About The Super Stinker

This excerpt from Bud Davidson’s pirep says it all. Read the full Pilot Report.

“Super Stinker is the last in a long and distinguished line of excitable, three-dimensional skunks. It started with the original S-1 Pitts, the best known of which was Betty Skelton’s ‘Lil Stinker. The S-1’s birth date was 1945. Then there was the first certified unlimited aerobatic biplane, the S-2. The prototype was named Big Stinker and it went into serial production as the S-2A with a 200 hp Lycoming and constant speed prop in 1971. Now, 23 years later, Curtis, with the help of some of the same friends that helped forge the Pitts Special into the aerobatic weapon it is, now has an entirely new airplane flying.

And you can take it from us, Super Stinker is some kind of hoss.

From the outside it would be easy to say Super Stinker, officially known in Pittsdom as the Model 11-260, is nothing but a scaled up S-1S with a 260 hp Aztec engine bolted to the front. Or is it a scaled down S-2B with the front pit removed?

Actually, it is none of the above. It is an entirely new airplane and it takes only a casual perusal of the airframe to see that. Starting with a clean sheet of paper, Curtis did a complete finite-element analysis aimed at letting the airplane safely survive the unlimited aerobatic category, where “G” limits are routinely ignored. His goals were strength and light weight coupled with several new innovations aimed at making the biplane competitive in a monoplane world. This included a new symmetrical aileron design, hinged well back, to give the roll performance all the new akro birds feature.

In terms of size it is closer to the single-hole airplanes than the two seaters. The upper span is 18 ft, which makes the span less than a foot longer than the S-1S/T series, but two feet shorter than the two-holers. The fuselage length is where the difference is most noticeable. It is nearly two feet longer than the little airplanes and just a foot shorter than the big ones.

The long, long nose puts the IO-540 well ahead of the firewall, so there is plenty of room behind it for any of the accessory variations seen with the different models of that engine. With the heavier engine that far ahead, it stands to reason the pilot would have be well behind. And he is. The resulting fuselage lines completely eliminate the stubby, pot-bellied bumble bee appearance so associated with Pitts Specials. It’s a long, lanky dude and is pretty darned sexy looking.”

So if that is not a great intro to the Super Stinker…

If you haven’t already read Budd’s pirep on the Aviat S1-11, here is an excerpt from that…

“It’s no secret I have a thing for Pitts Specials. It’s also no secret that at different times I have professional ties to Aviat. Yes, I have predisposed opinions, but I dare anyone to step out of that airplane and not have similar thoughts to mine: This is one very serious airplane. Kirby Chambliss summed it up after flying it when he reportedly said, it flew as if it was a monoplane with an extra wing. Coming from a confirmed monoplane pilot and National Champion, that’s saying a lot.

But, let’s not get too far into the aerobatic accolades before recognizing several other aspects of the airplane that may well be more important than the fact that it is of unlimited competition caliber. First of all, the airplane is the only unlimited type airplane we know of that can be scratch-built from a set of plans. What this means to the homebuilder is that costs can be kept to an absolute minimum while the final result is of world class quality. By utilizing Aviat-built components, the project can be moved a long a lot faster, but that’s not necessary for the budget-minded builder. Also, the builder doesn’t have to be an acro-nut. He can just want a simple, great flying airplane that he can say he built himself.

In the cost control department we find big variables like the engine itself. The version I flew and which lit my gotta-have-it wick was powered by a high end, Monte Barrett custom IO-540 with 10.5:1 compression and a bunch of other custom do-dads that pumped it up to more than 305 hp on the dyno. And it felt like it. Talk about a stump-puller! But with an airplane this light (1090 pounds empty), you don’t need that much engine. In fact, when I flew the Super Stinker in 1994, when it first came out, it was powered with an stock 0-540 reportedly putting out around 230-240 hp and it was still a killer machine.”

There is something about a biplane.

I got my pilots license back in 2001 to come fly aerobatics.  As a boy my first memories of aviation are Rhinebeck Aerodrome.  I was 6 or 7 and all I kept thinking was, “It would be so cool to fly”.  From that point on it was a dream and like many dreams nothing more than a dream, until late Fall of 2000.  But that is a completely different story…

So in 2004 the planets aligned and God smiled on me again.  Somehow, with a whopping 200 hours in a 152, I am in the market for an aerobatic airplane.  I toiled for a very long time over the type and what I should start with.  From an Aerobat, Citabria, Christian Eagle, Yak 52 or 55, one seater, two seater, buy, build, finish a project.

Then in the summer of 2004 I get a ride in a Christian Eagle.  Before this flight, flying these machines was described to me as; sitting on top of a needle point, trying to keep yourself from falling off.  When I got out of the Eagle the mythose in that description had completely evaporated.  I loved the control, the precision, the look of the upper wing above you, the view through the cabanes in front of you, the I struts out to either side, sitting under the canopy, what an awesome airplane.

Now my quest to build or buy really heated up and I almost bought an Eagle project, but as I investigated the Eagle I realized my fat ass needed all of an IO540.  I am 6 foot 240 lbs.  That is when I fell in love with the S2B.  I remember putting one up as my desktop the fall of 04.  A classic red and white sunburst going by knife edge much like the picture above.  Then I stumbled on Budd’s pireps.  While he is not a fan of the S2B it didn’t matter.  I needed the 540 so an A was not an option but I hung on every word about the Pitts.  I was like a crack head looking for everything I could find on the net about them.  Ultimately you read a lot of stories about the legendary landing characteristics of the Pitts.  Could this many people be wrong?  I have to go fly one, I cant just buy it, not that kind of investment.   So I found the Embry Riddle flying club down in Spruce Creek.  Rent S2B time for 100 bucks an hour, WET! and 45 for the instructor.  That is another great story.  A week, 8 days flying the S2B.  But that was it.  From th moment I strapped that B on and took to the skies I was at home.  Flying was completely different.  I was never so comfortable in the air.
After I bought my B I fell in love with the Biplane.

