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Project Gallery

Here are some of the projects that our customers have been working on. Do you have a plane flying, being restored, or under construction? We'd love to hear about it! Before sending us digital pictures, please read the file submission guidelines first. Then let us know!

This Gallery was last updated on 05/09/07

 
BUILDER PROJECTS
SKYBOLT / FIREBOLT PROJECTS
  • Andreas Kranz's German Skybolt
  • Brad Roberson's Skybolt
  • Seth Fuller's Modified Skybolt
  • Bret Wills' Skybolt Project
  • Tom Ferraro's Skybolt
  • Pete and Mary Zumwalt's Skybolt
  • Mike Robinson's Skybolt Project
  • Truman Geouge's Skybolt Project
    PITTS SPECIAL PROJECTS
  • Wally Knight's 4-Aileron Pitts S1-C Project
  • Hugh Russel's 2/3 scale Pitts Special Simulator
  • Daniel Ryfa's Swedish Pitts Special S1-C
  • Austin Fox's Pitts S1-C Project
  • Pitts S1 Racer N1114R Restoration
  • James Shoenberger's S1-C / S1-SS project
  • Mike Angiulo's Pitts S1-SS Project
  • Mike Townsley's Small-Engined Pitts S1-C
    RELATED AIRCRAFT
  • LaMar Steen's Original Steenship
    MODELS
    KNIGHT TWISTER
  • Harley W. Jetzer's 1/3 scale R/C Knight Twister
    PITTS MODEL 14
  • Melf-Heiko Mast's Electric Pitts Model 14

    BUILDER PROJECTS - SKYBOLT / FIREBOLT PROJECTS
        Skybolt / Firebolt Projects
     
    Andreas Kranz's German Skybolt 


      08/19/05
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    Andreas' plane is beautiful, to say the least!  
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    This looks like a very idyllic setting, doesn't it!  
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    This shot shows the Skybolt's graceful lines well.  
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    Distinctive nose art. Look closely at how neatly Andreas made the cutouts in the sheetmetal where the cabane struts come through. This is typical of the attention he's put into the details of this project!  
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    The upper tank has a tried and true sight glass fuel indicator. When the fuel level in the wing tank drops to near empty, a float in the tank also drops with it, and an indicator comes into view in the glass tube.  
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    Nice hand-painted nose art. Andreas used Ceconite and Randolph coatings.  
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    The rear view.  
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    Close-up of the rear of the plane.  
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    This is where biplanes were meant to be... a beautiful grass field.  
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    The Skybolt has an elegant outline.  
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    This view shows the bungee gear well. The constant-speed prop and governor are custom-made by MT for aerobatic use.  
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    The Skybolt during construction.  
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    The pilot's cockpit is well appointed. Andreas opted to install a clear panel at the bottom of the cockpit.  
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    The cockpit during construction. Note the great attention paid to detail everywhere you look! The seats are covered in leather.  
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    The passenger (front) seat only has the basic instruments... airspeed, altitude, and tachometer... and throttle, prop, and mixture controls. You can easily see the landing gear's bungee installation and the main fuel tank here as well. In the upper left, you can see the pop-up air vent which is accessed by reaching under the dash.  
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    The Skybolt during oconstruction. The registration hasn't been added yet.  
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    It would be pretty hard to miss this engine! It's a Lycoming O-540-B2B5 that has been reworked into a 300hp AEIO-540.  
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    Detail work on the engine. Nice!  
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    The engine installation is neatly done. Andreas' plane reflects a high standard for quality both inside and out.  
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    The right-side cowl area.  
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    The front of the airplane before the propeller was installed. You can see the oil cooler inside the cowl, to the right side of the photo.  
         

     
    Andreas Kranz, a really nice guy who also happens to be Steen's representative for Germany and Europe, sent along these great photos of his newly-completed and very beautiful Skybolt. Andreas began his project in 1992 and spent around 3800 to 4000 spare-time hours to complete it, with help from his good friend Werner Enk. All the components were purchased from Steen Aero Lab. ("The quality is very good and they work great. I build my Skybolt exact to the information and plans from Steen Aero Lab.", he says.) The engine is a Lycoming O-540-B2B5, built to a 280hp AEIO-540 (300hp with the Ram Air system.) It has a Christen oil system, Air Wolf oil filter, and a B+C alternator and starter. The engine drives a hydraulic constant-speed MT propeller which is specially made for the Skybolt and planes like the Pitts. Low pitch is 9 degrees, high pitch is 30 degrees. The prop governor is also a special item from MT, which works 1.5 times faster than a normal governor. Andreas installed a Steen smoke system as well.

