We'll be at Brodhead Saturday, July 21. While I'm giving an informal forum at 2 p.m., I highly recommend spending
the whole day there. It's my favorite airport in America. It is a relaxed, low key place where people open their
hangar doors and give you a look at a fantastic collection of antiques. As guests, we expect
anyone reading this to be on their most friendly and courteous behavior at Brodhead. This is a wonderful setting, and
it behooves us to preserve it.
On the subject of Pietenpols, above is a photo of Texan Hans van der Voort's Corvair powered Air Camper at the Southwestern
Regional EAA Fly In. His NX15KV won the Tony Bingelis Memorial Award for Best of Show there recently. Tony Bingelis was the greatest
how-to writer homebuilding ever had, and Texas was his home turf. I've yet to see it in person, but everyone who has
says Hans' airplane is outstanding. It has to warm the hearts of homebuilders everywhere when the grandaddy of all
homebuilt designs with an old Chevy engine takes home the Gold. Congratulations to Hans on an outstanding job.
If you haven't subscribed, you owe it to yourself to sign up for the Brodhead Pietenpol Association newsletter,
is edited by our close friends Doc and Dee Mosher. If the name sounds familiar, it's because Doc wrote the Introduction
to my Conversion Manual. Doc is a Corvair College #1 graduate. Although he's too modest about
it, Doc's decades of experience in aviation give the BPA newsletter some very special qualities. I highly encourage
anyone who's a fan of Pietenpols to subscribe. At $16 a year, it's the best bargain in aviation.
AirVenture Oshkosh starts July 23rd and runs through July 29th this year. I signed up to give three forums:1 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday, July 28, in Pavilion #6
Besides the forums, we'll be most easily found in the Zenith Aircraft Company booth. ZenVair 601 builders/pilots Dick
Schmidt of Wisconsin and Dr. Gary Ray of Michigan will take turns displaying their aircraft in the booth.
It will be the first appearance at Oshkosh for each of these airplanes, giving builders two fresh looks at the
Above, Ralph Mirabal proudly displays his FlyCorvair.com-built engine. Ralph is a 601 builder from Miami, and a graduate
of Corvair College #10. Ralph learned a lot at the College, but chose to have us build his engine.
He was patient, and is rewarded with the first of our new generation engines. As pictured below, it features a
Gold Hub, Falcon Dual Fuel Heads, Electronic Ignition, and production versions of our finalized
Oil System components. The engine ran like a banshee and Ralph was so pleased he hugged it (after we let it cool).
Here's a top view of Ralph's engine. The Fram filter is just for break in. The flight filter is a K&N 1008. The hose
loop on the bypass takes the place of the cooler. Engines on the dyno are very slow to bring the oil up to temperature, so
we rarely run external coolers on the dyno. Several of our new items pictured here, like the Rear Oil System Cover, Ignition
System and the new engines do not yet appear on our Products Page. We're working with our
machine shop to get quantity pricing on some of these components and will have the information out shortly. Ralph's
engine was the first of a half dozen we have on order which are now in process, being completed with the new parts.
In the above photo, Gordon Alexander's 3,100cc Pegzair complete and running has just passed its FAA Airworthiness
Inspection. To understand something of Gordon's sense of humor, its N-number is N129LZ. LZ129 was the Hindenburg.
Gordon's airplane was seven years of hard work in the making. In January, Gordon brought the project down on a trailer
from Minnesota to the main hangar in Edgewater, where he commenced a savage 14-hours a day for 100 days to finish it.
Inspired by his commitment, Gus, Kevin and I each worked to assist him. Gus guided him through covering the fuselage. I
built his motor mount, and Kevin did an enormous amount of work ahead of the firewall. But in the end, it was Gordon's
determination that got it done, and the day belongs to him. When it shortly takes to the air, it will be the first
Corvair powered Pegzair ever. The Golden Rule of Homebuilding: Persistence Pays.
Ed Fisher Designs
There's been a lot of speculation and talk, but here are two new designs by Ed Fisher, master of the light plane.
Both are Corvair powered two-seaters that meet the LSA rule. Ed has been a very successful aircraft designer for two
decades, and his entire prior body of work has been done in single seaters. He's now working on two designs I predict
will be even more popular than his previous work: the Sport Fleet and the Zipper. Either of these could be Ed's third
Oshkosh Grand Champion.
Above is Ed's 3/4 scale Fleet, the Sport Fleet. Subscribers to our old Corvair Flyer newsletter got a glimpse of
this airplane 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, it's gone through a major revision to use off the shelf extruded I-beam wing
spars. Ed also redesigned the cockpit. During the first phase, Ed lived in Ohio and we only saw each other once or
twice a year. He's since relocated to Florida, a move that's re-ignited his design work. Ed has never marketed a design
that has not been prototyped and flight tested. To honor that track record, he's already sought out several highly
accomplished homebuilders to build two or three prototypes to fine tune the design and cover the flight tests. It's
an elegantly simple tube and fabric design with fabric covered all aluminum wing structure. And of course, it's set
up for Corvair power.
