Pitts Special

Flying an airplane is a challenge.
It tests your personality.
It tests your limits.
You learn more about being a pilot than anything else.

—Michael Goulian


The Pitts Special in its original configuration
Source: AOPA

Opinion

With the loss of the Super Decathlon, aircraft meant solely for the performance art of aerobatics, competition and the limitless exploitation of the air were no more within Infinite Flight, as it was replaced by another STOL platform that probably lacks the aerobatic capabilities of the Decathlon and leans more towards the bush pilot or straight and level VFR.

With that said, hardcore aerobatics and expressions of freedom should not be limited to just fighters like the F-22. I see us one day flying an aircraft that makes flying the most fun it could be. With that I present the Pitts Special.

Not only will this aircraft be a fantastic addition to #MakeGeneralAviationGreatAgain movement, it will allow people to see what flying is as an art and not just for the purpose of getting from Point A to Point B. I should mention, this aircraft is already featured in several flight sims as a default aircraft. This is a plane that embodies flying! It is what makes a flight sim ever more closer to experiencing the thrills of flying.

Background

The Pitts Special was first brought forth in 1944 by Curtis Pitts, a self-taught aircraft designer. It would just a few years later become a smash-hit in the aerobatic industry, when Betty Skelton won the US female aerobatic championship 3 times consecutively in 1948, 1949 and 1950. Her plane, a Pitts S-1, now hangs in the Smithsonian at the entrance, inverted. The Pitts has made several aerobatic champions in the decades after it was built. Aerobatic revolutions were sparked. Even the Christen Eagle, another aerobatic biplane inspired by the Pitts, was notable for winning the US the world aerobatic championship in 1972 and coining a new maneuver called the Torque Roll (rolling while hovering or tail sliding, all done through engine-prop torque).

Even today over 75 years later, the Pitts remains a venerable air show performer and competitor. Evolutions in aerodynamics and engines have shaped the Pitts platform into aircraft that you many have seen flying in air shows today or in the past couple decades. Sean D. Tucker in the Oracle Challenger III, Skip Stewart in Prometheus, or the late Jim Leroy’s Bulldog. In 2014, Pitts Pilot Spencer Suderman set the world record for the most inverted flat spins from 23,000 feet, at 91.

The Pitts Experience

Its masters have love/hate relationships with it. The slingshot acceleration on takeoff, the perfect responsiveness and control harmonies make it a pilot’s plane. You can do anything you want with a Pitts, even if it means “breaking” physics. Thanks to a huge prop wash effect (you can observe this effect on a smaller scale on the XCub), it has the ability to perform aerobatics post-stall, such as the Double Hammerhead (a vertical 540° turn), the Front-Flip or the Lomcevak (inside tumbling mainly using rudder and downward elevator). It is a very unique plane to land given that it is a tail-dragger and a very sensitive aircraft. It’s one plane that could very much improve your airmanship. The aircraft itself can be thought of a more spiritual being than just a mode of transport. It has the real “plane personification” feel. Need more options for the way you want to fly? The Pitts is for you.


Specifications and Performance

Unmodified

Source: Wikipedia

Crew: one (a two-seat option is possible.)
Length: 18 ft 9 in (5.72 m)
Upper wingspan: 20 ft 0 in (6.10 m)
Lower wingspan: 19 ft 0 in (5.79 m)
Height: 6 ft 7 1⁄2 in (2.019 m)
Wing area: 125.0 sq ft (11.61 m2)
Empty weight: 1,150 lb (522 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 1,625 lb (737 kg)
Fuel capacity: 29 US gal (24 imp gal; 110 L)
Powerplant: Textron-Lycoming AEIO-540-D4A5 air-cooled flat-six engine, 260 hp (190 kW)

Note: Powerplants on modified Pitts aircraft like the Oracle Challenger III can go up to 400 horsepower.

  • Cruise speed: 152 kn (175 mph, 282 km/h) (max. cruise)
  • Stall speed: 52 kn (60 mph, 96 km/h)
  • VNE: 182 kn (209 mph, 337 km/h)
  • Range: 277 nmi (319 mi, 513 km) (55% power)
  • Service ceiling: 21,000 ft (6,400 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,700 ft/min (14 m/s)

Note: Modified/modernized Pitts aircraft such as the Oracle Challenger III can have top speeds of 260kts and climb rates of 4000fpm. These aircraft also use 3-bladed higher performance propellers than the two-bladed props on most unmodified Pitts aircraft, allowing for higher speed and prop wash effect.

Update Features

Functional cockpit

High Resolution Textures

Two Variants: Classic Pitts for non-pro users, and a Modified/Modern Pitts (use Skip Stewart’s Prometheus or the Oracle Challenger as a reference) for Pro Subscribers

Realistic Flight Model that mirrors characteristics of actual Pitts aircraft

At Least 10 Liveries including notable performers

Smoke System

New Prop/Engine Sounds

Quick Switch Camera Function in the cockpit to allow pilots to look to the side at the horizontal alignment indicator easily

Pitts Specials in Action

Sean D Tucker in the Challenger III

Skip Stewart in Prometheus

Jim Leroy’s Bulldog


Thanks for your vote! Discussion in the reply section is highly encouraged.

Poor thing doesn’t get much attention nowadays. This one got left in the dark and got closed. 😢

4 Likes

Awesome! I hope this cool aircraft will be added in IF 🤘🏽

1 Like

I like this idea, but it wouldn’t make sense in a game where professionalism is greatly encouraged and you can only do aerobatics above 10000 feet and away from busy airspaces. The only place I can see this plane being added is in the casual server.

2 Likes

Such a beautiful aircraft. The way Skip flies it in his airshows is one of a kind.

1 Like

You should probably vote for your own feature @Nate_Schneller

1 Like

That’s kind of a problem here. There seems to be multiple kinds of pilots in the community. We have military guys, GA guys, aerobatic guys, but the majority of the base wants to fly airliners and fly professionally from A to B.

What I’m thinking is that if we appeal to different kinds of flight sim users such as the military side or aerobatic side we could obtain a more diverse skillset in the community. The overall learning curve as it pertains to flying in general could increase. The variety of events will also see an uptick. Most of the military and aerobatic side has been taken up by flight sims like DCS and War Thunder. If we could put some diverse stuff here besides just straight and level flying aircraft, that would be a step in a good direction for the sim itself considering we’re based on a mobile devices. Those guys are currently on expensive PCs with expensive add-ons. If we made other genres of flight more accessible, think of the possibilities.

1 Like

Voted! Thanks for the reminder.

1 Like

Yeah Skip just absolutely nailed it. You should really see the Bulldog too. Even though Jim’s long gone, you could tell Marine Corps bravery and aerobatics makes him a “sane madman” as I call him.


Oh, on another note, congrats on USAFA! I’m taking the ROTC route.

1 Like

They had a plane like this a while ago called the super decathlon ,but they removed it from IF because their vision was different.

Yeah. I miss that thing a lot. It’s why I made this. XCubs can’t really do airshows like the Decathlon. Sure, it would be nice to have that back, but the Pitts is a better experience.

Yup, I remember doing some wacky stuff with the Decathlon when I had IF a few years back.

1 Like