In Biggles Works It Out, gang member Dick Canton hired an Aeronca light aircraft from Len Holmes at Darwin and flew it to Barula Creek pretending to be a newspaper man interested in writing a story about the gold mine but in actual fact to gather information about an impending gold convoy in order to plan an ambush.
John Brand, the manager of the mine at Barula Creek was unable to identify the aircraft Canton used but said it was a two-seater. In the time period of the events in the book, the Aeronca company produced two types of civilian light aircraft either of which are plausible candidates for Canton's aircraft: the tandem two-seater Aeronca 7 Champion and the side-by-side two seater Aeronca 11 Chief.
The Aeronca 7 Champion was a highly successful trainer developed by the Aeronca. Designed in 1945 to compete with the Piper Cub, the "Champ" was a conventional high wing single engine monoplane with tandem seating and dual joystick type flight controls. It became one of the most popular and longest produced light aircraft in the world. When Aeronca stopped producing it in 1951, production was taken over by other companies, notably the Champion Aircraft Company and then by Bellanca. More than 10,000 aircraft were built and the type recently returned to production in 2007. Almost similar was the stablemate of the "Champ", the Aeronca 11 Chief. This had a slightly wider fuselage, side by side seating and dual yoke type controls. About 70-80% of the parts were common between the two types. The illustration and data here is for the Champ. The Champ was slightly cheaper and more popular, outselling the Chief by a factor of 4 to 1.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 6.55 m (21 ft 6 in)
- Wingspan: 10.67 m (35 ft)
- Empty weight: 336 kg (740 lb)
- Gross weight: 553 kg (1,220 lb)
- Fuel capacity: 49 l (11 imp gal)
- Engine: 1 × Continental A65-8 four cylinder, horizontally opposed piston aircraft engine, 65 hp (48 kW)
- Maximum speed: 95 mph (153 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 85 mph (137 km/h)
- Range: 270 mi (435 km)
- Service ceiling: 12,500 ft (3,810 m)
- Rate of climb: 370 ft/min (1.9 m/s)