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Apr 21, 2015, 03:55 PM
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Pietenpol Air Camper

from wikipedia:
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.

The original model was flown using an Ace four cylinder water-cooled engine. The Model A Ford engine later became the standard powerplant used. Other engines have also been used including the Ford Model T, Ford V8, Velie, Kinner, Lycoming, Franklin, Continental and Chevrolet Corvair

General characteristics

Crew: One pilot
Capacity: One passenger
Length: 17 ft 8 in (5.39 m)
Wingspan: 29 ft 0 in (8.84 m)
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Wing area: 135 ft² (12.5 m²)
Empty weight: 610 lb (277 kg)
Loaded weight: 995 lb (452 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 1080 lb (490 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Ford Model A automotive conversion engine, 40 hp (30 kW)


Maximum speed: 86 knots (100 mph, 160 km/h)
Stall speed: 30 knots (35 mph, 56 km/h)
Rate of climb: 500 ft/min (152 m/min)
Wing loading: 7 lb/ft² (36 kg/m²)

Last edited by TedD60; Apr 21, 2015 at 04:03 PM.
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Jul 21, 2017, 12:43 PM
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Howzabout some of the drawings I found on the "main" Piet-Site??

Dear Fellow Pietenpol Fans at RC-Groups:

The PIPE Here...nearly a year ago I managed to find online, a potential "treasure chest" of scale info for this thread's favorite scale subject aircraft. These appear to be actual, "Bernie P.-original" Air Camper drawings, from the initial time that the landing gear got re-configured for use of the Alvin Musselman-invented Goodyear "air wheel" low-pressure balloon tires, the direct ancestors of today's Arctic "tundra tires". The dates of all the drawings (I think, some aren't TOO legible!) seem to be from over eighty years ago, making them likely "originals" for the Air Camper in almost all respects.

And they look like they've got almost ALL of the measurements we modelers need for CAD-ding up a set of construction plans...combine those with the two-drawing set by one Robert Parks that was in the Pete Bowers article (also included with this post), and we've quite likely got the BEST scale info on the Pete that anyone's yet been able to "surf up to" so far.

Well, "here goes"...hope these all get to RCG in good order, and can't wait until Old Rhinebeck gets...

... THEIR "brand- new" blue & white Pete airborne!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Last edited by The PIPE; Jul 25, 2019 at 11:53 AM.
Jul 22, 2017, 11:05 AM
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The Pipe,

Nice cash of drawings and article,


Jul 22, 2017, 11:09 AM
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Jul 22, 2017, 01:33 PM
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Andy King HAD sold "his" Piet ORA got a replacement!

Dear Fellow Pietenpol-loving Fellow RC-Groupers:

The PIPE Here again - glad to see that ALL seven drawings got "here", and they're quite likely TO be useful!

Andy King (descendant of fellow ORA co-founder Dick King) HAD owned the sky-blue & silver Air Camper that Old Rhinebeck HAD "hosted" for a good number of years, and within the last year's worth of time, sold it to a group of Canadian antique aircraft enthusiasts...that led to ORA acquiring a nearly-completed Air Camper project aircraft that its previous owner didn't QUITE live long enough to finish to airworthiness, and it's that "new-to-them" Air Camper that Old Rhinebeck will be completing for its collection... well as being THE Air Camper example I'm quite likely to select as my first-ever RC Giant Scale subject aircraft, for Saito FA-100 methanol/CH spark ignition conversion power.

I've already done their Fleet 16B Finch... 1/6th scale from the Gary Brown/AMA magazine plans (September 1980 Model Aviation, AMA planset no. 310), hand-redrawn by yours truly to completely match up with the ORA example of their Fleet 16B Finch (as it existed in the mid-1980s) as one of my very first "plans-bash"-style efforts, done many years before I first learned AutoCAD. Since I knew I'd like to do ORA's Finch up in "giant size" someday for four-stroke power, I've saved those 1/6th scale model construction drawings for a 50% scaleup (as well as measuring N666J's fuselage in 1996, to get ALL its structural details), to be CADded up from my own 1/12th scale precision-done manual drafting work of it; for a true, quarter scale "Old Rhinebeck Fleet" of my own in doing up ORA's new Piet is simply a natural choice for my initial Giant Scale effort in the years to come.

Old Rhinebeck is simply the BEST place to see Pioneer Era to Golden Age fact, on the Labor Day weekend THIS year, a Pietenpol full-scale fly-in event is occurring there...even though I know I can't make it, perhaps someone reading this reply might just consider a visit!

You're Welcome to all those's hoping that they help someone help build an RC Giant Air Camper someday, or even use the Gene Wallock-drafted plans from the long-defunct US RC Modeler mag that are attached to this reply, as an additional source of help!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Jul 26, 2017, 01:28 PM
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The Air Camper article from Flying Manual, 1932. Unfortunately only jpegs, but definitely worth a read.

