A potential future Pitts S-1S pilot

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Carlo, Jul 9, 2018.

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  1. Jul 9, 2018 #1

    Carlo

    Carlo

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    Hi all,

    my name is Carlo, I'm almost 26 years old, and I live in Italy.

    I'm not yet a pilot, but I've always been in love with aeroplanes.

    In these last 3-4 years, after having red many books about the subject, I've understood that my dream is to become an aerobatic pilot because I see in aerobatics the pure form of flight, and to fly a restored, stock, Aerotek-built Pitts S-1S from the '70s because after having red a lot of books and articles and having seen a lot of videos on Internet about this biplane I started to appreciate its semplicity of construction and its performances: it wants to fly, to roll and loop with you on board, it wants to give you joy in the air and, at any time, it wants to be respected by the pilot. I fell in love...

    As I said I'm not yet a pilot, but I flew two times with qualified instructors. The first time was in an Alpi Aviation Pioneer 200. Actually the instructor (a Pitts S-1S pilot) let me made the take off (that, I have to admit, surprised me: the airplane was far ahead of me) and the flight, while he landed the airplane. It has been amazing: the plane really talks to you, you feel when it is slipping and the rudder correction comes automatically. The second time was in a Mudry CAP-10. The instructor has been very very gentle in performing the aerobatic maneuvers and he explained to me all the things he was doing and where to look at every time: it has been a real joy!

    Thank you for listening!!!

    All the best,
    Carlo
     
  2. Jul 9, 2018 #2

    marquartflyer

    marquartflyer

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    Welcome to all tings biplane'
     
  3. Jul 9, 2018 #3

    Carlo

    Carlo

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    Thank you very much!
     
  4. Jul 10, 2018 #4

    Gmovies

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    Hello Carlo and welcome. I believe you will have a wonderful time with a Pitts S-1S. It was the first plane I owned and I had many fun hours with it.



    You will want to follow this thread. This is my experimental Pitts S-1S (technically it is a Pitts S-1E) now sold to a fellow in Australia. We are in the process of getting it shipped out to him from Wichita, Kansas, USA to Australia. He has started initial flight training in Cessna 150 Aerobat and I imagine he will have the Pitts assembled and flying within a year.



    https://www.biplaneforum.com/threads/my-new-pitts-s1-project.17039/



    I now fly a Pitts S-2 and my Dad owns an RV-8 also a very nice plane. Of all the planes I’ve flown nothing is like the sweet Pitts S-1. I miss it already.
     
  5. Jul 10, 2018 #5

    Carlo

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    Thank you for your reply Gmovies! :)

    Your S-1E is really beautiful! I'll follow that thread with great interest.

    May I ask you a couple of questions? Of course fell free to answer or not. Also please tell me if it is a better idea to whrite them in another thred. Thank you very much! Here are the questions:
    1) How much does the Pitts cost ($) to you yearly considering maintenance, hangarage, insurance and so on but not the fuel and oil consumption?
    2) How much does a single aerobatic sortie in the Pitts cost ($) to you considering the fuel and oil consumption?
    I'm asking all of this because I'd really like to know if I can afford such a wonderful airplane with a "normal" job :D
     
  6. Jul 10, 2018 #6

    smizo

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    best of luck achieving your dreams of being an acro pilot.! :cool:
     
  7. Jul 10, 2018 #7

    Carlo

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    Thank you smizo!
     
  8. Jul 10, 2018 #8

    will moffitt

    will moffitt

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    Orville or Wilbur said something along the lines of, "I can't afford an airplane and a wife". Well, I like my honey of 52 years so to afford an airplane I drive a $300 car. Pursue your dream.

    will
     
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  9. Jul 10, 2018 #9

    Acromaniac

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    My guess is that you will be able to better estimate your fixed costs (hangar and insurance) by checking locally. There could be large differences for both of those items between Italy and various US locations. You definitely will want inside storage for a Pitts.

    For the per flight costs, I burn between 7-8 gallons of fuel per 45 minute flight. That is probably 12 minutes of ground time, 10 minutes transiting back and forth to practice area and 20 minutes of acro. If you do much negative g stuff, you will be adding some oil every flight. I also do frequent oil changes due to lack of air filter. My cost for oil probably equals about $5 per flight. Fuel about $60 per flight.

