Can anyone out there tell me how much shock cord is required on the wooden undercart version of the Pietenpol. Also advice on the fittting and securing of this cord would be very helpfull.

Regards Terry Wilson

Hi Paul,

Just thought I would give you an update on my project. Well I finally got most of the junk cleared out of my garage and my work bench area has been cleared for the start of rib building. I have to seal the garage door and get the furnace working so that I can work during the winter months. It gets down to -30c many nights during January. I completed the rib jig and have started building. My how I love the smell of spruce in the morning. I have completed 5 ribs so far. I can complete 1 rib every time it work. I am not using nails to hold the gussets in place. I have designed my jig with built in clamps made from 1/4 Plexiglas. The clamps are held in place with carriage bolts and the Plexiglas allows me to see if the gusset moves during clamping. It works surprisingly well. With one in the jig, I can glue the backside gussets using spring clamps for pressure. I will enclose some pictures with my next e-mail. I expect to get the first 14 ribs off the jig by the middle of November, then it's a quick change of the jig for the ailerons. I have also purchased a C65 engine mount, new and freshly powder coated for $200, about 100 pounds. I am currently looking for J3 landing gear. If I can by it used, it will save me some build time. I have almost completed a program for MS Access designed to keep track of everything that I do on the project. It will allow pictures to be inserted, track build time, materials used etc. I will send you a copy if you think you could use it. It will be set up for the GN1, but all it would take to change it to a Piet is to update the material list.

All for now, Ken

Ken Rickards

Cole Vision Canada Inc.

80 Centurian Drive, Markham, Ontario. L3R 8C1


I have been considering building an air camper for sometime now. I saw my first air camper in 87 at Cranfield. I also on this occasion met Orrin Hoopman and purchased a set of plans from him. Unfortunately I was unable to start at this time due mainly to financial reasons (mortgage, kids etc.) I now approaching 40 and have decided that it's time I got out the saw's and actually cut and glue some wood. I would like to register a project and get started, but prior to this I would like to get together with a builder for a chat etc. Also my plans are the original American Orrin Hoopman versions and I understand that several updates and modifications have been done and approved for UK Aircamper. Is there a source of up-to-date plans available in the UK ?

Can you please recommend a person that I can contact to arrange a meeting for a chat about building an Aircamper. I live in north Essex, but am prepared to travel. Any other advise or suggestions would be greatly received.



Prop Question...

Hi Paul,

Could you post a question on the web site for me please ? To anyone who has an O-200 powered Aircamper (or who's a prop expert), what prop are you using ? I'm using the spare prop from my SE5A (C90 powered) and I think it may be too coarse. I don't know what the pitch is in inches, it's quoted as 14 degrees. At 2400 rpm (just over 65% power according to the manual) I'm getting 90 mph IAS. I've checked it against a GPS, it seems accurate. This seems to be a bit quick for an Aircamper, I'd rather have better takeoff and climb performance. Any info greatly appreciated.

Thanks Keith

Hello Keith ,

Fran and I have just seen photos of your aeroplane on Paul Shenton's web site. Many congratulations on achieving your first flight. Your aeroplane looks absolutely superb and we look forward to seeing it in the flesh - perhaps at a Popham picnic in September? Unfortunately we can't help much on prop specs.. We have an O-200 with an Alan James 70x43 prop, but haven't run it yet. This is the same size prop as fitted to Alan's G-BUCO (and is a copy of an Evra D11-28-1B). It is really meant for a C-90 powered, low speed aircraft. Hopefully this will mean it's slightly on the fine side for an O-200, so will hopefully give us good take off performance. We have consulted a few reference books and found that your prop's angle of 14 degrees can be converted to a pitch measurement in inches. The 14 degrees is the angle of incidence of each blade at a position three quarters out from the hub centre. The pitch dimension is the distance this angle would screw forward during one revolution of the propeller (like a nut on a screw). Unfortunately though I am not sure whether to use tan14 or sine 14 in the calculation. However to press on, the pitch in inches can be calculated by using 3.142 x D x 0.75 x tan14. For example, if your prop diameter (D) is 70 inches, your pitch would be 41.13" (if sine 14 is used it would be 39.91"). If your prop isn't 70" in diameter the pitch will be different, but in proportion. All of this comes to the conclusion that your pitch probably seems about right - if anything it may be a bit fine. We also found a table in the Tony Bingelis book "Engines" which shows that for 2400 rpm, and a 39.5" prop. pitch the approx. air speed will be about 90 mph. The table is of course very generalised for all types of aircraft and assumes no prop. slip. 90 mph is 78 kts which, from our experience of flying in G-BUCO isn't too dissimilar.