    The Skybolt's empty weight is 1370 lb (623 kg) and the gross weight is about 1900-2000 lb (940kg) with 41.2 gallons of 100LL between the main and wing tanks. The plane is covered with Ceconite using Randolph chemicals and color coats. The cockpits are trimmed with leather and Andeas points out that the aluminum is the same as used in Germany's Tornado fighter jet, and he elected to install Steen's bubble canopy for comfort and visibility.

    If you look at the photos closely, you can see many outstanding details - such as the rubber coaming around the holes in the upper fuselage sheet metal where the cabanes exit. All in all, this is truly a first-class project all the way. If you get a chance to see this plane up close, you're in for a real treat!

     Link(s):     http://www.steenaero.com/contact_contributor_form.cfm?EmailID=17&EmailSubject=I saw you on the Steen Aero Lab website& 

     
    Brad Roberson's Skybolt 


      05/07/04
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    Brad works on his Skybolt.  
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    Here's an innovative idea - an internal gust lock system which is virtually impossible to forget about before takeoff.  
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    Fuselage side in the jig at the tack-welded stage.  
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    Brad built lightweight seats.  
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    Stainless tailspring polished to chrome!  
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    Brad built two beautiful throttle quadrants as well... it took some elbow grease, but aren't they pretty?  
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    Brad opted to install full floorboards. No chance of feet through the fabric.  
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    The battery tray and unique vent system.  

     
    Brad Roberson is not only a nice guy but he has a good website to chronicle the building of his Skybolt. He has a lot of photos and interesting tips.

     Link(s):     http://www.bradroberson.com/ 

     
    Seth Fuller's Modified Skybolt 


      02/11/04
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    Seth Fuller hard at work (we like his choice of posters...)  
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    Rib construction.  
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    This rib is awaiting the installation of top gussets.  
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    Fellow Skybolt builder Brad Roberson provided the weights to help hold things down.  
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    A rib nose in the jig.  
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    An aileron rib comes together.  
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    The ailerons are taking shape.  
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    The hinge-well area of a friese style aileron.  

     
    Seth Fuller in McKinney, TX is building a variation of the Skybolt which is powered by an M14P radial and which has some elements of the Culp's Special. Seth is currently working on the wings and is documenting his progress on his website.

     Link(s):     http://home.att.net/~sethfuller/Seth1.html 

     
    Bret Wills' Skybolt Project 


      02/11/04
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    A fuselage side being assembled.  
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    The lower rudder and tailpost area.  
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    Landing gear fitting.  
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    The rudder being put together in the jig.  
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    A nearly-finished wing rib.  
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    Here we can see a wing coming together on the wing table.  
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    Another view of the wing.  
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    Wing spar attachment fitting.  

     
    Bret Wills is the moderator of the Biplane Hangar and has a Skybolt project well underway.

     Link(s):     http://bretwills.com/Skybolt/skybolt.html 

     
    Tom Ferraro's Skybolt 


      02/11/04
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    Tom Ferraro's Skybolt.  
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    This is a sharp-looking airplane.  
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    Tom's airplane is IO-360 powered.  
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    The rear cockpit is a beauty.  

     
    Tom Ferraro has an IO-360 powered Skybolt that's about 20 years old. Seth Fuller has photos and info about this plane on his website.

     Link(s):     http://home.att.net/~sethfuller/pics.html 

     
    Pete and Mary Zumwalt's Skybolt 


      10/25/04
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    Pete with a couple of future pilots. Nearly all kids love to be near a real live airplane!  
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    They sure chose an eye-catching color scheme... wow!  
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    Very sporty, yet reminiscent of the Golden Age of Aviation.  
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    Just waiting to take to the sky...  
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    Hamming it up for the camera!  
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    Is it done yet? When can we fly it?  
       

