Back in 2011, we were pleased and flattered to discover that Jake Schultz, Boeing engineer and aviation author was a customer of ours. We were even more impressed to find out that our 4130 steel tubing and sheeting was going into an airplane. Specifically, Jake is building a 1931 Pietenpol Air Camper in his garage! The Pietenpol is an open-cockpit, two-seater airplane made mostly from wood and metal tubing, designed in 1928 by Bernie Pietenpol.

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A Pietenpol Air Camper. The version Jake is making has a different kind of engine

Why 4130 steel?

4130 steel is an alloy of carbon, chromium, molybdenum and silicon which produces a strong, tough, relatively corrosion resistant material which is highly receptive to hardening. These favorable attributes have made it popular in the automotive and aviation field. Though modern planes, motorbikes, and automobiles tend to have more aluminum, 4130 remains valued in these field. This is especially true for people who are working on vintage vehicles like Jake!

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Jake’s 4130 steel tube fuselage and the wooden wings in the background

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The wooden rudder, elevators, and more supports on the back

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The fusalage with the seats, some internal components, and the radial engine fitted

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Jake works on the fuselage

Many thanks to Jake for showing us this amazing project, and we wish him nothing but continued success!

Seattle Two too?

Are you aching for more classic flyers? Fear not, we’ve got your fix! Because it turns out Jake’s not the only one near our Seattle office taking to the skies in newly built vintage planes! Back in 1924, the US Army Air Service (the precursor to the Air Force) launched 4 planes with 8 pilots to try and become the first to fly around the world. These planes were named Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and New OrleansSeattle and Boston both suffered mechanical failures and crashed, but the remaining two planes successfully flew around the entire world.

Now, there is a Seattle-based nonprofit called The Seattle World Cruiser Project. They have built from scratch a slightly modernized reproduction of Seattle, and in 2019 they will be attempting to fly around the world in this new plane called the Seattle II. It also utilizes 4130 steel tubes in the fuselage. Check it out, it’s pretty cool!

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