Questions about purchase of 15ac

Aeronca Sedan Airplanes
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Questions about purchase of 15ac

Post by Guest » Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:17

I am looking at a 1948 Sedan and wanted to know if there were any flaws in particular that I should look for in a Sedan (specific areas of corrosion, perculiarities about the plane, etc.).

The plane I'm looking at has 4300 hours on the frame and 1000 on the engine (stock). The fella has it listed for $28,500 which seems high. The plane has 29x10 tires/wheels, droop tips, and skiis with it. Does the price sound right?

Two things I noticed about it that seem unusual:
1. The empennage seems to have some "loose" fabric (or maybe its more of a wrinkle?). The overall fabric seems ok though. (I'm not an a&p!) Any ideas why this could be happening?
2. This is hard to describe. The fabric around the rear windows seems to be repaired or "taped" in. I didn't know if this was something particular to this plane or if Sedan's maybe had problems with the rear windows. The windows up front must be after-market; they are green. Did the fella possibly replace the rear windows and do a bad job of it?

Additionally, I have 0 time in a Sedan. So, any advice about its handling capabilities or perculiarities would be very helpful!

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Tim :D

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Post by joea » Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:37


Welcome! First, if you register you will get email notifications when someone responds to your questions. Makes it a lot easier.

Without looking at the bird, cannot tell about the price. If its in good condition, engine in good shape, not needing recover or no damage or rust in the airframe, the price is very good. Most go for $40k on up depending on condition, time and such.

Loose fabric usually is not good. Can be covering up damage. What kind of fabric is on the bird and when was it recovered? Any signs of damage in that area? All Aeronca's (for that matter, any tube and fabric airplane) see lots of issues in the tailcone area. It slopes downwards and any water or moisture goes in the back. If there is rust, its usually in the tailcone area. Would look there very well.

Stock windows were not green that I know of.

Handling on a Sedan? Well, the vast majority of them are in Canada or Alaska because they will haul a very good load and take landing on just about anything. That says a lot! They fly just like a Chief or Champ with a bit more room and power. When I win the lotto I will buy one!

Where are you located and what do you want to do with the plane? Where is this plane located? By the water? In the bush or ? What have they been doing with it? All these questions go to how its been treated, which effects the value. Hope you can get a good A&P/IA who knows tube and fabric and get the plane inspected. That can save you a load of money in the long run.

Hope this helps,

joe A



Post by Guest » Thu Feb 02, 2006 13:18

I live in Alaska. I believe the guy was hunting/fishing/hauling with the plane, same thing I want to do. I'll call the owner and post a follow up with more specific info about the airframe, fabric, and I'll try to post pictures.

$40.000-$50,000 seems like a lot for a Sedan (rebuilt?). This is the second Sedan I've looked at. The first one sold right away-for $14,000-with a Franklin 165 and an 82" climb prop. (The plane didn't com with any radios and had a shabby interior; it was also a divorce/paperwork mess.)

With regards to what I've read on this forum about Sedans I would have to agree with joea that there are quite a few 15 AC's in Alaska. There are 4 at the airport that I rent from so I figured that they were fairly common. Good to hear there is someone making aftermarket parts for them.



15AC Picts

Post by Guest » Thu Feb 02, 2006 15:56

I am going to attempt to place picts of the plane here!

This should be a pict of the pilot side tail. Notice the bottom quarter of the photo the fabric is wrinkled.



These are two photos of the windows-doesn't look standard to me, it looked "taped" or recovered in some fashion.


These should be picts of the plane.


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Post by Louis » Thu Feb 02, 2006 15:56

I can't guess about the wrinkled fabric without looking at the plane, but agree with Joe, that it may indicate some damage you may want to look at closely.

As far as the rear windows, I had trouble keeping mine from coming out because the wooden frame was rotting and there wasn't enough solid wood left to hold the screws in. When I took the fabric off for rebuild the wood fell out in pieces. That's something you might want to check.