We have a video tape of BUCO's maiden flight. After landing, Alan discusses performance with his inspector, Tony Morris (who built Piet G-BRXY). Alan states that his speed was 75 to 80 (we believe he's talking knots, but this isn't said). Tony says "I suspect that can't be right" which Alan agrees with. Alan then states that he was using 2100 rpm. We acknowledge that your experience of flying is much greater than ours, but we are used to using 2150/2200rpm for normal cruising at around 2000ft in Cessna 150 and 152 aircraft. Perhaps your use of 2400rpm is a bit high and explains the slightly highish cruise speed??? One other thought is to see what static rpm the prop develops, Tony Bingelis states that an O-200 with a sensible prop. should achieve 2320 rpm minimum (a C-90 2125 rpm). Another thought is whether your tachometer is reading accurately, which it does seem to be doing so. The Evans Lightplane Designers Handbook (available from PFA) has some good design info about props and contains some useful formula. I have used the formula linking rpm, speed and blade angle and found that a 70" prop achieving 90 mph will need to have a blade angle of 14 degrees if it is turning at 2300 rpm true. Your prop may be a slightly different diameter - if you let me know what it is, I'll redo the calcs and see what the true rpm would be for achieving 90 mph. I hope that some of the above may be of use/interest to you. I certainly don't claim to know anything much about props, but was interested in your question and thought I'd do some digging in reference books and investigate further. It proved very interesting.

Best Wishes, Chris

PS I saw your question about mechanical tachometer drives some time ago. I couldn't help on that one because we have an electric tach. (a small generator screws on the back of the engine where the tacho cable normally connects and powers a simple moving coil meter on the rear instrument panel).

Hello Paul.

Just dropping a line about Replicraft and your article. As far as anyone can tell they are gone, along with the money many people sent them. I was purusing the wonderful UK Pietenpol site and stumbled on the link below and wanted to update you. This has been a bitter subject in the Matronics listserv.

Regards, Gary McNeel, Jr. 713-895-3782


All links removed from the site



Hi Paul,

I'm in So. California and enjoy your page very much. Take a look at for a very large posting of photos. This is the image library that used to be on one of our US members pages before he went on to other things.

~Cheers, ~Warren

Hi Paul,

Sorry I forgot to mention it in my last Email,I have Nigel Marshalls' and Robs wing rib jig and wing tip jig which we have now finished with, Nigel and Rob are very happy for me to put them up for offers to anyone who might like to borrow them,they can contact me via email or by phone (01844 352435) I hope the whittling and fettling is going well,


16 July 2001

Hi Paul,

Just been browsing your web site,I must say it's growing really well. Regarding the Rudder bar V Pedals,,On the Sprigs Alley Flier(G-Offa) we first made a rudder bar for it,in trying it out,we very quickly realised that within less than a minute we would get very severe cramp in the ankles and legs,Peter Wright and I are both different heights (him being taller and me being a shortarse but beatifully marked), We tried all possible positions for the rudder bar,but were forced to declare NO WAY. When I flew Malcolm Whatleys' G-BWVB,I found no problems with the pedals,infact they make devising a brake pedal layout much easier. I hope all is going well at your end,we are making good progress,having bought a new crankshaft the engine is now being rebuilt,and we've got down to our last two pieces of wood, bye for now




I've enjoyed your site for some time now and thought that you might be interested to now that I have recently acquired Christopher John's project. Most of the woodwork for the fuselage, empenage, wing ribs and spars is complete and there appears to be most of the metalwork complete (phew!). I am based just outside Beverley in East Yorkshire and would be pleased to hear from any other builders. I enclose a photo of the project arriving at my house last Sunday (1st April) and some assorted photos of the project in it's current form. My email address is

I hope to be coming to Sywell again this year.

Regards Malcolm North

A Letter from America...


