Work in progress
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; the design was first flown with one in May 1929.
In the 1960s Bernard Pietenpol began to favor converted engines from Chevrolet Corvair automobiles. The Corvair flat six was higher horsepower, smoother, and significantly lighter, compared to the Model A, and was similar to those already available for general aviation use. The length of a Pietenpol varies with the engine choices, as lighter engines needed to be mounted further forward 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 air-cooled flat fours. Several examples of the Aircamper have been built in Europe and in 2012 were still flying.
In the 1920s and 1930s, kits were available for the design, but there were none available again until 2015 when the Pietenpol Aircraft Company introduced a kit version of the Air Camper, with components supplied by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty. The kit includes all parts except the engine, dope, fabric covering, and hardware.