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Page 40
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 2
ends. Ray was always around, in the shop or
leaning his big elbows on the counter in the
flight shack, picking at the grease under his
finger nails, telling anyone who'd listen about
his grand plans to build a newer and larger
flight office. Clyde coolly mentioned that he
and his father were in the retail furniture
business. "How about a trade?" Clyde asked,
which is how Ray ended up with a room full of
pricey new office furniture he couldn't other-
wise afford, and Clyde and his father got title
to a 1946 Aeronca Champ airplane, what most
non-flyers might consider a jalopy and what
aircraft buffs praise as a post-war classic.
Originally called the 7AC Champion, the
Champ was a taildragger, a 65-horsepower,
single-engine, tandem two-seater and, unlike
the J-3 Cub, it could be soloed from the front
or the backseat.
Ray used the Champ as a rental, and af-
ter frequent use (this was after the deal was
largely inked) the poor thing looked flaky-
skinned and tired. Up close it reminded
Clyde of an oversized toy: metal tubing and
wooden formers and stringers all covered in
fabric. The wings were made of wood spars
and aluminum ribs, and it had a slim thirteen-
gallon fuel tank wedged in behind the instru-
1973. Same Aeronca Champ shown on previous page after being painted white with blue stripe.
Photo courtesy of Clyde Barker.