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Brodhead Pietenpol Association

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 Welcome to our website!
 
The Brodhead Pietenpol Association is a "Type-Club" for owners, pilots, builders, and simply aficionados of the ubiquitous Pietenpol aircraft design.  In 1929, Bernard Pietenpol (peet-n-pole) of Cherry Grove, Minnesota designed and built a two-seat open cockpit airplane powered with a Ford Model A automobile engine.  A depression era magazine, Modern Mechanics and Inventions, published plans for this simple-to-build airplane, and builders started going to their local lumber mills to gather the wood necessary to build these "Piets" in garages and barns all over the USA. 
 
There is no Pietenpol "factory" where you can purchase a new airplane.  It is a "plans-built" airplane, certificated by the FAA under the amateur-built "Experimental" category.  There is an FAA regulation (the 51% rule) that says that the major portion of the fabrication and assembly tasks be performed by persons who are building the aircraft for their own education and recreation.  Your airplane, upon completion and FAA inspection, will be certificated under the FAA's "Experimental" category.  Today there are thousands of such homebuilt "Experimental" airplanes flying in the USA, including some 400 Pietenpols.  Yes, Pietenpols are still being built today!  Building the airplane can be a life enhancing experience in itself.  Anyone who has built a Pietenpol will attest to the satisfaction and personal growth during the building process.
 
Today, with the new FAA regulations describing the rules for LSA (Light Sport Aircraft), it turns out that the Pietenpol design easily qualifies under the new LSA rules.  These new LSA regulations specify that a simple, two-seat airplane with a single piston engine, a gross weight of less than 1320 pounds, a fixed (non-retractable) landing gear, a stall speed of less than 51 mph and a top cruise speed of less than 138 mph can qualify as an LSA.  It turns out that the Pietenpol has been happily flying within these parameters for some 75 years!
 
Maybe the best part is that as an LSA pilot, gone are the FAA physical exams.  After you are properly trained and signed off by a certificated flight instructor, you can fly an LSA-qualified Pietenpol with only a current driver's license as proof of good physical condition!
 
Maybe an even better part is that you can build and fly your Pietenpol for less than $10,000 including the engine!  It is a simple airplane (it's for FUN, remember?)  For one thing, building is a pay-as-you build process.  No plunking down thousands of dollars for a down payment or progress payments.  As you build, you purchase the pieces and parts that you need.  When you finish your plane, you have already paid for it, a bit at a time.
 
Back in depression times, the 1930s, the Model A Ford Engine was the engine of choice.  It was cheap and plentiful.  In the 60s the air-cooled Corvair automobile came along and its engine became the one of choice for the Pietenpol.  At the same time, many builders had access to the Continental series of 65-100 hp engines and installed them.  The Pietenpol flies well with any of them, some better than others.  By using reworked automobile engines like the Corvair, the cost is cut considerably.  One builder, P.F. Beck of Barnwell, SC, found his $100 Corvair core and rebuilt it with all new after market parts, using guidance from Corvair manuals of William Wynne (www.flycorvair.com).  By scrounging in auto yards for items like a starter and alternator, Beck was able to hold his total engine cost to $1,600 from start to run!  As he says, "I built this Pietenpol over a 27-month period for a total cost of $6,800.  No, that's not a typo.  You correctly read $6,800."
 
The Brodhead Pietenpol Association was formed years ago and currently enjoys a membership of over 700 people throughout the world who are truly "Piet people".  Besides being a sort of home base, BPA offers two very tangible benefits to members.
 
1.  The quarterly BPANews which has 16 pages of news from members, photos (4 pages in color) of people and planes, shop and maintenance tips, in depth articles by excellent writers, and classified ads.  The BPANews is delivered right to your home mailbox four times a year.  Through the classified ads it is possible to purchase a used flying Pietenpol!  Average price usually runs $8,000 to $12,000 with a median cost of perhaps $10,000.
 
2.  Sponsorship, in conjunction with EAA Chapter 431 (Brodhead WI) of the annual Pietenpol reunion at the gem of an airfield at Brodhead, Wisconsin.
 
In addition, BPA is always available for answering questions and referring people to the right sources for pieces and parts.  BPA keeps a running record of all the FAA registered Pietenpols, and many of the "Pietenpol projects."
 
For $20 a year, BPA membership is about the best bargain around.