I am building a Piet in the U.S. (California) an I appreciate the pictures and building notes you have put on the web. I notice every one over there talks about the "Hal Danby style upper harness". Is this a front seatbelt with shoulder harness? On the web page Keith Hodge said "make sure that you have all the updated drawings from PFA regarding the Pas seat seatbelt assembly additional reinforcing, its an total pig to add after you have built it". Is there any way I could get a copy of these or do you have any pictures you could Email me?

A lot of us (US builders) been trying to figure out how to put in our seat belts with shoulder harnesses in both the front and rear cockpits. But we have not come up with a good way to do it in the front. If there is any way you know how to do this I would appreciate any help you could give me. Does the PFA require shoulder belts? They are not required over here but I want them for my own safety. Also do you guys build from the Orrin Hoopman plans or some other plans drawn to PFA standards? Some of your assemblies seem different then my plans.

Thanks for you time Chris Tracy


Another letter from America... 23 feb 2001


The best thing about your website is the descriptions that go along with the pictures. has a lot of useful pictures but sometimes they could use a little narration to help explain what the picture is showing. Also you guys over there seem to have a better eye for making the Piet look more Antique. Wish I could get over there to see them in person. I particularly like G-BMLT and G-BUCO. If you could get any more pictures of UK piets to post on your web site that would be great (Close-ups of instrument panels, types of wheels used, paint jobs, construction photographs are all ways helpful. I also like the flying stories).

One thing we need over here is more grass runways. In California asphalt and concrete are king. My poor Piet is going to look funny landing on 6000 feet of concrete runway.

By the way I forgot to say congratulations on your new daughter. My wife and I are expecting our first child (a boy), due to be borne May 5th. Thanks for your help

Chris Tracy

Dear All,

(18 Jan 2001)

There was a query that we forgot to ask about at the White Waltham gathering yesterday. We are a bit puzzled by the safety strap which wraps over the top of the control column torque tube where it passes over the top of the aft ash u/c cross member. The torque tube is fairly flexible at mid-span and we can only assume that the strap is intended to stop the tube deflecting upwards under the tension of the aileron cables. To ensure we understand things properly, could you comment on the following questions please:

Have you/do you intend to fit a safety strap?

What purpose is it meant to serve?

Have you bolted it to the ash cross member, or is it screwed to it as stated on the drawing?

What clearance (if any) have you provided between the strap and the torque tube?

Have you made it to the drawing or have you made a more sophisticated arrangement such as a split plastic (low friction) bush?

All comments will be gratefully received.

Best Wishes, Chris and Fran


Dear Paul

Thanks for your message, I think it's a relief to finally be in the air! Weather still rather unpredictable for test flying, some tweaking to do on the trim. One puzzler, The c of g calculations show a very aft c of g in the worst case and quite an aft cof g when normally loaded, yet the aircraft is actually quite nose heavy in the cruise, something Alan has said is common to all aircampers that he has flown. I would like to get to the bottom of this and wondered whether you have any details on how the original c of g calculations and limits were arrived at. I would like to get hold of details of the exact wing section used in our aeroplanes together with the Lift/Drag graphs as a basis to work from. Do you know where I can get these from?I that pulling the wing forward may help,but this will make the cof g figures worse! Any light you can through on the matter would be much appreciated.

Best wishes David

p.s If you have anything to add please forward to me as well...please!!

Hi again Dave

The section was 'eyeballed' by Pietenpol. Trained engineers who later saw it said that it looked like the Curtis Jenny's Eiffel 36, with it's ordinates doubled to produce a thicker wing... I am not aware of any lift/drag curves...and the Eiffel 36's aren't going to be of much use... I'll post the problem on the site and pass the query never know


19 Sept 2000

Just a line to say thanks to those enthusiasts who turned up at Popham last Sunday. Maybe if the fuel situation had been easier there would have been more Air Campers for you all to see, but never mind - next year there should be quite a few new ones. I'd like to say thanks to Dave Shrimpton & Margaret James for flying up from Compton Abbas in G-BWAT, it was good to have a brace of Pietenpols on the flight line. Biggest thanks go to Paul Shenton who arranged for me to go up in the Yak 52 for some aerobatics in exchange for taking him up in G -BUCO. That's got to be one of the best swaps on record! I managed to fly one new convert who turned up, Duncan Couchman (passenger number 248) who I believe raced off on his bike after the meeting to buy a set of plans. Finally, thanks to all those who have sent in copy for the next 'Airborne', there's loads of stuff and it may be a little delayed but it will be worth the wait. Regards - Alan James

30 Aug 2000


I live in Swindon and work in south Oxfordshire (Just outside Didcot) I don't know if any one is building around here. I am a member of both the Oxford and Swindon struts and if any of them are building they have kept it quiet. I shall see you at Popham.

