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Pitts Stories?

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Jordan Carr
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
10
Posts
3
#1 Posted: 10/23/2009 12:43:16

I am a die hard Pitts lover and I hopefully I can get my hands on one soon. Until then, does anyone have any stories about flying their Pitts?



The little wheel belongs in the back.
Andy Machovsky
IAC Member
15
Posts
7
#2 Posted: 10/27/2009 22:03:15

The funnest thing is flying to a contest with the monoplanes, but what does everyone come out to look at? The little red Pitts! The plane is an absolute riot! for a considerably inexpensive airplane that will do rolling 360's, lomcevak's, Every spin combination you can think of with or without power, and just all around good time, you cannot beat it. Granted the firebreathing monoplanes will do more, but it costs more. Not an option in todays economy. I went for a ride in a Staudacher the other week, one thing that I really noticed is how looking across the cowling and wings lacked (in my opinion) the visual presentation a biplane provides. So I am partial to my little red Pitts, but I am also a very happy owner.



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Jordan Carr
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
10
Posts
3
#3 Posted: 10/28/2009 10:01:15

Hi Andy, It sounds like you have a lot of fun in your Pitts! How much time did you have before you bought your Pitts or what was your background?



The little wheel belongs in the back.
Paul Schulten
5
Posts
0
#4 Posted: 12/1/2009 09:08:13

I have a Christen Eagle, and its fantastic.  I can't even look at a Pitts/Eagle without getting excited.  Yep, they're not gonna run with the monoplanes (unless you get a wolfpitts!), but who cares!  Like that other fella said, they will do just about everything, minus the vertical uplines.  My Eagle is an absolute delight to fly, even if you just stay in the pattern you can do ridiculous short approaches and patterns, the control response is amazing.  It's nice doing acro in something you don't have to worry about hurting either, the basic structure is so strong and proven.  Flying a Pitts will definitely sharpen your skills and put you into an exclusive category of pilots.  If you plan on taking passengers, the Eagle is very comfortable and easy in/out  vs. the Pitts.  It's an incredible sense of freedom, and more than a little theraputic.  Nothing like a Pitts.  Go get one, you won't regret it!



David Richardson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
5
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1
#5 Posted: 12/4/2009 18:36:09

Hey Jordan,

        I too Love Pitts specials I was 10 when I saw my first one and 33 before I actually owned one. I consider it the highest point in my flying endeavers it was a S1S with 200 horsepower



Bunk Chase
IAC MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
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#6 Posted: 12/7/2009 20:02:15

Just be careful if you get your hands on one! They`re not as much fun as you think. THEY`RE MORE!!!!!.

My Pitts flying story----

The hardest landing that I ever made was shortly after I bought my S-2A. On a beautiful summer evening with the sun low on the horizon just as I began to flare, I noticed the shadow of the Pitts off to my right. It caught my attention and I could not stop looking at the beautiful silhouette rising up to meet me. With my attention diverted, I slammed three-point into the tarmac. Instantly pushing my left hand forward recovered my plight and I added two more tenths to my logbook.   

Happy Flying!

Bunk



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Andrew Boyd
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#7 Posted: 12/22/2009 10:18:09 Modified: 12/22/2009 10:21:36

 

Here's a very short (and thus not overly-large) video of my father (right wing), me (left wing), and my 16 year old son doing a vic formation takeoff in our Pitts S-2B's on a rather narrow runway: 

www.pittspecials.com/movies/takeoff.wmv

This summer, we did a first (for us) - three generation formation aerobatics, with the kid wing, not lead.

 

Probably one of my favorite trips in the Pitts is across the Gulf of Mexico, flying down to Central America for an airshow.

Here's the front page of the Sunday newspaper, after the airshow this year on Saturday:

www.pittspecials.com/images/sps09.jpg

That's me inverted in the yellow S-2C, doing the mirror pass with my buddy Freddy in the red S-2C.

 

Here's a low-altitude 4-pt roll:

www.pittspecials.com/movies/acb_roll.wmv

 

 



#8 Posted: 2/5/2010 21:33:22 Modified: 2/5/2010 21:38:21

First of all...I am stoked that all respondents are Pitts pilots.....usually people talking about Pitts are  usually bad mouthing them , never have flown in one....all they know is what others Non Pitts flyers passed to them which was problably from someone else as well...When other pilots (most of the straight level kind)  finds that I fly a Pitts,  it is always one smart comment or another....mostly related to landing a Pitts!  My standard answer always is "how many hours you have actually in a Pitts"  the anwser is always the same..."ZERO"  There's a typical Pitts story for you.

I have an S2B which is  my pride and joy and a life long goal and a dream come true ever since I watched "Cloud Dancer" when I was a kid! I dont want any other aircraft...

