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A Brief History of the Pitts S1

All S-1s are variations on the basic Curtis Pitts design, which dates back to 1944. Air show performers Betty Skelton and Caro Bayley (among others) helped popularize the S-1. Limited numbers of S-1s were produced by Pitts in the 40s and 50s. Over time they came to be widely seen as the standard by which other aerobatic aircraft were judged. In the 1966 World Aerobatic Competition in Moscow, Bob Herendeen's participation on the USA Aerobatic Team, flying a Pitts Special, contributed further to its rising reputation.

The US National Aerobatic Team won the World Championships flying only Pitts biplanes in 1972. Curtis Pitts sold his personal interests in the Pitts S1 (and S2) in 1972. In 2005 Curtis Pitts died at the age of 89. He was working on the prototype of the Pitts Model 14, a brand-new, two-seat biplane designed for unlimited aerobatics, powered by the 400 horsepower Vedeneyev M14P radial engine.

Modern variants of the S-1 remain in production to this day. They continue to hew closely to Curtis Pitts' original designs.

Specifications

Role

Aerobatic biplane

Manufacturer

Aviat (current)

Designer

Curtis Pitts

First flight

September 1944

Propulsion

Single-engine

180hp Lycoming IO-360 fuel-injected flat-four piston engine, driving a two blade fixed pitch propeller

Performance

Max speed

185m/h

Max cruising speed

175m/h

Initial rate of climb

2,600 ft/m

Service ceiling

22,300 ft

Max range (no reserves)

275 nm

Weight (empty)

720 lbs

Max takeoff

1,150 lbs

Dimensions

Wing span

17' 4"

Length

15' 6"

Height

6' 3"

Wing area

98.5 sq ft

Seating Capacity

1

See a real Pitts S1 at Museum...

Tucson, Arizona

Addison, Texas (near Dallas)

Chantilly, VA (near DC)

Hampton, Virginia

Fargo, North Dakota

Greenfield, Iowa

Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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One of the finest aerobatic biplanes built in the U.S.

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Pitts - USAF.com