The Aeronca Model 7 Champion, more commonly known as the Champ, is a single-engine, two-seat, fixed conventional gear airplane. Designed for flight training and personal use, it entered production in the United States in 1945.
Built by Aeronca Aircraft Corporation, the Champ first flew in 1944, having been designed in tandem with the 11AC Chief—the Champ with tandem seating and joystick controls, and the Chief with side-by-side seating and yoke controls. The intention was to simplify production and control costs by building a pair of aircraft with a significant number of parts in common; in fact, the two designs share between 70% and 80% of their parts. The tail surfaces, wings, landing gear, and firewall forward—engine, most accessories, and cowling, are common to both airplanes.
Selling for $2,095, the Champ outsold the Chief by an 8 to 1 margin. Engine upgrades in 1948 and 1949 resulted in the Models 7DC and 7EC. Between 1945 and 1950, Aeronca was producing 50 light aircraft per day and by the time production ended in 1951, the company had sold more than 10,000 Champions.
Aeronca ceased all production of light aircraft in 1951, and the Champ design was sold in 1954 to Champion Aircraft.
Champion Aircraft was acquired in 1970 by Bellanca Aircraft which continued production of their Champ-derived Citabria and Decathlon designs. In 1971, Bellanca introduced the 7ACA version of the Champ as a more basic complement to their other designs. Only a handful of 7ACA's were built between 1971 and 1972. Bellanca ceased all production in the early 1980s.
American Champion Aircraft Corporation acquired the Champ and related designs in 1989. In 2001, they were rumored to be considering a reintroduction of the Champ design as a 7EC powered by a Jabiru Aircraft engine. While a test version was flown, this combination was not put into production. With the creation of the Light Sport category of aircraft in the United States by the FAA, American Champion in late 2007 began producing a revised version of the 7EC.