- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Pietenpol Air Camper
Pietenpol Air Camper - N486LB
1990 Pietenpol Air Camper
N486LB (sn 2)
Picture taken @ the
2009 Arlington Fly-In.
Arlington, WA USA (KAWO)
Photo © AirplaneMart.com

The Pietenpol Air Camper is a simple 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 goal 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.

In the 1960s BH Pietenpol began to favor converted engines from the Chevrolet Corvair automobiles. The Corvair engine was smoother, stronger and significantly lighter in weight compared to the Model A. As a result of the lighter weight of the Corvair engines the airframe was lengthened 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 powerplants.


BH Pietenpol also designed and published plans for a single-seat version of the aircraft named the Sky Scout, which was slightly smaller and was powered by the Ford Model T engine. During the late 1920's and early 1930's, this was less expensive than the Model A used in the Air Camper.

Specifications (Typical Air Camper)

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 engine (adapted for aero use)

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 updated January 31, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pietenpol Air Camper".
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