Goal: To build and fly a Pietenpol Air Camper
Background: I’ve been flying airplanes since I was 10 years old, and over the past few years I’ve wanted to build one of my own because of the fantastic experiences, education, and fun that are involved and gained from it. So piece by piece, I am building the Pietenpol in my garage.
I started construction on the Pietenpol in May of 2016, and having taken a brief break from it during my busy summer vacation and stressful school year, I’ve begun to continue construction.
The first section of the Pietenpol I set out on doing was the empennage. The plans, drawn by Bernard Pietenpol himself some 80 years ago, are fairly straightforward, or at least appear that way.
I decided to start off by outlining the full-sized design of the vertical stabilizer on some MDF board. The many, small details became apparent during this process.
I then put the wood where it is intended to go to get a feel for how it’ll look and how the cuts should be. I learned in this process the liberties that the builder can take and that the build doesn’t necessarily have to be exactly the same as the plans call for. However, for the sake of my safety, I’ll be sticking to the plans fairly strictly.
As of 11/2/2016: The MDF board and all of my tools were moved to storage to make room for vehicles in the garage. I am in the process of finding a new location to continue construction. Since the last picture, I have made all of the cuts for the vertical stabilizer, however I learned that the smaller stringers that go horizontally in the center of the vertical stabilizer break easily and so I need to get some new spruce wood as well.
As of 6/17/2017: The airplane building operation has reopened! The MDF board and all of my tools are set up and I’ve drawn up a redesigned version of the vertical stabilizer on the MDF. My original drawing had some errors due to inconsistencies on the Pietenpol plans. More wood has also been ordered as well as some new tools so I can ramp up building to 100% efficiency. My goal is to spend at least 1-2 hours a day on this project. As long as I get one task done a day I will be satisfied really, so long as I don’t cease working on it.