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Aeronca Club of Great Britain   Croft Farm
Aeronca Fly-in
Croft Farm
September 22, 2007
Croft Farm holds a very well attended 'Defford Air Day' each summer. Today the 'Aeronca Club of Great Britain' chose to visit the farm strip for the first time as one of their half dozen fly-ins of the year. The weather,  which was showery with low clouds and gusting wind did little to encourage pilots to take to the air. By mid-day the Aeronca's started to arrive flying  from Cornwall, Mid and South Wales and Wolverhampton.
Pete White Hon. Club Secretary of the Aeronca Club of Great Britain was one of the first to arrive from Bodmin in one (the other is G-IVOR) of his yellow and blue Aeronca 11AC Chiefs (NC33884), see right.

Aeronca History
Founded in 1928, the Aeronautical Corporation of America was first located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Aeronca C-2 monoplane was produced from 1929 followed by C-3 in 1931 and the Scout in 1937. Following a flood in 1937 production moved to Middletown, Ohio resuming in 1940 and a name change to Aeronca Aircraft Corporation in 1941. During the war the Aeronca built 1,400 (L-3, L-16 and O-58) light observation and liaison planes for the US Army. By 1945 the very successful 7AC Champion and 11AC Chief models were in full production, sharing 80% common parts. By 1951 8,000 Champions and 2,000 Chiefs had been sold. Aeronca ceased aircraft manufacturing in 1951, selling the design rights to Champion Aircraft Corporation in 1954, who went on to produce the Citabria. Aeronca in its 23 years of operation produced 17,408 aircraft with 55 models.
Aeronca line-up
Photography at Croft Farm
Croft farm is situated between the Cotswold Edge and the Malvern Hills by Bredon Hill. Adjacent to the airfield is the old and now disused Defford airfield. The Blind Landing Evaluation Unit (BLEU) was based here during the war and were responsible for developing the radar. 
You are made to feel very welcome at this busy farm strip which is well populated with aircraft. There are a number of small hangars and a converted caravan is in use as the control tower. My guide for the day was Giles Herbert as Clive Porter the owner was away. Giles was seldom in the 'C' marked caravan choosing to carry a VHF transmitter/receiver which he used encourage and to assist visitors to the strip.

The friendly informal atmosphere makes photography all the more enjoyable here. With manoeuvring aircraft the safety of visitors is paramount, so make yourself known on arrival and check where the safe areas are, so everyone is comfortable with the situation. I was able to move around the strip but spent most of my time at the mid-point and very close to the 570 metre x 18 metre grass runway.
Pete White's Aeronca 11AC Chief (NC33884).
Left to right: Aeronca 11AC Chief (NC33884).
Left to right: Aeronca 11AC Chief (G-BRCW).
Left to right: Aeronca 7AC Champion (G-BPGK), inscribed s/n 7187 USAAC, Aeronca Aircraft Corporation, Middletown, Ohio
At the end of the day three Aeronca's took to the air for a special formation fly-by specially for us. 
The run and break that followed was too difficult to photograph.
Left to right: Aeronca 7AC Champion (G-BPFM).
Left to right: Aeronca 11AC Chief (G-BRWR) and Stinson 108 Voyager (G-BPTA).