Grace and I are strongly considering building one of the prototypes. It's been six years since we've had our
Pietenpol, and we both miss open cockpit flying. Ed is not sure if the airplane will be a kit or plans or both. The
first order of business is to get one or two of them flying. Either way, it's being designed around the Corvair. While
it may take nine months to a year from now to see the flying plane in person, Corvair fans can certainly spend this
year building their engine because the Sport Fleet is being designed especially for Corvair power.
Above is Ed Fisher's side-by-side high wing design, the Zipper. It's an all aluminum aircraft with a steel tube
substructure in the cockpit area. Ed initially drew the airplane as an SLSA proposal, but it will most likely appear as
a kit and also potentially plans built. Since this drawing, Ed's evolved the firewall forward of the Zipper to take
advantage of many of the components we developed for the 601. If the plane has a familiar look to it, its prehistoric
DNA is in the Stits Skycoupe. Ed comes from a seriously old school EAA family, and his parents built a Skycoupe in the
1950s and flew it to Rockford. They still own that Skycoupe today. While the layout is familiar, the Zipper is a clean
sheet of paper design. Ed and I have talked about an unusual method of evaluating the design with a proof of concept
vehicle; enter the next photo.
Although it might be difficult to recognize, above is "Uncle Gary Coppen's" Skycoupe.
After being our main test mule, and later the turbo testbed, we pulled the Skycoupe down for a complete recovering.
Gary covered it about 10 years ago, and thought it would be funny to cover a Ray Stits design in Seconite. Following
the low buck approach of the day, which advised non-standard covering practices, the ultimate payoff was a shortlived
covering job. By comparison, the pure Stits job on Grace's Taylorcraft is 34 years old and in perfect shape.
Gary and I had decided to throw some updates and modifications in with the recovering. After seeing Ed's Zipper
design, we hatched an unusual plan: As much of the Zipper as possible would now be built into the Skycoupe before it
flew again. On one hand, there are limitations to what information can be gathered on the Zipper from the rebuilt
Skycoupe. But there are many difficult-to-evaluate-on-paper elements of the design which the rebuilt Skycoupe will reveal.
These include visibility (it's going to have an L-4 style greenhouse), landing gear spring rate (the above photo shows
the Skycoupe being converted to aluminum spring gear and bungee nosegear), and the roll rate of tapered ailerons. Of
course, the Skycoupe has previously flown on Corvair power and has our Corvair Nosebowl.
Gary and I get one good day in each weekend on the airplane, and at this rate it will be done by the end of the year.
It's slated to be the testbed for our inexpensive engine project.
Again, it may take a number of months for this project to bear some fruit. But we know it's a Corvair powered design, and
you can always finish your engine while the Zipper design is hammered out. One serious note here: Ed is a very busy guy
working simultaneously on a number of projects. He has no time to answer questions on these designs. He's an inherently
conservative guy who lets the proof of concepts and prototypes speak for themselves. If you'd like to take a look at
Ed's work, you can visit www.raceairdesigns.com. We'll post periodic updates on these planes.
Original 3,100cc ZenVair
Above is a photo of our 601 N1777W I took last week. It now has 400 hours on the airframe and 200 on the engine.
After great consideration, Grace and I are thinking about selling our 601. If we build one of the Sport Fleet
prototypes, we will not have space in our hangar for four aircraft. With 13 Corvair powered 601s flying, and the
installation fully developed, as well as more than 100 builders flown in our plane, and three trips for ZenVair N1777W to Oshkosh,
it's not a requirement that we keep it in our stable. In the hands of the right owner, it can continue its track record
as the best known Corvair powered 601. We post this so interested parties can speak to us about it at Oshkosh.
Seven years ago we were seen as Pietenpol people. When we chose to build a 601, a number of Piet guys speculated if
we'd still even be part of the community. Our attendance at Brodhead and our work directly with Piet guys shows we've
never left that group. Likewise, considering selling our 601 certainly does not mean we'll be leaving the 601 community. It's an
excellent design and remains the mainstay of our business. Just like you, Grace and I have a dozen airplanes we want to build
and fly on adventures. We plan to keep moving and get to them all.
See you in Wisconsin.
Now At The Hangar
June 2011 At The Hangar
May 2011 At The Hangar
April 2011 At The Hangar
March 2011 At The Hangar
January 2011 At The Hangar
December 2010 At The Hangar
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Christmas 2007 At The Hangar
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June 2007 At The Hangar
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December 2006 At The Hangar Part 1
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 2
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 3
December 2006 At The Hangar Part 4
November 2006 At The Hangar
October 2006 At The Hangar
September 2006 At The Hangar
August 2006 At The Hangar
July 2006 At The Hangar
June 2006 At The Hangar
May 2006 At The Hangar
At The Hangar In April 2006
At The Hangar In March 2006
At The Hangar In February 2006
At The Hangar In January 2006
At The Hangar In December 2005
At The Hangar In November 2005
At The Hangar In October 2005
At The Hangar In September 2005
At The Hangar In July 2005
OSH, Illinois and SAA June 13, 2005
At The Hangar June 13, 2005 Part II
At The Hangar In May 2005
At The Hangar In April 2005