Jul 26, 2017, 05:30 PM
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Thank you VERY much, Derfy!

Dear Derfy:

The PIPE Here again - that manual has just about "everything else" ANYONE would ever need to do up a "real Pete", OR an RC Giant Scale version in the "traditional" 3 inch = 1 foot (or 25 cm = 1 meter) "quarter size" format.

Between the Robert Parks drawings, Pete Bowers' article from Air Progress that had Mr. Parks' drawings in there, the Gene Wallock RCM "stand-off Giant" model plans, and the many other images AND drawings shown in this thread, now all I'll need to do is find some time to get out to ORA (about a 4-½ hour drive "one-way" from home) in person to get a bunch of photos of that "new-to-them" blue and white Pete that needs just a bit of finishing up to be airworthy soon...I'd be taking those photos AFTER it's been flown for a little while...

...that's as I'd need to be able to get someone to "cover for me", to keep an eye on my mom here at home for caretaking purposes. That's NOT likely to be able to occur in the near future (2-3 years, I'd guess), but it IS something I'd look forward to doing as a "day trip" out to ORA, with my Pentax digital SLR camera catching the images, and my CAD software (usually DesignCAD) to do the precision plans with here at home.

Again, thanks very much for ALL those "Pete-Pages"... !!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Jul 26, 2017, 07:48 PM
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Dear The,

Lots of good data. GREAT thread!

Was wondering about the size of that RCMB plan. Is it 1/4 scale? It seems to show an original style OS 60 FS. I now have a couple of those engines and would like to put one into something scale. I figure a 1/4 scale Air Camper or Sky Scout would be ideal and was wondering about how that one flew with that power?

I think a more scale structure could be built significantly lighter than the traditional model structure of the RCMB plan shown.

Jul 27, 2017, 11:32 AM
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Don't you mean the RCM plans, by Gene Wallock?

Dear packardpursuit:

The PIPE Here once more - I'm HOPING that you're alluding to the Gene Wallock "Pete" plans from the long-defunct RC Modeler American magazine (that magazine's plan number 869), that I attached a copy of to my "post number 5" in this forum thread...

...and, if I'm not mistaken, it COULD be possible that the long-discontinued quarter scale House of Balsa Pietenpol kit MIGHT have been based directly on that Gene Wallock planset no. 869 from the RC Modeler magazine.

With ALL the great Air Camper scale info that's in this thread, doing a scratchbuilt one directly FROM the drawings of the full-scale homebuilt plans (as the primary "drawing measurements-basis" for my CAD drawing project, for an RC Giant 1/4th sized four-stroke powered version, finished up as Old Rhinebeck's "new-to-them" example) is BOUND to build up a fair bit lighter than either the Gene Wallock plans would, or the House of Balsa kit would.

I'm quite likely to even build up the RIBS of the Pete's wing as with the full-scale version...since there WERE slightly differing ribs where the ailerons were "and weren't" in each wing panel, I've already got photos of a bare, uncovered Pete Air Camper wing's "bones" off the 'Net to cover that reality...

...and I've attached an MS Word-format copy of Harry Schoaf's August 1980 AMA magazine article on HOW to create scale, "built-up ribs" a-la-full-scale-Pietenpol, to provide some ideas on how to whip up built-up ribs for one's own Pete, Piper J-3, or "whatever" RC Scale design suits one's fancy.

Anyway, I'd guess that you DO mean the Gene Wallock RCM-869 planset I've already posted up here...please let me know if it is, whenever you've got the time.

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Jul 27, 2017, 05:22 PM
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Don't know why I put a "B" in RCM! Looked right at the time, but hey, I never make mistooks.

Great shots of uncovered Piet wing. Thanks for sharing. Noticed right off that builder added rib structure, where none is shown on the plan. He's added uprights in front of /behind both spars. Seems the he's also divided the panels into Lt, center section, and Rt. Good for storage/transport, but adds a little weight. His mounts are quite small and near invisible. These too, seem to be workable and could very well be functional at 1/4 scale. Might be worth it.

I like the idea of built up ribs, as I have a huge supply of 1/8 sheet that I can strip for cap strip, etc. I think that file folder cardboard, which ranges from cream to yellow orange in color will make suitable rib gussets. Easy to get, cheap, and cut out. I tried 1/64 ply on a balsa cap strip scale rib for another project and found them too heavy. Would use Spruce or Pine full ht spars. These could be routed, but plant-on flanges and fillers would be easier and just as strong. Solid spars(non-routed) and or spruce capped balsa would be fine too. I'd use 1/32 ply on fuselage side and same for external fuselage gussets.

Good stuff! I'm thinking there's a Pietenpol in my future.
Jul 31, 2017, 08:00 AM
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Andy King HAD sold "his" Piet one Cam Harrod in Canada!

Dear Fellow Pietenpol-loving Fellow RC-Groupers:

The PIPE Here again - I finally found out WHO got Andy King's I had written before...