     
    Pete and Mary Zumwalt of Deming, New Mexico took two years to finish their brightly-colored Skybolt N254PM. It has a Lycoming O-540 B2-C5 engine with an Ed Sterba prop. The empty weight came in at 1243 lbs, and the plane has nav lights and a Val com radio. Pete and Mary wanted an open cockpit biplane, so they went for the old WACO look including large, all-original metal wheel pants from a Piper J-3 Cub. The Zumwalts built nearly every part of the plane except for the nose bowl and rear windscreen, and stayed very close to the plans. They did make a mistake in the tail incidence, but once that was straightened out the flights got much better! Pete says "I built a Skybolt because I am a big guy, 270lbs. and 6ft tall." They covered the plane using the Airtech process and Dupont paint. They haven't had enough time on it to get performance figures just yet. As you can see by the photos, they are sharing aviation with others and having a great time... they're proud of their new plane, and justifiably so. Great job, guys!

     Link(s):     http://www.steenaero.com/contact_contributor_form.cfm?EmailID=2&EmailSubject=I saw you on the Steen Aero Lab website& 

     
    Mike Robinson's Skybolt Project 


      10/25/04
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    The top wing is being worked on in Mike's basement.  
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    This isn't the first homebuilt airplane to live in the family room! Mike made sure that there were plenty of potential inspection holes.  
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    The lower wings have been covered up through the silver UV coats.  
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    The fuselage on the gear... look at that big 98-inch prop!  
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    Details of the IO-540 engine with custom ceramic-coated exhaust.  
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    The rear cockpit instrument panel.  
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    Mike also restored this attractive 1946 Aeronca Champ.  
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    Mike's personal aerodrome... it looks wonderful, doesn't it!  

     
    Mike Robinson of Hartselle, Alabama is working towards the completion of his Skybolt project. He has been working on the Skybolt off and on for quite a few years now, as well as a 1946 Aeronca Champ restoration and conversion to an O-200. Mike is currently spraying the lower wings, using the Poly-Fiber process. His plane has an IO-540 with a polished 90-inch(!) fixed-pitch prop. The engine has a custom ceramic-coated 3-inch exhaust system, inverted smoke system, and inverted fuel and oil systems. The cockpit features basic instruments with moving-map GPS, nav/strobe/landing lights, and a rear canopy/front hole cover with removable front windscreen. The fuselage is stretched 6 inches at the rear seat, and the entire fuselage is covered with screwed-on metal panels all the way back to the tailpost - Mike says that this is great for doing annual inspections! Other features include a wing tank, cockpit-adjustable trim/servo tabs for both the rudder and elevators, a Scott 3200 tailwheel, 7x6.00 oversize tires for the grass airstrip, Pitts-style internal flying wires, and many more options.

    Mike also tells us: "In case you're wondering, the number of inspection hole rings installed on the lower wings reflect my experience in maintaining the Champ here in north Alabama for the past 15 years. You can't have too many potential inspection holes, especially here in the wet southeast where the mosquitoes are only out-numbered by the number of dirt-daubers!"

     Link(s):     http://www.steenaero.com/contact_contributor_form.cfm?EmailID=1&EmailSubject=I saw you on the Steen Aero Lab website& 

     
    Truman Geouge's Skybolt Project 


      12/28/06
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    Future pilot!  

     
    We were recently sent photos of Skybolt builder Truman Geouge (pronounced "Gooj") and his project. Truman, of Miami, OK, is 83 years old and has had quite the colorful life in aviation... he served in the Navy in WWII, managed the Miami (Oklahoma) airport for about 10 years, and had a crop spraying service for a while. He recently rebuilt a 1946 Swift that he brought home from Montana in pieces, and is now to the point of painting his Skybolt project. Looks great!

    BUILDER PROJECTS - PITTS SPECIAL PROJECTS
        Pitts Special Projects
     
    Wally Knight's 4-Aileron Pitts S1-C Project 


      05/09/07
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    Very pretty!  
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    Notice how the rivets and fasteners are all installed evenly and neatly... very nice!  
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    The cockpit is tidy.  
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    Another view of the office.  
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    This is a replica of the prototype Pitts Special... they didn't always have the "Pitts color scheme"! (Photo courtesy Budd Davisson/EAA)  
         

     
    Wally Knight of Collierville, TN flew his pretty little Pitts S1-C in March 2007. Here's what Wally said about how this plane came to be:

    N13WK is now a real airplane. It is Pitts S1-C with 4 aileron wings, powered by a 160hp 0-320 Lycoming.

