Ted's Aircraft Shop
The Story of Aeronca Champ (L-16A) N2777C
There are really only two ways to get to know an aircraft--tear it down and rebuild it and learn to fly it with precision. And that has been the journey for me this past three years. I was adopted by a group of EAA'ers at Zelienople Airport who took upon themselves to teach me how to maintain N2777C and fly it with precision. The real expert is Charlie Potts, an FAA inspector by profession, but in his heart an Aeronca Champ mechanic. He taught me everything I know about the aircraft with the able assistance of Jason Godwin who is the authorized A&P/IA at Zelienople. What Charlie does not know, Jason does.
Every year, Charlie takes me through the annual maintenance, and Jason finishes the inspection and logbook signoff. When
Charlie is stumped, he consults with Bill Pancake, a national expert on Aeronca's and Charlie's relative. We
have fixed broken exhaust studs, replaced the control cables, and taken apart the oleo gear. What a privilege.
for flying, my training has been in the hands of Don LaVoie and Bob Mapel. Don runs a formation flying program for the
warbirds at Zelie. We have an L-2 Taylorcraft (Charlie's), an L-3 Aeronca (Don's), and another L-3 currently in restoration
at Bill Pancake's shop. Bob Mapel is the chief flight instructor. No body knows more about precision flying than
Bob Mapel. I constantly learn from him.
For the past two years, Don and Bob have trained Charlie and me in formation flying. We use the Fourth of July as an occasion
to perform our missing man formation. (An article on this subject follows.)
My constant and courageous companion
is my wife Sue. We often take to the air to fly low and slow and see the world up where it looks clean. We flew to Middletown,
Ohio for the Aeronca Fly-In in 2008. What a thrill.