    Doesn’t really matter how much though. It’s worth every penny

    In my opinion, You have zeroed in on the sweetest most joyful plane possible.
     
  10. Jul 11, 2018 #10

    Larry Lyons

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    Welcome aboard Carlo. Your costs are very much related to your location. My heated hanger, insurance, and annual inspection costs about $70 American per hour plus gas and oil. But that is on the cheap side of flying due to my location. My shared hanger is only $165 a month plus heat. Hanger costs can go from under$50 to well over $300 american a month here in the states. Your costs can and probably will vary quite a bit from those numbers. Also keep in mind if you fly every moment you get you will still only fly, on average, about 5 to 10 hours a month. So having a like minded partner or two is good use of your resources and stretches your dollars to more fun!
     
  11. Jul 11, 2018 #11

    Carlo

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    Guys... thank you very much for all your answers!

    I totally agree:).
     
  12. Jul 11, 2018 #12

    EAABipe40FF

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    You need to start taking lessons and learn to fly. Don't get the cart in front of the horse. Forget aerobatics for now and get primary instruction. It is important to find the right instructor for YOU! My first instructor was an A-hole and almost made me quit. I also went to a ground school at the FBO where I was taking lessons which was helpful except for the instructor who didn't fit very well with me.

    Cost? TOO MUCH! I doubt if anyone who works for a living(40 hours/week in the US) can afford to fly. I've never been able to afford it but had a wife who supported me. After my initial training at the FBO I joined a military flying club which allowed me to afford it to a degree. If not for that I likely would have had to quit?

    Ownership worked ok with both of us working UNTIL the kids arrived. I had also bitten off more than I could afford, a high performance 200 hp biplane that simply cost too much as the kids got older and more expensive. I finally realized that my family was a higher priority and I sold the airplane and looked for a cheaper one either a Luscombe or a T-craft. I didn't find the right airplane and after 2 years let my hangar go and did NOT fly again for 23 years.

    Fast forward to today.... It's even worse learning to fly today money wise! Ownership is impossible for the average working stiff. The only way I can do it is building myself but you have to have the skills and it's been a long learning curve. Again, an understanding wife has made the difference. I also live out in the sticks and have a hangar that holds both airplanes for $50 per month. That coupled with being able to do my own inspections is the only way I can manage. I also have a good friend/A&P/ IA who I can call on when I get in over my head. That said, I'm only one major mechanical issue away from having to throw in the towel.......

    All that said the most important thing is,

    Do you want it bad enough?

    Jack
     
  13. Jul 11, 2018 #13

    Gmovies

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    Agree that you should talk to other owners in your area to get an idea on cost. That being said the Pitts S-1 is the best value in terms of money for the flying experience you get. It is an awesome little machine and costs much less than other aircraft to own and fly. Also you might consider a partner if your money is stretched too much. You don't normally travel in a Pitts S-1 so it won't be gone for something like an entire week. If you and your partner both want to fly on a given afternoon you can both easily get in a one-hour flight. I would image if you split the cost with a partner you'd be easily below the cost of a newer sports car for example.
     
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  14. Jul 11, 2018 #14

    Carlo

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    Thanks for you suggestions Gmovies! ...What model of sport car are you referring to :p:D?

    By the way, a couple of soundays ago I went to an airshow very close to the town where I live and I had the opportunity to talk with an aerobatic pilot who owns and flies a Mudry CAP-10BK. She said that she pays more or less 200 € (more or less 235 US $) per hour considering hangarage, insurance, maintenence, fuel, oil and so on. Considering what you guys have told to me till now (I apologise for my english, I do not know if this sentence is grammatically correct) I suppose I can conclude that the ownership costs of an S-1S are more ore less the same... or at least this is a starting point. Correct? Thanks!
     