    I bought this as a partially finished project a little more than 3 years ago. It consisted of a welded fuselage on the gear, wings, tail group and an engine. It had the fabric on but not finished. Just looking at what I bought, I thought I could have it finished in a year. All I need to do is put in a gas tank, some instruments, build an engine mount, buy a few more pieces like a prop, carburetor, flying wires, exhaust and build a cowling and paint it... I was a bit optimistic!

    The pieces came from almost everywhere! The project started life in 1977 when a man in Sikeston MO bought a welded fuselage from someone in Chattanooga TN and a partially completed wing kit from Waterloo IA. I am not certain how much work any of the previous owners did. I think the engine was added to the pile of parts by the second owners. It originally was a Piper Cherokee engine but had been used on an airboat in Florida. I found a carburetor in New Jersey, the prop and exhaust pipes in Birmingham AL and the gas tank from Arizona. The starter I found on ebay and the flywheel came from Texas. I needed all the large parts early on so I could weigh everything and determine how long to build the engine mount.

    A big unexpected issue was the engine. It was assembled when I bought it and I was led to believe ready to use. But later, I found out it had been "overhauled" by "someone" about 25 years before but never run and had not really been preserved. So I had to take it apart to make sure it was ok and/or fix whatever I found wrong. I found the case had fretting wear and needed major work and that the crankshaft was cracked. I did find that the cylinders had been overhauled and did have new pistons and rings. I had to rebuild both magnetos too. So after a lot more time and money than I had first planned on, I got it back together. I was very happy when it started for the first time last fall.

    When I first started this project, I quickly learned how long it actually takes to make an actual part and have it fit and function correctly. I also learned that having a family and full time job does limit the time that can be spent building an airplane. All thru the build process, I kept hoping the Airplane ElvesTM would show up late at night and finish something, any little thing, but they never did! So I was the one who had to make all the bits and pieces.

    It is not very pretty right now, just basic white with a red spinner. The spinner is red because it was an old one given to me. I have a canopy and frame that I will add later as well as wheel pants. And then some fancy Pitts paint scheme.

    So the plane is finally flyable. A friend who has a Pitts similar to it made the first flight March 24 (2007) and it went well, just a little high oil and cylinder head temp problem that I am working on by opening the cowl outlet a bit.

    Now I have to learn how to fly it!

    Regards,

    Wally Knight

    Actually, Wally, we really like the simple paint scheme... it's different... and somehow, despite the simplicity of the paint scheme (or maybe because of it) it seems to really highlight the simple elegance of the Pitts design and the fine craftsmanship put into your plane... it just looks "right". The last photo actually looks a lot like the very first Pitts Special from 1945!

     
    Hugh Russel's 2/3 scale Pitts Special Simulator 


      12/22/06
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    Every now and then, we're really blown away by someone doing something really "out there" or off the beaten path. Hugh Russel of Ontario, Canada has a "Pitts" project that certainly falls into that category. We'll let him explain it:

    I am working on a project for my grandchildren using your plans for the Pitts S1 (I purchased them from you a couple of years ago) and converting the scale to 2/3. Using mostly light long grain wood and aircraft quality birch plywood and a few machined steel and brass elements, I have created the parts as near as I can to the real thing. Scaling down the dimensions by 'dimension x .66'. It works for the most part but there are parts which are more guess and make fit than spec. The object is to have a 'special exotic' toy simulator with which to introduce our new generation to the joys of flight. It will be mounted on a table base which will have servos controlled by a flight simulator program integrated into the controls in the model. There will be moderate movement in pitch, yaw and roll that will enhance the power of their fertile imaginations. When I was a small boy I used to dream of building such a plane for myself and the simple idea kept me going for hours of day dreaming. My hope is that my grandkids will be able to take their dreams to a higher level. I will be needing some parts which I can not reasonably make in my studio - clevis terminals, streamline tie rods and drag wire. I hope you can provide these things if I provide the measurements. Of course pictures will tell the tale so I will include a few. Yours truly, Hugh Russel...

    Wow... all we can say is that those are some VERY privileged grandkids!

