Pietenpol Air Camper. Free flight scale model. For diesel power with Davis Charleton Dart .036 engine.
Quote: "Free Flight Scale model of the really first successful home built aircraft. Built from magazine plans, it performed very well and we know that this little Camper, built from our plans will do equally well! Pientenpol Air Camper, by Sid Miller.
The Pietenpol Air Camper was designed by Bernard H Pietenpol in Spring Valley, Minn, and first presented in 1930 by Modern Mechanics magazine. The Air Camper was one of the first successful, widely accepted home built flying machines. Its powerplant was a converted Ford Model A water-cooled automobile engine, developing approximately 40 horse-power. Construction was all wood, with some sheet aluminum used to cover the leading edge of the wing, as an engine cowl, and on top of the fuselage. While a factory-finished Air Camper could be obtained from the Pietenpol factory for around $750, the raw materials were cheap, and anyone who was good at tinkering would find it simple to build. In fact, nothing developed in the following 40 years to match the old Air Camper's combination of simplicity, ruggedness, low cost and docile performance.
The model in this article is based upon the Air Camper as presented by Peter M Bowers and drawn by Robert Parks in the August 1969 issue of American Aircraft Modeler. It (Pete's Air Camper) was built in 1932 from Modern Mechanics plans and obtained by Pete in 1956. He and a friend totally rebuilt and restored it over a period of years, until in 1968 at the Merced Fly-in, it took first place in the class for 'Golden Age Monoplanes 1919-1934'.
Pete made only one noticeable change other than the use of a three piece wing (fixed center-section and removable outer panels); the wire bracing was eliminated at the right side of the cockpit in favor of two diagonal struts running from the front center spar to the rear of the engine mounts. He painted his Air Camper with 'Diana Cream' wings, horizontal tail and wheel discs, the remainder with maroon (fuselage, rudder, struts, etc). Both colors are available in butyrate dope from SIG. His markings are simple - license #688Y in black on upper right and lower left wings plus both sides of rudder; on both sides of fin: '1930 Pietenpol - restored 1968' in white. He also typed in a short history and installed it under plastic in the front cockpit.
Note that the radiator up front was not found to be a problem which explains why no windshields. It is easy to see around when straightahead vision is needed and it takes the chill out of the slip stream. The pilot knows whether he slips or skids his turns when he feels cool air strike one side of his face or the other. Just for comparison the cruising speed was about 70 mph.
Why was the Air Camper chosen for a Free Flight Scale model? Well, it all goes back a couple of years to the first Chicago Aeronuts Indoor Scale contest in many years. As chairman of the Indoor committee, I was trying to spark a new interest in Indoor Scale models and purchased five plans from Micro-dyne Models. These were brought to the next club meeting where quite a bit of interest was shown. The Air Camper caught my eye and I proceeded to build it. The model was easy to build, light and simple to trim out. Although at the time I had no information as to color scheme, markings, etc just a three-view and dimensions on the plans, yet it scored 67 Scale points. This placed it third in a field of 15 entries (high was 84) from some fine builders. The most pleasant surprise was yet to come - the model ROG'd and consistently flew a stable pattern. Although the best time that day was only 45 seconds (it was 20 feet up, under a 30 foot ceiling and climbing when it hit a scaffold), the model has continued to be a most stable flyer with average times of 55-60 seconds. The reason for all this reminiscing is to indicate why it was my choice as a Free Flight Scale subject.
To summarize; it is different and yet typical of the many fine home bunts of the era, moment arms and parasol wing make for a good flying model, and it had proven itself in Rubber Scale.
The final incentive came along when I discovered Pete Bowers' article (Aug '69, AAM), with all the photos, drawings, and info to do a good job. I decided on a scale of 1-1/4 in to 1 ft, which gave the following dimensions..."
Pietenpol Air Camper, MAN, October 1973.
Note this is a low resolution plan.
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