Todd Trainor in Brighton, MI sent us these pictures of the favorite restorer pastime, only this time with a twist: "To the best of my research it appears that only 13 Aeronca K seaplanes (KS) were built in 1937 and 1938. And I believe I own the last remaining KS airplanes in the world.
The 1937 Aeronca K was the last of the Aeronca airplanes to use the 40 HP Aeronca E-113 two-cylinder engine. Compared to the increasing standard of the times, the little 40 HP Aeronca K was under powered. Although not very popular as a seaplane, the Aeronca KS was immortalized by two events. In 1938 the Lincoln Ellsworth expedition to the South Pole on the ship named the Wyatt Erp took KS-12 along with them. When the crew encountered an ice flow, they'd drop the little K into the water, take off, look for passages in the ice, and return to inform the captain. The other event was the release of the Comet Aeronca K balsawood model kit, which featured the K on floats. I was 10 years old when I built my Comet model K. To this day, people still build the Aeronca K on floats.
I am very interested in the Aeronca K because that is what I grew up with. In the spring of 2010, while talking to the owner of KS-318, he admitted he'd never finish the project and would probably sell it. I've always wanted an Aeronca K seaplane. Despite the fact they may not be a useful seaplane, they are handsome in the eyes of this beholder. After speaking to my wife and breaking open the piggy bank, I bought KS-318. I drove from Michigan to New Hampshire to retrieve it in early June.
For fun, I assembled most of the airplane and pushed it out onto the water. Why? To see if it would float, of course. Nevermind the fact that I could have stayed on land and filled the pontoons with water to see if they leak. It was much more fun to float out in the lake with a seaplane with no fabric covering, a non-running engine, making airplane noises. Besides, it made for some fun photos.
I plan to start restoring KS-318 this fall. I expect it will take me at least 4 years to complete this project. During my downtime, I am collecting historical information, photos, and stories about the Aeronca K sealplane. I am completely fascinated by this airplane. If anybody has any information, please contact me. Otherwise, if you are in the Brighton, MI area, please stop by. I live on 45G.