Bob Lester’s 48 flight hour, 3400 mile Pietenpol adventure

Builders:

Here is a short set of notes from Pietenpol builder and flyer Bob Lester. It describes how after several years of not being able to coax his 65 hp Lycoming to carry his Piet from Florida to Brodhead, he was able to make the trip without issue after his Corvair Conversion. There were many Piets on hand at Brodhead this year, but Bob’s clearly flew the furthest, and his trip was made old school, without ground support. Bob has done many things with planes in the last 40 years, but he will tell anyone that flying his Piet around the country the last few years, barnstorming as if it was the 1930s, is the most fun he has had. He now has about 300 hours on the conversion.

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Above, Bob Lester’s Pietenpol at CC #33.  Bob gave an intro flight to almost all of the Pietenpol builders on hand.

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What I did on my summer vacation, by Bob Lester

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Every year since 2009 I have tried to make it up to the Brodhead Pietenpol fly in in Wisconsin, and every year I’ve failed.  Two years were scrubbed by problems with the Lycoming 0-145

 engine in my Piet at the time,  3 years due to weather, and 1 year due to family health issues.

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Well this year was my year.  I had long since installed a 2700 Corvair in the Piet, and the weather was going to be with me ( more or less) for the trip.

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I planned for ten days ( including a side trip to central Minnesota  to view the farms that my great grand and great great grand fathers  had lived on in the 1800’s ) with several overnight stops at the homes of old friends.

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Day one took me from my home at Little River Airpark in McAlpin Fl to 49A  Gilmer Co in Ellijay Ga.  For a nice visit with friends from Jr High in 68.  A total of 7.0 hrs flying .

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Day 2 took me east then north over the mountains ( following a hi way ) to KJVY  Clark Co in Jeffersonville In.  to visit a good old friend of mine from way back.  A total of 5.8 hrs.

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Day 3 had me pinned down until noon waiting for the rain to pass over to the north.  So I headed west until night fall to land at  KBRL Southeast Iowa Regional at Burlington IA  to find a cheep cab ride to an expensive motel room.  A total of 7.6 hrs.

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Day 4 had me heading North to Austin Min then West to KFRM Fairmont MN. A total of 6.0 hrs   Here I rented a car and drove out to view the farms that I had only been able to read about for the last 45 years.  Took pictures to show my brother.  Stayed an extra day.

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Day 6  left a dawn to fly East to land at Cherry Grove ( birthplace of the Pietenpol ) only to find the runway grass was knee high.  So I pressed on to Brodhead WI .  A total of 7.1 hrs.

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Days 7, 8, & 9 , were spent resting and enjoying Pietenpols flying, Pietenpols landing, or Pietenpols just sitting there.  What a great way to spend your vacation.  (No flying by me.  My butt needed a rest )

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Day 10  was time to start heading home.  Flying South had me back in Southern Indiana at my friends house  outside of KJVY Clark Co Jeffersonville. A total of 6.1 hrs

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Day 11  The next day being a Monday, .  He  told me the bad news that he would have to drop me off at the airport a 0530 so that he could make it to work on time  That was perfect for me.  It allowed me to take off at the crack of dawn.  Flying South all day passing on the    East side of the Atlanta mode C area and over the Smokie Mountians  ( really cold ) I made it home by 1830 hrs and 8.8 hrs of flying

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This trip was a total bucket list thing that I’ve wanted to do for over 20 years.  It was great fun, and I may just do it again next year.

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My plane and it’s Corvair engine made this trip possible with no mechanical issues worth noting

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If you’ve always wanted to do something like this but haven’t yet j,  just do it .  You’ll feel a lot better about yourself.

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There’s an old saying that goes  “Your going to be dead for a long time.  What are you waiting for ? “

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 Happy trails

 Your friend    Bob Lester

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More Bob Stories:

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Power plant comparison:

Pietenpol Power: 100 hp Corvair vs 65 hp Lycoming

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Landing gear change:

New die spring landing gear on a Pietenpol, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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Our Piet discussion group:

Piet Vair discussion group update, notes on joining

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Bob’s Piet and others at Barnwell:

Pietenpol Builders and Pilots at Corvair College #31.

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A look at a College where Bob gave a lot of rides:

Corvair College #33: Behind The Scenes

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Above my favorite Bob Lester photo, where he naturally strikes the “Intrepid Aviator” pose with his Pietenpol at CC#25.  He is good at this because he has seen every old aviation movie ever made. I have to coach other pilots on getting the pose right, but not Bob. He built his 2,700/Weseman bearing engine at CC #17,  Bob is now an active member of our ‘Pietvair’ group

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-ww.

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About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at www.FlyCorvair.com and in more than 50 magazine articles.

3 Responses to Bob Lester’s 48 flight hour, 3400 mile Pietenpol adventure

  1. Tim Hansen says:

    Neat-o! Way to GO BOB! That’s a lot of time in the saddle, and a successful trip means you planned well. Glad you got to make the journey, and it encourages all of us to find our own adventure. blue skies.

    • Don January says:

      wonderful reading, you give us all the motivation to press harder for our dream’s

      • Bill Fitch says:

        Hello Bob, just stumbled on to your wonderful story. As you will remember your last fuel stop was at PVB Platteville ,Wi. and I was just ready to depart for Brodhead in my Pietenpol and could hardly believe here comes another Piet .We chatted and decided to fly together to Brodhead, about a one hour flight what a wonderful flight that was for me. So glad to hear you make it back home without any issues

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