A Ride in an Extra

I love my B, they are such great airplanes and there is just something about fireing up that 540 and ripping down a runway;  15 mins later, after throwing yourself all over the sky, you literally drop down right over the airport, like an elevator going to the bottom floor and land.  Hop out and will be grinning from ear to ear the rest of the day.  No matter what happens the rest of the day.

So a great friend of mine, gets me a ride in an Extra.  The gentleman with the extra wanted to fly the Pitts so we decided to trade rides.  I was amazed at how easy and even more responsive and sensitive, the Extra was.  I needed some of that but I didn’t want to give up the biplane…

Alas the Super Stinker.  It is time to build.  And not just build a Super Stinker, but build a muscle bound Super Stinker taking advantage of all the advances the past 15 years have uncovered.  This Super Stinker, Super Stinker X is gonna rock.  (  Fingers crossed.  ;p  )

It Flies Like an Extra with Two Wings
An enormous thank you to Dan and Ann Salcedo. I can now uncross my fingers!! Dan’s SS is awesome! Not only watching that thing climb and pull like a Sukoi, it flies with the flick of the wrist or the precision of your thumb and forefinger. It is truly a beast. And it climbs like a scalded beast. When I pushed the throttle to the stop, the 300+ horse Angle Valve really does give you the sensation of being pulled back in your seat. It is a really cool feeling. I pushed the nose down and stood her up on her wheels and she started really pulling down the runway. Not having any idea what the stick pressures would be once unpinned from the tar, I let her fly off herself. For all the beast that she was getting to this point she lept gently into the air. Once off the runway I gently tightened my grip as if I were about to pull up on the rains of this stallion and she instantly did what I did. I squeezed my hand a little too tight and ever so slightly the stick moved slightly to the right and the right wing obliged and dipped ever so slightly. I responded with a quick centering of stick or leveling of the wings and gave her a pull for a positive rate of climb. She responded with ease and we were off.

I was at 4k feet in no time. Not wanting to pound Dan’s engine I ran her at 25 squared. “So what the heck am I going to do? OK lets roll it”, I thought to myself. Level flight, 160 mph, Thwap! I push the stick hard to the left. Whoosh, everything is a blurr and around it goes. I stop it with the normal pitts bobble or snap and the plane bobbles and the tail fish tails as I over rudder the catch. Wow, I think, just stop the stick and the plane responds, like a mono plane, like the Extra.

I am now smiling ear to ear; I dive to 180 MPH, pull vertical, throw the stick over to the left, Whoosh, around we go. I lost count after 4 verticale rolls. Dan says he see’s five. I am sure I saw at least that while it was climbing. Then it must have hung in the sky for 2 or 3 more. Amazed I couldn’t resist letting her back up a couple. Again, not wanting to beat up Dan’s plane, I cut the throttle after she floated down two turns. When I pulled the power I was expecting her to drop like a pendulum, fiercely, through the horizon like the B, but the nose just fell to the horizon and waited for me to do something. Taken by surprise, I now waited for her to start spinning like the B. But no, it just hung there waiting for me to tell it what to do. Later I was mentioning this to Dan and he said, “Yeah, she’ll just hang on.” So I pushed her over and cranked her into a double left roll on the down line and pulled level. Now I am really smiling ear to ear. Phawp, I backhand the stick to the right and slap the air. Whoosh the august NJ haze and afternoon buildups go spinning around with the ground, just like it did in the Extra. OMG, almost giggling I am thinking to myself, it’s true. She flies like a mono plane with two wings. It’s not all hype. It’s bad ass and I need to get mine done.

I did a few more rolls another Torque Roll, cmon I had to do that twice, a loop, rolling turn, some more basic acro and decided it was probably wise to let the neighbors below off the hook and get out of there. So I found the airport and headed back. As I entered the pattern I said the astronaut prayer, “Lord please don’t let me F@#k this up.” I pulled the power and set up a nice circling approach from the downwind. As the runway came up she settled in like the B. Eyes ahead, using my peripheral vision I watch the sides of the 70 foot runway and eased her onto the tar. “Wow, that was the nicest landing I have ever had flying a Pitts”, I thought as I rolled out and taxied in. No exaggeration. What a monster machine, a pleasure to fly, a pleasure to watch and an all out screamer. I really need to get mine done. Now fingers are crossed I can find the cash for my motor! Then we are off to the races!

Thanks again Ann and Dan!!!

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2 Responses to “About The Super Stinker”

  1. Hi Rob
    I did build some S1-11B wings.Your Steve Wolf wings are very beautiful.Are you going to use the aluminum cove as on the original plans,or plywood.
    Best regards.
    Jean-luc

    • Hey Jean Luc,

      Thanks, I can’t wait to see how they fly. I was going to go with wood, but after Kimballs latest post on the matter I am going to go with Aluminum. I completely agree with Dan Salcedo about that being an area moisture can get into, but I am hoping I will have flown the life out of the wings before I have to worry about the eventual moisture issue… 🙂

      Are you one of the guys that bought Steves cowling?

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