It's a fact that a lot of model fliers are also keenly interested in full-size machines - a particular plane or category, or just mad about them all! Some are also building their own full-size kits, whilst others are looking for information to enhance their own models in general appearance or intricate detail. Share your enthusiasms with the rest of us on this page - interesting pictures, information, personal flight experiences - whatever, it's all welcome!
CURTIS PITTS and his famous Pitts Special
WHEN 89-YEAR-OLD AEROBATIC LEGEND Curtis Pitts died in Miami on June 10th of complications resulting from a heart valve replacement, he was still involved in the design of his new Model 14; the almost finished design will now be completed by Steen Aero.
It was in 1943 that Curtis Pitts first made up his mind to build himself an aeroplane, and he had no plans to build more once the job was completed. When he first flew his famous plane, it was without permission of CAA inspectors! As we all know, despite his intentions, the Pitts Special caught on and is today one of the most recognisable and successful aerobatic designs to come out of the USA. The first commercially built Pitts 190 Special was built in 1947 for US aerobatic display pilot Betty Skelton and shortly after manufacturing a small number of aircraft, Pitts took the decision to make plans available for amateur construction.
Curtis Pitts sold
the rights to his famous biplane in 1977 and it is still being manufactured
today by Aviat Aircraft with the very latest version being the two-seater
S2C pictured here. The Pitts was used by Charlie Hillard and Mary Gaffney
to win top honors at the 1972 World Aerobatic Competition. Pitts suffered
a stroke in 2004 but was still able to direct others to do design work.
His wife, Willie Mae Pitts, who is credited with some of the work on early
Pitts models, died in 1998.
New artwork from Carlos A. Garcia
We are well-used to seeing Carlos Garcia's brilliant aviation art on the 'hotchpotch' page, but here is something very different to come out of his studio!.
Exhibited on August 24th 2005 was the first Bell Huey of the Argentine Aviation Army for which Carlos designed the paint scheme as seen in this picture.
Plane-makers' A - Z
an arbitrary run through the alphabet of manufacturers
Z for Zlin 143 LSi
We conclude our A-Z of plane makers with a brand new light aircraft that is only just coming to market - the Zlin 143 LSi.
This modified version of the four-seater 143L has a new 234 hp IO-540-C4D5 Lyomning engine with fuel injection system.
Boasting improved flight characteristics, unlimited spins, very rugged all-metal construction and simplified controls, Moravan Aeroplanes a.s. (the post-war name of the original Zlin manufacturing company) believe that the Zlin 143 LSi becomes the true user-friendly aircraft.
With its new engine, autopilot and IFR capabilities this aircraft is ideally suitable for pilot training as well as cross country, business and family flying use, whilst its ability to modify to a two-seat long-range version in just a couple of hours is an essential option.
Discovery hitches a lift
- and Ron H poses a question ...
As fascinating as the Space Shuttle Discovery Return to Flight mission STS-114 was, with its breathtaking in-orbit manouvres and its first-of-its-kind spacewalking repair, many folk were equally intrigued by the million-dollar trip that Discovery took to get back home to the NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida.
Discovery was initially set to touch down at Kennedy at the end of its 14-day test mission, but storms over Florida forced NASA to divert the landing to the California air base.
So it was that Discovery touched down on 9th August at Edwards Air Force Base in California following a successful re-entry, but on 21st August, after successfully navigating 5.8 million miles in orbit, the Space Shuttle orbiter hitched a ride across the country for the last leg of its journey home. Picture, right, shows NASA's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with the Space Shuttle Discovery on top lifting off from Edwards Air Force Base to begin its ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center. The cross-country journey took two days, with stops at several intermediate points for refueling. (NASA photo by Carla Thomas).
NASA keeps two 747s set up this way on purpose. The downstairs passenger area of these jetliners are kept as hollow inside as possible in order to carry this very special and most unusual of cargos.
This story prompted my non-flying friend Ron H to pose the question as to what other instances of full-size piggy-back flying readers might be aware of and also has piggy-back flying been replicated in model flying; if so, for what purpose? I'm sure I can recall seeing a shot of a model being carried aloft for launching purposes. If you have any stories and/or pictures relating to these two questions, please let us have them!