Pietenpol's 1933 Air Camper is the centerpiece of EAA's
Pietenpol Hangar at Pioneer Airport.
In the late 1920s, Bernard Pietenpol, of
Cherry Grove, Minnesota, had the dream of designing an inexpensive
homebuilt airplane using commonly available materials and powered by an
auto engine. The result, after a few iterations, was a simple, two-place
open cockpit airplane of wood construction and powered by a
four-cylinder Ford Model A automobile engine. Eighty years later, the
Pietenpol Air Camper endures as a popular homebuilt design built, loved,
and flown by thousands of aviation enthusiasts the world over.
EAA will honor Pietenpol's time-tested,
low-and-slow airplane at AirVenture Oshkosh 2009. Bill Rewey of Verona,
Wisconsin, EAA 42474, is helping organize a gathering of Air Camper
builders, pilots, and planes to participate in the celebration.
"Right now we're talking about
flying up from Brodhead (Wisconsin) on Sunday morning (July 26) in
autonomous groups of five," said Rewey, a member of the Brodhead
Pietenpol Association type club, which convenes its reunion there the
weekend before Oshkosh. "We are also encouraging those with radios
to use the regular Fisk approach." Arriving Air Campers will have
reserved parking south of Homebuilders Headquarters near the old main
Rewey will also change the format of his
annual Pietenpol forum, traditionally held on Tuesday morning during
AirVenture. "Instead of my traditional discussion of the airplane,
we'll have individual builders attend and spend a few moments each
talking about their airplanes," he said.
Also being planned some time during
AirVenture is a special reception for builders and Air Camper pilots at
EAA's Pietenpol Hangar on Pioneer Airport. On display there is Bernard's
own N12937, which was built in 1933 and is considered the oldest Air
Camper in existence.
EAA further honors the Air Camper this
year by depicting the airplane on the "I Flew My Homebuilt"
patch given to all homebuilders registering at Homebuilt Headquarters.
Look for more information as events and
activities are confirmed at www.AirVenture.org.
Pietenpol owners wishing to participate at Oshkosh should visit the
Brodhead Pietenpol Association website, www.pietenpols.org.
Pietenpol Air Camper - Specifications
Length: 17 ft, 8 in
Wingspan: 29 ft 0 in
Height: 6.5 ft 6 in
Wing area: 145 sq ft
Empty weight: 620 lbs
Max takeoff weight: 1,040 lbs
Powerplant: Original - Ford Model A. (Others include Velie, Kinner,
Lycoming, Franklin, Continental, and Chevy Corvair)
Maximum speed: 86 knots (100 mph)
Stall speed: 30 knots (35 mph)
Rate of climb: 500 ft/min