Pitts

S-1 Special

S-2 Special

All single-seat (S-1) and two-seat (S-2) Pitts Specials are variations on the basic design from 1944.

Pitts produced limited numbers of aircraft during the 1940s and 1950s. It is widely accepted that the Pitts Special is the standard by which all other aerobatic aircraft are judged. After a number of home-built aircraft were produced from rough hand-drawn plans produced by Pitts, more professionally drawn plans went on sale in 1962.  The design's popularity grew significantly following Bob Herendeen's participation on the USA Aerobatic Team in a Pitts Special in the World Aerobatic Competition in Moscow, Russia in 1966.

In 1972, the US National Aerobatic Team won the World Championships flying only Pitts biplanes.

In 1977 Curtis Pitts sold his interests in the Pitts S1 & S2 to Doyle Child. Child later sold the rights in 1981 to Frank Christenson, who continued production at the Afton plant under the guise of Christen Industries. The rights for home-built versions of the Pitts were sold in 1994 to Steen Aero Lab, with the Afton factory and production rights being transferred to Aviat.

Curtis Pitts died in 2005 at age 89. At the time of his death, he was working with Steen on the prototype of the new Pitts Model 14, a brand-new, two-seat biplane designed for unlimited aerobatics powered by the 400 horsepower Vedeneyev M14P radial engine. The rights to the Pitts name is currently owned by Aviat which also owns the similar model to the Pitts in the Christen Eagle.

Certified versions of the compact Pitts are now produced by Aviat in Afton, Wyoming. It is available as an S1 single-seater with up to 200 hp (150 kW) flat-4 Lycoming engine and a 17 ft 4 in (5.28 m) wingspan, or as an S2 two-seater variant featuring a 260 hp (194 kW) flat-6 Lycoming and a 20 ft (6.1 m) wingspan. Pitts Specials have been equipped with engines of up to 450 hp (338 kW).

The Pitts held sway over the aerobatic world championships until the rise of the monoplane, though it remains very competitive in all levels of competition and remains a favorite of air show performers worldwide. The first monoplane to topple the Pitts from the top of unlimited aerobatic competition was the Russian- built and designed Yak-50.

Today, the single-seat Pitts S1-S plans are available from Aviat Aircraft. The S1-C and derivative S1-SS plans and kits are supplied by Steen Aero Lab in Palm Bay, Florida. The S1 continues to provide extremely high performance at a relatively low cost. Many hundreds of homebuilders have successfully completed and flown the Pitts since plans became available in 1960.

Source: Wikipedia