15AC-442 – N1391H (09)

For decades, this 1949 Sedan belonged to Jim Thompson and his wife Betty. A well treasured jewel – beside their other, award-winning Sedan, N1491H, which they had restored together. Jim is the founder of the National Aeronca Association. In pictures 03 through 05 Jim and Betty are posing with N1391H.

In June 2017, Mark Fronhofer contacted us regarding his latest acquisition:

"I have just purchased N1391H out of a hangar in Illinois, where it had been sitting for 40 years. I am about to embark on its restoration. The fabric was last redone with Irish linen in the mid 1960's, so N1391H is many months (years) away from being painted....

I would love to upgrade to a more powerful engine, but this Sedan is surprisingly original (save for the teal and white paint job), and it inspires me to keep it that way. The larger spinner and the Piper nose cowl associated with the STC to the Lycoming definitely changes the look of the aircraft. Most all of my flying starts very near to sea level on generally cool days, so I'm hoping I will never be truly hindered by a lack of power.

I do plan to make some small upgrades: Brakes, 4-place intercom, modern radios and I'll be adding the seaplane door (possibly replacing the original door with a seaplane style door to match). I will likely fly by iPad and keep as much of the modernized gadgetry hidden as possible. I am considering disguising the headset jacks somehow with the original ashtray covers. The ashtrays will not be needed, and they just happen to be conveniently located one at each station. It's the little things that make me smile.

N1391H was definitely red and white, as the original red paint was found along the inner edge of the wings, when we removed them for transport. I have complete log books from day one in 1949, and it was only ever repainted once.

Hopes of ferrying the aircraft from Illinois to Vermont were dashed by the absence of a runway. The airfield where N1391H was hangared had ceased to be a functioning airport, some 25 years ago. Seeing the aging FBO buildings and the rows of unkept hangars in and amongst the rows of fresh corn and farm equipment inspired an interesting combination of peacefulness and sadness, not unlike visiting an old cemetery. Of the sixty or so hangars, N1391H was in the only hangar that still held an aircraft. The others all held lumber. It was an interesting trip."

Mark, we wish you success and fun, restoring this historically interesting Aeronca!

(This page last updated: 05/2018)

Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures in full size.

Photos © Jim & Betty Thompson (01-07), Mark Fronhofer (08-09)

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