Pitts Special S-1C

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    Pitts Special S-1C, LITTLE STINKER

    Aerobatic biplane with a Continental C85-8FJ, 85 hp single-engine.

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    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    Pitts Special S-1C, LITTLE STINKER

    Aerobatic biplane with a Continental C85-8FJ, 85 hp single-engine.

    2 of 9

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Pitts Special S-1C, LITTLE STINKER

    Aerobatic biplane with a Continental C85-8FJ, 85 hp single-engine.

    3 of 9

    Pitts Special S-1C Little Stinker at the Udvar-Hazy Center

    The oldest surviving Pitts Special, Little Stinker was the second aircraft constructed by Curtis Pitts. It holds a place of honor suspended upside down just inside the entrance of the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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    Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

    The Pitts Special "Little Stinker" hangs inverted above the walkway leading to the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
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    Hanging the Pitts Special S-1C "Little Stinker"

    The Pitts Special S-1C "Little Stinker" is lifted into display position.

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    Betty Skelton Piloting Pitts S-1C Little Stinker

    Betty Skelton in the cockpit of the Pitts S-1C Little Stinker.

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    In Plane View: Pitts Special S-1C Little Stinker

    The single-piece wing with a racy sunburst paint scheme evoked speed and agility to the spectators and judges watching from the ground. The 6.5-degree sweep to the wing added stability to the tiny aircraft and allowed the pilot to access to the cockpit more easily.

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    Pitts Special S-1C Panorama

    Panoramic view inside the Pitts Special S-1C Little Stinker.

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Boeing Aviation Hangar

The oldest surviving Pitts Special, Little Stinker was the second aircraft constructed by Curtis Pitts. Pitts introduced the S-1 in 1945, the first of a famous line that dominated aerobatic competition throughout the 1960s and 1970s because of their small size, light weight, short wingspan, and extreme agility. Subsequent models still fly in all aerobatic categories and are standard aircraft for advanced aerobatic training.

Betty Skelton bought this airplane in 1948, and with it she won the 1949 and '50 International Feminine Aerobatic Championships. Her impressive flying skill and public relations ability heightened awareness of both aerobatics and the Pitts design. Skelton sold Little Stinker in 1951, but she and her husband later reacquired it and donated it to the Smithsonian. A volunteer crew restored it from 1996 to 2001.