     
    Daniel Ryfa's Swedish Pitts Special S1-C 


      03/21/05
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    The S1-C design is very simple, very fun, and very attractive!  
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    This view shows the diminuitive size of a single-seat Pitts Special.  
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    SE-XIK is a very attractive aircraft.  
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    A good view of the front.  
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    Daniel has installed plexiglass windows to help see the ground during acro.  
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    The cockpit is basic, but quite elegantly done... you simply don't need a lot of fancy avionics in a plane like this. Note the bottom windows and transparent heel plates.  
       

     
    Daniel Ryfa is the proud owner of this beautiful S1-C, which is believed to be the only one now flying in Sweden (and possibly in all of Scandinavia... the only other Pitts aircraft in Sweden are three S1-S's, one S2-B, and an S2-A.) Daniel rebuilt this plane, which was originally built in Wisconsin in the late 1960s. Power for SE-XIK comes from a Lycoming O-360-A4A that came from a Piper Archer II. Daniel converted it to an IO-360 with a Bendix RSA5, and then installed new cylinders, pistons, rings, gaskets, and a conrod from Zephyr Engines here in Florida. Daniel is happy with this strong-running motor. The GT wood-composite prop is a 76-56 with a fiberglass spinner from Van's Aircraft. Daniel feels that he could go up a bit in prop pitch. Daniel has a friend who's now restoring a Skybolt... we're looking forward to some formation photos! That sure is a nice-looking plane, Daniel... keep up the great work!

     
    Austin Fox's Pitts S1-C Project 


      10/26/04
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    Austin stands next to the fuselage.  
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    Another view of the fuselage. It's looking good!  
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    Front view of the fuselage.  
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    The upper wings are almost done.  
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    The small size of the Pitts Special's structure is apparent here.  
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    Wing ribs under construction.  
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    Rough cuts of rib nose pieces.  
     

     
    Here's a great project... Austin Fox of Tempe, Arizona, is fifteen years old and is already well into the process of building a Pitts S1-C! The fuselage is welded and on the gear, while the top wing is complete except for the leading edge sheeting. One bottom wing is complete (except for the ailerons) and he is currently working on the ribs for the second bottom wing. Austin plans to finish the plane within the next two years using the S1-C wings, then once it is flying, build a set of S1-SS symmetrical wings.

    Great job, Austin... we're really looking forward to seeing this plane fly. Keep up the great work!

     Link(s):     http://www.steenaero.com/contact_contributor_form.cfm?EmailID=4&EmailSubject=I saw you on the Steen Aero Lab website& 

     
    Pitts S1 Racer N1114R Restoration 


      10/25/04
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    Pitts S1 Number N1114R before its test flight in 1967.  

     
    Al Owen in Hilliard, FL (birthplace of the Pitts Special) has informed us of a neat S1 project... we intend to keep you updated with its progress. Here is what Al said about it:

    Hi,

    I thought that I would pass along a little information that you might find interesting. In 1967, four close friends of Curtis Pitts joined together to build a Pitts S-1 strictly for racing. Some of the names you are probably familiar with. L.J. "Skeeter" Royall, John W. Owen, Don Lovern and Pat Ledford formed the ROLL club and built a modified S-1, N1114R.

    They raced the Pitts from 1967 to 1974 when it was retired and sold to Mr. Ulad Marsh, who worked for National Airlines also.

    The ROLL club, with Skeeter Royall raced the aircraft in many of the National events and set a national record of 179.95 mph on February 16, 1969 in Ft. Lauderdale.

    Some of the mods were: 2 aileron semetrical wings, redesigned aileron control system which allowed them to remove the "pot" from the belly of the aircraft, wrap around plexiglass windscreen which enclosed the forward cabane strut to the rear of the cockpit. A longer fiberglass cowling with a prop extension was also used to enhance the aerodynamic profile. The original powerplant was an O-290, but was soon modified by using O-360 cylinders and 2 - PS5 carbs, one carb for each bank of cylinders.

    Most of this information, along with several pictures can be found in the book "Racing Planes and Air Races, Book 2, 1968-1971" written by Reed Kinert.

