Modern Piet builders are acutely aware of the cherished tradition begun in a far corner of Minnesota 81 years ago. Oscar Zuniga, an engineer and Pietenpol owner in San Antonio, Texas, says: “If you’re looking for a ‘Insert Tab A into Slot B’ type of manual, you won’t find it. That’s the beauty of it. It’s like sitting down at your dining room table and emptying out all the pieces of a big, beautiful jigsaw puzzle of Cherry Grove, Minnesota, and then just sorting it out bit by bit. I work on a new and interesting part every day until I just can’t seem to make any progress there, then I work on another area for a while.
“Building a Piet is the same way,” he says. “And with this jigsaw puzzle, you’ll find a little bit of Mr. Pietenpol’s airplane and barn in every piece.”
Marshall Lumsden is a former World War II fighter pilot.