front of John Federhart's hangar at Federhart-Ophelia Stolport on the Northern Neck of Virginia.  A nice little private grass strip on the Chesapeake Bay.  I think the Chief likes it here.  I flew in and had lunch - 4.8 hours round trip following a route that skirted the infamous Washington ADIZ.  A direct route would have taken considerably less time and fuel, but would have led me right over the White House.


June 24, 2005.  Sentimental Journey Fly-In, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.  A beautiful fly-in with lots of Cubs and a handful of Aeroncas.  I had a great time at the fly-in and heartily recommend it.   As a bonus, the Chief was awarded the trophy for "Outstanding Classic Aircraft."  

April 5, 2005.  The new Sensenich wood prop helps to give that vintage look.  The change in props reduced the empty weight by 16 pounds. 

April 24, 2004.  Photographed at the Second Annual Massey Aerodrome Chili Fiesta Fly-In.  Massey (MD1) is a great little grass strip on Maryland's eastern shore.  The silver plane in the background is the L-16B belonging to Tony Markl.  Tony and I would like to see Massey become an annual gathering place for Aeroncas in the mid-Atlantic region (and beyond). This is a perfect grass-roots airport and there was a nice gathering of aircraft - everything from Staggerwings to Cubs to RV-8's.  And the chili was great!

October 5, 2003.  On display at the EAA Chapter 186 Fall Fly-In at Winchester, Virginia.  If you get there early, you get a good parking spot and there are plenty of pancakes.  I was actually lucky enough to eat pancakes with Mr. Pancake, also regarded by many as Mr. Aeronca.

August, 2003.  Here's the instrument panel of N86176.  The configuration is standard, but the finish is black "crinkle" instead of the original woodgrain.  Here we are ready to fly, with the Lowrance Airmap 100 GPS mounted on the yoke and the Yaesu com radio clipped to the side panel.  I have since upgraded to a Garmin 196.  An external antenna is mounted on the left wing root. For an illustration of the electrical system, click here.

July 8, 2003.  Taking 12 year-old Eric for his first light airplane ride, from Richard West's beautiful grass strip (DE21), near Bethany Beach, Delaware. The morning dew is still on the wings.

June 1, 2002.  On display at the AOPA Open House and Airport Appreciation Day at Frederick, Maryland (FDK).  Nearly 900 aircraft flew in for this event.  I was happy not to fight the air traffic.  I only had to taxi down from hangar B-10.  EAA Chapter 524 set up a tent and displays and provided information on EAA and homebuilding.  We had about 20 homebuilt aircraft (plus my Chief) parked in front of our tent.  Lots of fun!

December 26, 2001.  Moved from Hangar 9 at FDK (dirt floor, leaky roof, hard-to-open doors) to newly built Hangar B-10 at FDK (electric bi-fold door, lights, cement floor, valet parking) on December 15th.  A nice new home for the Chief.  Notice the dry-wall indicating a fire wall between Hangar B-10 and B-9.  Each row of the new T-hangars contains 12 units.  The fire wall divides the row in half.  These 80 units were built just in front of the AOPA building.  FDK is an up and coming airport!

March 11, 2001.  Son Andy and I flew to Davis Airport in Laytonsville, Maryland (W50), where I once kept my Stinson and Champ.  Sadly, activity at Davis has diminished as restrictions following 9/11 have disallowed non-transponder equipped aircraft and added complex ATC procedures.

September 17, 2000.  My son Andy and I flew to Gettyburg, Pennsylvania for a Pancake Breakfast sponsored by EAA Chapter 1041.
This photo shows off the unusual paint scheme on the wings.

August 12, 2000 - Young Eagles day at Frederick Airport.  Two Young Eagles (and little brother) show off their flight certificates.  The event was sponsored by EAA Chapter 524 and the Big Brothers and Sisters of Frederick.  EAA Chapter members with the 'big planes" (Cessna Skyhawks and Piper Warriors) gave kids rides.  We used the Chief to demonstrate how an airplane flies and gave them a quiz on the parts of the airplane.  Yellow tags with numbers were attached to the spinner, wing, fuselage, etc. and the kids (with a little help) identified the parts of the airplane.  The kids liked the plane ("It's little like me!") and the adults thought it was "so cute."

July 8, 2000.  Andy, here at age 10, relaxes under the wing at the EAA Chapter 36 Fly-In and open house at the Hagerstown, Maryland airport.

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