    When the aircraft was sold to Ulad Marsh, he continued to fly it out of Homestead untill 1978, when he decided to recover it. He disassembled N1114R and transported it to his home. He initally started by recovering the lower wings, but soon lost interest and put it away. It has been in storage in his house and garage for 25 years. Over the years, having kept in touch with the family friend, Don Lovern, I continued to inquire about buying the unrestored airplane from Ulad Marsh to get it back into our family. In March of 2003, Don called and informed me that Ulad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had agreed to sell the airplane. Having a family tie to it, Ulad gave us first shot at it. My response was when can we pick it up, even before a price was set.

    My oldest brother, Bryan and I drove to Miami, rented a U-Haul truck and along with Don Lovern's help, loaded the Pitts and started home. We live just north of Jacksonville in Hilliard FL (01J) and made the 700+ mile trip in one long day....

    We plan to stat the restoration soon and hope to have it ready by Sun-n-Fun 2005. I noticed the picture gallery on your web-site. We will be keeping a pictoral diary of the restoration and will gladly share them with you if you are interested. I will also attach a picture [see above - ed] of the aircraft from 1967 when it was first test flown. I have other pictures which I am taking to catalog to make the rebuild easier. We don't have the original plans with the mods that were made, so we'll just have document as best we can.

    As another point of interest, my other brother, Kem, who lives just east of us in Yulee, FL is building a Skybolt. It's about 80%, with the fusalage finished and the wings are ready for cover. Maybe we can get both to Sun-n-Fun 2005...

    We are part of the "Hilliard Bunch" - Al, Bryan and Kem Owen

    Regards,

    Al Owen
    Hilliard, FL

     Link(s):     http://www.steenaero.com/contact_contributor_form.cfm?EmailID=3&EmailSubject=I saw you on the Steen Aero Lab website& 

     
    James Shoenberger's S1-C / S1-SS project 


      02/11/04
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    James Shoenberger's Pitts S1-C  
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    James sure seems happy with his airplane!  
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    Classic paint scheme!  
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    Front view  
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    An appropriate name...  
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    A Pitts isn't complete without an Aresti diagram.  
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    The famed eagle, just like on a Curtiss P-6E.  
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    Reading material for the long flight home, perhaps?  

     
    We first met James Shoenberger when he flew into Sun 'N Fun 2003, and were instantly in love with his Pitts S1-C painted up like a Curtiss Hawk. James flies F/A-18's for a living, and bought this S1-C for fun. He told us that his first competition taught him that even though the government may trust him to fly one of their most advanced jet fighters, sportsman aerobatic competition is a completely different ballgame. "In a jet, you generally want to fly smooth, big manuevers. That just didn't work well in my first sportman competition... they basically handed me my rear on a plate!" he laughed. He assured us that he was having a ball learning the new flying style, and he is looking forward to the challenge of competition. While he didn't build this plane originally, James is currently building a new set of S1-SS "Super Stinker" wings to install to enhance the aerobatic performance. We look forward to hearing about his progress!

     
    Mike Angiulo's Pitts S1-SS Project 


      02/11/04
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    The day every homebuilder works towards... the *first* first flight!  
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    You can really see the S1's compact size in this shot.  
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    To finish your plane, just add glue and shake the box! (Well, OK, we're still working on that...)  
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    Mike's friend Russell tries the Pitts on for size. The smile is contagious!  
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    The wings are well on their way towards completion.  
         

     
    Mike Angiulo is a really nice guy who is working on a Pitts S1-SS (not to mention that he already has an S-2B and is looking for an S1-S to race with) - he says "I love these airplanes [Pitts Specials] and will probably have and fly one forever." You can tell Mike is having a lot of fun! Check out his Website.

     Link(s):     http://www.angiulo.com/aviation/pittss1ss/ 

     
    Mike Townsley's Small-Engined Pitts S1-C 


      02/11/04
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    Mike prepares a template to cut out a nose rib.  
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    The rib is then cut out using a router.  
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    Almost done...  
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    A wing rib jig.  

     
    When Pastor Mike Townsley read about the replica of the first Pitts Special which flew quite well on only 65 horsepower, he knew that he wanted to build one much like it. Mike is building an S1-C that will have a 65-85hp Continental motor up front... "I don't want a flying missile," he says. He plans to keep it light by only including basic instrumentation and not installing an electrical system... keeping it simple is often the best way to go!

