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As birthdays go, this was the Pitts.


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Went to Camden today to unwrap my birthday present from my favourite daughter.


A very intense aerobatic session over The Oaks in a Pitts S2B was revealed, and it may well be the best present ever!




Arrived at Curtis Aviation to meet Dave Jardine who, it turns out, was initially trained in RAA by Lee Ungermann at Townsville. Great guy.


Started with a chat, fitting my Bose into a canvas helmet to keep it there while inverted, and a preflight.






"Screw up by this much and we both die"




Let's see if we can get all these done.


So with the brief complete, and the sick bag tucked under the harness strap, we're off.




I was amazed at the acceleration on take-off. At 545Kg empty, and 240HP up front, this plane goes like something with very little weight and lots of power.


Mmmm - I'll edit in an appropriate metaphor later.


I had one involving Paris Hilton, but it wasn't going to get past the moderators.


I was thrown back into the seat startlingly, and we were climbing at over 2000 FPM. I could drink a glass of water while opening the throttle in the Cheetah and not spill any. Envy.


Cara got a few more photos of the comings and goings at Camden while we were away....




The away bit involved me having a blast. Dave let me fly most of the time, except when demonstrating a new manoeuvrer, or explaining where I went wrong on the last one. At the top of my list of things to try was recovery from a full spin - given that we are not allowed to practise that in RA aircraft. You're supposed to know how to do it if it ever happens, and the aircraft is supposed to know that it isn't allowed to spin because it is RAA registered. Never could understand how that works.


Anyway (this forum is too political), I dredged up the 30 year old knowledge and aced it. Comforting to know.


On to more exotic things. My first desire was to do a barrel roll. Without instruction, I proceeded and completed it perfectly. Dave said, "that's not a barrel roll, that's an aileron roll - but nicely done".


He then showed me what a barrel roll was and I did it.


Tried lots of other stuff and pulled quite a few of them off. A couple of times Dave had to say "my aeroplane" and get us out of the death spiral I had got us in. I often thought that the plane was so capable, the position I was in was not a problem. I'm pretty sure a few more seconds and the light would have gone on, and I could have recovered, but he was taking no chances. Can't blame him.


I pulled off a great half loop to inverted and then roll out (half Cuban? so many names - I forget).


I got the full loop perfect - max fun.


It took me 2 goes to get the stall turn. The vertical climb is tricky because the plane is so powerful, you need immediate rudder. It is also hard to judge vertical from the front seat apparently (maybe he was trying to make me feel better).


This is one amazing aeroplane. I can see what you love about aeros Matt. Just putting a plane into these positions and flying them through it is bloody brilliant. We pulled over 4G quite a bit.


It took a bit to get used to the balance of the machine. So much power and light control touch. The first time I had the power off and then eased it back on I couldn't believe the torque reaction.


I did start to get a bit green after a while. I think next time I'll take it easier on the wonderful food and scotch the night before, and maybe book afternoons instead. I've never been airsick before. Held it together though, and flew it back to the circuit.


Here's me and my favourite daughter after the fun had been extracted. Got to love the helmet hair.




Even the Saturday night accommodation had a great view of the airport.




So, if your family is struggling to come up with a birthday present that fully encapsulates their love for you, suggest a Pitts flight with Curtis Aviation.


Anything less and they obviously don't love you.





























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Guest David C

Looks a hoot ... Great photos , and definitely something you will remember for a very long time . I bet the smile is still there ..:big_grin:


Dave C



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Good one. ain't it great when you move out of your usual comfort zone. you learn so much and up your confidence level all whilst having a blast.


let's see judging by the photo of the airport you had dinner at the seafood resturant or the old brighton hotel on the grand parade?





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let's see judging by the photo of the airport you had dinner at the seafood resturant or the old brighton hotel on the grand parade?ozzie

Close - the Novotel. [ATTACH]6217.vB[/ATTACH]


Had the most awesome lunch downstairs, so settled for a late seafood buffet upstairs which turned out to be brilliant.


If I decorated the Pitts, at least it would have been quality food.


Forgot to mention. Dave wants to come up to Goulburn for a ride in the Cheetah. I think I should charge about the same rate - for the quality of the experience.


Dave C - it only has to last until next time. I plan on mastering this amazing 'plane. I don't care that I'll need a PPL to do it (and learn to land a tail-dragger).


And before you start on me - it turns out my crash was mechanical failure. A closer inspection of the snapped axle reveals it was a crap weld and it let go. That's why I was so surprised. It would have been a heavy landing, but under control. I'll post some photos of the axle soon, and will be advising Steve - our new tech manager - of the issue. It had definitely been hanging by a thread (in welding terms) for a while. I'll take it out to Fyshwick this week.





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