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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Landing Pitts

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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: [Acro] Landing Pitts


Thread: [Acro] Landing Pitts

Message: [Acro] Landing Pitts

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From: John Wieckowski <jcat46173 at>

Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 22:09:48 UTC


  Hi to All,
This piece is for those of you who are at the beginning of the aerobatic

After about 1200 flying hours, about half of them in tail-wheel airplanes (I
own and fly Cessna 180), I considered myself a reasonably experienced and
well versed pilot. I found out otherwise by attempting to tackle the world
of aerobatics.  I had Pitts "on my brains" and I thought that a good place
to start would be to find out what it is that people are saying about
landing the Pitts.

After seeing Budd Davisson's ads and reading his pieces in "Plane & Pilot,"
among other place, at the end of March, I found myself in Phoenix AZ signed
up for his Pitts landing lessons and for his "Bed & breakfast" venture.
Well,  it definitely was an eyes opening experience. After the first hour I
concluded that I must have been delusional thinking that I can fly.

The principle of what he teaches is rather simple: you fly the pattern close
to the runway, do not line up with the runway, but instead, you fly towards
the number at 35 degrees at the pattern altitude. You keep the numbers in
sight and when they start moving under your fuselage you reduce a power and
start a slip in order to continue seeing  the numbers. At this point you go
down like the proverbial manhole cover until you can trade the sight of the
numbers for the sight of runway edges on both sides of the cowling. This
seems to be about 10 feet above the ground.

It is definitely easier said then done. All of you guys who are flying
Pitts1s and Extras do not need to read this. But, those of you who grew up
with Cessnas, Aeroncas and Citabrias are definitely up for a surprise. These
small airplanes with big engines are a different animal. Everything is
exaggerated, everything happens fast, and in addition you cannot see
anything up front which is a main factor which you have to accommodate your
flying technique.

The amount of time you have in "regular" airplanes is of little help. Budd
says that he cannot find much difference between the thousands hours airline
captain, and a 100 hours C-150 student. Everybody1s eyeballs bug out after
the first hour or two, and it takes about 8 hours of his instructions to get
your eyes back in the sockets. Then you will start feeling reasonable in the
air again.  In summary, if you are used to seeing the runway in front of
your airplane, go fly with Budd - you have a lot to learn.

There are other benefits to this experience. One is the benefit of spending
time with Budd Davisson. You probably already know that he writes articles
for a number of aviation magazines. He also writes novels, plays guitar,
restores old cars, builds black powder rifles, makes part of his living in
computer graphics, photography, produces an airplane kit (Bearhawk), and the
list goes on. You want to have and interesting conversation- talk with Budd-
on any subject. Rides to the airport are a treat. He is a walking
encyclopedia of aviation. I could spend a month just conversing with Budd,
and we probably would not even start solving the world's problems.

Then there is the subject of bed and breakfast- an understatement supreme.
You do not just get a bed - you check into a mini- resort with  a luxurious
bed, with TV,  your own bathroom with bathtub and shower. You will dine in a
shade of palm trees next to a gorgeous swimming pool, and you become a part
of Budd's family. You get a run of the house that is filled with  an
eclectic collection of antique weapons , historical artifacts, and aviation

Breakfast - yes,  coffee is ready at 7 am and you go to the refrigerator and
dig, but then you get the dinner, cooked personally by Budd's wife Marlene
cook supreme.

And there is Budd's dog, Nizhoni, a true character if there ever was one
.....  well enough of that. Sign up for the "Pitts landing course", start
learning to fly again, and have fun.

Jan. M Wieckowski (jcat46173 at


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