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8 Facts About The Pitts Special

The Pitts Special may be the most ubiquitous aircraft flown in amateur aerobatic competitions, ruling the aerobatic world championships until the rise of the monoplane - notably the Yak-50.

It's still a powerful force in any competition, and they're showing up everywhere at Oshkosh this week. Here are eight facts you may not know about the Pitts...

1) The Pitts S1 took its first flight in September 1944. It was first popularized by aerobatic performers Betty Skelton and Caro Bayley in the 1940s and 1950s.

lil stinker

2) The original Pitts aircraft were called "Stinkers" - because they were adorned with a picture of a skunk.


3) The two most common variations are the Pitts S-1 and the S-2. The S-1 is a single seat aircraft, and the S-2 is a twin tandem seat aircraft.

s-1 D. Miller / Flickr
s2 Fotero / Flickr

4) The Pitts S1-D added ailerons to all four wings. Oh the roll rate...

s1d Lightningboy2000 / Flickr

5) The Pitts S11 became the S1-11B. It increased the previous Pitts S1 models' 180-200hp engine to 300+, and is is known as the "Super Stinker."

super-stinker glenn5108 / Flickr

6) The Pitts S12, known as the "Macho Stinker" was built around the Vedeneyev M14P/FP 360hp radial engine. It's also known as the "Bolshoi" and "Pitts Monster."

macho stinker D. Miller / Flickr

7) The Pitts S1 and S2 rights transferred to Christen Industries in 1981, and then to Aviat in 1994. Aviat also makes the famous "Husky."

husky Krzysztof Dobrzanski / Flickr

8) The Pitts can be confused with the Christen Eagle II, also produced by Aviat.

eagle ii

Images Courtesy:

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