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Another new Pitts pilot

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Oct 21, 2022
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Well, the weather and schedule lined up and today was the day! I had made the trip to Arizona last week to fly with Budd (some of the best training money I've ever spent, by the way), and was eager to get in my S-1S as soon as possible. Honestly I think I was more apprehensive today than on my first solo nearly 26 years ago. I was surprised how much I had to push myself to just go for it, I've never been so intimidated by an airplane. I taxied around a bit to get in the groove, but eventually there were no more excuses, time to fly! Takeoff was uneventful, but I had to calm myself. I remembered Budd's words: "Pressure!" Managed to not overcontrol it. I was ready for a steep climb angle, but was still taken aback when I glanced down during the brisk climbout and noticed my speed....120mph! My previous airplane would barely reach that in straight-and-level!

Cruised over to another airport with a bigger runway, more similar to the big strip in Scottsdale. Landing was straightforward and reasonably decent, except for some odd bumps near the end of rollout....think I just hit some rough spots on the runway, the plane was well under control and tracking straight. The gear on this thing isn't quite as plush as my old Stinson!

Taxiing back after that first landing was quite the sensation...I did it, I'm officially a Pitts pilot now. :) Decided to shut down and decompress/celebrate, also added a bit more fuel. Got delayed when she didn't want to hot-start, eventually got it going and headed towards home. The smaller strip at my homebase was noticeably more challenging than the big strip at Chickasha. Got in two good landings, one bounce-and-go-around (let it touch down too soon), and one rejected attempt due to getting a little too far off-center. It's nice to know that if I see something I don't like, I can go left-hand forward and ride the rocket out of town!

Wasn't sure how comfortable I'd be with aerobatics on my first outing, but this little hotrod just does them so well....did a few aileron rolls, 4-point roll (my first attempt at this maneuver ever, worked out really well), stall/falling leaf, some inverted flight, spins to the left and right. This is the easiest plane to falling-leaf, I suppose because it's so responsive.....when you need to switch directions, it responds right away!

I noticed some of my troublesome habits that me and Budd were working on. But it's nothing that can't be fixed with practice, as long as I'm identifying them and working to correct. I can tell this is going to be a lot of fun!



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