Aerobatic Champions

Closed on April 18, 2003

Aerobatic Champions featured two of the aerobatic flying world’s most colorful aircraft: the Loudenslager Laser 200 flown by Leo Loudenslager and Betty Skelton’s Pitts Special Little Stinker. Both airplanes are now on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Highlights:

Loudenslager Laser 200

Loudenslager Laser 200
This aircraft was built by Leo Loudenslager for competition aerobatics and with the goal of winning a world aerobatic title. Ultimately, Loudenslager won an unprecedented seven U.S. National Aerobatic Championships with the Laser 200, a record that still stands, as well as the 1980 World Aerobatic Championship.

The Laser 200 heavily influenced the look and performance of the next generation of aerobatic aircraft, including the Extra, which dominated competition throughout the 1990s. Loudenslager's legacy is also evident in the tumbling and twisting but precise routines flown by current champions and airshow pilots.

The aircraft is now on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Gift of Carolyn and Kelly Loudenslager

Betty Skelton Piloting Pitts S-1C <i>Little Stinker</i>

Pitts S-1C Little Stinker
Little Stinker was the second Pitts Special built by Curtis Pitts and is the oldest Pitts in existence. Betty Skelton purchased the airplane in August 1948 and flew it to win the 1949 and 1950 Feminine International Aerobatic Championship at the Miami All American Air Maneuvers. She also flew Little Stinker in exhibitions throughout the United States and in Great Britain and Ireland.

Skelton sold Little Stinker in 1951, trading flying records for automobile speed records. She and husband Don Frankman later reacquired the airplane and donated it to the Museum in 1985. A volunteer crew at the Museum's Paul E. Garber Facility restored it from 1996 to 2001. The aircraft is now on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Frankman