     Link(s):     http://www.geocities.com/pittsbipe/click.htm 
     http://www.steenaero.com/articles_detail.cfm?ArticleID=12 

    BUILDER PROJECTS - RELATED AIRCRAFT
        Projects related to our designs (such as the Steenship)
     
    LaMar Steen's Original Steenship 


      01/25/05
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    The original Steenship as it appeared in 2003.  
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    The Steenship as it appeared in Air Progress Homebuilt Aircraft magazine (Summer 1968)  
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    Front view of the Steenship (2003)  
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    The front office (2003)  

     
    Lamar Steen's first airplane, a low-wing design named the Steenship, is still flying! Strongly resembling a Stits Playboy, Lamar stated that the only reference to it was a photo of the Stits plane on the wall of the shop. The Steenship has wood wings, a tube-and-fabric fuselage, and originally sported an impressive many-coat nitrate dope covering job. The modified O-290-G engine produced 140hp and gave the Steenship a cruise speed of 165 mph. In addition, it is stressed for +/- 9 G aerobatics. Lamar spent 3-1/2 years building the prototype, which first flew in 1966 and cost him $3,800.

    Today, Burt Nichols in Mena, Arkansas is the proud owner of Lamar's original prototype. In the nine months after he bought the plane in mid-2002, he put over 200 flight hours on it! "I am looking forward to the next 2000 hours or so" he tells us. (At that rate, it won't take long.) The airplane is currently being upgraded from the original modified O-290 to an O-320. In late Jan. 2005, Burt sent us an update: "I am in the process of doing the rebuild and it is coming along well. It is taking a little longer than I thought it would, but I think that is standard. I will be sending you some pics for you to sift through and post what you would like about the rebuild, and hopefully this summer I can give you the new performance numbers for her." We're looking forward to it!

     Link(s):     http://www.steenaero.com/contact_contributor_form.cfm?EmailID=6&EmailSubject=I saw you on the Steen Aero Lab website& 

    MODELS - KNIGHT TWISTER
        Models of the Knight Twister
     
    Harley W. Jetzer's 1/3 scale R/C Knight Twister 


      04/07/05
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    Here is the Twister under construction. Though it's a one-third scale plane, it's still a relatively compact airplane!  
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    What a beauty! It looks like it just taxied in after a trip to Oshkosh.  
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    Ready to go again...  
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    She even looks fast while resting.  
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    Hale was a world-class scale modeler. We think he would be very proud to see this fine model of his Twister!  
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    CONTACT!  
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    The KT's classic lines really stand out.  
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    By way of comparison, here is the original N30KT, with Hale at the controls.  

     
    Back in October of 2003 we were contacted by Harley W. Jetzer in Switzerland, who asked if we could help him with an intriguing project - a 1/3 scale R/C Knight Twister model. Harley is a certified bipe lover - he has around FORTY biplane models, all ready to fly! They range from a 20-inch Bücker up to a 10-foot Stearman, and also include 6 Pitts, a Starduster Two, a Skybolt, among many others. (This is a man after our own hearts.) We sent him some info, and lo and behold, in July 2004 he sent us some photos of the result of his work. As you can see, it came out beautifully! The plane is a replica of N30KT, the Twister Imperial built by Hale Wallace in the late 1990s (Articles about this plane can be found here and here.)

    Harley describes the plane's flying characteristics as follows: "It's an excellent straight starter, with good knife edge, sensitive on rudder, fast, perfect inverted, easy to land (except for a tendency to nose over on grass - that's why I used a flexible laminated part on the top of the rudder), rolls are a bit slow compared to a Pitts but very axial with no tendency of dropping a wing even with the elevator fully up. Turns as usual for bipes, using some rudder and more elevator than usual. Generally a soft-hearted model but with a great speed envelope. A very, very enjoyable and unusual plane for a pilot with a bit of experience with large scale planes and bipes. It should not be compared to a Pitts, it is just as fast but more docile and less twitchy -- but also less aerobatic. With the Moki 210 and a 19x8 prop at 8000RPM, I have unlimited vertical."

    Harley also tells us that he can easily transport it - it fits into his van in one piece.

    The model was built pretty much to the plans, though Harley recommends to keep it light by carefully selecting the materials. He built all angles according to the drawings (within 1/4°) and the upper wing was built with some washout. The plane is very strong and stiff and Harley says that it can withstand high G's if properly built. Harley says that "A builder of this design should have a bit of experience with modern materials, e.g. for carbon sandwiches which were used in the front area (the engine and wing part of the fuselage.) The rudder should be made strong with light laminated flexible part on top."

