Lycoming-Powered 1966 Champion Citabria 7ECA

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Now known as American Champion Aircraft, this 1966 Champion Citabria 7ECA would have been made under the umbrella of Champion Aircraft Corporation. American Champion Aircraft purchased several smaller aircraft companies in 1988 and combined them into their company. The seller has this interesting two-seat fixed-landing-gear plane listed here on eBay in Ithaca, New York, and the current bid price is $26,100, but the reserve isn’t met.

Bellanca Aircraft Company was a successful American aircraft manufacturer started in 1927 by an Italian gentleman named Giuseppe Mario Bellanca who designed and built the first aircraft in Italy in 1911. He moved to America and proceeded to have a booming business building airplanes until he sold the company in 1954. In 1983 the company changed its name to AviaBellanca Aircraft Corporation and in 2021 became Bellanca Aircraft, Inc.

I only mention that history because Champion Aircraft was acquired by Bellanca in 1970 after the Citabria model was introduced in 1964. It’s a confusing history as it usually is in American corporate history, corporations buying corporations, splitting them up, selling them off, and reselling parts or pieces. In any case, the Citabria was based on an aircraft called the Champ but with updates such as wingtips, rear windows, and the squared-off rudder surface. The fuselage, rudder, and wings are reportedly fabric-covered.

The interior fabrics and patterns look like slide #47 in almost everyone’s 1960s Kodachrome slide collection of family scenes in the living room of grandma’s house. Model 7ECA was the first variant of the Citabria, introduced in 1964 and the Citabria is still being made today, albeit with many upgrades. The seller lists the equipment as being, “VSI, Altimeter, ASI, Turn & Slip, Ammeter, Oil Temp, Oil Pressure, Tach, EGT. Avionics: Sigtronics intercom, Garmin GNC 250XL, Garmin GTX 327.” These are official two-seaters, but there is room behind the two seats for some luggage. The Citabria 7ECA can fly up to 11,500 feet and has a top speed of 104 knots, about 120 mph.

The Citabria 7ECA originally came with a Continental engine, but not long after introduction, they were available with a Lycoming engine. The seller has this one listed as an 0235CL, which I believe may be an 0-235-C1 or an 0-235-K2C, a air-cooled horizontally-opposed four-cylinder which would have had 115 horsepower. One of you may know given what the seller says in their description. Any thoughts on this vintage two-seater?

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  1. HoA Howard A (retired)Member

    Here’s an idea. I just got a $114/mo. increase in my SS( sucked up partially by a rent increase too) so I’m flush with cash,,what will it be? An airplane, of course, “top wing”, the best I’ve been in. 2 seat, nice, like a sports car. I’ve had just about my fill of driving on the ground, and the sky is the most logical, and SAFEST mode of travel today. I read, you have a greater chance of being killed ON THE WAY to the airport, that the actual flying. It’s the airports I stay away from. Let’s see, Geomechs, Scotty, Leiniedude, MountainWoodie, Angliagt, Ford Guy, RexKars, the entire staff, of course, and anyone else willing to chip in, and we’ll blow this popcorn stand, or check out collections from the air, something I’ve always wanted to do,,I go first, as motor noise gets faint,,others looking at each other, “I don’t think he’s coming back”,,
    POOF,( cloud dream pops),,dang,,oh well, back to the Jeep and off to Walmart,, if it starts, that is.

    Like 8
    • angliagt angliagtMember

      Thanks for the offer,but I think I’ll get into
      something cheap,like a boat.

      Like 5
      • HoA Howard A (retired)Member

        Luckily, BarnFinds has you covered too!

        Like 3
  2. Moparman MoparmanMember

    Just remember…the two happiest daays of your life in dealing with boats/planes are the day you buy them, and the day you sell them! LOL!! :-)

    Like 6
  3. Melton Mooney

    So ‘Citabria’ is ‘airbatic’ spelled backwards…and Bellanca spelled ‘aerobatic’ that way…and it was his first aerobatic machine or something like that, I forget. Either way, they are a favorite among lightplanes and worth some nice coin.

    Like 5
  4. stembridge

    Man, would y’all stop it already? First the boat, now the Citabria? Good thing I’m retired and on a “fixed income” these days. I have a half-hour in a Citabria, as I had wanted to get a tailwheel endorsement back when I was taking lessons. Instructor did the taxi out, takeoff and landing. She let me have the stick once we were out of the pattern, and also let me taxi back in. Fun airplane, especially when compared to the C172 I normally flew The saying with tailwheel aircraft is that “you don’t stop flying it until it’s tied down.”

    This will be a fun diversion for someone, just not me!

    Like 6
  5. Doone

    The radios and other instrumentation probably have a replacement cost in the range of 15 to 20k.

    Like 4
  6. Rick R

    When I was first trying to learn how to fly it was in a citabria. Now I don’t know about you all but trying to learn from the back seat not being able to see anything but the back of the front seat and my instructor was like being in some wild ride at a carnival.

