Curtis Pitts (1915-2005) designed and flew a small biplane specially designed for aerobatics in September 1944. When World War II ended and the manufacture of civilian airplanes was again permitted in the United States, Pitts marketed the agile little biplane as the Pitts Special, quickly establishing it as the premier competition aerobatic aircraft. It remained so through the 1970s, after which it was challenged by more advanced biplanes and monoplanes, but remains a popular recreational and exhibition aerobatic plane. The major versions of the Pitts Special were the single-seat S-1 and the two-seat S-2.
Pitts sold his interest in his designs in 1977, and they became the property first of Christen Industries and then, together with Christen’s designs, were acquired by Aviat. Aviat supports the design and sells plans to home builders, who have been constructing their own Pitts biplanes since the 1960s.
The National Air & Space Museum displays this Pitts, built in 1969, in the museum gift shop at the Washington location.
Confusingly painted in something close to the factory paint scheme of its main competitor, the Christen Eagle, this single-seat Special built in 1980 is displayed at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.
S-2B C-GKPS and C-GTPS
These two Pitts S-2Bs constitute the Pitts Specials Formation Aerobatic Team, a Canadian father-and-son team of Tim and Andrew Boyd, who perform quite enjoyable airshow routines throughout North America. The team’s web site is here.