Thanks Duncan

24 Aug 2000

Hello Paul

Great, great web site you guys have going over there. Wonderful ! Hope you all have seen the one Grant MacLaren has made up for all us Piet nuts over yonder. Here is the link just in case you hadn't seen it:

We enjoyed celebrating the 70th year anniversary of the design last summer by getting 17 of them to fly in together at EAA Oshkosh '99. Hope you saw the article in Sport Aviation by Jack Cox on the gathering. I was fortunate enough to have my plane featured in that Dec.'99 issue. Great job !

Best Regards, Michael Cuy Cleveland, Ohio

17th june 2000

Hi Paul, my piet is almost ready for covering, been building for several years. Nice to see your great website. Down here in sunny Devon it has felt like re-inventing the wheel, building on my own. So it will be good to contact other builders. Could you add something to your wants page? I need an oil tank for a Continental 0200.

Thanks Terry Wilson

20th June 2000

Hi Paul - Just a quick note to say that I took Peter Cooke's Pietenpol up for its first flight last Thursday evening and managed to complete the full test schedule by the end of the following day! She's a delightful example of Bernard's masterpiece and looks pretty as a picture in her bright red colour scheme. Flying her for the first time held no big surprises and after only a small amount of trimming was flying hands-off. Peter had not flown a Pietenpol until he had a ride in G-BXZO on Friday and instantly declared that it was well worth the 5 years effort. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Peter on his achievment and look forward to seeing both him and his Pietenpol at the Popham Pietenpol Picnic in September - if not before. Well done Peter. All the best - Alan.

Hello Paul, have just found your website via the PFA site and I think it's excellent. I've often wondered if someone was running a site for the Aircamper in the UK, well done. Geoff

I have been reading with interest the UK and USA web sites on the aircamper. Can someone tell me if there has been a modification to the design which includes lengthening the fuselage and wingspan with the view to achieving greater performance. Richard Lane

Hi Richard, The plans that come from the UK distributor include a 1966 lengthened fuz....The main theme behind most 'Camper builders is to keep it as original as possible... Are you planning a build? Paul Shenton

Dear Paul Thank you for your reponse. No I am not planning a build at present. I am here in Halifax as a Royal Navy officer on exchange with the Canadian Navy for a couple of years. I am taking advantage of the cheaper flying costs here and am about 1/3 of the way towards my PPL at the Air Force station CFB Shearwater. I have known about aircampers for a few years. My uncle here in Canada used the aircamper fusalage as the basis for his own design homebuilt biplane. It was effectively a scalled down Gypsy Moth complete with folding wings. During the summers he kept it wings folded in a boat house via a marine railway. I will try to get a photo e mailed to you if you are interested. Richard Lane

PFA Magazine Project News

Hi Paul, liked your web pages, some nice pictures of Pietenpols. I hope you or some of your fellow pietenpol builders might send me something for Project News in the PFA magazine. I'd much prefer to have more on aircraft like Pietenpols rather than all those **$!"£! Only minor problem is that "electronic " pictures are no good for reproduction, I need prints (preferably) or slides (just as good, but mine always seen to get damaged, so if you want them back be prepared to be disappointed) Thanks in advance and good luck with the building cheers. Nigel Hitchman

Paul Congratulations! Very entertaining and potentially informative. Hal Danby

Thanks Hal...the value of the content is very much going to depend on the interest of fellow enthusiasts in submitting pictures, views, articles etc... I don't intend to run it as a one man show as I have neither the time, or the knowledge!! Paul Shenton

How about making all the pictures clickable to view full screen? Paul Prince

To make the pictures of any use 'full screen' they need to be relatively large, which makes the download time, when using those images within pages, quite slow. The alternative is to link them to a 'larger' version, which starts to use up a lot of memory on the server. By using a 'photogallery', I have compromised and put selected larger images available to view......

I also intend re-scanning a few of the images as the quality of some is a little poor! Paul Shenton