I talked to a guy a while back who was actually in the process of replacing the window frames without removing the fabric. I'd be curious to see how how that worked out. If there is rotton wood, obviously, one should check for "rotten" metal too!

Good luck and keep us posted.....Louis


More on 15AC

Post by Guest » Thu Feb 02, 2006 17:21

As a follow-up to joea, the owner said that the plane was covered in 1984 w/Stitts. The wrinkle in the tail (according to Burl) is a bad shrink job. The owner said the longeron was fine and the airframe didn't have any corrosion.

The rear windows were bad patch jobs. The owner was going to replace the windows and put in l/r seaplane doors but never did.

The engine has 1029 on it and he said the 145hp tbo's at 2035. All cylinders are 70+.

Just wondering if anyone had a clue as to what the value would be w/skiis and 29x10 tires/wheels. Overall condition appears to be good.

Also, the owner used it for duck & moose hunting/recreational flying.

One last question (forgot to ask the owner!) what can be expected for cruise mph/kts and gph?

Any comments welcomed. Thanks in advance.


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Post by Nathan K. Hammond » Thu Feb 02, 2006 21:57

Hi Tim

$28,500 sounds like a good price, and I would be happy if I got it for $25k.
Figure the 29" cost $3000, skis are about $2000, it comes with the cover
(?) thats a couple hundred, drooped tips another grand. As long as it's
mechanically sound, and the papers are in order, I think its a good deal.
Franklin parts are still easy to come by so thats not too big a concern,
plus when treated good they will last. (1100 hrs on a 65hp Franklin w/ a
TBO of 500) When the time comes for an overhaul though, you might
look into an O-470 or something just to give a little extra punch. There's
no replacement for displacement!

Performace wise, think of it as a little C180. They can haul a load, cruise
anywhere from 90-120 (prop) and handle the ruff and tumbel of Alaska
and places far off. If you have any questions, Burl's the man to ask!

Super 85-12F @ DVK

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Post by Louis » Fri Feb 03, 2006 02:26

That looks like a decent price to me for what's there. You won't find many other four place planes for that!

My Sedan has the C-145 and a climb prop and gets about 80kts/95mph, with the 26" Goodyear tires, which probably has about the same drag as the Gar-Aero tires on the plane you're looking at.

As far as handling, if you've flown any Aeronca or Citabria, you'll feel right at home in the Sedan......Louis

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Post by sedanpilot » Tue Feb 07, 2006 01:14

I also looked at this airplane, although I am not in the market. I think it is a pretty good price, but I think a new fabric job is probably not too far in the future. When we bought our Sedan the engine only had 90 hours on it, in 9 years. We got a good education on internal engine corrosion. The oil pan and cam on the O-300/C145 are suseptable so if the engine hasn't been well cared forr, that could be an issue. Fixing these problems cost $4300. Since the Sedan only has a fabric fuselage, even a recover isn't too unreasonable and you will get to see all the tubes. Finding some corrosion is par for the course for an old tail dragger. It can all be fixed and nothing is hard to do. Aeronca did a good job using fairly standard parts in most places and it is a simple airplane.

I have a set of the Gar Aero's and took them off. They work well and if you really need the extra size, they are great. For us, there are too heavy. 8.50x6 tires on a 6 inch rim are a lot lighter and almost the same size. They are also about $150 each instead of thousands for bushwheels.

The Sedan is one of the easiest tail draggers around to fly. It is stable and has good directional stability and responsive controls. It can be fairly easily converted to a lycoming 0-360 and that makes a real good performer. It is wider and more comfortable than a C-185, but slower. I plan on 9.6 GPH in cruise and cruise at about 97 mph. I usually get about 8.7 GPH if I lean, but I don't plan on that. Burl does an excellent job supporting it.

If you do buy it, and don't want the skis, I might be interested. New Landis 2500's I think are about 3 kilo dollars.

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