Reccomendation:  Get your tail wheel endorsement and re-learn how to fly all over again the correct way! ...(that's what happened to me)  If you can, train on a Citabria or Super D and learn to fly from the rear seat.It will help a lot when you are ready to step up into a Pitts.

 

PITTS FOR EVER!!!!

 

 

 

 

 



N202MK Giles 202 S/N 11 Owner
Jordan Carr
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
10
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3
#9 Posted: 2/5/2010 22:17:37

Thanks everybody for all the responses! I guess I should have given a little background, I have a tailwheel endorsement which I got in a Citabria and also have time in Pietenpols, Cubs, and some in an RV-6. I am having trouble finding anyone with a Pitts around here to check out or even get a ride! 



The little wheel belongs in the back.
Andrew Love
IAC Member
19
Posts
5
#10 Posted: 2/15/2010 03:12:06

Hi guys,

This is definately my area for discussion! big fan, ever since my first flight in one when I was 12. I spent 16 months doing commercial joyrides in S2As and Bs until buying a single seater with two mates. I flew my previous employer's 'hack' an S1 and loved it! I do a little bit of training for other's wanting to learn how to fly the Pitts.

Coming from a background in Robins and Yak 52s etc (the yak 52/50: my 2nd fav aeroplane!) the Pitts was a fairly big step up. New to the competition scene, but I think our S1 will take us all the way through to ADvanced one day.

I agree with all here, I have done a wee bit of time in an EA300L and it was absolutely astonishing, way beyond what I am capable of! But hell, the $$ involved means I ain't on that level and why would I want to be the Pitts does more for me anyway.

I must admit, I would absolutely love to have a crack in a model 12 or S1-11B. What a dream these machine's must be.

 

regards,

 

Andrew

 



Christopher Carlson
IAC MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
81
Posts
21
#11 Posted: 3/24/2010 22:42:44
Miroslav Velickovich wrote:

 

First of all...I am stoked that all respondents are Pitts pilots.....usually people talking about Pitts are  usually bad mouthing them , never have flown in one....all they know is what others Non Pitts flyers passed to them which was problably from someone else as well...When other pilots (most of the straight level kind)  finds that I fly a Pitts,  it is always one smart comment or another....mostly related to landing a Pitts!  My standard answer always is "how many hours you have actually in a Pitts"  the anwser is always the same..."ZERO"  There's a typical Pitts story for you.

I have an S2B which is  my pride and joy and a life long goal and a dream come true ever since I watched "Cloud Dancer" when I was a kid! I dont want any other aircraft...

Reccomendation:  Get your tail wheel endorsement and re-learn how to fly all over again the correct way! ...(that's what happened to me)  If you can, train on a Citabria or Super D and learn to fly from the rear seat.It will help a lot when you are ready to step up into a Pitts.

 

PITTS FOR EVER!!!!

 

 

WOW!

You are the only other pilot I've heard say anything GOOD about Cloud Dancer...I LOVED that movie!

I like Pitts (s) a lot. Not as much as my Hiperbipe but I DO like 'em!

 

                                                             Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Budd Davisson
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#12 Posted: 4/15/2010 13:14:49

Chris, 

FYI, at the time Cloud Dancer was made, its director/writer, Barry Brown, was my partner in my first S-2A. We worked out all the camera mounts on that airplane. The movie was one long cliche, but had some really great flying sequences and it's a chance to see people we know well (Tom Poberezny, Gene Soucy, Leo Loudenslager, and others) as very, very young men. It's actually an enjoyable movie. 

bd




#13 Posted: 4/15/2010 13:53:09 Modified: 4/15/2010 14:56:19

Loved Cloud Dancer....yes lots of cliches...so what?  the flying and the aircraft were superb and as Bud said, lots of yesterdays and todays aerobatic HOF cream of the crop were there!!.that alone is worth the admision $$$$  ...if you didn't know better, you might think David carradine was flying all those routines himself.....Superb film making....you dont see that often....you had to be an aviator to understand that movie at 100%

 

 

 

 



N202MK Giles 202 S/N 11 Owner
Brian Roodvoets
IAC Member
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#14 Posted: 4/15/2010 14:02:45 Modified: 4/15/2010 14:06:57

Best feeling is when I finally got my new Pitts S-1T into the air and Safely back on the ground last summer after a lot of practice and training.

 

 

 



Jamie Treat
IAC MemberVintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
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#15 Posted: 4/15/2010 15:35:21

Jordan,

Don't let life pass you by without getting into a Pitts. I"ve had two in the past, S1C N3961 and S1S N8GK. Wonderful aircraft. I've flown over 50 different types of aircraft, nothing even comes close. You can't walk in a hangar with a Pitts and not have a big smile on your face. Working on a 300+ HP NX397JT version of a single seat for Advanced Comp. It will be a sad day in my life when I can't fly the little bird. Go for it, and never look back.

