Pietenpols Honored at EAA AirVenture 2009

Just more than 80 years ago Bernard Pietenpol set about designing some of the most user-friendly and original aircraft concepts in the world. He quickly set about building a company and marketing his products. His brand of homebuilt aircraft designs made flying accessible to millions and many of them are still built regularly today. This year the Pietenpols Experimental Aircraft Association will be celebrating their 80th anniversary during the 2009 EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh.

Pietenpols began his journey to fame and fortune before the onset of the Second World War. As a self-taught mechanic from southern Minnesota, it wasn’t long before he started tinkering with aircraft. By the late 1920s he’d built a two-place aircraft that used a Ford Model A engine. The aircraft was simple, parts were available and the entire design was cost effective. It was history in the making. The aircraft became known as the Pietenpol Air Camper and it was very popular. It was succeeded by the Sky Scout design that made use of a Ford Model T engine and which became just as popular. Pietenpols quickly became known for his relatively inexpensive and available designs and the Pietenpols Experimental Aircraft Association was born. Most of his aircraft were for recreational flying and could fly an average of 350 miles at a speed of under 100 mph. Even today, more than eight decades later and twenty-five years after his death, Pietenpol aircraft continues to enjoy a massive almost cult-like following. In this day and age of rising costs, they continue to prove to be a very attractive option for recreational flyers on a tight budget. A Pietenpol aircraft can be built for around $10 000 – costs seldom exceed $25 000, depending on the engine chosen to power the aircraft.

When one considers the living legacy that Pietenpol has left in his wake, it isn’t hard to understand why the 2009 EAA AirVenture will be celebrating this legendary hero and his company this year. The last aircraft that Pietenpol built, an Air Camper (N7533U) will be on display along with workshop items and other memorabilia including a 1930 Pietenpol Air Camper. Various Pietenpol owners, pilots and enthusiasts have also been invited to join in the fun at ‘The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration’. This year’s Oshkosh will certainly be one worth remembering. The 2009 EAA AirVenture at Oskhosh will take place from July 27 to August 2, 2009. Make sure you don’t miss it!”