There’s not a lot “alternative” about a Pietenpol Air Camper with a Corvair engine in it these days. In fact, it’s probably been the norm for this time-honored airframe for a while. But it is an auto conversion, as was the original Model A Ford mill spec’ed in the plans, so the gorgeous example on the French Valley ramp during the Alternative Engine Conference fit right in.
Built as a chapter project by EAA Chapter 1279 and completed in 2012, the Piet is now owned by two 1279 members, Peter Griffiths and Steve Williamson. And yes, the Piet didn’t have to taxi far to attend the AEC, but it’s done most of the trip to Oshkosh, so don’t think it doesn’t fly.
The Corvair installation is from a ’65 and uses a William Wynne conversion that Griffiths and Williamson are quite happy with. Originally fitted with a Stromberg automotive carburetor, the pair discovered the lack of mixture adjustment and accelerator pump was a dangerous impediment at high altitude airports and have since upgraded to an MA-3 carb. Far better now, although Williamson said if all you did was poke around the local area at sunset you could probably get away with the stocker.
The Corvair offers plenty of power in the light, all-wood Pietenpol. Using a 66 x 32 Culver Prop the direct drive combination turns 2900 rpm.