    Like 6
  7. Mike

    Vintage as in old? That’s a fairly new aircraft by Alaskan standards. We have had a Aeronca Chief, and a 7EC Champ over the years. There are scads of 7ECAs all over Alaska. Great little knock around aircraft and at least used to be economical to buy and fly. This on seems awfully cheap considering the market. Makes me wonder what’s wrong with it. Most people use them as a plane to learn how to fly, then move up to a PA18 Supercub, or other kind of bush plane. That’s what we did anyway.

    Like 3
    • Dan

      My concern would be if the engine can operate on the new fuel.

      Like 0
  8. Jay E.Member

    I’m not sure where the Citabria market is these days, but I suspect this is worth a lot more than its current bid is. Although not a Super Cub in short field performance, they can do what a Super Cub can’t. Aerobatics! Steep turns, loops, rolls, lazy eights, chandelles spins and other positive G maneuvers are all on the “fun” menu in this plane. Just strap on parachutes if you have a passenger. This plane is in annual, which means a recent inspection for condition and airworthiness, a low time engine and relatively low TT hours. If you aren’t flying in controlled airspace, which is the norm for a plane like this, than the radios are just fine. The taildragger aspect shouldn’t be an issue for someone skilled enough to fly the aerobatics this plane was designed for.
    Owning a plane like this is not expensive, it runs on mogas and can share a hanger space. Annuals are reasonable and if you can fly 100 hours a year it is a great purchase to own. Not long ago I would be bidding in this low cost basic aerobatic flying machine, but sadly my flying days have recently taken their final flight. Judging by the listing, this is a great opportunity and unless the reserve is unreasonable (40K+) someone is going to get an affordable E ticket ride. Wish it were me.
    I love seeing these off point listings like this.

    Like 8
  9. Jay E.Member

    I should point out that I have quite a bit of time in Super Cubs, Citabrias Pitts and other aircraft of this style. The Citabria/Decathalon was one of my favorites as it required energy management ( rather than just horsepower) to perform the maneuvers.

    Like 3
  10. Troy

    I was in diesel mechanics class in high school when the instructor for the landscaping class came in and asked if anyone knew how to drive a 10 speed dump truck.. I chimed in and said yes I do he asked where I learned I lied and said on grandparents farm, he said ok come with me and took me to the dump truck and said we need you to drive this load across campus and dump it over here and come back for more loads, I didn’t even have a drivers license and it wad my first time in a dump truck but I jumped in and figured it out. I wonder what could possibly go wrong if I applied that jump in and figure it out concept to get this thing home its only 2300 miles +/- 😁 🤔

    Like 3
    • Dan

      Bone up on the radio first. Lessons would be a great help.

      Like 0
  11. Karl

    Citabria was a great little plane, I got my float rating in a Citabria. My dad was also an engineer at Ballanca in Alexandria MN.
    Neat plane!

    Like 3
  12. Cobra Steve

    @Melton Mooney
    Not to “split hairs”, but Citabria spelled backwards is “airbatic”. Same meaning, though. I remember “back in the day” when the first aircraft I flew was a 1946 Piper Cub…fabric skin over wood construction…as basic as it gets! Seems as though these Citabrias were priced around $4,995 new in the early ’70’s.

    I’m off to the store to buy a few gallons of prop wash and muffler bearings.

    Like 2
    • Jeffro

      Don’t forget the high performance blinker fluid

      Like 1
  13. Joe Haska

    Jay E, Thanks for comments it confirmed ,what I thought I remembered about this airplane.

    Like 1
  14. Randy

    I’m Looking for a JUNK Set of Wings if Anyone can Please help I’m near the Chicagoland area
    It’s going on a Rolling Art project going on Rt66 from Illinois to California
    Any help would be greatly Appreciated 🙏
    You can Email me Direct at
    Thank you 😊

    Like 1

    Back in the early 70’s I was flight instructor in teteboro NJ when a Citabria showed up on the flight line. For some unknown reason I was designated as the instructor for this A/C maybe because I flown a J-3 a long time ago. Teaching people to fly a tailweel was fun , we spent some time in the grass between runways which the tower guys got a kick out of . Things really got interesting when the students wanted to learn some airbatics . after the student would split S out a manuver I be yelling ” Wait for something you recognize and recover from that” I instructed from back seat, you solo these from front.

    Like 1
  16. trdave

    Learned to fly in the Air Explorer Squadron 7AC. 40 years later I sat in the back seat of a Scout tow plane. After 40 years the Scout flew just like the 7AC including lazy 8s, chandels, and spins (after releasing the glider). If I were 20 years younger I’d be a bidder.

    Like 1
  17. Rick R

    Must be a few of us old farts following this plane, saying (if I was 20 years younger)

    Like 1
  18. Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

    Auction update: this one ended at $27,500 and no sale.

    Like 0

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