Pitts / aerobatics questions

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Little Scrapper, Mar 18, 2019.

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes Forum by donating:

  1. Mar 18, 2019 #1

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I have a couple questions on the Pitts in this video if anyone here is able to answer.
    [video=youtube_share;Fy6fvOcpo6k]https://youtu.be/Fy6fvOcpo6k[/video]

    Would you call this entry level aerobatics, mid level, advanced or extreme? Sometimes a camera can make things different than reality.

    Second.

    On a Pitts. Would the airplane in this video probably be a single aileron wing or dual? I don't know enough about aerobatics to know from watching it.

    Third.

    Aerobatics in this video, is this something that needs the big HP engines or is this pretty standard acrobatics for the smaller 125hp engine.

    Appreciate the discussion. Aerobatics is something I know nothing about.
     
  2. Mar 18, 2019 #2

    wwalton

    wwalton

    wwalton

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Hendersonville, North Carolina
    No answers but I’m eagerly awaiting the experts reply. Great video!
     
  3. Mar 18, 2019 #3

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    As a guy who knows nothing about aerobatics it's hard to tell in that video what's camera or what's not. Clearly there's a skill level required but at what level?

    The video is incredible, I hate the music personally but the footage is great.

    I always wonder about these Pitts. Single aileron vs dual, small HP vs big HP and what do you gain or lose.

    Can a single aileron S1C with 115 hp do everything in that video? Or would you need dual aileron 160 hp?

    Always wondered about that.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2019 #4

    Derswede

    Derswede

    Derswede

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Messages:
    828
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    Central North Carolina
    No expert here, but with the climb time in the hammerheads, that will take the larger engine. Roll rate seems more along the rate of our second Pitts, a 160 HP symmetrical wing 4 aileron built in 1974. The little Pitts (look left) was still a capable bird, I have good memories of Barbara O'Conner (Kitchens) beating up the sky in it. She normally flew a clip-wing J-5, so she could handle it well. As for the level of aerobatics, WAY above anything I have done, so the experts will need to weigh in on that. I would hazard a guess that that level was midlevel. Pilot was in his box about every maneuver, so he had some good training.

    (This is my opinion only....my opinion and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee....from the seniors menu.)
     
    wwalton likes this.
  5. Mar 18, 2019 #5

    Pops

    Pops

    Pops

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Messages:
    7,023
    Likes Received:
    5,920
    Location:
    USA.
    3 or 4 out of 10 . High power to weight ratio can hide low skills.
     
  6. Mar 18, 2019 #6

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    9,499
    Likes Received:
    6,262
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA
    I personally define the level of aerobatics as much by the sequence as by the individual maneuvers. The video included some entry level hammerheads, advanced level outside snaps, mid level torque roll and vertical up roll, plus entry level loops and rolls. None appeared to be performed at anything close to competition level.

    Either a two or four aileron version is capable of performing all of the maneuvers flown in the video. Note that Robert Armstrong flew a flat wing, two aileron Pitts in the World Aerobatic Championship (many years ago.).

    Thrust and entry speed are the relevant parameters. A low HP Pitts could perform each of the maneuvers in the video. The longer up lines would need to be entered at Vne with the smaller engines. Linking a series of maneuvers together makes HP more important.

    I highly recommend that you do something about that. You will not regret it.


    BJC
     
    flyinut likes this.
  7. Mar 18, 2019 #7

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    9,499
    Likes Received:
    6,262
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA
    flyinut, MadRocketScientist and Pops like this.
  8. Mar 19, 2019 #8

    TFF

    TFF

    TFF

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    11,551
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I’m guessing that was a 4 aileron. A 2 aileron Pitts would probably feel like that if never initiated to the 4 aileron I’m sure. More of note than two or four aileron would be inverted oil and fuel for sustained negative Gs. You can do a lot of stuff with gravity feed but engine sputtering and puking oil will get your attention. I liked the guy doing barrel rolls around the smoke. I would call that heavy “just knocking around” aerobatics. Not fancy but being snappy because the plane can be. I like smoother style, but in the box contest flying requires fitting everything in bounds. Fast rolling uses up less real estate when doing contest stuff.
     
  9. Mar 19, 2019 #9

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thank you.

    This is where I need to tread lightly around certain folks. What makes a Pitts so special compared to say a Smith, Little Toot, AcroSport1, Baby Lakes etc.

    Now, I'm not trying to rattle cages with that question but I am curious. For beginner or intermediate aerobatics would they be pretty similar?

    The Pitts is incredibly popular, clearly its earned its reputation. What "abilities" sets it apart from others?
     
  10. Mar 19, 2019 #10

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    9,499
    Likes Received:
    6,262
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA
    The Pitts IS a “Special.”

