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  • American Champion Decathlon




    The American Champion 8KCAB Decathlon and Super Decathlon are two-seat fixed conventional gear light airplanes designed for flight training and personal use.

    General Information

    They are capable of sustaining aerobatic stresses between +6g and −5g. The Decathlon entered production in the United States in 1970 as a more powerful and stronger complement to the American Champion Citabria line of aircraft.


    The Decathlon was designed by the Champion Aircraft Corporation, and is a derivative of the 7-series Citabrias. While the Citabria designs remain successful, and the introduction of the 7KCAB variant of the Citabria had added limited inverted flight capability, the Citabrias are not capable of "outside" maneuvers, those requiring significant negative-g loads. Pilots wanted an aircraft capable of more maneuvers, and Champion introduced the 8KCAB Decathlon in response to this demand.


    The Decathlon traces its lineage back to the Aeronca Champ, by way of the Citabria. Like the Citabria, the Decathlon features tandem seating and center-stick controls. The fuselage and tail surfaces are constructed of welded metal tubing. The outer shape of the fuselage is created by a combination of wooden formers and longerons, covered with fabric. The cross-section of the metal fuselage truss is triangular, a design feature which can be traced back to the earliest Aeronca C-2 design of the late 1920s.


    The strut-braced wings of the Decathlon are, like the fuselage and tail surfaces, fabric covered, using aluminum ribs. The wings of Champion and Bellanca Decathlons were built with wooden spars. American Champion has been using aluminum spars in the aircraft it has produced and has made the aluminum-spar wings available for retrofit installation on older aircraft. Compared to the Citabria's wingspan of 33.5 feet (10.2 m), the Decathlon's wingspan is shorter, at 32 feet (9.8 m). One of the major developments of the 8KCAB Decathlon over the 7KCAB Citabria is the Decathlon's wing, which employs a semi-symmetrical airfoil, as opposed to the Citabria's flat-bottomed airfoil. This change gives the Decathlon better inverted flight and negative-g maneuver capabilities.


    For more details of the development, design, operational history and variants, click here.


    Specifications below are for the 8KCAB Super Decathlon.

    Champion 8kcab Super Decathlon G-EZPZ.jpg

    Champion 8KCAB-180 Super Decathlon left bank YMAV 20170305.JPG

    Champion 8KCAB-180 Super Decathlon SkyThrills VH-SIS.jpg

    Champion 8KCAB-180 Super Decathlon wingover YMAV 20170305.JPG

    Champion K8CAB VH-KAR YLIL 20121104 16x9.JPG


    Two in tandem
    22.9 ft (7.0 m)
    32 ft (9.8 m)
    7.7 ft (2.3 m)
    Wing Area:
    169.1 sq ft (15.71 sq m)
    Wing Loading:
    10.64 lb/sq ft (51.9 kg/sq m)
    Empty Weight:
    1,340 lb (608 kg)
    Gross weight: 1,950 lb (885 kg) (normal category)
    Fuel Capacity:
    40 U.S. gallons (150 L; 33 imp gal)
    1 × Lycoming AEIO-360-H1B four cylinder horizontally-opposed aircraft engine, 180 hp (130 kW)
    200 mph (320 km/h, 170 kn) Maximum speed: 155 mph (249 km/h, 135 kn) at sea level
    Cruise Speed:
    141 mph (227 km/h, 123 kn)
    Stall Speed:
    53 mph (85 km/h, 46 kn) (clean)
    Endurance: 3.4 hours at 75% power
    Rate of Climb:
    1,280 ft/min (6.5 m/s)
    Service Ceiling:
    15,800 ft (4,800 m)

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