  15. Jul 11, 2018 #15

    IanJ

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    As a point of reference, I have a 1956 Champion 7EC (basically an Aeronca Champ 7AC, but with an electrical system), and I pay the following near Seattle, WA (all prices in US dollars):

    Enclosed hangar: $381/month
    Insurance: ~$700/year for hull and moving coverage, but not umbrella liability
    Fuel: 5.5 gallons/hour at $5.35/gallon is $29.43/hour
    Oil: 1 quart/20 hours and a 5-quart oil change every 50 hours at $8/quart is $1.20/hour
    Annual inspection and maintenance: about $1000/year so far

    The Champ is among the simplest airplanes available (though a Pitts is similar in terms of systems simplicity), so maintenance costs are low. Most of my expense has been upgrading the plane -- it didn't have shoulder belts, so I installed those; it didn't have ADS-B so I installed that; it doesn't have strobes for night flying, so I'm going to install those. Those costs are not included in my numbers above.

    A Pitts will have higher fuel consumption unless you find a 90 HP model and fly it like a Champ (don't do that -- waste of a good plane!), and most planes consume more oil than mine. Fuel costs are noticeably higher in Europe: last time I checked, avgas was well over US$8/gallon compared to the $5 I can find locally.

    I agree with Jack's advice, though: keep the dream of owning a Pitts, but tackle the very real problem of becoming a normal pilot first. You will find it takes a lot of time and money and effort, and it will be a good test to see if you still want to own a Pitts at the end. Learning to fly is a challenge, and expecting that you will quickly be flying acro in a Pitts is setting yourself up for failure. Expect that learning to fly will be a slow, incremental process, and it might take you 60 or 70 hours instead of the required minimum for your country's license (it's 40 hours minimum in the US). If you're really motivated and can dedicate yourself to learning full-time, you can probably get a pilot's license in a few weeks, but for a normal full-time worker, expect it to take several months. Most flight lessons will be under 2 hours.

    Once you have the license, you probably have another 100 hours of training to get really comfortable with flying, and do some transition training to an acrobatic plane. Maybe less, but maybe more. You have the advantage that with a clear goal in mind like flying a Pitts, you can work toward that specifically, and your training time will be more efficient than someone like me, who just generally wanted to fly.

    I mention all this not to be discouraging, but to make sure that your expectations are reasonable so you don't get frustrated by the slow pace of things.
     
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  16. Jul 11, 2018 #16

    Gmovies

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    I flew a bunch the first year I owned the plane. The more you fly the plane the more you spread out the fixed costs. Seems like I might have been under $100/hr. That was back 2002 of course. And if you have to do an engine rebuild that adds in a bunch of costs. My sports car is a very old 3000GT VR4 so that's probably not a good comparison to a more modern car.
     
  17. Jul 11, 2018 #17

    Taildragger

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    Much wisdom here, Carlo.

    Best of luck with your aviation journey. Stick with it through the ups and downs, and keep in mind that it's a journey to flying something like a Pitts, but if you truly enjoy aviation, it will seem short.
     
  18. Jul 12, 2018 #18

    Carlo

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    Guys...really thanks a lot for all your wisdom!

    Correct!
     
  19. Jul 12, 2018 #19

    EAABipe40FF

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    OTOH I recall someone who once completed their entire private pilot licence including first solo in a S2 Pitts. It was years ago, might be difficult today? The insurance company might ruin such a plan not to mention the cost of S2 dual. But if your father was a CFI and owned a S2....go for it:D

    Just saying that a Pitts Special is no probably more difficult to manage than the aircraft used for primary training in the 1930's and 40's. But I suspect the accident rate was quite high back then? My father took a few flying lessons in a WACO in the mid 1930's but couldn't solo it because the instructor could not afford to lose the airplane.

    When I first started flying a Cessna 150 I thought it was the best airplane ever made. I thought that if I could ever own one it would be enough. Flying a Pitts Special was something for supper men, I had enough trouble with the Cessna. I've gone full circle having owned several aircraft I didn't even dream of back in 1971......Today I'd be perfectly satisfied with a C150 except that it's harder for me to get into than my Tu-holer:cool:

    Jack
     
  20. Jul 13, 2018 #20

    Carlo

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    True, everyone find her/his road while is walking, and no one at the beginning knows for sure when and where will arrive. Maybe the answer is at the end, maybe was at the beginning but at first you didn't notice it because of lack of experience:).

    The Cessna 150 is my favourite among the various Cessna models. The day I flew in the Mudry CAP-10 there was a 150 parked in the hangar. It's really a little elegant airplane.
     

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