|UK variant Pietenpol Air Camper|
with Model A engine, May 1929
|Status||Plans available (2015)|
US$100 (plans only, 2015)
|Variants||Grega GN-1 Aircamper
Pietenpol Sky Scout
St Croix Pietenpol Aerial
St Croix Pietenpol Aircamper
The Pietenpol Air Camper is a simple parasol wing homebuilt aircraft designed by Bernard H. Pietenpol. The first prototype that became the Air Camper was built and flown by Pietenpol in 1928.
The Air Camper was designed to be built of spruce and plywood. One of Pietenpol's goals was to create a plane that was affordable and easy to construct for home builders. Building an Air Camper requires basic woodworking skills and tools. Builders also need to fabricate some metal fittings to attach the wooden parts together. Some welding is required. The plans for the Pietenpol Aircamper were originally published in a four-part serial in the "Flying and Glider" Manual of 1932-33.
In the 1960s Bernard Pietenpol began to favor converted engines from Chevrolet Corvair automobiles. The Corvair engine was smoother, stronger and significantly lighter in weight compared to the Model A, as the Corvair automobiles used air-cooled, flat-six configuration engines, similar in design to those already available (in generally larger displacements) for general aviation use. The length of a Pietenpol varies with the engine choices, as engines that are lighter than the Fords need to be mounted further out from the firewall for weight and balance reasons. Over the years over 30 different engines have flown in the Pietenpol Air Camper. Many modern Pietenpol builders prefer Continental A65, C85 or C90 air-cooled flat four powerplants. Several examples of the Aircamper have been built in Europe and are currently (2012) flying.
In the 1920s and 1930s kits were available for the design, but there were none available again until 2015 when the Pietenpol Aircraft Company introduced a kit version of the Air Camper, with components supplied by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. The kit includes all parts except the engine, aircraft dope and the aircraft fabric covering, and hardware.
Data from B.H. Pietenpol And Sons Air Camper Aircraft (2013). "How to Build a Pietenpol Air Camper or Sky Scout Airplane". Retrieved May 14, 2013.
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
By now Henry Ford had come out with his new car, the Model A, powered by a bigger four cylinder engine. At an estimated 40 horsepower, this engine seemed just the thing for Bernard Pietenpol's new aircraft design's needs, and having been on the market for several years, junk yards were starting to get as many of them as Model T engines...So Bernard Pietenpol went to work converting the Ford Model A engine for his new monoplane. In May 1929 Bernard Pietenpol test flew his Air Camper with the new engine. It was a complete success - a perfect match of airframe to power plant.
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