Re: wheelies versus three-point
Most people forget that the original actual reason for wheel landings was/is to make a landing in a hard, gusty wind easier so a gust can't pick you up or drop you as you're trying to three point. Regardless of the amount of wind, if it doesn't have much gust factor, there's no reason to wheel any airplane on, but lots of people wheel land because they think it's easier, when it really exposes them to more problems because of the excess energy and the "dead spot" where the tail is out of air but the tailwheel hasn't made it down to the pavement yet. If the gust spread is close to 25-30% of the stall speed of the airplane (we're talking regular airplanes, not Pitts here), then a wheel landing is called for.
There is no practical application for a wheel landing in a Pitts in any conditions, although I know some people do it as a matter of course. To wheel it on, you're carrying a pretty fair amount of extra speed on touchdown plus, it requires more technique than most airplanes to do it well because the gear is so still, the tires so small, and the CG so far back. Touch down has to be almost perfect, with little or no vertical velocity or it'll bounce. Sometimes viciously. THIS IS NOT AN AIRPLANE THAT CAN BE FORCED ON AFTER A LITTLE SKIP OR A BOUNCE LIKE A CITABRIA OR CUB. Try to pin it after a little skip and, when it hits, the CG will keep coming down and launch you back in the air. It's easy to get a helluva porpoise going.
The airplane three-points superbly in virtually any condition and the stall speed is high enough that gusts have to approach 20 knots to be of any consequences. The placard says 20 knots demonstrated crosswind, but I'm certain that was written by their lawyers. We all know Pitts will handle grotesque amounts of crosswind. So much so, that most Pitts pilots pretty much ignore the wind. I know I do. My record (not intentional) was on the leading edge of a Level Five thunderstorm and it was verified by the tower as 38 gusting to 50, snapping between sixty and ninety degrees to the runway with blowing sand all but obscuring the runway.
The only thing to be careful of is that the airplanes all sit so flat that we touch down well over stall speed, so gusts are almost guaranteed to pick us us. If it's a crosswind and we bounce, or get picked up, WE CANNOT LET THE AIRPLANE START TO DRIFT SIDEWAYS WHILE IN THE BOUNCE. If the gust dies in that situation, it could get really ugly. If it starts to drift, drop the hammer and add five more minutes to your log book.
The cure to the above is to roll into the wind, as it picks us up, so we come back down in our own tire tracks. On the big wind mentioned above, it picked me up three times, the last time I was moving at a fast walk, but when I felt it getting light, as it picked me up, I just rolled into the wind and came back down in the same place. Oddly enough, even with that much wind, it was very much a non-event, but more important, I wasn't even close to the airplane's limit. I had lots of controls left.
Sorry to ramble. This just happens to be one of my hot buttons (obviously).