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Pitts Special All I want for Christmas

Some of the most fun flying I ever did was aerobatics. Trouble is, I never did enough to suit my taste. I’d like to change that. All I need is an extra $160,000 to buy the plane I really want: a Pitts Special. They can be had for less, but for speed and power, I need at least the S-2C with the 260 hp Lycoming engine. As I speak, there’s one for sale in South Carolina. I just checked it out online. A 2002 model for $200,000. Only threes short years ago, one with similar hours was selling for about $160,000. To slip the surly bonds of earth in the Pitts, aim the nose straight up, with that 3,000 foot-per-minute climb. Yank back on the stick, full right rudder, snap roll my way into the wild blue yonder. The good thing about flying is that the pilot quite literally leaves behind his or her cares from planet earth. Why? Because we’re no longer on the ground. The jerks, the worries, the stress, they’re all down below, while we’re up high. The IRS? Can’t get me up here. Screw you. Politicians? They can blow all the hot air they want. Hot air may indeed rise, but it doesn’t reach this high. The temp decreases, normal rate, 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit per 1,000 feet. That’s why in the summertime, it’s nice to be flying a plane that doesn’t take 10 minutes to climb to 10,000 feet. Cooler temps in the summer heat. Another benefit of aviation. Now it’s time to take the Pitts (I’m dreaming, so cut me some slack.) up to about 5,500 and do a barrel roll, nice and slow, as they’re meant to be flown. Now roll inverted and look down at the ground, upside down. I’ve done it, but never in a plane like the Pitts. So small with so much raw power. The best Pitts ever built was nick-named Samson, AKA, the Big Pitts, modified with a 450 hp Pratt, originally designed in 1948 by aerobatic pilot Jess Bristow. By the way, Curtiss Pitts, after whom the Pitts is named, lived to the age of 90. So tell me that flying doesn’t increase one’s longevity. Pitts died from complications of heart valve replacement in 2005, sad to say; but, hey, he was 90. I might have 26 more good years left if I could get my hands on one. Amazing. In 26 years, I’ll be ...

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