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Pitts S1 standard gear options

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Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2021
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Oxford, CT. USA
I know many threads on gear, but I couldn’t find some answers I was looking for. I’m restoring a ‘64, very short S1 with an O290. I’ve made the decision to try to keep it relatively “vintage”, minimal mods from original. That said, I would like to consider any ground handling improvements. Plane currently has Haigh locking tail wheel. Previous owners have reported acceptable handling with the exception of the last low time owner who damaged it on his first take-off attempt.

I’ve talked to Chris about the Wolf/RV gear. I have not dismissed this but it may look odd with the old cowl and airplane lines. It is slightly heavier and more expensive…all considerations….but I have heard it is amongst the best handling mods to the aircraft. I’ve seen the spring (Grove) gear discussions which often end in discussions on cracking of the fuselage. I understand it is also heavier than either Wolf or stock gear. Then there are the threads on the standard bungee gear, including mention of “long gear”.

What is “long gear”? Does it provide for wider wheel base? Given the reports of sporty ground handling, do folks ever “widen” the bungee gear and does it provide for better ground handling? It seems that many of the better handling biplanes have wider stance. So, given that I am trying to minimize major airframe mods and cost, are there options that should be considered with the basic bungee gear?

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