The Aeronca 7 Champion line was created in the mid-1940s as a response to the popular Piper J-3 Cub. It utilizes similar design features to Aeronca’s wartime designs such as the Aeronca Model T, Aeronca Defender, and Aeronca L-3, but also incorporates traditional Aeronca designs such as the internal main trusswork of the fuselage frame. The Champ is a high-wing, two-seat plane with tandem seating, conventional landing gear, and a small piston engine.
The Champ’s fuselage and tail surfaces are made of welded metal tubing and covered with fabric. The metal fuselage truss has a triangular cross-section, a design feature dating back to the earliest Aeronca C-2 design of the late 1920s. The Champ’s wings are strut-braced, fabric-covered, and use aluminum ribs. Most Champs were built with wooden spars, but American Champion has made aluminum spars available for retrofit installation on older aircraft.
The Champ has tandem seating like the Piper Cub, but the Champ can be soloed from the front seat, which gives improved forward visibility, particularly during takeoffs, landings, and climbs. The Champ offers 300 degrees of visibility to a front-seated pilot and has a wider cabin than the Cub. Some Champs were produced with an enlarged rear seat allowing two passengers to be carried.
Most Champs have conventional landing gear with a steerable tailwheel, steel tube main gear, and an oleo strut for shock absorption. However, some Champs were produced with tricycle gear or even reversed tricycle gear. The floatplane versions of the Champ were designated S7AC, S7CCM, S7DC, and S7EC, and have increased gross weights over the corresponding landplanes.