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S1X Sunbird For Sale @ Barnstormer

Major Tom

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Gentlemen,
There is a S1X Sunbird for sale on Barnstormers. Can anyone shed some light on pros verse cons. Asking $51k and ad states:

Over $70k invested but will sell at an S-1 price. The Sunbird may look and land like a Pitts S-1 but that's where the similarity ends. With 260 HP turning a 3-bladed aerobatic prop, the performance is nothing less than awesome. Upgrades include electronic ignition, miniaturized radio and transponder, fuel totalizer, electronic digital tach, steerable tail-wheel, lithium battery. New oil cooler, teflon lines, tires & tubes. Spare 2 bladed prop also included. No trades. Questions welcomed, but serious only please. •

My question's regard safety record, performance (aerodynamic & vertical) and agility. Concern would be the balance between engine weight verse power.
Any insight will be appreciated. :)

Tom
 
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race38

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I believe Spenser’s spin record attempts are on YT with this airplane. Dan Rihn is still active and might give you some insight. Probably find him through the acro exploder.
Whole lot of us with empty pockets wanting to jump on this one.
 

TFF1

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He also can be found on the One Design yahoo group
 

lanceav8r

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I was eyeballing this airplane years ago when it was for sale by the original owners estate. Cool airplane but dated paint and panel. I couldn't get past the ugly factor. I bet its a rocket ship.
 

Major Tom

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My concern is that it may be a two trick pony. Impresive climb rate and tight spins. Spensor Suderman holds the inverted spin record at 98.5 rotations starting from 24,500 feet in this S1X! Problem is I can't find anything saying how it is in acro or competition. Spenser uses another Pitts for his airshow routine. Hmmm??

Anybody have info on its abilities as an aerobatic platform?

thanks
 
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pigpenracing

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Spencer never owned the airplane. He got it flying again for the owners to sell.
 

lanceav8r

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Contact Dan Rhine if you are serious about the plane. He could shed some light. Also Rory Moore had a very similar airplane. He could shed some light on it too.
 

Major Tom

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Yes Dan and I have corresponded about the S-1X.
What would be the best way to contact Rory?

Also let me send a warm thank you to those who have posted thoughts and insights.
 

jrs14855

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Search "Beyond the Pitts" article by Dan in Aug 92 Sport Aviation. Covers the S1X and all the subsequent Dan Rihn biplanes.
The prototype was lost in a fatal weather accident.
The prototype allegedly used stock S1S wings with relatively small I struts. I heard that Curtis expressed some concerns about speed and gross weights with the S1S wings.
My take is that like the Ultimate and others the Rihn designs were made obsolete by the monoplanes.
Given the obscene costs of factory monoplanes I think the Pitts S1 is making a comeback. It is getting more and more difficult to find an excellent used S1S. Sammy Mason has proved beyond question that a S1S is still capable of winning Advanced Nationals. He didn't quite make it but the quality of flying was there.
It makes so much more sense to spend even 75k on a Pitts rather than 100 plus on a Decathalon.
 

Bond007

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I think this is a cool plane,but I want Aerobatic Performance when I buy a Pitts.
I would think with the planes weight it would corner badly.
Lots of power ,but lots of weight to go with it
Danny 007
 

Gmovies

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That is astounding that the prototype Sunbird came in at 854 lb empty with an O-540. Must have been one hell of a rocket. That is just 14 lb heavier than my old S-1S with O-360. Any idea what the empty weight of this one is?
 

Bond007

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Spencer's video claims 980.Thats about right,with that engine
Think about it this would be like putting a 180 pound passenger in your s1s with u .
Danny 007
 
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lanceav8r

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Shoot me a PM and I can get you in touch.
Yes Dan and I have corresponded about the S-1X.
What would be the best way to contact Rory?

Also let me send a warm thank you to those who have posted thoughts and insights.
 

Major Tom

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Shoot me a PM and I can get you in touch.
I think this is a cool plane,but I want Aerobatic Performance when I buy a Pitts.
I would think with the planes weight it would corner badly.
Lots of power ,but lots of weight to go with it
Danny 007
Spenser felt it flew like a Pitts. He did his entire airshow routine in the Sunbird though not before an audience.
 

Major Tom

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Current Empty weight 1004 lbs with the MT prop installed..
Though heavier than an S1 it is much lighter than an S2 with one on board. My intention is to perhaps go as far as "Advanced". Still researching..
 

grassroots

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Though heavier than an S1 it is much lighter than an S2 with one on board.
The comment about the extra "passenger" weight was in the context of wing loading. The S-2 has much more wing area so of course handles higher weights as designed. S-1 sized wings were never intended to be that highly loaded. The higher loading will affect flight characteristics - especially cornering efficiency (pulling vertical and upward looping segments). The HP would offset the weight to a degree, but how much so and how nice of an airplane it is to fly are the million dollar questions. This airplane may work fine for you, but I would also imagine there's a reason 540 powered S-1s are practically non-existent. This is not meant as a slight, but Spencer's airshow is nothing fancy, and I'm sure this airplane would do it fine. Airshows and competition sequences are different. I'm not interested in owning this airplane, but I'd be curious how it would perform through Unlimited. A stock 180HP S-1S will win at the Advanced level if the pilot does their job well, that's not in question. If the intention of this airplane is to do better than a light 180HP S-1S then we're really talking Unlimited level capability. I'd be happy to do an Unlimited pirep of the airplane. :)
 

TFF1

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There is a timeline perspective on the design. Monoplanes were becoming top dog, but some tried to keep up with the Pitts. I'm thinking Unlimited at that time. Got to try something to beat those pesky monos. Today, you would not build the plane that way; you would build a S-1-IIB if you were diehard. It would be very interesting to fly off a 4cylinder and and the S-1-X with real judges. Go through each of the levels. See where light weight wins and where power wins. What is fun to fly and what wins may not be the same thing.
 

Vossba

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It can be both underwinged or a Dream to fly.

My Ultimate say S1X on the Dataplate and is designed with similar ideas:

10-200 Fuselage with lightweight IO540....

I can tell you that mine is a dream to fly. It has never been bend in 32 years.
Emptyweight is 1100 something so airshow weight around 1350lb with 290hp out of a Dick Demars Engine.

I can imagine that this Original S1X is a Rocket.

Cheers Reinhard
 

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