While not specifically drawn as plans for building a model of the
Pietenpol Air Camper, all
the detail and dimensions necessary for scaling to any size is possible using these
sketches which appeared in the March 1961 issue of American Modeler magazine.
The "Piet" has been as popular a subject for modeling as is was and still is for
building full-size aircraft. Originally designed in 1930 by
the craft borrowed many of its metal parts from Ford automobiles, including the
engine and suspension spring for a tail skid. Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Company
still sells Sitka spruce wood kits for the full-size
Pietenpol Air Camper; the total as of this writing is less than $4,000. You
can be sure the information contained in this article is trustworthy because it
was authored by Mr. Pietenpol himself!
See also the Pietenpol Air Camper
from the August 1969 issue of American Modeler.
Pietenpol Air Camper
By B. H. Pietenpol
Designed by B. H. Pietenpol in Spring Valley, Minnesota, and first presented
in a 1930 issue of Modern Mechanix magazine, the Pietenpol "Air Camper" was one
of the first successful, widely accepted American "home-built." The prototype featured
safety and ease of flying as well as practical and inexpensive construction. Its
powerplant was a converted Ford Model A water-cooled automobile engine, easy to
obtain in those days and developing 38 to 40 horsepower.
Construction of the "Air Camper" was all-wood with some sheet aluminum used in
cowling and top of fuselage and over the leading edge of the wing. The fuselage
was built up with 1" x 1" Sitka spruce and plywood; the one-piece wing used both
wood spars and ribs, wire braced. The airfoil, developed by Pietenpol for maximum
performance and stability, bears a close resemblance to the Eiffel 36 section employed
so successfully in the Curtiss JN4 "Jenny" wing.
With its Ford engine, your "Air Camper" cruised anywhere from 60 to 70 M.P.H.;
stalled from 35 to 40. Various fuel tanks employed held from 10 to 12 gallons of
gas, giving the "Air Camper" a range of about 200 miles. Rate of climb was 200 to
500 feet per minute.
Many "Air Campers" were home-built; production jobs were turned out at the Pietenpol
factory. While not a real hot performer compared to some of the present home-builts,
a factory finished "Air Camper" could be had for around $750 in those days. (Factory
production ceased in 1939.) A few Ford-powered Pietenpols are still flying today.
Pietenpol Air Camper Plans Sketch - Fuselage
Pietenpol Air Camper Plans Sketch - Wing & Fuselage
The AMA Plans Service offers a
full-size version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They
will scale the plans any size for you. It is always best to buy printed plans because
my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing
plans also help to support the operation of the
Academy of Model Aeronautics - the #1
advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this
plan on file, I will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.
Try my Scale Calculator for
Model Airplane Plans.
Posted July 24, 2021