Project: Pitts Special S1

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by YakFlyer, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. YakFlyer

    YakFlyer Member

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    Hey folks,

    Been meaning to post up some pics n info about our project. It has been a very challenging an detailed project. Not a stone is being left unturned - working on it since early 2010. EEU.jpg Ardmore May '09.jpg

    So the engine has had a complete rebuild. An O-320, with 9 1/2 pistons, cam lifters, bearings, seals, fully restored christen inverted system, Ellison Throttle body. 177hp. New microair radio/Xpdr, Light weight starter and battery.
    P1090070.jpg P1090072.jpg
    Fuselage: enlarged rudder, Cut back turtle deck, clear floor and clear inserts in footwell sides, new instrument panel, we are retaining the original wooden footwells, turtle deck door and lever/control column fittings, a nice and unique touch from Keith Trillo, the original builder. The original undercarriage legs consisting of the fabric covered welded tube legs with bungees remain. We have gone with a steerable Haigh Tailwheel. Carbon fibre nosebowl. Carbon Fibre seatback. The Entire fuse and tail group, along with gear and wing I Struts have been sandblasted, repainted, re-covered and primed with 3 coats and the associated sanding in between, now awaiting top coat.
    EEU III.JPG P1040385.JPG image[1].jpeg image.jpeg
    To comply with an AD regarding wingattach brackets, we have reinforced ours as per the AD. You can see the work carried out in the photo. Also early photos taken in late 2009 when we began initial inspection of woodwork.
    The shot of the top left wing tip gives some idea of the new planform as a result of the new ailerons. It will give it a much more modern and defined look along with the larger fin area, along with boosting the rollrate quite significantly.

    Weight: The factory S1S weighs in at around 820Ib empty depending on equipment. We are aiming for around the 800-820Ib empty mark.

    The fuselage is coming back together nicely now, been a long road, and still alot to do. The wings will be the final portion of the project as the year wears on. The leading metal edges are being replaced with plywood, along with the extensive strengthening of the wings in several places to accept the newer, larger ailerons.
    It has been an enjoyable journey. Although I have had to keep my aerobatic urges at bay, no way could I just pack it in for a few years while we worked on this machine!
    P1070727.jpg P1070815.jpg Waipuk PIT.jpg
    These pics were taken at a few different competitions over the past 24 months. I am leasing a two place Pitts currently (for training mainly, and a few competitions and the odd airshow here and there).

    Anyway, thought I'd post up a report of where we are at for those interest.

    Blue skies.

    Yakflyer
     
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  2. YakFlyer

    YakFlyer Member

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    And the point of this post was to show the latest stage we are at! Fitting out and recovering fuselage!
     
  3. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    #3 N4521U, Jun 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
    I didn't know onew could "home build" a Pitts?
    Are you an A&P? Did you do your own stitching? I got myself into the Wood Fabric and Dope section of A&P school in trade for some sign work. I loved it. Not certified, just let me Monitor the class and do the projects.

    Good job tho. I envy you. I've had many rides in both, and lessons, rolls, loops, unusual attitudes.
    Love it.
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Very cool! Did you say 9 1/2 pistons?
     
  5. YakFlyer

    YakFlyer Member

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    Sorry no let me be clear, I am not an engineer. My partner in the build is, so yes I am learning a heck of a lot. Awesome machine that's for sure, who did you fly with? Do you fly much these days?
     
  6. YakFlyer

    YakFlyer Member

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    9 1/2 : 1 pistons.
     
  7. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Really a very good job so far. :thumbright:
     
  8. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Flew for fun. Got my PPL at 48!
    But I used to prostitute myself for rides, "paint your name on your plane? Got two seats"?
    !50, 152, 172 Cessners.

    I envy you. I knew lots of home builders, glass and wood and fabric. Long EZ's, Eagles, Lancairs, even T-6's.
    Even a scale P-38 with Rotax engines.

    But, to get to rebuild a Pitts, That is magic.
     
  9. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    great stuff!
     
  10. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Very cool!!
     
  11. YakFlyer

    YakFlyer Member

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    Hey thanks for the kind words guys, wish I could take all the credit for it. Financially, I have a huge part, but the rebuild is all learning for me. The other guy involved, a good mate of mine, very experienced warbird display pilot can take all the credit. He is one of those very rare aviators, who flies, beautifully, is a fantastic instructor (he taught me to fly the Tiger Moth) and also a great engineer with astonishing eye for detail.