    The Pitts is lighter, stronger than most, rolls faster, snaps better, has less form drag, is easier to build than most, and has much better control harmony. It performs outside (negative maneuvers) just as well as inside (positive.) All failure modes are well understood. The Wolf Pitts (S-1S derivative) is the ultimate four cylinder aerobatic biplane, and the Wolf Pro (S-2S derivative) is the ultimate six cylinder, eight aileron, aerobatic biplane.

    Fly a good S-1S and you will never be satisfied with the control harmony and response of any other light aircraft.


    BJC
     
  11. Mar 19, 2019 #11

    TFF

    TFF

    TFF

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    11,551
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    For some lucky reason Mr Pitts got it so right on the first try, that it took the monoplane switch to make a better aerobatic plane. A Smith is only going to be a “dog” up against a Pitts. The Smith and Starduster one were created because At the time Pitts plans did not exist. Only about 6 existed over about a 15 year period until the C plans came out. Pitts did not believe anyone wanted plans even though he had requests all the time. A Smith will usually ring just about anyone’s bell.
     
  12. Mar 19, 2019 #12

    BJC

    BJC

    BJC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    9,499
    Likes Received:
    6,262
    Location:
    97FL, Florida, USA
    Trivia: The “C” stood for Continental” but I never have seen a Continental in a Pitts.


    BJC
     
    flyinut likes this.
  13. Mar 19, 2019 #13

    TFF

    TFF

    TFF

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    11,551
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Today everyone has to have the best or it’s not worth their time. The but is no variety. Look at cars, look at car lots everything is grey, silver, black or white and all look the same. Cars use to have personality. Different planes were that. There use to be more respect for planes like Smiths but today especially for contest or showing off, the consensus is why mess with anything not normally in the pack. There is a Rhin modified Pitts S1-X for sale on barnstormers that is poopooed because it’s not what today’s contestants want. It’s not a S1-IIB but for under 40k how could it not be good for the money? I want a Pitts some day, always number one. still I am very happy I have my SD1 project and I think it is a much better first timer plane than the Pitts. Unless you are trying to win a trophy, any small biplane is going to be pretty special.
     
  14. Mar 19, 2019 #14

    TFF

    TFF

    TFF

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    11,551
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I know of some that had O-200s but they got changed out although I think someone built one recently last ten years trying to make LSA. N8L the first “C” had a O-290G for its first engine. Hard to go back when you know more is ok. I think it has an O-320 now. It is still out there in private hands flying contests. It may not be best Pitts but I would pick it as my grail. Except for the first and second ones, it’s history and still flying. Should be in the Smithsonian hanging with Pitts #2 in formation
     
  15. Mar 19, 2019 #15

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Where does "Little Toot" fit in to this equation?

    I know that's a tough question. It seems like a really nice Biplane based on my reading. Seems like it can do some really nice aerobatics.....yet it's never mentioned. I find that a bit odd.

    I guess Pitts really just nailed it and everything else was well, something different.
     
  16. Mar 19, 2019 #16

    bifft

    bifft

    bifft

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    83
    Location:
    Utah
    I've only had one Pitts S-2 and two S-12 flights, and I'd feel comfortable doing about 80% of what that video showed. Maybe not that well the first time, but could edit my failures out of the vid. :)

    The rest of my aerobatics has been in a Starduster Too. Comparing Starduster with the Pitts, the Pitts was easier. It just did exactly what you told it to with little effort.
     
  17. Mar 19, 2019 #17

    fly2kads

    fly2kads

    fly2kads

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    Likes Received:
    526
    Location:
    Justin, TX
    I always like Bud Davisson's description of the Miniplane:
    Full pirep: http://www.airbum.com/pireps/PirepMiniplane.html
     
    Little Scrapper likes this.
  18. Mar 19, 2019 #18

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    It's a good pirep. I'm having fun building the Smith wing. It's my birthday Wednesday and I decided to shut the business down and take the entire day off to make wing parts. Gonna power my phone off too. Just coffee, some good music and wing ribs. All day.

    There's not much written about the Smith Miniplane. Hard to know what to compare it with.
     
    wwalton and fly2kads like this.
  19. Mar 19, 2019 #19

    Mcmark

    Mcmark

    Mcmark

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Owings, MD
    Years ago there was a talented gent in PA (John Watkins) that flew his 150hp Smith in sportsman category. He got a lot out of the airplane.
    Positive G aerobatics is a good place for the Smith. The wing airfoil is its limiter.
    The Toot has been flown in competition successfully. The airplane is bigger/heavier so you’re at a disadvantage against a Pitts.
    Having seat time in the S1-S2, imho they are more airplane than most pilots will ever use.
     
  20. Mar 19, 2019 #20

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Well-Known Member HBA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,352
    Likes Received:
    3,276
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    How about the Skyote compared to a Pitts?

    Ahh, nevermind. It just occurred to me everyone is comparing everything to a Pitts. I'm starting to see what's happening here. :roll:
     
    flyinut likes this.

Share This Page

arrow_white