Originally Posted by The PIPE
Andy King (descendant of fellow ORA co-founder Dick King) HAD owned the sky-blue & silver Air Camper that Old Rhinebeck HAD "hosted" for a good number of years, and within the last year's worth of time, sold it to a group of Canadian antique aircraft enthusiasts...that led to ORA acquiring a nearly-completed Air Camper project aircraft ... was one Cam(eron) Harrod that appears to have acquired Andy King's Pietenpol, with the photos of it in Canada viewable here.

Hope Cam and his fellow "Pete-Lovers" enjoy it as much as they can...I'm sincerely lookin' forward to Old Rhinebeck getting THEIR "new-to-them" Pete finished and airborne in the coming months...or perhaps in 2018... !!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Aug 01, 2017, 07:01 PM
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I'm seeing two distinct Air Caper models in the drawings, thus far. The original, as found in the Flying Manual (thanks too, to Derfy & TedD60!!!) and the "Improved Air Camper". Latter seems to have updated split LG, but span was increased slightly and there was redesign of horizontal stab tip shape. I suspect the stab changed because of "chirping" (flutter) of the stab tips, outboard of the guy wires. Anyone know for sure? Can't imagine the change to raked tips as a" speed mod"!!
Aug 02, 2017, 08:42 AM
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I've been focused on the "Petes" that Old Rhinebeck has had...

Dear Fellow "Pete" Lovers at RCG:

The PIPE Here again - as for "other Petes" built to later plans (like the "split-gear" versions, and other examples that use Corvair air-cooled flat-6 mills, and more conventional air-cooled boxer-four aviation-specific mills [Continental/Franklin/Lycoming] for flight power) I've been quite strictly focused on Air Campers that I could readily get to see "in person" AND "in action", within driving distance of home...

...and THAT is why I've been so interested in the examples (first the sky-blue/silver one that Canadian enthusiast Cam Harrod now owns, and now the almost-finished, deep blue/white one) at Old Rhinebeck, which IS about a 4½-hour drive from home for yours truly, in total "one-way" driving distance.

BOTH examples of Air Campers that have either graced, or WILL grace the ORA museum's airstrip have the original wing design, AND the WW I-style "V-strut", cross-axle landing gear with wire-rim wheels and liquid-cooled Ford Model A straight-four power, that Bernie Pietenpol first designed his Air Camper to have.

In closing, I've always thought that there IS one Teutonic design feature of some Imperial German Luftstreitkräfte WW I fighters (like the Albatros and early Pfalz fighters) that the "Pete" could DEFINITELY benefit from, that would replace the often-troublesome "stock location" placement of its RADIATOR existing right in front of the pilot's field of forward's illustrated in a vintage drawing attached to this post, to "get people thinking" about HOW nice an upgrade it would be for a Ford Model A-mill-powered Air Camper, to place that forward-vision wrecking radiator up into the starboard wing root 's innermost rib bay, just like the older Albatros D.III-to-D.Va always used.

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Aug 02, 2017, 11:42 AM
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To me that radiator placement is part of the aircraft's overall charm.
Aug 03, 2017, 09:40 AM
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"Perhaps" it is...but the wing radiator idea IS one I'd certainly use!

Dear packardpursuit:

The PIPE Here yet again - I'd have to admit (somewhat grudgingly) that to SOME of us, that vision-wrecking radiator placement directly in front of the forward cockpit MIGHT be a "charming idea"...

...but if I was building a full-scale Pete (not something I'd ever consider doing...just being an RCer IS expensive enough!) I'd DEFINITELY go for the "wing radiator" idea!

One fact about the illustrated German-origin radiator in the drawing was that it was meant to keep a literally "truck-sized" straight-six Mercedes D.III mill cooled-down...the Mercedes D.III used in SO many WW I Luftstreitkräfte fighter planes (Albys, Pfalzes, and the D.VII) was a 14.8 liter, or roughly a NINE HUNDRED cubic inch displacement gasoline contrast, the Ford Model A straight-four, flathead automobile engine used in traditionally powering Air Campers was considerably smaller, at only 201 cubic inches, or just 3.3 liters displacement.

So, for cooling down the Model A mill used in full-size Air Campers, the illustrated German "aerofoil radiator" COULD be considerably downsized, made thicker and narrower to suit the Air Camper's own airfoil design and wingrib bay width (spanwise distance between wingribs), and the Ford Model A straight-four's cooling needs, and get that "annoying but charming" right-up-front-in-everyone's-line-of-vision radiator placement OUT OF THE WAY, in a manner that clearly worked in wartime for Kaiser Bill's military pilots a century ago, for pilot safety and a decent degree of vision...

...I know it's "just an idea", but I KNOW it's a commonsense one, and likely something that someone who'd want to build a Model A-powered Air Camper IS likely to be thinking of trying, sooner or later...!

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Last edited by The PIPE; Aug 03, 2017 at 09:54 AM.

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