    The specs are as follows:

      Scale:   1/3 (33%)
      Plans:   Dan Santich / Model Airplane News
      Wingspan:   69.3 in. upper
      63.2 in. lower
      Length:   60.2 in. including the spinner (which actually works out to about 36% of scale, but it's still a small plane!)
      Weight:   15.6 lb
      Wing Loading:   24 oz./sq. ft.
      Engine:   Moki 210, 35ccm with Krumscheid in-cowl banana muffler (for ST3250)
      Props:   19x10, 20x10 or 18x10/3B for less noise
      Cowl:   One-off as not available commercially
      Spats:   Third scale Pitts
      Servos:   All servos with quarter scale power, elevator and ailerons digital
      Center of Gravity:   As on plan
      Covering:   Solartex and acrylic paint, transfers self-made
      Control Throws:   Elevator - plus 20% of recommended value
      Ailerons - as much as possible

    Great work, Harley! We're very impressed!

     Link(s):     http://www.steenaero.com/contact_contributor_form.cfm?EmailID=5&EmailSubject=I saw you on the Steen Aero Lab website& 

    MODELS - PITTS MODEL 14
        Models of the Pitts Model 14.
     
    Melf-Heiko Mast's Electric Pitts Model 14 


      10/03/05
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    The plane is ever prettier than we imagined it would be! We think she's a beautiful design (admittedly, we're a little biased about that, though...)  
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    The 14 is a unique aircraft, and here you can see the different look it has compared to other radial biplanes. The color scheme Melf used is similar to the one that we used on our 3-D CAD model (which you can see in the Pitts Model 14 section of this website)... it's based upon the "traditional" Pitts scheme.  
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    What a looker! The adage "if it looks good, it will fly good" has been proven true once again!  
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    Melf won the prize for "Best of Show" prize at the Brandenburg electric meet in Berlin in June 2005. We're not surprised... here's a video of his Pitts 14's amazingly scale-like performance. Outstanding!
    LARGE FILE WARNING: 4.7 MB movie file (Windows Media .WMV format) - not recommended on dial-up Internet connections.
     
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    Melf also sent us a whole series of photos from the construction of this impressive model. Here is the main fuselage structure... similar in idea to the real thing, but executed with carbon tubes, Depron, and CA glue.  
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    Unlike the full-size version, the cabanes on Melf's plane are attached to the wing center section first.  
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    A close-up of the wing/cabane attachments. This will be very strong!  
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    This doesn't look too far off from the real thing in concept.  
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    The tail braces are necessary to add stiffness to the flexible, flat Depron foam tail surfaces.  
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    Now the fixed tail surfaces have been added.  
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    It's starting to look like a biplane now!  
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    The wing has the flying wires attached.  
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    The powerful AXI motor hides within a fiberglass cowl that Melf made.  
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    The plane has had the exterior skin installed all around.  
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    We're about ready to fly!  
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    In late Sept. 2005, we were pleased to have the opportunity to have Melf and his lovely fiancee Tania visit the Steen shop during a trip to the US. Airplane people are great folks, no matter what country they live in!  

     
    Melf-Heiko Mast gets the credit for building (so far as we know) what appears to be the very first scale model of the Pitts Model 14... and what a great model it is, too. Melf says, "The Pitts flies so good!" The electric-powered plane uses a combination of carbon-fiber tubes and 3mm and 6mm Depron foam to achieve a lot of strength at a very low weight. (Depron is the raw ingredient in styrofoam meat trays, except it hasn't been heat-formed yet.) The specifics are as follows:

      Wingspan: 64.5 in (1.64 m)
      Length: 59 in (1.5 m)
      Wing Area: Approx. 90 dm2
      Wing Loading: Approx. 36 g/dm2
      Weight: 7.05 lbs. (3.2 kg)
      Motor: AXI 4130/16 (Brushless electric motor)
      Battery Pack: TANIC 5S2P 4300 mAh (Lithium Polymer)
      Prop: 20x6 (or 18x8)
      Current Draw: Approx. 40 A

    Links to online forums discussing Melf's project can be found on our Scale Models Page.

     Link(s):     http://www.electric-model-aircraft.de/ 



     
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