Big news to announce! We finalized a wonderful aircraft donation this week.
The Kelch Aviation Museum at Brodhead Airport has received a donation of an original Pietenpol Air Camper aircraft from Mr. Gary Baglien of Loudon, Tennessee.
Mr. Baglien purchased the aircraft in 1965. Originally built in 1937 by the plane’s designer Bernard Pietenpol himself, the aircraft was restored by Frank Pavliga in 2005. It is one of the most original Pietenpol aircraft in existence and makes an important addition to the museum’s collection and ability to interpret local and regional aviation history.
Bernard Pietenpol of Cherry Grove, Minn., is considered the grandfather of the homebuilt aircraft movement. His pioneering 1928 design, using wood construction and the readily available Ford Model A engine, was promoted as an aircraft that anyone with basic construction skills could build at low cost. Hundreds have been built since, and the Brodhead Pietenpol Association, based at Brodhead Airport, still supports builders and pilots around the world.
The Kelch Aviation Museum has constructed Phase 1 of a $1.3 Million museum project, and upon the completion of fundraising, expects Phase 2 to begin in 2020. The new facility will feature 19 restored vintage aircraft from the “Golden Age of Aviation” (1920-1940) and a multi-use event space, in addition to an aviation art gallery, a collection of vintage automobiles, and an archive & library space. The facility will be open to the public year round. A capital campaign launched in 2016 has raised over $1,000,000 to date.