Pietenpol Weight and Balance; Inputs for configuration calculation.


If you are one of the Pietenpol builders who picked up a copy of our new Pietenpol Weight and Balance manual ,, and you would like to send in your data so we can assist you in getting your wing and landing gear into optimized locations, here is the information I will need:


(A) The type of engine and the proposed propeller.

Ie: ” Ford with wood prop” or Continental 65, hand prop , Wood Prop” Or Corvair with a Warp Drive” Or “O-200 with electric start and a metal prop”


(B) Length Of fuselage.

Long or Short (IMHO, no one should build a short fuselage plane if they are just starting. It has no advantages. )


(C) The Pilots’s weight.

Your weight, dressed in a jacket, with headset, ready to fly. It also helps to know the pilots height, as the CG of a  5’6″ 200lb guy is a bit forward of a 6’4″ 200lb guy


(D) The range of pilots weights

If you have friends who will test fly or likely be trusted to fly your plane, this important, and the most Piets can be set up to cover a 120–150 pound range of pilots.  So let me know if you are one of the lightest or one of the heaviest people who will fly the plane. Consider if you will have a kid or grandkid who might fly it when they are in the 120-130lb range.


(E) Fuel Tank Location(s) and capacities.

Let me know where the fuel tank is, and what capacity it is. If the tank is in the fuselage, please reference its location in inches from the firewall. If you have a 12 gallon fuselage tank, and it is 16″ long, send me a note saying something like “12 gallons, with the center of the tank 9″ aft of the front face of the firewall.”


(F) Unusual features: 

A full plywood fuselage; A glove box with a capacity of more than 8 pounds; Unusually heavy or different tailwheel and spring arrangements; Super light covering like Oratec; Pilots seat back location tilted more than 1.5″ from where the plans show. Please note these differences.


Where do you  send (A) though (F)? 

I would greatly prefer if builders send the information right to the comments section here. If you send the information to the comments, in a few days I will come back with a specific recommendation.

If you are a bit concerned about sending your actual weight out on the internet because Cameron Diaz haunts your profile page on Match.com where you shaved 20 pounds off the actual number, and now you don’t want to get busted and have it ruin her image of you as a scrupulously honest character, no worries, I understand completely. Just send the info with your initials, and when she calls me with her suspicions, I’ll totally deny it’s you.  Thank me later, it just the kind of guy I am.

Seriously, don’t send in ‘optimistic’ numbers, the subject is a little too serious for vanity to show up in your numbers. Over the years we have had at least 6 successful pilots of Corvair Powered planes who had personal flying weights in the 300+ club, I can get your Piet weight and balance in range if I know the number. If you are 265#, sorry, it will not even make honorable mention in pantheon of pilots who could have been NFL defensive linemen.




If you would like to watch a one hour forum I gave on Weight and Balance of Pietenpol’s, including an extensive question and answer session, click on the youtube link above, it will take you directly to my channel. If you have not yet done so, please take a moment to subscribe.





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.

7 Responses to Pietenpol Weight and Balance; Inputs for configuration calculation.

  1. Robert E Glab says:

    Morning, it was a blast to attend your forum at airventure. Thanks for your work. I am building now.

    A) Corvair, Warp Drive Prop
    B) Long Fuse
    C) I could weigh as much as 275, Ide assume I am about the largest person that will be flying my plane.
    D)As far as a weight range I suppose i would like it setup so the heaviest pilot would be 280 and have the range include as light a pilot that I could within reason.
    E) I am not at that stage yet, but I plan on as large of a fuel tank that I could do in a single center section tank,
    F) I plan on using Oratex, and I would like to tilt my pilot seat back 1.5″.

    I am still very new to the build process, Any advice from you would be apprecated and followed. Again, thanks for your work on these beautiful machines.

    Robert Glab
    (928) 379-2248

  2. Casey Welch says:

    A. Corvair, Wood Sensenich
    B. Long Fuse
    C. Currently weigh about 210 lbs ready to fly. 6’4” tall.
    D. Lightest pilot ~ 130 lbs. Heaviest ~ 280 lbs.
    E. Open for ideas here. Wing is not yet built. Prefer largest possible wing tank, no header or fuselage tank if possible for simplicity. Again, open for recommendations.
    F. Oratex covering. Pilot seat tilted back 1.5”. Harley wheels. Open for your best tailwheel recommendation.

    I’m also early in the game. My plan is to take this opportunity to begin to gather best data and info to get it right from the start. Really appreciate your guidance William.

  3. Ned Lebens says:

    A) Corvair with Warp Drive.
    B) Long.
    C) 6’0″ 200lbs.
    D) 140lbs – 260lbs range.
    E) Center section tank. 16 gallons.
    F) Pilot’s seat back tilted back extra 2.5″ at top longerons. Fuselage is 2″ taller from firewall to tailpost.

    Thank you!
    Ned Lebens

    • Peter Jones says:

      Great presentation @ Brodhead.
      Thx for the help!

      A) Corvair w/ wood or Sensich adjustable, WW
      motor mount
      B) Long fuse
      C) P. Wt. 190#
      D) Range 145-220#
      E) Frt. tank 12.1 gal. CG 9″ behind FW
      Ctr. section tank 13.5 gal.
      F) Ctr. struts +2″
      Matco tailwheel on steel leaf spring
      Straight axle w hyd. disc brakes
      Oil cooler mounted at very front
      Odessy battery against rr of FW
      Panel full of gauges
      Significantly enlarged rr glovebox to fit a
      sleeping bag.

  4. Arthur Davison says:

    I didn’t make it out to Oshkosh this year but I would like to get a copy of the weight and balance manual as soon as it’s available online.

    A) Corvair w/ wood prop
    B) Long
    C) 6’2″ 260 lbs.
    D) I don’t anticipate anyone else flying it, but a 170-270 range for the pilot would be good.
    E) 17 gallon center section tank.
    F) Steel tube fuselage, Ribblet 612 Wing, I have a shelf above the passenger’s rudder controls that could probably hold 40 lbs. I’m also leaning towards oratex covering.

    To make a long version of the steel tube plans I compared the dimensions of the long and short fuselage bays and added that difference to the corresponding bays on the steel plans. I also made it 2″ deeper. The lower longeron is a 7/8″ x 0.035″ tube from the firewall to 12″ behind the pilot’s cockpit and then 3/4″ x 0.035″ back to the tail. Top longeron is 3/4″ x 0.035″ the entire length.

    Thank you for all the great work that you’ve done!

  5. Chris Pirrmann says:

    A. Continental A75, Wood Prop
    B. Long Fuselage
    C. Currently weigh 260 . 6’0” tall.
    D. Lightest pilot ~ 160 lbs.
    E. Fuselage nose tank. 18 gal.The center is 8″ behind firewall.
    F. Stits Polyfiber fabric.

    Note: It has a Matco tailwheel. I bought this airplane and did not build it. I placed 75 lbs of ballast in the front cockpit to ensure good CG with only 2 gals of fuel. I based this on the submitted W&B in which I have since found many discrepancies. I don’t care so much about being able to carry passengers as about carrying me safely. If that requires sacrificing passengers or light pilots, I’m fine with that.
    I currently have the wings off and this is a good opportunity to correct CG issues. Also, feel free to share my results if it would prove beneficial.

    Thank you.

    Chris Pirrmann.
    BTW, I’m not worried about Cameron Diaz. Morgan Fairchild however …..

    • Chris Pirrmann says:

      I forgot to mention that the empty weight is reported as 695 lbs. Don’t know if you need that or not.

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