Website designed for year 2007
B.H.P. And Sons Air Camper Aircraft L.L.C. v.2007
Original Pietenpol Air Camper and Sky Scout Aircraft
A quote from Bernard H. Pietenpol - Cherry Grove, Minnesota
"PIETENPOL AIR CAMPER . . The Original Model A Powered Light Plane -
Designed to get the best possible performance from Model A motor, to be
easy to fly, and to get the most flying hours for the money invested"
The Pietenpol Air Camper continues to be a successful design for the same reasons
homebuilders were so fascinated by the design 67 years ago. It still has graceful styling,
predictable flying qualities, and easy construction.
"Bernard Pietenpol never lost sight of the cost of flying and showed his
true genius in keeping it down - within reach of the common man"
The ACE To The Air Camper (Brief History)
In 1928, Mr. Pietenpol built and flew an airplane of his own design. The airplane was a
single place open cockpit monoplane made from wood obtained at the local lumberyard,
fittings fabricated from a blacksmith shop, and a covering of bed sheet material painted
with clear varnish. The landing gear was constructed of gas pipe and motorcycle wheels.
The prop was hand-carved from black walnut and powered by an Ace four cylinder water
cooled engine. The airplane flew very well accumulating over fifty hours in the first two
Several design modifications followed during the next five years; however, the basic
design remained unchanged. During the process of modifications, the airplane became a
two place with space for a passenger. The split axle landing gear with air wheels
improved take-off and landing characteristics. The Ford A engine became the standard
power plant turning a 78" x 42" propeller. The final design and drawings for the Air
Camper were completed in 1934. No further changes have been made to the original
In 1933, a small factory was set up in Cherry Grove, Minnesota to make the metal parts
and convert the Ford A engines. Milling and wood work was done in Wycoff, Minnesota.
Airplane kits and aircraft materials were shipped from both locations. Completed
airplanes were flown from a small grass strip located west of Cherry Grove. Throughout
the years various engines were used: Ford A, Ford T, Ford V8, Velie, Kinner, Lycoming,
Franklin, and Continental, all with good results. Airplane kits as well as completed
airplanes were manufactured until the onset of W.W. II in 1941.
When Chevrolet introduced the Corvair automobile in 1960, it was powered with a flat six
cylinder air cooled engine. It seemed a good candidate for a low cost, reliable engine to
replace the Ford A engine. Mr. Pietenpol built two more airplanes, one in 1960 and
another in 1964, both powered with Corvair engines. The basic airplane design remained
unchanged. The fuselage was lengthened to compensate for the lighter engine, the pilot
and passenger leg room increased, and brakes and a tail wheel were installed. An
additional eight gallon fuel tank was installed in the nose. A radio, generator and battery
were also incorporated into the design. The Corvair engine was lighter and more
powerful than the Ford A. With the Corvair engine, the Air Camper performance improved,
the ride was more quiet, smooth, and fuel efficient.
The Air Camper is a wood airplane made from spruce and plywood. It's intentionally
designed to be simple to construct with minimum tools. All the fittings are fabricated from
steel flat stock. The motor mount, landing gear and the wing struts require welding.
Currently, I have plans available made from the original 1934 drawings. Also available are
supplemental plans showing changes made to the original fuselage design and motor
mounts for installation of either the Corvair or a Continental 65 engine.
Bernard H. Pietenpol 1901-1984
Born in Spring Valley (airfield in Cherry Grove), Minnesota, Mr. Pietenpol was considered
Minnesota's premiere aircraft homebuilder. He learned to fly in the 1920's constructing his
first homebuilt airplane in 1923 with a Ford Model T engine (Sky Scout). In April of 1929,
he brought a Model A engined two-seat airplane (Air Camper) to Minneapolis, Minnesota
to show the editor of Modern Mechanics magazine that an auto engined airplane could
indeed fly. The plane's plans were published in the magazine and it became a favorite
homebuilt airplane, which continues to this day. Mr. Pietenpol is considered the "Father
Of Homebuilt Aircraft".
Bernard was a self-taught engineer, who designed his own airfoils and made his own
stress analysis. He taught in the CPT before World War II. He returned to the aircraft
business and continued building airplanes, selling plans, experimenting with Corvair
powered flight, and helping other homebuilders with their projects. His original hangar
and one of his last built planes is now on display on EAA grounds at Oshkosh,
Wisconsin. His grandson Andrew Pietenpol flys Mr. Pietenpol's last built Corvair powered
plane, and continues building Air Campers and selling plans with Mr. Pietenpol's son
More Infomation from the Buckeye Pietenpol Association
Do you want to learn more? If you do, and want to visit a respectable site, please see the
Buckeye Pietenpol Association Web site supported by Grant MacLaren. Grant has been
doing a great job educating and informing Pietenpol builders through his Web Site.
Thanks Grant!!! We Love your work!
Web Site Developed by:
B.H.Pietenpol And Sons Air Camper Aircraft L.L.C.
PIETENPOL FIELD & Shop - Cherry Grove
P.O. Box 1267
Spring Valley, MN 55975