• The Biplane Forum is a large global active community of biplane builders, owners and pilots. From Pitts to Skybolts, to older barnstormers, all types are welcome. In addition to our active community, our content boasts exhaustive technical information which is often sought after for projects and maintenance. This information has accumulated over the 12+ years the forum has been in existence.

    The Biplane Forum is a private community. Subscriptions are only $29.95/year to gain access to this great community and unmatched source of information not found anywhere else on the web. We are also a great resource for non biplane users, since many GA aircraft are built the same way (fabric and tube construction).

Pre-buy inspection: what to check on a Pitts S1S


Registered Users
May 29, 2013
Reaction score
Good people of the biplane forum:

I'm hopefully getting close on an S1S purchase: N722DC in Sonora, CA. Flying down Friday, meeting an A&P to poke, prod, and check for cooties.

Aaron sent me some pics and a word doc summary history of the plane, https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2535936/N722DC.zip and I must say that the bird looks *much* more attractive in these photos than the one on Barnstormers. Tho I had my heart set on the classic red/white burst, I do like his scheme, too. Much more importantly, it looks well-built and in great shape. But we have to verify this.

I'm hoping folks here will have ideas, perhaps even a ready-made pre-buy checklist, with special consideration for acro planes, and ideally Pitts and S1S, specifically.

One somewhat unusual aspect of this one is that it has raced at Reno, as well as acro. It has an engine monitor, so hopefully that helped him manage engine temps over such prolonged WOT operation. Aaron has been flying it ~80hrs/yr and is selling it because he has another ship to fly (a Giles), which IMHO sounds infinitely preferable to one that's been sitting for years after someone lost their medical. On the other hand, if he's been doing a lot of gyros in an S1S with a metal prop, that's a whole different kind of abuse. (any telltale signs for this, testable without major disassembly?)

Any thoughts, tips, suggestions, etc. welcome.

thanks in advance,

-- jdm
Jun 27, 2007
Reaction score
Without looking closely at the fabric the plane looks great. I have seen it for sale a number of years ago and it largely looks the same. A plane that flys alot is much much better than one that doesn't. I personally would pay for a high time regular flyer than a low time no flyer. The fuel tank strap connection is a little interesting I have never seen that before but it doesn't mean it doesn't work. It may actually be better and avoids the tank mount tearout issue. From these photos I really don't see an issue and I think the plane is probably worth that amount.

I bet those ailerons are heavy without spades though.
Last edited:

Latest posts