This “He-Man” Lunchbox is a Muffler on a 1960s-era Aeronca Aircraft

I was not searching for “lunchbox,” “airplane,” or “He-Man” (believe it or not) when I stumbled upon this image and thought, “Is that a He-Man lunchbox on an engine?”

2012-06-22 11.16.57

I had to know more.

So I clicked through to Paul Shaffner’s photostream and sure enough he has another photo (several actually) with the caption,

One of my favorite mods…an old Aeronca had a modified old metal He-Man lunchbox which formed some sort of muffler…

The plane itself is a beauty too:

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2012-06-22 11.16.13

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2012-06-22 10.56.06

One of my favorite old Aeronca had a modified old metal He-Man lunchbox which formed some sort of muffler...

2012-06-22 10.56.32

I’m both astonished and confused – I still had to know more! I found some more images of the airplane, including some in motion/flight, taken at the same Summer 2012 event ‘A Sentimental Journey’ in Pennsylvania:

Warmkessel Korns Caper


The aircraft’s N-number N919Z appears to go by Warmkessel Korn’s Caper (The Yellow Rat) – this is the same aircraft discussed by Thomas Huf on pages 77-94 in Tales of Timeless Wings! (Sadly, upon further research it is recorded that Thomas and his wife Elaine passed away the year after the A Sentimental Journey images above were taken, their Cessna T-50 having crashed during a thunderstorm.) The plane – and its 140hp Lycoming 0-290 Series engine – has a new owner and I hope to see it someday in the field because I’m really curious about that lunchbox muffler, is it still there? Is it still working? How well does it work?

But yes it is totally possible to retrofit a lunchbox onto the engine of a flying machine!

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  1. It looks like the Ha-Man lunchbox is being used as a heat muff. Basically a shroud that goes around the muffler or other part of the exhaust to heat fresh air for the cabin or the carburetor. The give-away is the orange “scat” duct. That is taking warm air out of the box for other parts of the airecraft to use.
    In this case it wouldn’t make much sense to heat the cockpit, so I am guessing this is a carb heat set-up. Carburetor heat is needed because the venturi effect in the carb throttle body causes the air temperature to drop. If the air is humid enough this temperature drop can cause ice to form in the throttle body. Carb icing is not as nice as the cake kind. It is not tasty and can kill you. It can block off the carb, preventing the engine from developing the necessary power to keep the aircraft in the air and it can freeze the throttle partway open, making it impossible to add or remove power.

  2. Thanks John! That’s a great read – totally makes sense. (I’m no motorhead.)

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