My name is Kenny Crider and I live in a small town of Swifton in Northeast Arkansas. I am a 61 year old Crop Duster Pilot / Farmer and tinkerer. My Airplane is a plans built ship, designed by a man named Bernard H Pietenpol back in 1929. Many thousands of sets of plans have been sold these past 80 plus years, and Mr. Pietenpol (deceased) is recognized as the father of Americas homebuilt aircraft movement. I began my build in November of 2013 and the first flight took place Oct. 16 2016, just short of three years later.
The aircraft was origionally designed to be powered by a Model A ford engine, and many have been and are still being built with this engine option. More modern engines have been used and over 30 different engine types have been used over the years. When I started my build I considered the Model A, but didn’t like the worrisome babbit bearings and fact that special machine shops must be used to build the engine. I had an old 1947 Jeep that had been parked because of a tired engine and decided to do a little research to see if it might be a suitable substitute.
After some research I found that maybe it would work, with a modern oiling system, a robust crankshaft and a simple design, plus parts were very available. The folks at Kaiser Willys helped me with parts for the overhaul and my local machine shop did any needed freshening of the crank and valve seats. The engine is very near stock except for the firing system which was converted to use an aircraft type magneto driven off the crank shaft, and a tachometer drive was built simply by drilling a hole in the bolt that holds the cam shaft gear in place then threading a receptacle for the tach cable end. I found an oil pan without the stump shield to save weight, and removed the oil filter to also save weight, a small cover over the distributor mounting hole finished the conversion. Since it was important to have the carburetor to be as low as possible so that a gravity flow fuel system could be used, a new intake was designed and an up-draft carburetor replaced the original Carter unit. As the pictures will show a Willys 134L has flown. It will never take over more modern engines in aircraft manufacture, but the little jeep may find another way to please.
Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog Story – Kenny Crider
If you would like to share your Willys Jeep Story please send us a line. We ‘d love to meet your Jeep.
Like Us. Facebook