My Homebuilt Airplane | Pilot + Plane

by FliteTest | January 27, 2017 | (12 Ratings) Posted in Just Fun

Josh Bixler has loved aviation for as long as he can remember. It was the common activity that he and his brother did with their father.

“It was the primary way we bonded,” says Josh.

His dad would take them to Barber Airport to fly and the first time Josh went up in a Pietenpol was with a dear family friend. He says he never forgot that experience and it has spurred on his pursuit of aviation.

Fast forward 28 years, Josh purchased his own Pietenpol and now he gets to fly from the back seat 

“[There’s nothing like] the freedom that you have, the wind, the noise, the sound, the sight, the clarity,” says Josh. “Every sense you have is exposed.” 

Designed in 1928, the Pietenpol has minimal controls, is a simple design and when flying, it’s almost like you’re in a different time period. 

“Flying the Pietenpol is like flying a time machine with wings,” says Josh. 

Josh explains what makes this aircraft a great first homebuilt plane is that since it has been around for so long, there is a huge amount of knowledge and resources available, including people who are dedicated to getting you into the air. Additionally, the same RC model techniques you have can assist you as you build. And you can build one of these for less than $10,000! 

“It’s nothing more than a big balsa wood airplane that you happen to be flying in,” says Josh.

Josh believes that Barnard Pietenpol was as “Flite Test” as someone could be in the 1920s. He built the Pietenpol to be easy enough for others to build and fly, while being an incredibly robust and strong design. It also can use several types of engines, which makes for slightly different flight characteristics.

Josh’s favorite way to fly the Pietenpol is in formation because it truly captures the spirit of flight.

“It’s the connection that’s special,” says Josh. “It makes you feel more connected to the people, but also more connected to flight. I experience what pilots experienced back in the 30s and 40s as they flew these airplanes.”

Josh hopes that his experience with his Pietenpol inspires others to continue to take flight to new heights and believes that, “a lot of people can fly the models, they’re also capable of making a memory over building their planes and flying their planes.”

Are you building an aircraft or own one that you are proud of and want to share with the world? Visit our general aviation page, fill out the form and you could be featured! 

COMMENTS

MOcchionero on January 29, 2017
Wonderful! I am glad God has blessed you with your spirit and enthusiasm! I thank FT for getting me in a hobby that is so rewarding. Keep up the good work.
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FliteTest on January 30, 2017
Josh's passion is truly inspirational to many! So glad you are a part of the hobby. -Megan
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dmlong on January 29, 2017
I wish you guys were around in my younger days. :)
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FliteTest on January 30, 2017
Fortunately, you're never too old to be a part of this fantastic community! Glad you're here. :) -Megan
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Evin-Air on January 29, 2017
that is true inspiration to aviation thank you for that post
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FliteTest on January 30, 2017
We're so thankful for the positive responses we've received. We can't wait to continue to bring full-scale content to all of you! -Megan
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abieex on January 29, 2017
Best FT video ever! Right from the heart and genuine. Great editing, filming and sound. I have always flown full scale 15 meter sailplane so I understand his passion.
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FliteTest on January 30, 2017
Thank you for your kind words! Be sure to check out our general aviation page to submit info about your sailplane! (www.flitetest.com/pages/generalaviation)
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KC135 on January 29, 2017
I LOVE the passion you show for Aviation... I can just feel your enthusiasm for the things that you do... I hope you know that you and your staff are greatly appreciated beyond any words can express... You've certainly past on your enthusiasm to me personally and have enhanced my existence here on earth. Thank You and your Staff for what you've accomplished; and the way you Inspire others in this Adventure we call "Life".
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FliteTest on January 30, 2017
Our hearts soar hearing we have positively impacted others in the community. Thank YOU for your ongoing support! -Megan
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mikeporterinmd on January 29, 2017
That was awesome! Loved every moment of it.
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FliteTest on January 30, 2017
Isn't Josh fantastic? His heart for aviation shines through every word he speaks. -Megan
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Herman Nel on January 30, 2017
I can only echo MOcchionero comment: "Wonderful! I am glad God has blessed you with your spirit and enthusiasm! ".
I am nearly 60 years in this hobby, starting with Cox baby-bee engines on U-control planes.
..... and I enjoy your videos and stuff very much...

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Neskair on January 30, 2017
That is awesome! I love it. Now I really want to build a full scale!
The article looks great! My favorite in a long time!
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alexfly on February 1, 2017
well guys if you are interested . www.pietenpolaircraftcompany.com this is the family web site Andrew Pientepol runs the family company and also is pientenpol grandson. have fun and let me know if you liked the information

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Jrd210 on February 3, 2017
Hey FliteTest--great video, I too started with my Dad as a kid backseat, went on to fly 3200 hours (about 50% taildraggers, homebuilts and ultralights) and then on losing medical (fine as getting too expensive to fly here in Canada) took up models and now totally hooked on all the models I fly. Almost as much fun!!
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jredbird on February 3, 2017
Fantastic! FT has really been an inspiration to me, on several levels. I've always wanted my general aviation license, and maybe some day I'll get it-- if you keep up on the 1:1 topic, it's probably only a matter of time. Keep up the great work guys! Meanwhile, I think I have an FTBronco kit I still need to build...cheers!
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A. Frate on November 30, 2017
Hi, Josh
Just got a Nov. 2017 EAA Sport Aviation magazine. There is a great article about the Pietenpol Air Camper.
Lots of info and pix. There is the Brodhead Pietenpol Association here in Wis.
Keep'em Flying,
A. Frate
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