    I flew with a friend in his Tiger into Oshkosh in 2012, and N4521U, I was just blown away by the many hundreds of aviators I met over there including dozens of homebuilders. You guys are just mad for aviation over there, I loved it. Met so many amazing people. Am back in the US at Reno this September, and just can't wait to drink more American beer and talk flying with everyone I meet. Convinced the US is the greatest place in the world, one great big toybox!

    cheers,
    yakflyer
     
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  12. YakFlyer

    YakFlyer Member

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    #12 YakFlyer, Jun 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
    I mean't to say, yes there are a large number of homebuilt Pitts Specials around. Mainly of the single hole variety. The S1S, was the certified single seater which clearly you can't build, but off the plans you can build an identical variant of this aeroplane, as ours was. The S1C, preceded the S1S with the flat bottom aerofoils and low wing ailerons only. Betty Skelton made her name winning several world competitions in the original 'little stinker'. The S1S came with symmetrical aerofoils, 4 ailerons and 180hp. This is the machine that laid the foundation for the name. Gene Soucy, Bob Herendeen and Tom Poberezny flew this aircraft to great success at world level, in the early 1970s.

    The S2A was simply a slightly larger S1S, with an IO-360 driving a constant speed prop. This aircraft finally enabled dual instruction in an advanced aerobatic aircraft that was certified by the FAA - a tremendous step forward in the 70s. There was simply nothing else available to compare to it. At around the same time they also put that engine straight into an S1S, creating the S1T "Big stinker", while also giving it symmetrical ailerons. Unfortunately, the extra weight of the CSU nulified much of the expected gains with the bigger engine fitted.

    Then, in an attempt to keep up with the emerging plastic and composite monoplanes, Curtis removed the front seat of the S2A, and dropped an IO-540 up front to create the S2S. This thing was a monster, and is the basis to what Skip Stewart and Sean D Tucker use as their airshow mounts across the US.
    Then, this aircraft was given a 2nd seat to become the S2B and finally, in the late 1990s, Curtis went back to the drawing board, to create an anwer, once and for all to the monoplane "menace", by putting an IO-540 in a single seat airframe with an entirely new and thinner aerofoil section, stretched fuselage (to show better to the judges on the ground), this was the S1-11B, which is a kit plane only. Kirby Chambliss described this machine as 'like a monoplane but with a wing on top'.

    The final certified machine to be produced (Which remains in production today, is the S2C). An entirely reworked and redesigned fuselage and wing combination. I did a couple of hours in one of these at Sean D Tucker's school at Tutima in 2012. First thought was "holy f#^T#!^T!#!#!#". Once I had settled down, I decided that I will never be good enough to do justice having an aeroplane this good, that's if I could ever afford it which I couldn't/can't. It was just amazing, incredible. Just like the others I had flown (S1, S2A/B), but even more performance. It was as if this thing had redbull running through it's vains.

    Jez that ended up being a big long ramble. Yes, I love the Pitts, and yes Curtis Pitts is a legend. Equally, so are many other aviators who chose to fly this bird. Bud Davison, Bill Thomas, Sean D Tucker, Paddy Wagstaff, Tom Poberezney, Charlie Hillard and New Zealand's very own Pam Collings (my coach for a number of years and to this day along with being a huge role model and inspiration) are the personalities I probably admire the most.


    Yakflyer
     
  13. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    nice stuff...looks like you are doing maticulous work. i would love to have an S1....maybe some day.
     
  14. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff there. What kind of dope are you using on the fabric? I know that many are using the Polypro for their planes. Try to checkout the AC 43.13-1b, second chapter for the stitching and spacing. Aircraft with Vne less than 150mph have a stitch spacing of 2.5" in the prop wash and 3.5" in the non-prop wash area. Faster than 150 Vne, the stitching closes to one stitch per inch.

    Also, depending on the materials that make up the plane and cover it, the first coat of dope should contain a Fungicide to prevent mildew and fungus from growing in the clothe. The third coat would have to be silver to protect the material from UV rays. The last coat of dope is also the time to add weep holes and inspection holes in the wings.

    If covering the plane using envelope method, make sure all the coverings fit without distortion. Using the blanket method, the speed tape should be a certain width depending on Vne and pinked.
     
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