 

JST


NX397JT_130-2010.JPG



Kev D
IAC Member
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0
#16 Posted: 4/15/2010 22:49:42

I dreamed about flying a Pitts since I was about 10 years old . . . and about 30 years later I finally realised that dream. Have you ever wanted something for so long that when you finally got it you wondered what all the fuss was about? Well, I can tell you that for me, flying a Pitts was NOTHING like that. What a blast these little planes are! Every flight, no matter where I go or what I do, is an absolute adventure and pleasure. Even a quick session of circuits (and 'quick' they are!) leaves a smile on my face that lasts for hours.

I totally agree that the new plastic monoplanes have the edge (pardon the pun) on performance and strength these days, but for at least 95% of pilots, the Pitts is still more aeroplane than they will ever need. And, in my humble opinion, two wings will always evoke more emotion in people than one wing – no matter how good it performs – ever can. 

I bought my S-2B when I had just 90 hours total time including 10 hours tailwheel. All planes were still somewhat of a challenge for me at that stage (and learning to handle the Pitts was even more so), but what a wonderfully rewarding achievement it was. I usually fly every weekend, and the fact that I have flown nothing but a Pitts since getting signed off in one two years ago pretty much says it all.

There’s just nothing else like a Pitts. Go for it – you won’t be disappointed!

Kev 

BTW: I saw Cloud Dancer for the first time late last year and yes it was cheesy, but I’ll watch it again because of the great planes, awesome flying and legendary pilots.

VH-ZZZ.jpg



Andrew Love
IAC Member
19
Posts
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#17 Posted: 4/16/2010 06:05:32 Modified: 4/16/2010 06:41:36

Jamie,

 

Keep us updated with your project - it sure does look exciting.

 

I just watched Cloud Dancer a week ago, and really enjoyed it. Going through old copies of Sport Aerobatics from the 70s-80s and then seeing the movie really highlights what it must have been like in the early days when the S1S represented 95% of the field - no starter motor, no tricks, just a stock little biplane that kicked ***.

It is fascinating how as time went on, going into the 80s when the Laser and Zlin's were starting to take charge, how the Pitts appeared with more and more modifications - Kermit's machine was something else! Now we are so fortunate that so much research has been done and the mods one can make are so well understood, and parts are produced by some incredible individuals in the US. We are currently fitting symetrical ailerons to ours, along with a host of other changes including a full recover. Here is an amusing one - taking my partner up for a fly last year.

 

 

 


5654_110691836246_657616246_2390749_6670353_n.jpg

One last thing, 3 point or wheeler? I'd be interested to hear everyone's approach to landing a Pitts. WHo does what and why? Budd, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

cheers,



Kent Taylor
IAC Member
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#18 Posted: 4/18/2010 08:40:03

Watching and talking about the movie is fun, but owning and flying the Cloud Dancer S1S is the ultimate hoot!

And restoring Henry Haigh's 300 HP retactable Pitts is in close second place.

Kent Taylor (N362JW)



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Ray Nickels
IAC MemberWarbirds of America Member
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#19 Posted: 4/20/2010 13:10:55

Sorry I don't have a picture, but thought I would reply.  I've had my S-2B for over 10 years.  I was originally looking for an Eagle, but the idea of a certified airplane appealed to me.  The only tailwheel I had flown previously was a DC-3, so I got a few hours in a Citabria before going to Bill Thomas for training.  The Citabria was no help at all!  Nothing lands quite like a Pitts.  But it is doable with good training and experience.  I've landed in 20 knot direct crosswinds and on runways so narrow that if you could see asphalt on either side you knew you were not over the runway!  It's all a matter of concentration.  I tell people that if you just keep in mind that anytime within 50 feet of the ground the airplane wants to kill you, you'll be fine.  As for technique, I have never tried to wheel land - I think there is just too little room for error, but perhaps I'm wrong.  I'm happiest when the tailwheel touches lightly just before the mains, and then I concentrate on "sticking it" to the ground.  Works for me, anyway.  Another thing to remember is that this is an airplane that just begs you to be stupid.  I tell people that the most impressive thing I do in my airplane is come back alive.  I don't need to show off or prove anything to anyone.  The annual is a royal pain, with about 1000 screws to remove and replace, but it is a yearly opportunity to do a deep cleaning and close inspection, and maintenance is generally not very expensive.  I did discover that my airplane was one of those with bad cotton fabric, so I took it to the factory for a complete rebuild in 2003.  It was a handshake deal, they treated me well, and I left with an effectively zero-time airframe.  I've also flown a Staudacher  and have to admit that afterwards I felt like my airplane was a Volvo stationwagon.  Nonetheless, I love the airplane.  What could be better than flying what is essentially the DC-3 of biplanes?  And get a two-seat - it's much more fun to get someone else sick!



Budd Davisson
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#20 Posted: 5/2/2010 14:48:32

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). 



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